BBB ON HOMES September is National Preparedness Month

September 1, 2018

National Preparedness Month is held annually every September and provides an opportunity to remind everyone to prepare themselves and their families now, and throughout the year.

National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and it is part of an effort to strengthen preparedness capabilities if an attack of some kind occurs or if a natural disaster hits.

The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston South Texas offers the following tips, along with information available from FEMA, on how to fully prepare for a disaster:

Make, practice your plan

Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can. Start by making an emergency plan with everyone in the home. Put together a plan by discussing four questions with your family, friends or household to begin your emergency plan.

Discuss how you will receive emergency alerts and warnings, what your shelter plan is, your evacuation route, and the household communication plan.

It’s best to practice your escape plan with your family, including animals, at least twice a year so you are fully prepared when disaster strikes.

Learn life-saving skills

Learning basic home maintenance skills can protect your home and your family.

Learn how to turn off utilities like natural gas and electricity, and how to test and replace smoke alarms. It’s recommended to test smoke alarms every month, and to replace them every 10 years.

Check your insurance coverage

Insurance is your first line of defense, which is why you should check your insurance coverage and review your policy. Confirm licensing for insurance companies and agents by visiting the Texas Department of Insurance’s website, www.tdi.texas.gov.

You may also check with the BBB at BBBHouston.org to read complaints or customer reviews on these businesses.

It’s important to also obtain property, health and life insurance, and review your existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is enough for you and your family.

Remember that flood insurance is different than homeowner’s insurance, and plan accordingly.

Save for an emergency

It’s important to be financially prepared for any type of disaster. Disasters can be very stressful, but having access to personal, financial, medical and other records is crucial to a quick recovery.

Consider saving money and storing it in an emergency savings account, as well as leaving a small amount of cash at home in a safe place.

If a serious disaster strikes, ATMs and credit card machines may stop working, leaving cash the only option.

You should also gather all financial and critical personal, household and medical information and store it in a safe, yet easily accessible place.

For more information about preparing for various potential disasters, visit www.ready.gov.

The Better Business Bureau is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Visit www.bbbhouston.org or call 713-868-9500. Leah Napoliello is senior director of Investigative Services with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas. Send questions to Leah Napoliello, Better Business Bureau, 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77027, or e-mail lnapoliello@bbbhou.org. Include your mailing address and phone number.

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