Will your homeowners insurance cover you when you need it?

Now is a good time to review your insurance policies to be sure you understand what is covered and for how much. As part of your efforts to be prepared and plan for recovery, homeowners and renters should take a few minutes to review their policies before a disaster strikes and assess if you can really rebuild with the amount of coverage you have.

Take a look at this article called Is Your Home Covered for a Total Loss?  It was written by disaster survivors and outlines their process for assessing coverage before you need it.

See our list of Insurance Claim Resources for downloads, interactive tools, and tips on insurance claims.

Are You Prepared for a New School Year?

Flat Stanley PreparednessOne of FEMA’s recent blogs is a great reminder for parents and kids to think about emergency preparedness.  Has your child started at a new school?  Do you know what their emergency plans are, how they contact parents, and where they take kids if they need to leave the school or day care building?  All good things to know before you need to know.

See the FEMA post, Being Prepared for the New School Year posted by “Flat Stanley and Flat Stella” for some fun reminders, and see The Red Guide’s Preparedness Resources for lots of great resources and tips.

Did you know FEMA offers a text service for receiving preparedness tips?  Text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) to receive monthly preparedness tips. Standard message and data rates apply. See more info about this program at:  http://www.fema.gov/text-messages

Do you have a family escape plan in case of fire?

House on fireWithin 60 seconds, smoke from a house fire can harm those inside.  Within two minutes, you may not be able to escape!  You need an escape plan, and time to go over the plan with your family.  Include not just what to do, but what not to do, and have alternate plans in mind in case exits are blocked, etc.

We found a great tool by the Burn Institute that lets you Build a Family Escape Plan online.

Check out our Fire Preparedness Resources for more resources and tips.

Have You Ever Been in a Blackout?

City Blackout - 2003Are you taking full advantage of National Preparedness Month this September?  It’s a great time to think about all the things we plan to think about later, and somehow push off for months or years.

Preparedness efforts can’t be planned after a disaster!  For example, blackouts….the Ready.gov site offers some great tips on what to do before, after, and during a blackout.

For example, have you ever considered putting bottles of water in your freezer to help keep your food safe longer?  How about keeping at least a half-tank of gasoline in your car because most gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps?

Read more at Blackouts by Ready.gov

Hurricane, Tropical Storm or Depression, the end result is a Flood!

Flood damageAs we watch the incredible impact of the latest hurricane, Issac, we are reminded of how much damage happens with so much water coming on to land.  The storm will end, but the resulting floods are lasting.  The FEMA blog posts lots of helpful information related to recent disasters.  Their coverage on Issac includes Safety Tips on How to Handle Floods.

Here are helpful “Flood Safety Terms” you may like to know:

  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Watch: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flash Flood Warning: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

For more helpful safety tips, see our Flood Preparedness page.

Are you ready for the next earthquake?

Earthquake damageWith a recent “swarm” of southern California earthquakes, it brings to mind how important it is to be ready!  Every year, The Great California Shake Out encourages individuals, businesses and schools to organize an earthquake drill.

This year, 2012 Great California Shake Out earthquake drill is October 18th at 10:18 a.m.  You can get some great tips on earthquake preparedness, find more information on the drill and who is participating, and register to be part of it!  Check out the Great California Shake Out website.

Our page of Earthquake Preparedness resources provide a helpful list of website and videos including how to prepare, and earthquake facts.


How do I file an insurance claim?

Senior couple filing out paperworkFiling an insurance claim can be one of the most difficult things you will face as a disaster survivor.  They key is to learn about the process before you start.  Understanding components of homeowners insurance, how the process works, and what’s covered and what’s not covered (before you need to know).

Did you know there are resources online dedicated for the purpose of educating homeowners and renters?  The Red Guide to Recovery has a dedicated page all about Insurance Claim Resources.

A few minutes on any of these websites will give you knowledge that will at some point save you time and money!

Are there disaster recovery resources for tribes?

Native Community FireIt can be a challenge for disaster survivors in Tribal Communities to find relevant information to help with recovery.

Agencies like FEMA, AMERIND, TREMA, and USET all provide great resources for emergency management, financial support, and recovery assistance specifically designed for Native communities.  Check out our list of resources for Tribal Community Disaster Recovery.

The Red Guide also offers a handy guide available as an eBook from Barnes & NobleThe Red Guide Native Edition eBook was designed to assist disaster survivors as a convenient, single source of recovery information accessible when you need it.  The information in this guide, developed specifically for tribal communities, helps you make better informed decisions to save you time, stress, and money.

Where can I get a disaster kit?

Grab 'n Go 3-Day Essentials Emergency KitA disaster kit is an essential piece of equipment for every household.  You probably know this already, but do you have one?

A basic kit should have 3 days worth of supplies for each member of your family, including pets.  You should not count on access to ATMs, stores, water or food and have a bag ready to grab with no notice.  An emergency is by definition something unexpected and planning ahead is the only way to prepare.

Disaster kits are easy to make, but they are also easy to buy.  Here are some resources, including helpful videos, that may help:

Disaster Kit Preparedness

How to Buy or Make a Disaster Kit

Video: Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit – FEMA

Video: What’s In My Kit – American Red Cross