National Preparedness Month, recognized each September, is a good reminder that we must prepare ourselves and our families now and throughout the year. The theme this year is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”
It’s a great time to learn lifesaving skills − such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flooding, hurricanes, and tornados. Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and make sure you have an emergency savings fund. Also, know how to take practical safety steps like shutting off water and gas.
The devastating hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires of 2017 reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters. Often, we will be the first ones in our communities to take action after a disaster strikes and before first responders arrive, so it is important to prepare in advance to help yourself and your community.
As your Credit Union, we thought it might be helpful to share some disaster preparedness tips for both your home and auto.
Disaster Preparedness Tips for your Home
- Know basic home maintenance to protect your family and home. Learn how to mitigate your home against flood damage.
- Keep your family safe. Install natural gas detectors throughout your house.
- What’s deadly, colorless, and odorless? Carbon monoxide. Protect your family by installing a carbon monoxide detector.
- Do you know how to turn off the gas in your home? Learn how in case you ever have a gas emergency in your home. https://www.ready.gov/safety-skills
- Be prepared for a power outage by having enough food, water, and medication to last for at least 72 hours. ready.gov/kit
- Whether you need batteries for your remote or flashlight, always make sure you have spare batteries handy in an emergency.
- Never use candles for emergency lighting. Use flashlights and stock up on extra batteries.
- Do you have emergency supplies? Get ahead of the next storm by making sure you’re ready in case you are asked to evacuate.
- Place smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly. Replace all home smoke alarms every 10 years.
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from your furnace, water heater, and other heat-generating equipment.
- Have chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year to prevent home fires.
- Do you know what to do when an emergency happens? Learn actions to save a life until help arrives. https://community.fema.gov/until-help-arrives
Disaster Preparedness Tips for your Auto
- Keep your gas tank full in case of evacuation or power outages.
- Depending on your situation, you may need a supply of extra fuel. If so, be sure to store the spare fuel in an approved container in a safe location.
- Do not drive through flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control or possibly stall. A foot of water will float many cars.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- If a power line falls on your car, you are at risk of electrical shock, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
- If there is an explosion or another factor that makes it difficult to control the vehicle, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
- If the emergency could impact the physical stability of the roadway, avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards
- Be sure you have car chargers for your cell phone, smartphone, and other portable devices. Having car chargers available can keep you in contact with others if your electricity goes out. Do not forget to fully charge devices before a storm.
- In case you are stranded, keep an emergency supply kit in your car with the addition of these automobile extras:
- Jumper cables
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Ice scraper
- Car cell phone charger
- Food and water
- Check the following items on your vehicle prior to an emergency or have a mechanic run a quick inspection:
- Antifreeze levels
- Battery and ignition system
- Exhaust system
- Fuel and air filters
- Heater and defroster
- Lights and flashing hazard lights
- Windshield wiper equipment and washer fluid level
Remember, you can always access your Members Trust accounts via our website and our free mobile app. In addition, Members Trust is part of the larger Allpoint ATM network, so you can get cash on the road if you have to leave town due to an emergency.
We’ll share more disaster preparedness tips on Facebook this month so be sure to follow us on Facebook to learn more!