With the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastating Japan and surrounding areas in March, it leaves one to wonder how prepared they are for such an event. What would you do if basic services, such as water, gas, electricity or telephones were cut off? While it can be difficult to completely prepare for such a large and horrific natural disaster, there are things that you can do to better protect your families and personal assets. Here are 4 steps to better protecting your family:
1. Create a family disaster plan.
- Identify a safe place in each room of your home.
- Practice home evacuation drills and have a planned place to meet in case you become separated.
- Take a first-aid course
- Know the route to the nearest hospital, fire & police stations as well as escape routes in case you need to evacuate your home.
- Have emergency numbers clearly posted near your phone & in your cell phones. In an emergency, you may not have the ability to look these numbers up.
- Make copies of all important documents including drivers license, credit cards, birth certificates, account numbers etc.
2. Emergency Supply Kits: Experts suggest having emergency supplies in your home, a small emergency kit at your place of work, and a few basic supplies in your car.
- Food & water: Try to store enough fresh water & food for a week.
- First aid handbook along with bandages, portable supply of prescription drugs, backup supplies of regularly used important items.
- Camp stove & fuel, sleeping bags or blankets, sturdy shoes, warm clothing, and a Boy Scout handbook for basic survival instructions.
- Basic tools like a flashlight, extra batteries, portable radio, multi-purpose pocket knife, work gloves, rope, plastic tarp, duct tape, fire extinguisher, candles, waterproof matches, loud whistles etc.
- Store these items in plastic boxes that are waterproof & pest-proof. Do not store these items in difficult to reach places.
- Recheck your kits annually.
3. Home evaluation
- Make sure your home is bolted to the foundation
- Know how to shut off your water lines
- Strap your water heaters to studs in the wall. You can purchase these straps from home improvement stores
- Know how to turn off the gas.
- Learn how to shut off the electricity
- Purchase a gas powered generator
- Secure all appliances and large items that could fall off of walls & shelves. Place large items on lower shelves
- Store household chemicals safely and preferably near the floor.
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