5 Easy Home Emergency Preparedness Tips

Here’s a list of five easy emergency preparedness tips, direct from experts and people who have experienced a natural disaster firsthand.

WHN Expert Tip – Don’t Wait Until You Need It! Buy a fire extinguisher for your home and know how to use it. In these two videos, Edina, MN Fire Marshall Tom Jenson covers both points.

Welcome to My Home 

Create a home inventory list and also take photos and/or videotape your household belongings. You’ll want to do this anywhere you live (college, home, apartment) in case of a theft, fire or natural disaster.

Pretend you’re on MTV Cribs or Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous while describing your things – have fun with it! Also, for pricier items, antiques or heirlooms, be sure you have written (make, models and serial numbers) as well as visual documentation to help with an insurance claim.

Stash Some Cash

Always have extra cash on hand (at least $100 or so) because ATMs and credit card machines won’t work if there is no electricity. Do this even if you aren’t planning to evacuate.

Keep It Safe

Are you evacuating your home and can’t bring everything with you? Place breakable valuables in your dishwasher for safekeeping – it’ll act like an individual safe. Also, put art between mattresses to protect it from damage.

Phone a Friend

Ask an out-of-state friend to be an emergency “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance.

ICE – It’s Who You Know

This tip is helpful no matter what type of event occurs…In the event of an emergency or accident, emergency personnel may use your cell phone to look for ‘ICE’: who to contact In Case of an Emergency. This can save time in the attempt to retrieve lifesaving information (allergies, medication info, etc.).

How do you create an ICE entry? Edit your cell phone contact list by typing the word ‘ICE’ followed by the name (ICE – Jerry) and phone number of the person to call in case of an emergency. You can enter multiple entries, (ICE 1 – Jerry, ICE 2 – Bill).

Make sure to tell your emergency contacts that you’ve listed them. Do this for all members of your family and tell your friends about the importance of ICE.

WHN TIP – Plan Ahead: Watch this video for tips on creating a home escape plan.

Bonus Tip: Download these free apps from the Red Cross and be prepared for emergencies:

  • First aid app – Get instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies.
  • Emergency app – Monitor more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts.
  • Earthquake app – Receive notification when an earthquake occurs, find help and let others know you’re safe even if the power is out.
  • Flood app – Learn and prepare your family and friends for flooding, evacuation and a safe return home.
  • Hurricane app – Monitor hurricane conditions in your local area, throughout the storm track, and let others know you are safe even if the power is out.
  • Tornado app – Receive weather alerts whenever the NOAA issues a tornado watch or warning for your community – or any location where you have loved ones.

WHN TIP – Get the FEMA App: Download the free FEMA Alert App to get severe weather alerts, maps of disaster resources and other helpful information in case of natural disasters. Information is in English and Spanish and available for Apple, Android, and Blackberry mobile devices.

WHN TIP – Evacuate! Need to go? Ready.gov has tips on its Evacuation page. Map safe road routes inland to higher ground. You may need to drive 20 to 50+ miles inland to locate a safe place.