In case of emergency: Are you prepared?

September 03, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas – September is National Preparedness Month, a full month dedicated to encouraging the public to assess and prepare for local disaster risks and unplanned emergencies. With the recent West fertilizer plant explosion and 2011 Bastrop fires, Texas has had its fair share of disasters. Better Business Bureau urges families to prepare for the unexpected and devise their own emergency preparedness plans.

There are two things every family should do to prepare for any kind of disaster:

  1. Make a plan. Discuss with family and friends how you’ll contact each other, where you’ll meet if you can’t go home and what you’ll do in specific situations like a tornado or fire.

  2. Prepare an emergency kit. If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water or electricity. Your emergency kit should include items such as:

a. A three-day supply of food and water
b. Flashlights with extra batteries
c. First-aid kit
d. Multifunctional tools, such as a wrench or pliers
e. Power inverter or solarcharger for electronics such as your cell phone

Families may also want to consider including such items as prescription medications, infant formula and diapers, pet food and cash. Remember to check your supplies every few months and replace expired items.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Catalogue your valuables. Take pictures of your valuables and place them in a safe.  This can help the insurance company assess the dollar amount for your losses.

  • Protect important documents. Place copies of important family documents such as birth certificates, passports, insurance policies and photos in a waterproof, portable container near your escape route.

  • Start with trust. Whether you’re shopping for insurance before a disaster strikes or looking for a company to clean damaged areas,remove debris and rebuild, check the company’s BBB Business Review at first.

  • Know where to turn.FEMA,the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have many resources available to help families prepare for what to do before, during and after disasters happen.