Better Business Bureau urges residents to heed National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month - a full month dedicated to encouraging the public to prepare for local disasters and unplanned emergencies.
With the recent West fertilizer plant explosion and 2011 Bastrop fires, Texas has had its fair share of disasters.
The Better Business Bureau urges families to prepare for the unexpected and devise emergency preparedness plans, according to a bureau news release.
There are two things every family should do to prepare for disaster:
Make a plan. Discuss with family and friends how to contact each other, where to meet if you can't go home and what to do in specific situations such as tornados or fires.
Prepare an emergency kit. If disaster strikes, you might not have access to food, water or electricity. Your kit should include items such as a three-day supply of food and water, flashlights with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, multifunctional tools such as a wrench or pliers and a power inverter or solar charger for electronics.Families may also want to consider including items such as prescription medications, infant formula and diapers, pet food and cash. Remember to check supplies every few months and replace expired items.
Other things to keep in mind:
Catalog valuables. Photograph valuables and place them in a safe. This can help the insurance company assess the dollar amount for your losses.
Protect important documents. Place items such as birth certificates, passports, insurance policies and photos in a waterproof, portable container near your escape route.
Start with trust. Whether you're shopping for insurance before disaster strikes or looking for a company to clean damaged areas, check the company's Business Review at bbb.org first.
Know where to turn. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Texas Division of Emergency Management and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have many resources available to help families prepare for what to do before, during and after disasters.