DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
Having an emergency supply kit ready and easily accessible is extremely important in the event of a disaster. Items should include: a first aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, necessary prescription medications, an emergency whistle to signal for help, a gallon of water per person and pet for at least three days, several days worth of nonperishable food, plus pet food (if you have a pet) and a battery operated radio with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) capabilities. A cell phone and a battery powered cell phone charger, along with a list of emergency phone numbers is also a good idea. Note: JBT recommends having $200 - $500 cash or more if possible, in the event that ATMs aren’t available or suffer damage.
FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN
A family emergency plan that includes how you will contact each other and identifies a safe place to gather as an alternative to your home is extremely important. It is a good idea to designate a meeting area both within and outside of your neighborhood. This plan will ensure your children know what to do, where they can go and who they can stay with in the event of an emergency. Check www.511pa.com for updates on road conditions, if you need to drive to get out of harm’s way. It’s also a good idea to fill your car’s gas tank if you know a storm is coming in case there is a gas shortage.
Note: The FEMA website (www.ready.gov) includes a family emergency plan that can be printed to help assist families with developing their individual plans. Experts agree that developing a disaster plan ahead of time reduces fear and anxiety in children, which means they have a better chance of staying safe until help arrives.
Prepare a vital records kit with copies of important documents. Documents and items for this kit include copies of insurance policies, personal identification, bank account records, proof of vaccinations for pets, mortgages, birth and marriage certificates, and irreplaceable photos. A safe deposit box is one option to keep these documents safe, especially in the event your house is severely damaged or destroyed. If you decide to keep the documents in your home, make sure they are stored in a safe place in a waterproof and fireproof container. Another option is to scan and store these documents in a cloud-based application.
While it’s difficult to think about losing your home due to a natural disaster, it’s important to understand what your homeowner’s insurance policy does and does not cover. Since policies vary by insurance company, you shouldn’t make any assumptions as to what is covered. Most basic homeowner’s policies cover fire and lightning, explosion, smoke, and damage caused by the weight of ice, snow or sleet. Perils of hail, windstorm, vandalism, theft and water damage may be restricted or even excluded by many policies.
While putting together your disaster kit, family plan and other preparations, it’s helpful to know the available resources. The FEMAwebsite and the American Red Cross website are good resources. Being prepared will help you and your family remain calm and rational when a disaster strikes, which can also save lives. Understanding your specific homeowner’s insurance will help you make an informed decision about any additional coverage to purchase before a disaster hits. In the end, being prepared for a natural disaster will help ensure your family recovers and gets back to normal life as quickly as possible.
This information is provided with the understanding that Jonestown Bank & Trust Co. is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting, or other professional services. If specific expert assistance is required, seek the services of a qualified professional..