Home Insurance & Disaster Preparedness

Natural disasters can strike any part of the country, and may occur with little to no warning. Some parts of the U.S. may be more susceptible to certain types of disasters than others, even if they may potentially occur in any state. For this reason, people who live in areas that are more likely to have a certain type of disaster should know how to prepare. For example, certain parts of the country, particularly Alaska, Hawaii, and the West Coast, are more susceptible to earthquakes. When it comes to tornadoes, they most often occur in the central United States in an area known as Tornado Alley. Preparedness means knowing how to secure one's home so that it receives minimal damage, and also knowing what to do during a disaster to keep oneself and one's family safe.

People who live in tornado-prone areas should inspect and secure their home in advance, prior to tornado season. In checking their homes, they should move any furniture that is used for sitting or sleeping so that it is away from windows and mirrors. Appliances, top heavy items, and televisions should be secured to the walls to prevent them from falling. Items that can break and that are heavy should never be placed high on shelves. Instead, people should move them to lower shelves where they are less likely to cause accidental injury. People should also create an emergency kit that is stocked with medical supplies and flashlights, canned foods, batteries, and a battery powered radio. Prescription medications should also be included in one's emergency kit. In the event of a storm, seek shelter and move inward, away from windows. Get beneath a table that is strong and sturdy and cover up the head and neck with one's arms. If one's feet are bare, put on shoes as quickly as possible to avoid injury after the storm is over. If the home has a basement, consider turning it into a safe room that will protect against projectiles, and locate the emergency kit in that area. People who are outside in a vehicle should either drive to a nearby shelter or park the car; however, they should not try to outrun the storm. Avoid overpasses and bridges and seek low locations that are relatively flat. Use a blanket, coat or other covering to protect the head, neck and arms.

Earthquakes are events where the ground shakes, often violently, and always without warning. Preparing for an earthquake is similar in many ways to preparing for a tornado. Because there are no signs of an impending quake, people should always keep their home and work environment earthquake ready. This means securing heavy appliances, mirrors, and televisions to prevent injuries should they fall due to shaking. Heavy objects should also be placed on lower racks or shelves and toxic items stored in tightly secured packaging in locked cabinets. An emergency kit with important supplies should also be made and stored in a safe and easily accessed location. Adults and children must prepare themselves for fast action by learning what to do when an earthquake begins. This is crucial as moving quickly can save lives during an event. The safety steps during an earthquake are to simply drop to the ground, cover one's head and neck, and seek the cover of a sturdy table, desk, or other covered structure if available. If under the shelter of a desk or table, hold on tightly until the shaking has stopped completely. If there are no tables or desks, one should move to a corner that is away from windows and breakable or heavy items. Once in place they should drop down and use their arms or a pillow to protect their neck and head. To protect oneself outdoors, move away from buildings, electric poles and street lights. Just as if they were inside, people should drop low and protect their heads. This should be practiced frequently, particularly if people live in areas that are known for earthquake activity. Whether one's concern is earthquake or tornadoes, one should check with their insurance agent to acquire the appropriate amount of insurance protection for their homes. People can also find further information about safety during these natural disasters on government, research or other educational websites.

Tornado Safety & Preparedness

Prepping for an Earthquake

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