What’s your Disaster Plan or do you have One?

July 20, 2012

Here’s a startling figure: 75 percent of American households are at risk for some type of disaster. Equally as startling is that relatively few have done much to prepare for a disaster. We are all busy. Life is hectic. What is your family’s plan in the event of a disaster?? It’s worth taking a minute to think about it.

In a recent article by The Hartford, they cite the following information which is mainly concerning older adults but is applicable for anyone:

“The Hartford Advance 50 Team of gerontologists partnered with the MIT AgeLab to conduct research to better understand older adults’ experiences with natural disasters. “Our research shows that it’s just human nature not to plan for a disaster – mainly because we think it won’t happen to us,” said Cindy Hellyar, corporate gerontologist at The Hartford. “But it’s critical to plan for a disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, or fire, particularly for older adults and their families. Disease-related conditions and the functional limitations they cause are more prevalent in later life, and this makes older adults, as a group, more vulnerable during emergencies and disasters,” Hellyar explains.

“Careful preparation and open communication can help to prevent loss of life and reduce property damage or loss,” explains Lisa D’Ambrosio, Ph.D., research scientist at MIT. “Planning can lessen the stress and discomfort around recovery and rebuilding, as well as decrease the amount of time it will take to get your life back in order.”

“Disaster planning does not have to be daunting,” said Hellyar. “Based on our research, we identified three key steps to a comprehensive plan – the ABC’s – to Survive and Recover from a Disaster – that apply to everyone, but especially to older adults.”

Some of the highlights are: 1. Have an evacuation plan that takes into account accomodations for everyone in the family including pets
2. Have a home inventory. Video or photo your possesions and store the documentation away from your location
3. Network with neighbors. Have a plan of action. Discuss the plans with family so that everyone knows what is expected of them in the event of a disaster.

The Hartford has developed a booklet that guides readers through the disaster planning process: http://image.agent.thehartford.com/lib/fe681570766207787616/m/1/It-Could-Happen-to-Me.pdf Additionally if you are dealing with the care of older adults there is a publication that contains life-saving tips to help caregivers, family and friends of those with Alzheimer’s disease who live at home prepare for a natural disaster and get their lives back on track in the aftermath of a storm.  http://image.agent.thehartford.com/lib/fe681570766207787616/m/1/CalmBeforeStormBro.pdf

Recent wildfires in Colorado, flooding  and tornados in other parts  of the United States and the impending 2012 hurricane season are a reminder that a disaster can happen at any time. While you are spending time watching movies with the family this weekend, take some time to consider disaster planning and keep those you love safe!

Remember as your Trusted Choice Independent agent, we can help you with all your disaster and coverage questions and help you review your policies to determine if everything you think is covered actually is!!