Disaster preparedness part of homeownership

Posted by on December 14th, 2017

Talking points for a year-end wrap-up have to include the string of natural disasters that descended on the U.S.(and the Caribbean) in 2017.

Whether hurricane, fires, tornadoes or even earthquakes, disaster can strike anytime, anyplace – and during any season. Every homeowner needs to be prepared. Mother Nature’s fury is exceedingly random.

Not only will most of us weather the disaster’s initial mayhem, we must also be ready for the immediate aftermath.

There could be countless folks in need of help, and rescue personnel may not arrive to help for some time. Roads could be damaged or inaccessible, making it difficult to get necessities.

Prepare a 72-hour disaster kit. Make sure it contains enough food, water, batteries, clothing, essentials (medications, diapers) and warm blankets to last you and your family for at least three days. Include basic first aid supplies.

After the kit is assembled and put away safely, take time to craft and rehearse a family disaster drill.

Draw out escape routes from the home under normal circumstances, but also plan and practice routes if doors are cut off – such as windows and vents.

What if you’re at school or work when it happens? Make a concrete plan where and when to meet, as cellphone coverage could be spotty.

Familiarize yourself with the local and national plans, too. Check with local government offices and representatives to learn about shelters and evacuation routes.

After the worst is over, many homeowners will have to deal with insurance.

Talk to a broker about flood and earthquake coverage. As we all saw when Hurricane Hugo pummeled Houston, low lying areas, even if not in historic flood zones, can be susceptible to damage from heavy rains.

Every homeowner policy spells out the “perils” under which a home or property will be covered.

Be sure to check your policy and see exactly what is “excluded,” and if the broad policy doesn’t include things the insured might see as a future peril, a “named peril” policy allows you to fill in those holes.