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Disaster Preparedness

Good planning can help keep your family safe in a disaster or emergency. The Insurance Institutes of America offers a mobile app titled "Know Your Plan" to assist you in preparing for disasters. For information on obtaining the app, visit the Institutes iTunes store. To plan for a disaster, create an evacuation plan, an emergency kit, and stay informed of emergency information before, during, and after a disaster occurs.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Create an emergency kit, make sure all family members know the location of the kit, and keep it in an easily accessible location. When stocking your kit, include at least a three-day supply per person. The following are recommended items to include in your emergency kit:
  • Drinking water
  • Nonperishable food (for your family and pets), utensils, and other food-related items, such as a can opener
  • First-aid kit, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications (for your family and pets)
  • Portable, battery-powered radios and flashlights, including replacement batteries
  • Clothing for all family members
  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • Maps of your local area and surrounding areas, in case you must evacuate outside of your local area
  • Emergency family contact names and numbers, including physicians and veterinarians
  • Your insurance contact information and policy numbers for health insurance, auto insurance, and homeowners insurance

Create An Evacuation Plan

Save valuable time during an emergency by planning your family's escape route in advance. For added benefit, practice the escape route as a family so children are familiar with the plan. Remember to choose a meeting place where all family members are to go after they evacuate the building. To prepare for an evacuation to a location outside of your community, choose an out-of-town contact person for family members to call if they become separated from you. Make sure all family members know that person's phone number, or save it into the contact list on all cell phones. And, remember to tell the contact person that they are acting as your family's contact point during an emergency. Provide the contact person with all family member cell phone numbers, names, and ages in the event emergency personnel need the information to help locate separate family members. If conditions become threatening, fill your vehicle’s gas tank and plan an out-of-town driving route. Remember to take your emergency kit and, if possible, notify your out-of-town contact where you and your family are heading.

Stay Informed

Keep your battery-powered radio turned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio station. If you cannot receive this station directly, tune to your local news for weather-related updates released from NOAA. If you have a battery-operated laptop or smartphone, log in to the Department of Homeland Security at and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at to access current local and national level information. You can also log on to the Federal Alliance of State Homes (FLASH) at to learn about the most likely disaster risks in your state, and ways to safeguard your home against them.