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Severe weather that damages homes and displaces residents can happen at any time. Planning before disaster strikes helps people stay safe and limit property damage. Don’t wait until the forecast calls for severe weather because you may not have enough time to prepare.
Each September, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes National Preparedness Month to encourage and remind Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. Here are several tips to help you and your family plan for emergencies.
Know the Type of Risk in Your Area. Most communities face specific types of hazards. While the Tennessee Valley is not in a coastal hurricane-prone area, we do unfortunately experience many severe thunderstorms and tornado threats. It is essential to learn the risks specific to your home and how to assess them if you are away from home. Visit ready.gov/alerts to learn more about and sign up for notifications from multiple sources.
Check Your Homeowners Insurance Policy. It’s a good idea to take time every year to review your insurance policy. This can not only ensure you are covered for losses incurred due to a natural disaster or brutal storm, but also gives you the opportunity to update based on any recent lifestyle changes or large purchases. Additionally, damage caused by flooding, earthquakes and hurricanes is generally not covered by your regular homeowner’s policy but can be purchased separately.
Create a Family Emergency Plan. When harsh weather hits, you should have a plan to stay connected with your family or loved ones. Ready.gov recommends putting a communication plan together with your family to know how to contact one another and reconnect if separated. Experts suggest choosing a family meeting place that is familiar and easy to find.
Assemble a Disaster Kit. An emergency supply kit will help you and your family with natural disasters. You may lose power or need to evacuate your area, so it is vital to have essential items on hand. Your kit should contain basic items such as water, nonperishable food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and a whistle to signal for help. It would be best to consider what unique items you may need for your family, such as supplies for seniors or pets. For additional ideas on creating an emergency supply kit, visit tn.gov/tema/prepare.
Taking these steps can help keep you and your family safe. National Preparedness Month is a time to ensure you prepare for the unexpected. You can read more at ready.gov/september