Disaster Preparedness

Importance of being prepared
No matter what region of the United States you live in, you are going to be prone to some form of a disaster. Wild fires, tornado’s, river flooding, hurricanes, earth quakes, avalanches, wind advisories and severe weather plague the country. Preparations for these disasters vary with supplies but savings preparations are all the same.

When preparing for a natural disaster, these tips should be followed:

  • Disaster kit for each member of the household
  • 1 gallon of water for each member of the household
  • Money saved in the bank
  • Cash on hand
  • A plan in place for family pets
  • Plan in advance

It is important to follow these tips and be prepared in the event of a disaster. You know your region and you know what natural disasters you experience as well as your climate. When you hear of the threats of any disasters on the horizon, make sure you fuel up your vehicle. This will ensure you can evacuate if it is necessary. You will not have time to pack a large suitcase as if you were going on vacation so each member of the house hold should fill a back pack or small travel bag with a few changes of clothes and essentials in the event you need to make a quick escape. Additionally, a bag filled with non-perishable foods and 1 gallon worth of water per person should be pre-loaded in the vehicle. Keep some cash on hand when a disaster is approaching. During power outages local ATM’s will not work and you may not be able to access your money easily. You can always deposit this cash after the disaster threat has passed. It is important to be prepared because every minute counts during a disaster.

Types of disasters and how to prepare
Different types of disasters call for different levels of preparedness. Some disasters you can wait out at home while others will require a total evacuation. The Midwest region is prone to severe weather and tornado’s. This can spring up quickly so residents in this region should keep disaster ready kits in their basements. The kits should include clothing, food and essentials in the event their home is damaged or demolished. Additionally, due to the high risk of structural integrity becoming compromised, these residents should also have helmets, flashlights and whistles so rescue crews can find them. Coastal regions that experience hurricanes typically follow evacuation guidelines since hurricanes are tracked for days before landfall. Those in snow covered regions that experience avalanches prepare similarly to those in the Midwest however their disaster kits include warm clothing and blankets as well as lanterns, matches, candles and shovels. River flooding is another disaster where residents can evacuate early enough to save themselves. River levels are monitored as rivers crest and residents have enough time to get out of the dangerous flood zones.

When evacuating it is important to remember pets and bring them along. There are hotel chains that allow animals to stay for an additional fee. People who are accustomed to evacuations know to stay fiscally prepared as well. Cash on hand is ideal during these times but an emergency savings account is also important to help cover lodging and food expenses until insurance adjusters can assess damages and begin repairs on homes that fall victim to natural disasters. To begin saving for a disaster preparedness account there are several things that people can do. 

  • Put a portion of each paycheck in a separate disaster emergency fund
  • Cut expenses to allow for more monthly savings
  • Purchase gift cards for gas stations,  hotel chains and restaurant chains that can be used in the event of evacuations

Not everyone has extra money on hand to put into a disaster emergency fund. By cutting back on monthly expenses you will free up some money that can be reallocated towards a savings account. Pepco can help customers reduce their monthly utility spending so they can begin saving on their monthly expenses.

Tips on preparing your children for disasters
When children grow up living in these disaster plagued regions they learn early on how important it is to be prepared. Always keep them aware of the weather conditions and how important it is to grab their bags or seek shelter when you tell them to.

Surviving a storm is one thing but thriving after it passes is another. Planning in advance will help make the entire disaster escape and the recovery process easier.



Helen is a multi-published, award-winning author of over 30 books, including the delightful Ivy & Bean series. She has written novels for young adults, including YA romantic comedies, and has written BBC drama.

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