The pictures are heartbreaking as entire neighborhoods were burned beyond recognition in the city of Santa Rosa, California and surrounding towns. More than two dozen fast-moving and huge wildfires swept through multiple counties in Northern California and the toll so far is staggering.
How would you react if the news came that a fire was heading in your direction? Would you scramble to protect your home and family, uncertain of where to begin? Or, would you calmly work through your detailed plan for such emergencies? Would your family be ready to evacuate quickly with essential supplies? Would your house be secure?
Preparing for a disaster does take a small investment of time and money. Even a very basic plan could one day save you and your loved ones from ruin.
Start with a plan to evacuate
Think carefully about what you and your family would do if you were advised to evacuate your home.
- Plan in advance where you would go, and how you would get there. Establish a meeting place for family members in case you become separated.
- Determine several different escape routes from your home and community. Discuss this so that everyone in your family is familiar with them in the case of emergency.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times.
- Make an evacuation plan for your pets.
- Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family in how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
- Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
- Prepare a kit of emergency supplies to last you three days, including food and water, a first aid kit, clothing and blankets, and prescription drugs.
- You should also have access to enough cash to last your family about three days, as well as credit cards with available balances.
Purchase necessary insurance coverage and review your policies regularly
Sadly, many people who have lost their homes to fires find that their insurance policies do not cover the cost of rebuilding. Review your homeowners’ insurance policy every couple of years to make sure it reflects the actual replacement cost of your home and its contents.
Your particular circumstances will ultimately determine what measures are necessary to prepare your family for weathering an emergency. Whatever action you decide to take, remember that most disasters strike with little or no warning – the time to get ready is now.
When was the last time you evaluated your homeowner's policy? Give me a call if you'd like to discuss further.