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Understand the Natural Disasters That Occur in Your Area and Have a Family-Communicated Plan: Know the weather history of your area.  Learn what to do before, during and after a natural disaster.  Make a plan for you and your family including your children, elderly/special needs family members and your pets.  Establish a family meeting place if you get separated.  If you evacuate, know your evacuation routes and where you would stay if you go.

2. Know your flood risk:  Flooding can and does occur outside of FEMA-designated flood zones.  There is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to take effect so don’t wait until a storm is approaching to consider flood insurance.  Understand the flood risk for your individual home or business. Learn more at


3. Build a Disaster Prep Kit: Keep one kit at home and one kit in your vehicle. Key items to include are:

  • Bottled water (at least one gallon per person for at least 3 days)

  • Non-perishable food

  • Battery-operated NOAA weather radio

  • Battery-powered cell phone charger

  • Flashlights and batteries

  • First aid kit

  • Cash

  • Prescription medications

  • Items for your children, pets and special needs family members

  • Find a complete list here


4. Know your safe room.  Remember, tornadoes occur in all 50 U.S. states.  The safest place to be during a tornado warning is a tornado shelter or basement.  If those are not available, go to an interior room on the lowest level of your building and put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.  Stay away from windows.  Vehicles or mobile homes are not safe places to be when a tornado is imminent. 


5. Invest in a Generator: Storms can knock out power for days, weeks or longer but a backup generator can keep important amenities functioning, including the sump pump, refrigerator and heat/air conditioning.  If you have a portable generator, never use it inside, or even in the garage.  A home standby generator turns on automatically and can even power your entire home: learn more about the Cummins QuietConnect.


6. Protect Important Documents & Belongings: Losing key documents like passports, wills, social security cards and birth certificates are significant losses and time consuming to replace. Protect these documents and jewelry, sentimental photos and family heirlooms in a fire and water-protected safe, like the durable SentrySafe Fire/Water Safe or portable SentrySafe Fire/Water Chest.


7. Prepare Your Home and Yard: Make sure your trees are properly trimmed, clean your gutters and secure lawn furniture, grills, landscaping equipment and other loose items such as children’s toys and trash cans.  Keep you shed secure with a Master Lock padlock.  Check your roof for leaks, and inspect your windows and doors for drafts and take measures to protect them in the case of extreme winds.  If you suffer from allergies, consider a Honeywell Air Purifier for cleaner, fresher air inside your home.


8. Develop a Home Inventory: Make a list of your possessions in your home and include photographs of each room.  Keep important receipts and appraisals.  Store this information in a safe, digitally in the cloud and on a flash drive.  Doing this now will help expedite an insurance claim later.  


9. Check Your Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:  Replace the batteries twice per year.  An easy way to remember this is to change the batteries when you change your clocks for daylight saving time.


10. Know How to Shut Off Your Utilities:  For the safety of you, your family and pets, locate your utility switches and know how to turn off the gas, water and electricity in your home.

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