Storm season is pretty much year-round these days. We go from destructive tornadoes and hurricanes when it’s warm outside to snowstorms and blizzards during winter.
According to The Weather Company, the number and frequency of natural disasters have increased in recent years, yet less than half of Americans say they’re prepared for an emergency — only 42%.
As expensive and devastating it is, your house can be rebuilt and many belongings can be replaced; however, precious family photos and important documents often cannot be recovered. That’s why our sponsor, Epson, thinks it’s important to have a plan for when the unthinkable happens. Click here to see how Epson can help. Here are some simple steps to follow when emergencies hit.
Make a family plan
Communication networks could go down during disasters. You might also lose power. Planning in advance will ensure all family members know how to reach each other and where to meet up in case of an emergency.
Locate the nearest shelter and the best routes to get there from your home. If you have pets, identify pet-friendly shelters or hotels you can safely take them in the event of an emergency.
If you have enough advanced warning about a major storm, make sure your vehicles are ready. Fill your gas tank ahead of time and move your vehicles into the garage or under a covered area to help avoid damage. Also, always keep an emergency kit inside your car in case you’re caught driving in a storm.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), planning should begin with these easy steps:
- Collect – Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools or service providers.
- Share – Make sure everyone carries a copy in their backpack, purse or wallet. If you complete this Family Emergency Communications Plan online, you can print it onto a wallet-sized card. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
- Practice – Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.
During a disaster, texting is better than calling people. Text messages require less bandwidth than a phone call, so it has a better chance to get through. Plus, if the network is down, a text may save and send automatically when the network is back up.
Keep an emergency go-kit on hand
Having an emergency go-kit stocked and on hand at all times is an important step to staying safe during a huge storm. If you lose power, having flashlights readily available and a battery-powered radio will help you safely move about and stay on top of the latest storm updates.
You also want to be prepared for fires that could ignite as a result of a lightning strike or another disaster. A fire extinguisher can help keep a blaze under control and from spreading to other areas of the house.
Don’t forget to have bandages and medications ready. You should always keep a first-aid kit in your home and car just in case.
Here are some items you should keep in your emergency kit:
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- First-aid kit with plenty of supplies — make sure medications are not expired
- Air filter masks to help you breathe in case of a fire
- Fire extinguisher
- Battery-powered radio
In case of an emergency, conserve your mobile phone battery by reducing the brightness of your screen, putting it in airplane mode and limit watching videos and playing games to help reduce network congestion.
Digitize important documents and photos
Losing important documents during a storm can be a disaster in itself. Imagine having all your tax documents go up in smoke during a fire. What a nightmare!
Then, there are your family photos that have been passed down from generation to generation. You definitely don’t want to lose those. That’s why it’s a good idea to digitize important documents and photos. We recommend using our sponsor, Epson.
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is a duplex photo scanner that’s built to digitize and organize large photo collections. Scanning as fast as one photo per second, front and back, at 300 dpi, it can help you preserve thousands of irreplaceable family photos and documents quickly. Save your important files before disaster strikes.