The following is a sponsored content post from one of our 2019 Fire Season Coverage Partners.
Given the wildfires in recent years, I’ve been thinking about how important it is to plan for emergencies. The truth is, sometimes wildfires are so fast and ferocious that people have no time to do anything but run. In other emergencies, however, those who have prepared often fare better than those who don’t.
Of course, preventing a disaster from occurring is best, and fire-safe practices like maintaining a defensible space around your property and not mowing your tinder-dry lawn in 104-degree heat can help. It’s also smart to do a home inventory to identify potential hazards. Would you have a clear exit from your bedroom if you had to leave quickly in the middle of the night or would you trip over your child’s backpack and tumble down the stairs instead? Have you replaced the batteries in your smoke alarms in the past six months? Have you secured all bookcases, chests of drawers and other tall, heavy furniture to the wall? Have you safely stored all flammable or reactive chemicals? Do you know how to shut off utilities like water, electricity, and/or gas?
Unfortunately, you can be the most responsible person in the world and still be the victim of a disaster. While disasters come in all shapes and sizes, preparations are similar. Creating an emergency kit or a “go bag” is an excellent idea. Be sure to include food, water, and medications for you and your pets, as well as some clothes and, depending on the situation, you your own shelter. You may also need fuel for your vehicle.
In my house we have backpacks ready to go, because they are easy to carry. In them we have flashlights (with batteries stored in plastic bags, not inside the flashlights where they will corrode). We have matches, a couple water bottles per person, non-perishable snacks, a change of clothes, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a utility knife and/or multi-tool, and a pair of boots or sturdy shoes. We also have our camping gear stored in one place so it would be easy to grab and throw in the car.
If you have time to pack more than just the essentials, consider the irreplaceables: photo albums, family heirlooms and keepsakes, important documents, and if you can, your computer. For more information about disaster preparedness, go to www.mendocinocounty.org/government/health-human-services-agency/public-health/disaster-preparedness-and-response. For more about wildfire safety, visit www.readyforwildfire.org.
One of the most important ways to reduce stress during a disaster is to be sure your loved ones are safe. Agree upon an out-of-town family member or friend who everyone can call to report in. Also, in case you cannot get in touch with one another, agree upon a location away from your home where you could all meet.
Because not all disasters can be prevented, it’s a good idea for insurance purposes to create a photo or video log of all your possessions. While tedious, it’ll be time well spent if you need to ask an insurance company to pay a claim.
If you have questions about real estate or property management, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.realtyworldselzer.com. If I use your suggestion in a column, I’ll send you’re a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com.
Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business in Ukiah for more than 40 years.