September kicks off National Preparedness Month. Are you prepared if an emergency strikes? To prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters, “Take Control in 1, 2, 3” – assess your needs, make a plan, and engage with your support network.
Assess Your Needs
Do you have any medical needs/medication requiring refrigeration, pets or service animals, important documents, mobility or assistive devices, etc.? Consider your individual needs as you prep for future disasters or emergencies.
Now is also the time to purchase flood insurance because there is typically a 30-day waiting period until your insurance policy goes into effect. Where it can rain, it can flood, and just one inch of flood water could cost you roughly $25,000 in damages. If you’re not covered by insurance, you could be stuck paying out of pocket for that costly damage. Visit www.floodsmart.gov/hurricane-season to find an insurance provider.
Make a Plan
An emergency can strike at any time, so prepare a plan in advance. Coordinate with your loved ones to know the answers to these following questions:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route? If I have to evacuate, what would I bring?
- Do I have everything in place that I need medically (medications, equipment, etc.)?
- Do I have an emergency preparedness kit?
- Some essential kit items include: enough water and non-perishable food for several days, a manual can opener, a weather radio, flashlights, a first aid kit, batteries, medicines, clothing, pet food and water, infant supplies and activities for children if needed, disinfecting wipes and personal hygiene items, an extra cell phone battery or charger, pliers to turn off utilities, local maps, a whistle if you need to signal for help, and critical documents. Find more kit tips at www.ready.gov/kit and visit Chesapeake’s official website to print out a list of a suggested emergency food supplies.
- Have I safeguarded critical documents and valuables?
- To safeguard critical documents and items, first take inventory of your household documents, contacts, and valuables. Utilize a documentation checklist.
- Who are my emergency contacts?
- If I do not evacuate, do I have at least one contact outside of the impact area who can keep tabs on me?
- Which family member is responsible for what during an emergency (grabbing pets, documents, children, etc.)?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
- If my family members get separated during an emergency, how will we reconnect? Where are our emergency meeting places?
- What about my surrounding community? Have I made plans with neighbors if disaster strikes? Teamwork can make a difference.
- What can be done to make my home and yard safer?
- Have I taken photos/documentation of my property for insurance purposes?
- If my home is damaged, who do I call?
- Am I in a flood zone?
- During cases of significant flooding, storm damage, and evacuations, know your zone and be up to date on weather-related developments and emergencies. Find your zone. Sign up for automatic City Alert. Find FEMA flood maps.
Write all this down now, while you can think clearly, to make for easier decision making later. Visit www.ready.gov/plan for more planning tips.
Engage With Your Support Network
Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to share emergency plans and contacts. As you tailor your plan to fit your family’s specific needs, practice emergency drills and test your family’s communication skills.
You can consider the City of Chesapeake as part of your support network. Social media will be updated as emergencies arise, and to further prepare, you can sign up for Chesapeake Alert. Chesapeake Alert is a customizable alert system that sends important local messaging to your phone and email, from the City of Chesapeake, during emergencies or significant events. You can choose to receive alerts that may affect your home, workplace, parent's home, or any location in Chesapeake.