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Preparing for a Natural Disaster

Source: Military Family & Community Policy

Natual disasters, manmade ones, too, can happen anywhere, anytime, with or without warning. There are many considerations when preparing for a natural disaster. One of the first things to take care of, long before an emergency hits, is making sure household goods are insured. Whether renting or owning, it is important to have good insurance in place to protect both the home and the personal belongings inside of it. Once insured, families can also create a personal inventory of all items within the home including brand names, date purchased, price at time of purchase, and serial number if possible. Having a well-documented inventory of items, as well as photographs of the contents in each room, will help with the insurance claims process.

Because most natural disasters can strike without notice, service members and their families should find out where community shelters are or where they are most likely to be set up during a natural disaster. Most community shelters are located at schools or community centers. It may also be helpful to find out whether shelters accept pets, if they plan to provide meals, or if they will have restrooms and showers available for occupants. Most cities and towns should have an emergency plan that provides this information. Some of the details, though, might not be worked out until the shelters become operable during a natural disaster.

Many natural disasters cause forced evacuations for countless families and individuals. Being prepared for an evacuation starts with putting together a "go bag" and keeping it by the door or in the car. A "go bag" should include medication and prescriptions, insurance documents, other important documents such as birth certificates and passports, jewelry, and any other irreplaceable items. Families with pets should also remember to pack extra food and other necessary pet supplies. If there is not enough time to pack a "go bag," try to at least collect insurance documentation and birth certificates.

Keep Red Cross information on hand. The Red Cross Safe and Well website provides an information sharing venue. Individuals can post information on the site following a disaster, noting that they are alright and where they are located. Service members should also register with their Service's disaster personnel accountability and assessment system:

Department of Defense employees can also find phone contact information for each of the Services at the Department of Defense Civilian Personnel Management Service website.

While natural disasters are not always easy to anticipate, being as prepared as possible can make it easier to get safe, stay safe, and reconnect with family as quickly as possible.

 

More great ideas for being prepared for an emergency at 'Our Letters to you', a military family blog.

 

 

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