Don’t Forget…

Request our Report – Prepare Your Family for Disaster!

What would you and your family do if you had only a short time to evacuate your home?
  • The Need
  • Develop a Family Disaster Plan
  • Prepare a Disaster Supply Kit
    Protect Your Life, Your Health and Your Income
  • Protect Your Property
  • Disaster-Proof Your Records
  • Protect Your Loved Ones

The Need
What would you and your family do if you had only a short time to evacuate your home?
Plan ahead.

It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.

Whether natural or man-made, disasters usually strike quickly, often with little warning. The time to plan for the possibility of a disaster striking where you live is now, when there are steps you can take to avoid or reduce the likelihood of injury, death, property damage and financial crisis.
By taking the steps that follow, you’ll be much better prepared to deal with the really important things if disaster does strike, like getting yourself and your loved ones to a place of safety.

  • Develop a Family Disaster Plan
  • Protect Your Life, Your Health and Your Income
  • Protect Your Property
  • Disaster-Proof Your Records
  • Protect Your Loved Ones

Develop a Family Disaster Plan
A family disaster plan is your personal plan for how you and your family will deal with an emergency situation if one arises. It’s important that every member of your family understands your family disaster plan and is ready to implement it, perhaps at a moment’s notice.

Suggestions for your family disaster plan include:

  • Understand the types of natural disasters that are most likely to strike the area where you live (fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding).
  • Agree on what each family member will do in the event of one of those disasters.
  • If you have to remain in your home, identify the safest places to stay.
  • If you’re advised to evacuate, plan your escape route in advance. Be prepared to listen to local radio for shelter locations.

What if family members are separated?  Agree on two alternative meeting places, one near your home and the second outside your immediate area. Make sure your children know how and under what circumstances to call 9-1-1.

Have a plan to protect your property in the event of a disaster. For example, know where your utilities are and how to turn them off. Depending on the threat, remove small outdoor items, close window shutters, etc.

Request information on your employer’s disaster plans, as well as those for your children’s school and/or childcare center. Be sure they have your emergency contact information and you theirs. Identify a family member or friend living in another area. Have someone your children can call if the need arises.

Ensure that your home is safe: periodically test smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers to make sure they are working, identify any potential hazards and remove them, be certain that all family members know how to evacuate your home in the event of fire.

Prepare a disaster supply kit

see below.

Prepare a Disaster Supply Kit

Be prepared in advance by assembling a disaster supply kit, packed in sturdy, waterproof
containers, such as duffel bags or backpacks.

Recommended contents of a disaster supply kit include:

  • Enough water for three days, at the rate of one gallon of water per day per person.
  • Canned or packaged food that doesn’t spoil (do check freshness occasionally!), as well as a few plates and utensils.
  • A change of clothing, shoes and bedding (or sleeping bags).
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Battery-powered items, such as flashlights and radios, extra batteries.
  • Basic tools, such as a can opener and pocket knife/multi-tool knife.
  • Set of car and house keys.
  • Either a reminder to take along prescriptions or a copy of prescriptions.
  • An adequate amount of cash to cover your family’s needs for three days.
  • Remember your pets! Include some food and any medication for pets in your disaster supply kit, and don’t forget their water needs.

For more information

Additional advice on your family disaster plan and disaster supply kit is available from:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): 1-800-480-2520 or
Department of Homeland Security: 1-800-237-3239 or
American Red Cross:
Thousand Oaks CA Disaster Preparation

Protect Your Life, Your Health and Your Income

Disaster preparedness involves protecting more than your and your family’s physical well-being…it also includes taking steps to protect your and your family’s financial well-being in  the event of a life or health-threatening disaster.

Your Life – In a worst-case scenario, if you lost your life in a disaster, would your family be able to manage financially?  An adequate life insurance program can help make the difference between financial security and financial disaster.

Your Health – You or a family member may be injured in an emergency.  Do you have adequate health care insurance?  Do you know what the coverage you do have covers and does not cover?

Your Income – What will happen to your income if you become sick or are hurt as a result of a disaster? It’s strongly recommended that you accumulate an emergency fund equal to three to six months of your family expenses. Keep this money where it’s easy to access, such as in a savings account or money market fund. Find out from your employer how long you can expect to be paid following a disaster.  Will you be eligible for unemployment compensation?  Also, does your employer provide any disability income benefits if you’re injured in a disaster?  You may also wish to purchase personal disability income insurance, which can help to replace your income if you are sick or hurt and unable to work.

Protect Your Property

When it comes to your property, the best plan is to take steps to help avoid or minimize disaster related damage. Everyone should periodically test items such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. Beyond this, the steps you may wish to take depend, to some degree, on the types of disasters that are most likely to occur where you live. 

For example:

Hurricanes/tornadoes: Install storm shutters, have a tornado safe room in your home,
consult with professionals about such measures as anchoring your home to its foundation
or strapping the roof to the frame of the building.

Flooding: Avoid buying or building a home in a flood plain or, alternatively, buy or build
an elevated home. Consider moving furnaces and electrical panels from lower to upper
levels in the house.

Earthquakes: Consult with professionals on earthquake-resistant construction. Bolt
bookcases and tall/heavy furniture to walls. Keep cabinet doors shut with child-resistant

Wildfires: Keep brush cleared away from your home. Use fire-resistant siding and
roofing materials.

Regardless of your best efforts, you may still experience property damage as the result of a disaster. Make sure you have homeowner’s insurance and that you understand what your policy will and will not cover. You may need to purchase separate flood or earthquake coverage, depending on where you live. If you don’t already have it, consider some type of replacement cost coverage. Also, be certain that the amount of your homeowners’ coverage keeps pace with the current cost of replacing your home. Renters should consider purchasing renters’ insurance to help pay for damaged, destroyed or stolen personal property.

Disaster-Proof Your Records

In most places, you can rent a safe deposit box at a bank for $30 to $40 a year. What a small price to pay when you consider what it would cost you in time, money and effort to replace your important documents!

Alternatively, consider use of a home safe (a good home safe!) to store your important documents, which include:

  • Birth, death and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, child custody papers, adoption papers, passports, military records, Social Security cards.
  • Mortgage papers, property deeds, stock and bond certificates, car titles.
  • Insurance policies.
  • Copies of estate planning documents, such as your will, any powers of attorney and/or living wills.
  • Trust documents.
  • Income tax information, such as copies of prior tax returns.
  • Employee benefit information.
  • Records of investment, bank and credit card accounts.

If you’ve organized your financial life on a computer, considering periodically storing a backup copy in your safe deposit box or home safe (portable flash drive).

NOTE: Since the bank may temporarily seal your safe deposit box at your death, it is not a good idea to keep the original of your will in a safe deposit box. Instead, ask if your  attorney’s office maintains a safe deposit box for the purpose of storing their clients’ wills. If so, keep the original of your will with your attorney and a copy both at home and in your safe deposit box.

SUGGESTION: Consider making copies of your important documents, place the copies in a ziplock bag and then tape the bag to the inside of the container that holds your disaster supply kit. In this way, should you be forced to evacuate, you’ll have copies of your important documents with you.

Protect Your Loved Ones

Show your family how much you love them by having a current estate plan in place in the event you are injured or killed in a disaster. The following are some basic estate planning needs:

Will If you have dependents, regardless of how much you own, you need a will in order to distribute your estate according to your wishes and name a guardian for minor children. Without a will, the laws of the state where you live will determine who gets what at your death and the court will name a guardian for your minor children. Even if you don’t have minor children, do your loved ones a favor…draft a will and make your wishes known!

Advance Directives – Have you communicated your medical care wishes in the event you suffer a catastrophic medical event? A Living Will states your preferences regarding the type of medical care you want to receive (or don’t want to receive) if you are incapacitated and cannot communicate. You specify the treatment you want to receive or not receive in different scenarios. Have you named someone else, a spouse or other family member, to make medical decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated? Also known as a durable power of attorney for health care or a health care proxy, a Medical Power of Attorney names another person, such as your spouse, daughter or son, to make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to make medical decisions for yourself, or you are unable to communicate your preferences.

Durable Power of Attorney – Who will pay your bills and manage your finances if you become incapacitated? A durable power of attorney names the person or other entity you wish to work on your behalf in this event.

Beneficiary Designations – The beneficiaries you designate in your life insurance policies, retirement plans and investment accounts will override your will, so make certain that your beneficiary designations are current and reflect your wishes.

Don’t wait until it rains to start building your ark…
plan ahead while the choices are still yours to make!

See below for more pages to Get Prepared for Any Disaster!

Don’t Forget…

Request our Report – Prepare Your Family for Disaster!