How to build an emergency kit

September is National Preparedness Month – last week, we posted about emergency apps you could download. This week, it’s all about emergency kits – do you have one? Do you have a good first aid kit?

In terms of emergency disaster preparation, the Red Cross are our “go to” experts. They offer great resources to help you prepare for emergencies, but here’s the trick – you need to make it a priority to take action now. The time to act isn’t during or after an emergency – that’s too late.

After a serious weather event, you may be on your own for a few days and need to have the essentials to survive. Many experts suggest keeping a “grab and go” emergency bag in case you need to evacuate suddenly. Red Cross has a checklist for what you should include in a Survival Kit .

An important part of any survival kit – and a day-to-day household necessity – is  a good first aid kit. When’s the last time you checked yours? Red Cross offers Anatomy of a First Aid Kit .

Red Cross says: Get a Kit.Make a Plan. Be informed. They offer a one-page summary emergency prep checklist of things you should do and steps you should take to be ready.

We don’t usually make purchase recommendations, but if you aren’t up for assembling your own kits, they can be purchased at the Red Cross Store. Purchase Red Cross First Aid kits – there are a variety of options from $3 to $27. You can also get Car First Aid Kits.

You can also purchase Emergency Preparedness products – including Personal Emergency Bags ($20) for “grab and go” to deluxe kits ($95). There are many other items, too, such as emergency radios – “the rechargeable FRX3 emergency radio automatically broadcasts emergency weather alerts for your area, including hurricanes, tornadoes and severe storms.  Set the solar panel in the sun or spin the hand turbine for one minute to get 10-15 minutes of radio and flashlight use.”

Whether you opt to buy or build, don’t put it off. If you can’t do it today, it would be a good family weekend project!


Going on vacation? 5 steps to secure your home while you are away!

Summer vacation is always fun but there are some steps that you should take ensure that your home is protected.

1. Secure your property. Check to be sure all doors and windows are locked. Bring in valuables and any outside furniture that might be damaged in a heavy storm. If you have an alarm system, motion detectors, or outside lighting, be sure they are set for while you are away.

2. Avoid giving signals that you are away. Try to make things look as normal as they would if you were at home. Cancel mail and newspapers so they don’t pile up. Use timers to turn on lights at night. Arrange to have grass mowed.

3. Be cautious with sharing on social networks. Unless your friends list is strictly limited to family and a few trusted friends, don’t announce your travel plans on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. Be careful about checking in with FourSquare or other services that give your location away. Be cautious about posting and sharing real-time updates and photos that telegraph the information that your home is empty.

4. Ask a neighbor or relative to keep an eye on your property while you are away. Leave contact information and a key for emergencies. A trusted neighbor might even leave a bag of trash in front of your house on trash day or occasionally park in your driveway.

5. Check your home and auto insurance before you go away to ensure that your coverage is up to date and that you have adequate coverage. Know what policies you have and with what insurers. Make sure that you bring your insurance agent’s telephone number in case you need it while away.

Here are some other good tips from experts:
Tips to Secure Your Home While on Vacation
Don’t Leave Your Home Vulnerable to Break-in, Flooding While on Vacation

Preparing for emergencies: Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse?

If flesh-eating zombies suddenly start roaming your streets, do you know what to do? If not, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has an important guide for you: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.

On the great scale of hazards, it’s probably not all that likely, but as insurance agents, we are all about the concept of being prepared – so after you read the CDC Guide, if you have questions about what your homeowners or business insurance would or wouldn’t cover should a zombie attack occur, give us a call. Or for an abundance of caution, there’s always Zombie insurance.

All kidding aside, alerting the public about the importance of preparing for emergencies such as hurricanes or pandemics is one of the CDC’s most important public health missions. Normally, when they post alerts or resources on the CDC blog, they get a few thousand viewers. But by offering this clever spin, they attracted more than 1.2 million page views in the less than 10 days since the zombie item was posted, according to the WSJ Health Blog. The Zombie preparation guide was obviously a good way to harness the public’s fascination with a pop culture fad to call attention to a more serious message.
The CDC has a wealth of emergency preparation, planning and response resources aimed at businesses, families, healthcare facilities, and local & state governments. They also have a variety of tools and resources on other public health issues – ranging from illnesses and diseases to life stages and populations. So whether it’s traveler’s health, natural disasters, workplace safety or even an attack of zombies, the CDC is a good one-stop source of reliable information.