Here are some practical actions that may have been overlooked during your emergency preparation.
By Wes Baldwin, The Baldwin Company, Inc., Charlotte NC
With mega-hurricane Irma hurtling our way this week, now is the time to find and review your homeowners and automobile insurance policies. Then protect them, as follows:
Do these 2 things right away.
1. First of all, leave right this minute and fill up each of your cars with gas. Remember: gas pumps need electricity to run. And gas stations often run out of gasoline when a hurricane nears.
2. Stock up on strong freezer ZipLoc bags; they provide good protection from water.
Protect your important papers. Use good, strong Ziploc bags to put all the following together NOW:
- Your homeowners and automobile insurance policies
- Extra sets of car and house keys
- Portable non-electronic list of phone numbers:
o Include a paper list of cell-phone numbers for each member of your own family/household. They’re hard to remember if they’re on speed-dial. Plus your phone may run out of power
o Numbers for distant family members and friends who will need to hear from you
Store this list in your cell phone’s Contacts.
o But also print out this contact list, put it in a ziploc bag; give a copy to each family member
- Print out a GPS-style aerial photo of your house, showing surrounding roads and identifiable landmarks. Write your Zip code on the photo, fold it up and put it in a ziploc bag to keep in your purse, pocket, or backpack to help rescuers find you, if stranded.
Pack up all Prescription Medicines for all members of your household.
- Check to make sure that each person in your household has enough of their meds for at least one week, or better.
- If necessary, go to your pharmacy immediately and request Emergency Rx Refills for anyone’s medications that are running low. Do not delay.
- Gather up meds for each member of your household. Pack them in freezer-strength ziploc bags.
- Put together lists of prescription medications and pharmacy info for each member of your household. Suggestion: just staple together the small duplicates of pharmacy receipts.
- Keep lists separate from the meds themselves.
If you have pets, they will need you now more than ever. Make plans NOW to look after them during the storm. Most shelters allow pet owners to bring their cats and dogs with them, and during emergency situations, some hotels permit your pets to stay with you, as well. Take the time now to….
- Dig out that dog kennel or cat carrier that is in the back corner of your garage
- Procure strong leashes for each of your pets.
- Make sure each pet is wearing its current rabies tag, and visible ID info on its collar
- Pack copies of your pets’ current shot records
- Be sure that your pets’ ID tags have your CELL phone number on them.
- Pack up some pet food and light-weight food and water dishes for your cats and dogs.
- Don’t forget to pack your pets’ meds
- Double-bag all in large garbage bag, and LABEL the bag (see below).
A day or two before the storm:
- Get $100 to $200 in cash from the bank. With power outages, ATM’s and even retail stores’ cash registers may not be working.
- Charge your cell phone(s).
- Purchase backup batteries for your cell phones, and charge them too.
- Put each person’s cell phone and batteries in strong (freezer) ziploc bags.
- Fill your bathtub with water. Find a one- or two-gallon bucket to keep near it. You will be able to flush your toilets, no matter what, with this water/bucket combination.
Label everything. Make sure you have some wide, clear packing tape. Make big 3” x 5” labels to tape on everything you are packing.
- Your family’s last name
- Your family’s primary cell phone number
- Names and ages of all household members who should be with you during the hurricane
- Name and descriptions of any pets traveling with you – also your veterinarian’s phone number
- Cover each 3 x 5 label completely with clear packing tape.
- Put one of these big labels/cards in each household member’s purse, bookbag or backpack
Prepare for the worst…
- Assume you will have to leave your house in a hurry…
- Assume you are going to be without electricity for a while…
- Assume one or more members of your household will be hard to find/get in touch with…
- Assume that a lot of important things are going to get wet…
- Assume your life is going to be totally derailed and disorganized for the next several weeks, but always…
Pray for the best.
Policyholder advocate Wes Baldwin founded the first ever Public Adjusting Firm completely based in the Carolinas, 41 years ago. Headquartered in Charlotte NC, The Baldwin Company is retained by both business owners and homeowners across the nation to assist them in putting together and presenting their insured property claims to their insurance carriers, making sure that the property owners receive everything their insurance policies entitle them to. Baldwin is past president of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, with whom he’s been instrumental in helping state legislatures enact specific licensing laws for Public Insurance Adjusters. He was selected as NAPIA’s national Man of the Year in 2008.
For more information, visit: www.thebaldwinco.com
Company Name: The Baldwin Company, Inc
Address:6707 Fairview Rd, Suite D
State: North Carolina
Country: United States