Consider these recommendations for protecting important documents and making a swift, safe evacuation in the event of a natural disaster.
If a fire, hurricane or other natural disaster occurs, the documents needed to rebuild your life should either be with you or stored somewhere safely out of harm’s way. Waterproof, fireproof safes offer protection for your most important items, offering a level of security in the event of a last-minute evacuation. For disasters that can be forecasted further in advance (think weather-related events like hurricanes), consider taking important papers with you. When choosing which documents to bring, consider:
While many of these documents can be replaced, keeping them safe will make insurance claims and other recovery activities easier. Consider placing them in a three-ring binder with pockets for easy portability, and store within a water resistant bag. Waterproof and fireproof boxes are usually quite heavy, but a heavy-duty waterproof bag from a sporting goods store or large, resealable plastic bag can serve as a lighter alternative.
Proponents of preparedness recommend keeping a small bag packed with essentials for a quick escape. Your emergency bag should remain ready to go at all times, perfect for an unanticipated evacuation. Your water resistant duffel bag or backpack can include items such as:
An additional “quick grab” list will ensure you won’t forget items that would be inconvenient to keep in your emergency bag at all times. Examples include:
If conditions are unsafe for you, they’re unsafe for your pets as well. Research in advance which public shelters, lodging facilities or kennels can take care of your pets if you’re unable to bring them with you during an evacuation. If you have an exotic pet, try contacting local pet stores or zoological gardens located in a safe area. Your local SPCA or other pet-oriented organization can also likely provide information.
Additional steps to prepare your pets include:
Depending on the type of natural hazards your area is prone to, additional provisions might be needed. But regardless of the particular peril, undertaking these precautions can provide a greater sense of security and preparedness in the face of an unexpected disaster.