How to Prepare for a Home Emergency

So we’re a little off the topic of cleaning and organizing, but the torrential downpour in Dallas made me think about being prepared for floods, tornadoes, or any other kind of home disaster. Being prepared for the unexpected is a big part of being a responsible homeowner. Whether your daughter forgets to turn off the bathtub and it floods your flooring, or you lose your entire home, it’s important to be prepared and to have a plan of action ready and available for your family to follow.

Here at Kiwi, one of the best parts of our job is that we get to assist people when they really need our help.  Right after Hurricane Ike in 2008, we sent many of our DFW technicians to help our Houston guys with the surplus of water damage jobs. We got to help our customers restore a piece of normalcy in their lives, and that really meant something special to us.

One of the things that you often hear from those who encounter home emergencies is that they wish they would have been more prepared. Although there’s nothing we can do to totally prevent these weather disasters or accidents in the home, we can try to be one step ahead so that we can be prepared when the time comes.

Today, I’m going to write out a simple list of things that you can do today to help you expect the unexpected.

-Make a switch to e-files, permanently. Although it’s always good to keep a hard copy of everything in a safe, keep your documents stored away on the Internet so that you’ll never need to worry about them in a time of crisis. Scan your car titles, home-closing statements, and birth certificates and keep them in a file online. Most companies are trying to actively go green, so this shouldn’t be a problem with most documents.

Check with your insurance company to make sure you’re fully covered for disasters. This is not something you want to call and check on when you see a tornado warning for your area. Call them today. Trust me, you’ll be able to sleep better at night.

Keep your car fueled up, just in case. When you hear about severe weather or dangerous situations, be sure to always keep at least half a tank of gas in your car so you can make a speedy getaway at a moment’s notice.

Form a family emergency plan. Make a list of numbers for emergencies and laminate them, so family members can put them in their wallets, purses, or backpacks. Sit down together and make a list of safe places and order them from best to last resort. Know exactly what your plan of action would be in an emergency and maybe even commit to practicing it.

Keep battery operated flashlights and radios at home, in the car, and at work. Even if your iPhone has a flashlight and a radio app, you still want to keep these old standards for safety’s sake.

-Keep thick blankets and pillows in your car, closets, and at work. Again, you never know when you’ll need it, and you’ll thank yourself later.

-Go through all of your photographs and save them online. I’ve personally been through two computers in two years, and I know how devastating it is to lose photographs, videos, and special memories. There are several websites and programs out there for you to upload photos, or just simply save them to a flash drive. In addition to saving them online or on an external drive, print all of your photos periodically and place them in protective albums. These are good items to put in a safe.

I hope that all of you were safe in the dreary weather these last couple of days. And remember, when dangerous weather hits, minutes matter and details count.
Image via The Library of Congress

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