Submitted by Melanie Bakala

Weather emergencies may scare your kids, but helping them understand what to expect can help reduce the stress. “Taking the time to go over your family emergency plan and teach your kids how to stay safe is time well spent,” said Melanie Bakala, State Farm Agent.

To make sure severe weather doesn’t catch you off guard, complete the following with your family

  • Create an emergency supplies kit. Include a three-day supply of water, nonperishable food, flashlights, blankets and kid-friendly activities. The Red Cross provides a listing of emergency supplies to help you prepare.
  • Practice your emergency planInclude two evacuation routes, a safe room and two different meet-up locations — and make sure kids can run through it calmly.
  • Run through the basics. Kids should know how to call 911, identify themselves, identify their location, reach emergency contacts and get to predetermined safe locations.

“In addition, teach your kids about the different natural disasters and how to react in each,” said Melanie

  • Tornado.If you are in the path of a tornado, go into a tornado safe place. This is typically the lowest level of the building and stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. If you are outside with no car or nearby shelter, lie down in a ditch and protect your head.
  • Severe thunderstormIf you have advanced notice that a severe storm is heading your way there are ways to be more prepared. If a storm is sudden, go indoors if you see lightning or hear thunder, and don’t use items that plug into electrical outlets. Avoid using running water, as faucets can conduct electricity.
  • EarthquakePractice the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” method, and learn to recognize safe places in each room at home and at school.
  • HurricaneWhen you know a hurricane is expected, prepare your home for the possibility of impact. During the storm stay away from glass windows and doors, and be ready to follow hurricane evacuation instructions from emergency officials if necessary.
  • FloodingDon’t go into flooded areas. Just six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet, and standing floodwater could be contaminated or contain sharp objects. If your car is affected in the storm, assess the damage.

Also, being prepared with a Home Inventory might be helpful if you need to file an insurance claim in the case of lost or damaged possessions, help secure a settlement, and prove useful when verifying property loss for taxes.

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