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You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Emergency Preparedness > Be Prepared for a Disaster Before One Strikes!
What an interesting time it's been for folks on the East Coast these last couple of weeks! First, an unusually large earthquake that shook much of the northern region, and then large, drenching hurricane that has left its mark on communities throughout the area. Our hearts go out to those who have experienced any kind of loss during these events.

These types of events remind us that disaster can strike at anytime, anywhere, even through unexpected means. While Mother Nature is often the cause widespread chaos, individuals can be affected fires, thefts, accidents, serious health issues, and many other incidents, so there is no way to predict just when or where a disaster will strike.

To call attention to the need for citizens to be prepared for emergencies and natural disasters, the U.S. government has named September "National Preparedness Month." And they've even devoted an entire Website dedicated to the topic, complete with free forms and checklists that can help you organize essential information. Visit www.Ready.gov to learn how to "get a kit, make a plan, and be informed."

The following are tips to help you put together a disaster preparedness plan for your family:

Learn how to prepare yourself and your family so you can survive and recover from a disaster. Check out www.Ready.gov for advice, or try reading "Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Your Home for Any Natural or Unnatural Disaster". It advocates preparing for disaster as part of everyday life rather than as an urgent event and is an an excellent ready-reference for your home.

Plan for an emergency.
Develop a family emergency plan so that every member of your family knows what to do and where to meet in an emergency. This plan should include a meeting place, out-of-town contacts, and personal information that will help you get found if lost or separated. To help you out, Ready.gov provides free, printable forms. While you never want to be forced to put this plan into action, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your family knows what to do.

Assemble a disaster kit.
Include food, water, blankets, flashlights, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio, and extra batteries. Also think about storing a supply of extra prescription medication, clothes, money, and tools. Click here to see a complete checklist for your kit.

Consider your pet.
Many people think of their pets as members of their family and rightfully so! Keep a back-up supply of pet food and water in your safe place just for your pet. And heartbreaking as it is, sometimes you have no choice but to evacuate without your pet, leaving it in the care of a shelter or family member. Our Pet.doc™ will help you record important information so you can ensure your pet will be properly cared for while you're apart. Simply fill in the forms provided in the Pet.doc™ and you'll have everything from basic license numbers and immunization records to detailed medical histories and training notes in one, easy to find spot.

Think about your health
. We all have important health records that we don't want to lose, and for those with chronic conditions, it's even more important to have the information readily available. Not only do you need this accessible in a medical emergency, but during a destructive event like a fire, tornado, hurricane, or flood, you could lose everything on paper. As an alternative to paper medical records, we recommend the Jakoter Medic Tag - a unique preprogrammed flash drive that allows you to keep all of you emergency information and pertinent health information close at hand. Hang it from your key chain so that you are never without life-saving information about your health.

Record information about your valuables.
Unfortunately when something unexpected happens like a fire, flood or burglary, you can be left without the documentation you need to get properly reimbursed for the most valued and valuable things you own. With Valuables.doc, you can catalog all of your items of value, record their purchase prices and replacement value and have the proper documentation in case you need to make an insurance claim.

Be an informed citizen!
Know what natural disasters are most likely to affect you and how to keep yourself safe. Listen to emergency management officials when danger is eminent and follow their instructions carefully. Sometimes you have only minutes to act, and by being prepared and knowledgeable about what could happen, you'll be able to protect yourself and your family.