You probably agree that we never know what the future holds…
Especially when it comes to natural disasters such as tornadoes. There are many natural disasters that can quickly destroy a house without warning.
You have to hand it to the Boy Scouts for their motto about being prepared. Because you never know when the shit will hit the fan, it is best to be prepared!
Before It Hits the Fan
There are some important steps you need to take BEFORE disaster strikes. Having insurance is a must but you need to do more to ensure you will get your life back to normal as soon as possible.
A Disaster Kit
If stuff does hit the fan, you cannot expect help to arrive quickly. You cannot rely on the government or Red Cross to show up quickly. They may be overwhelmed and it may be days before help arrives. You should have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs. This is why you need to have a disaster kit!
Something else to consider is that your utilities may be off for days or even weeks. Your kit should contain everything you need to get by after a disaster.
A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. A basic emergency supply kit could include the following items:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food ( remember no power! )
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food ( remember no electricity! )
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change ( the value of money will decline rapidly as food and supplies become limited )
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper
- Fire extinguishers
- Matches in a waterproof container and lighters
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencils
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children ( remember no electricity or internet! )
More About Water
Some people need more than one gallon a day. How much water you need depends on your age, physical activity, physical condition and the temperature/weather. Drink how much you need as you need it but always be searching for more water.
The bare minimum is one quart (four cups) of water each day but that is only for short periods of time. You should drink at least two quarts of water per day to avoid dehydration, and as much as four to five in hot weather or if they are exercising or working hard.
You can use household bleach to in an emergency to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
I recommend you buy bottled water to prepare for an emergency. Don’t open the bottled water until you are going to use it. Make sure the water isn’t out of date ( expiration or “use by” date ) . Store bottled water in a cool, dark place.
The Cold Hard Truth
If things are really bad, it may take a long time for help to arrive. The longer that things are messed up, the more likely it is that civil unrest will occur. You may find yourself having to defend yourself, your home and your loved ones.
I know it is not politically correct but you may need to consider purchasing a gun and ammo. This is a very serious subject and I hope you will consider all the pros and cons. I will leave it to you to do your own research.
Count Your Stuff and Document Everything
Now that you have a disaster kit, it is time to talk about insurance and preparing for a disaster. While I am a firm believer in the value of insurance, I also know that most insurance companies will screw you over if you give them a chance. This means you should take pictures or video of every room in your house. Be sure to include the insides of closets and cabinets.
You need to make a list of all your valuables and how much they cost. Make several copies of this list. Email one copy to yourself so you will be able to access anywhere. Just remember that if stuff gets really bad, internet access may be limited or nonexistent for a long time.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
After you have made an inventory of all your stuff, you need to make sure you have enough insurance. You need to check what you home owner’s insurance will cover and what it will not cover. It is possible that you will need disaster insurance policies that cover some of the specific natural disasters that can strike your area.
After It Hits the Fan
Contact Your Insurance Company
This should be a no brainer but you need to call you insurance agent ASAP. You can expect a crapload of paperwork. You will need to get a claim number. You must use it on all paperwork and in every communication with your insurance company. Failing to do this can cause delays or problems with the insurance company processing your claim.
It is up to you to secure your property after the disaster. Take lots of pictures or a video of all the damages. Then you need to cover any broken windows or holes in the roof. Like I said before, insurance companies will screw you if they can. So you MUST take steps to prevent this from happening. Don’t let the insurance company have any reason to say the damages happened before the disaster.
Write It Down
I know this is g0ing to be a stressful time. But this is why you need write down every thing. Keep a written record of every conversation you have with the insurance company. Record the time, name, phone number and the key points of the conversation. This can stop any he-said-she-said BS that the insurance company may try to pull.
The Take Away:
I hope you never have to deal with a disaster. However, being prepared with these tips can help to make a bad situation better. Then if the stuff does hit the fan, you’ll be better prepared!