Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Disasters - What To Do In An Emergency

Whether you are preparing for a natural disaster or trying to recover from a recent disaster, there are quite a few things you should know.


A few years back I had a major flood in my home.  A lot was lost and a lot was learned!  I know how overwhelming it can be, so I will pass on some of my best tips, as well as, point you to other sources.  Many of these sources can be found on  Planetpals Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Board on Pinterest which is chock full of checklists, do's and don'ts, emergency articles with numbers to call (FEMA, Red Cross, etc), and lots more.  I suggest that you go there after you read this!
Natural Disaster Recovery
Obviously, pre hurricane or bad weather, you will take all usual precautions such as batteries, food, water, first aid kit and have gas in your car.  Sometimes, however, disasters occur and we have no warning!
The most important things you can do to help yourself out in case of disaster is as follows:
Make a DIY house book:  Useful for emergencies and every day!
  • Use a plastic notebook with plastic sleeves or a photo book
  • Insert a copy of your home insurance and insurance agent
  • Insert copies of each of your utility and home bills ( with customer numbers, etc.)
  • Insert business cards of vendors: carpenters, plumbers, etc
  • Have a home repair file, or log of recent home repairs. important to show service records of things like furnaces
  • Any other info you want to be able to get your hands on if you should need to access
How to Make a HOUSE BOOK
Make a HOUSE BOOK
Have important papers on hand, replacing them can be overwhelming!
  • Copies (or originals) of your credit cards, licenses, passports, insurance cards, etc. 
Take lots of photos or videos
In a major disaster the insurance company needs to know exactly what was in your house.  Taking photos will show the condition of your home before a disaster should strike. 
  • Take photos of the inside rooms.  
  • Most importantly, photos of anything important and valuable.
  • Take photos of the outside of your home.  
* This may all seem unnecessary but believe me, you will not remember what was in your house. Still now, years later, I remember something else!
What to do when you have a house disaster
This was my family room :(

 Other precautions:

  • Put anything you would hate to lose (such as photos) in fireproof and/or plastic containers.
  • Have your house deed, auto titles, family birth certificates and passports in a safety deposit box or fire proof safe.
What to do when you have a house disaster
This was my studio.  My computer baas floating in water!

*NOTICE: Be careful!  Sometimes your home will be too dangerous or off limits to you.  But if it is not
  • Call your insurance agent immediately
  • Get your own private insurance adjuster to represent you.  A private adjuster takes care of most of the paperwork and negotiations. They work with the insurance company adjuster. It's well worth it if it is major home damage.
  • Assess and list all damage
  • Before you remove a thing photograph  all damage.  Take detailed photos and videos. Include images of the disaster and the condition of your stuff.
  • In case of water damage. Remove photos and artwork! Don't leave them in a damp house they will mold and warp
  • If there are some items that can be saved,  get a storage unit
  • Take clothing you will need right away to the dry cleaners yourself.
  • Read your policy.  If needed, make sure you learn the limits on your policy, allowances for living expenses, and whether or not you have replacement value or depreciation value, etc.
  • Make a list of all damaged items, and values of major items.
  • Find out what procedures are expected of you.  (What you can remove and what you cannot, what you are expected to do, etc) 
* The insurance agent will probably refer a remediation service.  Make sure you have removed anything of major importance before they close your house off. 
For more information: 
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