You never know when a disaster might strike, and it’s important to make sure you’re prepared. Here are nine ways to prepare your family – including your pets – for a disaster:
1. Communicate with all members of your household to make sure they are clear on how to react in an emergency.
2. Establish a list of emergency contacts to which everyone has easy access.
3. Determine a meeting place in case household members become separated.
4. Download a mobile app to receive disaster alerts and information.
5. Get to know your neighbors so you’ll feel comfortable helping them and asking for help in return.
6. Have water and food to last at least three days. This includes one gallon of safe drinking water per person per day – including your pets! Make sure food is nonperishable and requires little water and heat to prepare.
7. Assemble a home emergency supply kit, including important documents such as copies of insurance policies, health records, and identification. It might also be helpful to include a stockpile of medications for elderly people in your home or anyone who requires daily medication.
8. If you have pets, collect items such as canned or dry food, garbage bags and disinfectants, water, an extra leash and collar, a blanket, and pictures of your pets in case they get lost. You can also get a free Rescue Alert Sticker from the ASPCA to display in a window of your home, indicating that pets are inside in case they need to be rescued.
9. Create a family disaster plan with this template from the American Red Cross.
Hopefully all of this preparation will only be precautionary and your home will stay out of harm’s way. But, like the old saying goes: Better safe than sorry!