Whether it’s a natural disaster or a man-made one like a fire, there are many ways that your life — and your home — can change in an instant. Every disaster requires a unique response plan, but there are several general things you can do to make sure your home is prepared for whatever comes your way.
Organize, Organize, Organize
If you’ve lived through any type of disaster, you know that it’s a confusing, chaotic experience. The last thing you want in that situation is to be scrambling around the house trying to find something that you need or tripping over clutter while you are trying to evacuate.
Whenever possible, try to make sure that there are clear paths to the exits in your home. It might not seem like a big deal, but those extra few seconds that it takes to move something out of the way can make a huge difference in a disaster scenario.
Beyond that, have a “go” bag of disaster-prep supplies together in one place that you can quickly get to when you need it. This should include food, water, a first aid kit, batteries, cell phone chargers, and any other items you’ll need if you are forced to evacuate.
Create a Plan of Action
Once you have your home organized and your supplies ready, it’s time to make a plan for how your family will react when disaster strikes. Again, these situations are often chaotic so having a plan ready will allow everyone to go on autopilot rather than panicking.
Set a designated meeting place or places that everyone can agree on and easily get to. Make a list of people to contact and designed who will be responsible for doing so. The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready program has a list of plans available for just about any type of disaster you can imagine.