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Your home should be prepared before an emergency happens. Being prepared will help protect your home and minimize damages that may occur during a disaster. Learn what the dangers for your area are, and what steps you need to take to protect your property.

When making an Emergency Plan for your Home:

  • Check your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance to make sure you are protected from dangers common to your area. For instance, you may want flood insurance if you are in a flood prone area.
  • Keep copies of your insurance paperwork in a safe, waterproof container.
  • Make a full list of personal items (particularly those that are valuable or one of a kind); this will help when applying for insurance settlements and/or tax deductions for losses. Insurance agents can give you inventory checklists. Be sure to take pictures and describe the items on your list.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and change the batteries every year.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas.
  • Move beds away from windows and do not hang heavy items or install shelves over beds.
  • If needed, clear hallways and exits for easy evacuation.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on each level and know how and when to use them.
  • Store flammable or highly reactive chemicals (such as bleach, ammonia, paint thinner) securely and separate from each other.
  • Know how and when to switch off your utilities.
  • Ensure that all window safety bars have emergency releases.
  • Turn off utility services at the main power switch and close the main gas valve. In case of flooding, do not touch any electrical equipment. Only touch it if in a dry area or you are standing on a dry piece of wood while wearing rubber-soled shoes or boots and rubber gloves.
  • Secure and store objects such as lawn furniture, grills, garbage cans and tools in a secure storage area. Tie down anything you cannot bring indoors.
  • If you have a generator, prepare it for use.