At ServiceMaster Absolute, we have worked with an innumerable number of clients that have gone through house fires, sudden floods, storms, and earthquakes, calling us for the copious amount of damage restoration that is needed thereafter. In working with so many people and being highly educated in the field of fire and water damage restoration, we’ve learned a thing or two about the value of emergency preparedness.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the essential steps you can take in your emergency preparedness strategy. While fires, floods, and all other manner of disaster can strike at any time and incur unavoidable damage, there are several practical steps that you can make which will be invaluable in the face of any disaster. There are things you can do to ensure that you’ll be safe and provided for in an emergency, and there also measures that can be taken which can reduce that damage that is inflicted on your home and property.
Preparing an Emergency Kit
Create a Food Storage
In times of disaster, it’s immensely important to have food on hand. While you may not have the means to salvage your food in the event of a house fire, you should have some prepared for any other event that would displace you from your home.
This is important for more reasons than you’d think. The most common objection against food storage is the idea that, in modern society, food isn’t hard to come by. Yes, you can eat out at restaurants and take a trip to the grocery store, and if the disaster is isolated to just your home, food probably won’t be the most pressing concern.
However, in times of widespread disaster, it’s critical having a food supply. While food is abundant in California, you’d be surprised to see how quickly the grocery store shelves go barren when everybody is rushing to provide for themselves in an emergency. Access to food can become more difficult by an order of magnitude in occasions where everyone in the city suddenly needs it, and in this scenario, nothing is more valuable than the supply you’ve stocked up.
Food storage needs to be able to rest idly in a home until emergency strikes, so you’ll want things that are non-perishable or otherwise long-lasting. Here are some good recommendations:
- Canned foods such as vegetables and soups
- Powdered substances that can be mixed with water
In a similar vein to food storage, you’ll want a fresh supply of water too. Water is generally available in the same way food is, but in the same way, access to clean water can become a much more complicated affair in a large-scale emergency. One gallon of water per person, per day is a good number to aim for, and you should have at least three days’ worth saved up.
There’s nothing more important than first-aid in an emergency situation, especially if the fire and flood in question is affecting an entire community. You never know when you’ll need first-aid — whether it’s for yourself, your family, or random strangers.
Injuries can be dangerous in times of disaster. If it’s large-scale, medics and emergency responders might have their hands full. But even if it’s only your home, it’s easy to be distracted by everything else that’s going on. You’ll want to be especially wary of burns if you’re in proximity to fire, and cuts can be extremely dangerous when you’re on the move because they can become infected if you don’t clean them properly.
It’s not hard to find comprehensive first-aid kits that contain just about everything you need, but regardless, here are some things to consider including:
- Bandages and wraps
- Splinting materials
- Stitching supplies
- Creams, cleansers, and antiseptics
- Prescription Medication
Of course, every single article you ever read will instruct you on the basics of first-aid and food storage. However, there’s one important emergency supply that a lot of people forget about — documents and paperwork.
One defining trait of disasters is that they often come completely unexpectedly. In a worst case scenario, you might be forced to evacuate your home with almost no notice, and your essential documents might get washed away by water or disintegrated by flames. Your wallet could be among the casualties, or perhaps your important insurance information.
It’s a good practice to have copies of all the important documents you’d ever need in the case of an emergency. Here are some things you’ll definitely want:
Personal Identification: A driver’s license and/or another form of valid ID is essential. You’ll need it to drive, and if you were unlucky enough to lose your cash or credit cards in the disaster, it will be essential in accessing your bank accounts. It also doesn’t hurt to have social security cards, passports, birth certificates, and so on — basically, any form of legal identification you’ve ever acquired should have a copy in your emergency kit.
Insurance Information: While most modern insurance companies have ways of accessing your info should you lose your cards, the truth is that it’s almost always a huge pain, and having all of your insurance information on hand will save you significant headaches. Having proper fire and flood insurance is a life-saver after a disaster — make sure you’re ready to take advantage of it.
Money: Hopefully you were able to save your wallet in the disaster, but if you didn’t, it’s nice to have some backup in your kit. Consider getting a copy of your credit or debit card and keeping it in your kit, as well as some emergency cash.
Storing Your Emergency Kit
It’s good to consider the ramifications of where you store your kit. Consider the fact that you’ll want it to be easily accessible in times of an emergency. If it’s possible, the best practice is to store it somewhere where it would be isolated from disasters that hit your home — floods and fires being the biggest risk factors.
You’ll also want to ensure that the kit isn’t in a location where it would be easily stolen, for obvious reasons (especially if you’re storing your documents inside). For all of the items that can fit in a container, find something that you can lock shut which is easily transportable, such as a rolling suitcase.
If you have auxiliary structures on your property such as a shack, it can be good to store your emergency kit there. A separate building is more likely to survive a house fire, and if you place your supplies high up, they’re also well-protected against floods.
Fire and Flood Restoration in San Diego and Riverside
And, of course, it’s important in every disaster situation to see that the damage is repaired or restored. That’s where we come in. We’re experts in fire damage restoration, flood damage repair, smoke damage clean up, structural repair, and more. We’ve dedicated our lives to mastering residential and commercial building restoration, and we understand how important it is to have these services readily available in times of unexpected disaster.
We cover a vast amount of areas in the Southern California region. San Diego, Riverside, Chula Vista, Corona, and all the surrounding cities are all within our range, and if you’re unsure of whether we could make the trip to your home or commercial building, we urge you to give us a call and ask. We are committed to helping our fellow California residents with damage restoration and we’re highly flexible. If you have recently experienced significant damage to your house or building, contact us today!