September is National Preparedness Month!
Disaster preparation and planning is key to quick response in an emergency. We have gained valuable lessons as a nation from previous disasters such as Hurricanes: Sandy and Katrina.
Last January, President Obama signed the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 which gives additional federal appropriations to individuals, businesses, and local and federal government agencies that need assistance in the event of catastrophic disaster.
Federal funding greatly helps communities and reduces the impact of disaster. Homeowners also need to take separate precautions to ensure their assets are protected.
According to Floodsmart.gov, "From 2008 to 2012, the average flood claim amounted to nearly $42,000."
There are many steps homeowners can take to be prepared before and after a disaster occurs.
Follow these tips to better prepare your home and family for a disaster:
- Perform a Homeowner's Insurance Check. Read your policy. Most homeowners are only partially protected by their standard homeowners' insurance policy. Water damage that comes from an overflowing body of water such as a lake or river, drains, and sewage pipes are considered water flood damage and require a separate flood insurance policy or rider. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the umbrella organization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which regulates and provides separate and comprehensive flood insurance to homeowners.
- Maintain an Emergency Aid kit. Have a "go-bag" packed. Water, food supplies, a First Aid Kit with necessary medications, a flashlight with spare batteries, blankets, a map of the area, cash, and family and emergency contact info. are all good things to have stockpiled and readily accessible during flooding.
- Review Evacuation Plans with your household. When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens, text alerts, emails or telephone calls are used.
According to Ready.gov, "the amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. Many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential."
- Sandbag and levee check. You can prevent flooding damage by making a sandbag dam or levee which can allow you to redirect water on your property to a drain or gutter.
First things you can do after the hurricane leaves/once returning home (if you had to evacuate):
- Upon returning, do not turn on any electric or gas service until the safety of these utilities has been confirmed.
- Be sure to check all electronic equipment for water damage before use. If you are uncertain, throw the item away. It is better to be safe than to risk electrocution.
If you suspect water damage or mold, take immediate action and call AdvantaClean @ 877-800-2382
- If any flood damage has occurred in your home, take immediate action! Water flood damage certainly has the potential to cause mold growth. Because mold thrives in moist environments, any place that is wet (and especially humid) is a perfect place for mold to grow. If you ignore the moisture, mold can begin to grow within 24-48 hours.
More Info? Check out FEMA Preps New National Business Emergency Center to learn more about national disaster support.