Disaster Tips

With the increase in natural disasters it might be a good time to review some disaster tips for your family and home.

Disaster Tips

Your home is one of your most important investments. By keeping it properly maintained in every season, you can help reduce the risk of a loss and ensure the safety and well-being of your friends and family.

Survival Kit

When preparing for a disaster, be sure to make a survival kit that includes:

• Canned or other non-perishable food

• Non-electric can opener

• First aid kit and manual

• Portable radio and/or television

• Flashlights

• Extra batteries

• Water in non-breakable containers

• Prescription medicines as needed

• Extra clothing and blankets

• Emergency cash and credit cards
• A copy of your Travelers insurance policy

Earthquake

Before

• Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.

• Fasten shelves securely to walls and place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.

• Be sure that water heaters and other gas appliances are properly bolted down or supported on the floor or wall.

• Make sure that your house is properly bolted to the foundation.

• Review how to shut off utilities in an emergency with all family members.

• Prepare a SURVIVAL KIT.

• Identify safe places with your family in each room, such as under sturdy desks or doorways where you can seek cover.

During

• If you are indoors, seek cover under one of the safe places identified. Stay inside and avoid all places where glass could shatter, such as windows and mirrors, or where heavy furniture could fall over.

• If you are outdoors, move away from buildings, overhead wires and streetlights. Stay put until the earthquake passes.

• If you are in an automobile, pull over and stop your car in a clear area away from bridges, buildings, overpasses and trees. Stay in the car and after the earthquake has stopped, proceed with caution avoiding ramps and bridges that may have been damaged. Be sure to turn on the radio for current earthquake information.

After

• Be prepared for aftershocks that may cause additional damage.

• Listen to a battery-operated radio or television if possible.

• Clean up any flammable liquids and leave immediately if you smell gas fumes.

• Stay out of damaged buildings. Seek temporary housing if you are not able to return to your home just yet.

• Promptly report the loss to insurance agency or company using the toll-free claim reporting number.

Hurricane

Before

• Understand the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch means that a hurricane may occur within the next 24 to 36 hours. A hurricane warning means that a hurricane will probably strike your area within the next 24 hours.

• Prepare a SURVIVAL KIT.

• Plan your evacuation route in advance of the storm.

• Close storm shutters and board up all windows.

• Stock up on drinking water and non-perishable goods.

• Have a supply of batteries and be sure you have flashlights and a portable radio in good working condition.

• Review how to shut off utilities in an emergency with all family members.

• Secure all outdoor objects or move them inside.

• Secure your boat or move it to a safer place.

• Fuel your car in case you must leave immediately.

During

• Listen to the radio for important storm information and instructions.

• If at home, stay inside and away from all windows, skylights and glass doors. Do not go outside, even if the weather appears to have calmed. The “eye” of the storm can pass quickly, leaving you outside when strong winds resume.

• If you must evacuate, leave as soon as possible and be sure to tell someone outside of the storm area where you will be.

After

• Stay tuned to the radio or television. If you have had to evacuate, return home only after authorities advise it is safe to do so.

• Avoid downed power lines.

• Beware and check for gas leaks or electrical system damage.

• Make temporary repairs as necessary.

• Promptly report the loss to insurance agency or company using the toll-free claim reporting number.

Flood

Before

• Learn the flood warning signs and alert signals of your community.

• Collect emergency building materials if you live in a frequently flooded area: plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, shovels and sandbags.

• Prepare a SURVIVAL KIT..

• Plan and practice an evacuation route. Establish a meeting place should your family get separated.

• Review how to shut off utilities in an emergency with all family members.

• Homeowners policies do not usually cover flood damage.

During

• Listen to a battery operated radio or television for the latest storm information. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

• Move to high ground, avoid rising waters and do not walk or drive through any floodwaters.

• Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.

After

• Listen to the radio and do not return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.

• Be watchful of snakes that may have found their way into your home.

• Throw away all food that has come in contact with floodwaters.

• If your basement has flooded, pump out the water gradually. Remove about 1/3 per day to avoid structural damage.

• Promptly report the loss to insurance agency or company using the toll-free claim reporting number.

Tornado

Before

• Learn the warning signs and alert signals of your community.

• Understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch means that tornadoes may develop, while a warning means that a tornado has been sighted and you should seek shelter immediately.

• Prepare a SURVIVAL KIT.

• Conduct drills with your family. Designate an area of your home as a shelter and practice what the plan would be should a tornado occur.

• Move cars and other outside objects inside the garage.

During

At home:

• Seek shelter away from windows in the center of the room. Basements and storm cellars are the best havens, but if there is no basement, take cover in a bathroom, closet, or under a sturdy piece of furniture.

At work or School:

• Go to the basement or an inside hallway at the lowest level. Keep away from large, open areas such as auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums. Lie low and use your arms to protect the head and neck.

In a car:

• Do not try to outrun the tornado. Stop the car, get out, and if there is no facility nearby to take shelter in, lie in a low area such as a ditch.

After

• Keep calm. Stay in your shelter until after the storm is over.

• Listen to the radio or television for the latest storm information.

• Check for gas leaks or electrical system damage.

• Watch for downed power lines when going outside.

• Promptly report the loss to insurance agency or company using the toll-free claim reporting number.

Wildfire

Before

• Give your yard a good annual clean-up and maintenance. Prune tree limbs within 10 feet of your home, clear away dead plants or branches, and remove pine needles, leaves, and other debris from the yard, roof, and gutters.

• Prepare a family evacuation plan. Have more than one escape route and designate a meeting place if family members are in different locations when an evacuation order is given.

• Make sure adult family members know how to shut off utilities and how to use fire extinguishers.

• Prepare a SURVIVAL KIT.

• Keep an updated inventory of your personal property and important documents. (Click here for information on how to conduct a Personal Property Inventory.)

During

• Listen to the radio for important reports and evacuation information.

• Remove lightweight and non fire-resistant curtains from around windows.

• Place combustible patio furniture in the house or garage. Move all flammable furniture away from windows to the center of the house.

• Close windows and interior doors.

• Connect a garden hose to the outside tap and place lawn sprinklers on the roof. Wet the roof and any shrubs within 15 feet of the house.

If you must evacuate:

• Shut off propane at the tank, or natural gas at the meter, and turn off all pilot lights.

• Turn on a light in each room of the house to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke.

• Wear protective clothing including sturdy shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and a bandana or handkerchief.

• Advise a friend or family member outside the wildfire area that you are leaving and where you will be.

After

• Stay tuned to the radio or television for updated information. If you had to evacuate, return home only after authorities advise it is safe to do so.

• Check for hazards such as electrical shorts or gas or water leaks. Turn off any damaged utilities, and arrange for the electric or gas company to test, repair, and turn utilities back on.

• Check the roof and attic for smoke, sparks, and embers.

• Throw away any items such as food or medicines that have been contaminated by smoke or fire.

• Promptly report any loss to your insurance agency or company using the toll-free claim reporting number.

(Disaster tips provided by Travelers Insuance Company)