Get ready for this year's National PrepareAthon! Day. Every year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) puts together a preparedness day to help people move from awareness to action in their communities. Since disasters can happen anywhere with little to no warning, learning the risks associated with your area can help you prepare for, respond to and recover from specific emergencies before one even strikes. Prepare for this year's National PrepareAthon! Day, occurring on September 15, by following these tips from ServiceMaster Restore®.
1. Know your risk.
Understand which emergencies and disasters can occur in your area, so that you can begin your preparedness plan. Check out the ServiceMaster Restore blog or FEMA's hazards for preparedness steps you can take for specific emergencies like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. You can also contact your local emergency management organization to determine if there are already community-wide preparedness materials you can have, including evacuation routes, shelters and communication systems.
2. Assemble or update your emergency kit.
Stock up on basic supplies you might need if you were to evacuate your home quickly. Items may include food, water, first aid supplies, medication, batteries, flashlights, blankets and pet supplies. Put these items in a lightweight, waterproof container and place it somewhere that can be easily accessed in an emergency.
3. Sign up for local alerts.
Receiving timely information in the event of a disaster can make all the difference between life and death. Read through FEMA's list of alerts and warnings to find out how you can receive alerts, messages and updates in your area.
4. Create a communication plan.
Your family might not be together when disaster strikes. Have a discussion with your kids about emergency preparedness, including where you can meet and how everyone can get in contact if the unexpected happens. If you need help with talking points or information about how to develop and test your communication plan, use FEMA's family communication plan assets.
5. Plan with your neighbors.
In the event of an emergency, neighbors may be the only help you have. Start a conversation with them now, so that everyone knows what to do, where to go and how to help in every emergency situation.
6. Consider enrolling in first aid classes.
First aid training and emergency response classes are available in local communities. While emergency preparedness classes are never required, they may help you save yourself, your family or your neighbors if a disaster were to strike.
7. Practice your plan.
Mock scenarios with your family and even your entire community can help everyone understand how to prepare for, react to and recover from a disaster with confidence. That way, if an emergency were to strike, each member would know exactly which tasks they are responsible for to keep themselves and others safe.
8. Prepare your home.
You can reduce the risk of injury to yourself and damage to your home by preparing your property for disaster. Recommendations on how to effectively prepare your home will vary based on which risks your area is susceptible to. Check the ServiceMaster Restore blog to find ways you can prepare your home for specific disasters.
9. Document and insure your property.
Under certain circumstances, damage to your home may not be covered under a basic homeowners insurance policy. Speak to your insurance agent to determine if you need any additional coverage for the risks your area is susceptible to, including flood damage. For more information on which policies you may need, you can also read through FEMA's insurance preparedness guidelines.
10. Safeguard your documents.
Following a disaster, you may still need to access financial and legal documents, medical records and forms of personal identification. Use FEMA's critical documents checklist to learn which vital documents you may need after the unexpected happens, as well as tips on different ways you can store and access this information.
After you've done your part to prepare for the worst, share your experiences to start a conversation with your friends and family. That way, your loved ones can also participate in preparedness activities. If you're ready to participate in this year's National PrepareAthon! Day, take action now by finding local preparedness activities occurring in your community, adding your own activity or promoting your activity on FEMA's PrepareAthon! site.
In the event that a disaster does strike, know that you don't have to face it alone. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restore are available 24/7 every day of the year to help our neighbors recover from the unexpected. Use our weather damage clean-up services to help get your life – and your home – back to normal as quickly as possible.