mother and young child looking at a rainbow after preparedly weathering a big storm

5 Ways to Prepare for Weather-Related Emergencies

Adequate preparation can greatly reduce the aftershock of natural disasters. No matter where you call home, there are a few simple ways to plan ahead and help weather any storm with your loved ones.

By Kari Moll, Insurance Advisor, Gate City Insurance Agency

Since storms can be unpredictable, it’s important to prepare yourself and your home sweet home by assessing risk and developing weather-related emergency plans. To help ensure your beloved home (and family) are equally protected, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Assemble an Emergency Kit

    Include first-aid supplies, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food items (if possible, plan for at least three days’ worth), water, towels and a any necessary daily medications. Stay informed of the storm’s path and progress by having a battery-powered radio or TV available – and by monitoring wireless emergency alerts via text message, if possible.

  2. Develop a Family Communications Plan

    Have a plan for how you will contact one another, how you’ll reunite if separated and what the protocol will be in various situations. Having a plan can eliminate some of the stress and confusion, and it can truly make a difference in helping an otherwise chaotic situation be more manageable.

  3. Establish an Evacuation Route

    Prior to a storm-related emergency, contact your local American Red Cross to locate any shelters that are near you. Identify the safest route to get there, and outline a few different routes in case one may be unavailable due to the elements. Be sure to check if your local emergency shelter allows animals and family pets, and if not – don’t forget to have a plan in place for your furry friends in the event you need to relocate.

  4. Secure Your Home

    Outdoor furniture and other objects can pose a potential hazard if the weather gets going. If there’s time to prepare before a storm hits, consider bringing outdoor furniture inside your home or garage. Always turn off propane tanks after using your grill, firepit, etc. You may also want to consider switching off other utilities (such as water and gas, etc.) if instructed to do so by emergency personnel. If you must leave, lock your doors and close your blinds, etc. Keep your home secured, even if you’re not able to personally stay there.

  5. Protect Financial Documents

    In the event of a disaster, you will likely need identification and financial documents to begin the recovery process. Safeguard the following important documents in a bank safety deposit box, computer storage device (such as a USB drive) or waterproof storage containers, including:

    • Personal identification (driver’s licenses, birth certificates, military IDs, passports, etc.)
    • Financial account information (for checking, savings, retirement and investment accounts, as well as credit and debit cards)
    • Insurance policies on all personal property, including appraisals, lists and photos of valuable items
    • Ownership or leasing documentation for homes and vehicles (including deeds, titles, registrations and rental agreements)
    • All health and medical insurance documentation

Pro Tip:

Worried about a less-than-ideal weather situation? If you have questions about protecting your home or vehicle, Gate City Insurance Agency can assist you with understanding different options and comparing rates at no charge.

More Emergency Tips and Hints

The FEMA website offers additional tips on how to prepare for an emergency, as well as a free app that’s available for download through your smartphone. FEMA even offers an emergency financial first-aid kit to help keep your finances well-organized during a potential storm.

Above all else, remember – having a plan can help you organize your thoughts, documents and family communications, giving you additional peace of mind – rain or shine!

Products and services offered through Gate City Insurance Agency are:

Not a Deposit Not Insured by the FDIC or Any Federal Government Agency Not Guaranteed by Gate City Bank May Lose Value