Open Accessibility Menu

Advice for Homeowners during National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, an annual observance in the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for various disasters that can occur.

In 2023, National Preparedness Month will once again serve as a reminder for homeowners to take proactive steps toward disaster readiness. This includes creating emergency plans, assembling disaster supply kits, proactively preparing your property and staying informed about potential hazards.

Follow these steps to become disaster-ready:

1. Create an Emergency Plan for Your Home and Family

Creating a residential emergency disaster plan is crucial in ensuring the safety and well-being of yourself and your loved ones during unforeseen floods, hurricanes, tornados, fires and other disasters. By being prepared, you can effectively respond to emergencies, mitigate potential risks and aid in the recovery process.

To create a comprehensive residential emergency disaster plan, consider the following steps:

  • Assess risks: Identify potential hazards specific to your location, such as natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes) or man-made incidents (e.g., fires, chemical spills). Understand how these risks may impact your home and community.
  • Establish communication channels: Designate a primary point of contact for family members during emergencies. Ensure everyone knows how to reach each other and establish alternative communication methods in case traditional means are unavailable.
  • Develop an evacuation plan: Determine evacuation routes from your residence and identify safe meeting places both within your neighborhood and outside it. Practice evacuation drills regularly with all household members.

2. Create an Emergency Disaster Kit

To build an effective emergency disaster kit, it is important to consider the specific needs of your household. Start by gathering essential supplies such as non-perishable food, water, medications and first aid supplies. These items should be enough to sustain your family for at least three days.

In addition to these necessities, include items such as flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, and a whistle to signal for help. You should also have:

  • A multi-purpose tool or Swiss army knife
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Extra clothing and blankets
  • Documents such as identification papers, insurance policies and contact information (stored in waterproof containers or bags)

Regularly review and update your emergency kit to account for changes in family size or specific needs. Keep it easily accessible in a designated location known to all household members.

3. Proactively Protect Your Property

How can you protect your home from damage in a disaster?

Start in advance by taking measures to secure your home structure from potential damage or intruders during emergencies. This may include reinforcing doors and windows or installing smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

Additionally, know how to turn off your main water valve and utilities. Inspect and reinforce your roof. Occasionally trim trees, branches and bushes around the home to help minimize debris damage in case of a severe storm.

4. Stay Informed

Being informed about the types of disasters that could happen in your area is a crucial step in your ongoing disaster preparedness plans. In severe weather or hurricanes, you need to know when to evacuate and when and how to shelter in place.

Staying connected to news updates is easier than ever. For starters, you can keep an NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station, monitor TV and radio and follow mobile alerts and warnings about severe weather in your area.

Also, download the FEMA app and get weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the U.S. suggests getting tech-ready before a storm even forms. Have an emergency charging option for your phone and other mobile devices. Make sure your electronic devices are fully charged. If the power goes out, save battery power by minimizing device use. Keep a backup power source on hand.

In the event a disaster causes damage to your home, you’ll want to find professional experts who can restore your home to its previous state. Though it can be challenging to find a contractor you can trust, remember that ServiceMaster DSI is always here for you. Please keep our contact information on hand as part of your disaster readiness preparations.