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Top Ten: Ways to Prepare Before a Disaster

Catholic Charities Community Services has prepared this handy list of ten things you can do to prepare before a disaster.

  1. Obtain insurance — make sure you have auto insurance and home or renter’s insurance. If you have been flooded previously, make sure you are current on your flood insurance policy.
  2. Ensure you have back up documents in an alternative location. These should include proof of residency, insurance information, utility company information, birth certificate, and copies of photo I.D.s
  3. Develop and practice an escape plan with your whole household. Include a location to meet if you are not together during a disaster. Designate a relative or friend in another town or state you can call to check in with, as local phone lines are often down after a disaster.
  4. Create a disaster kit. This should have food and water for at least three days for each person and animal in your family. Keep a weather radio, first aid kit, hygiene items, flashlights, extra batteries, cash, extra medication and phone chargers in this kit.
  5. If you have pets, keep extra leashes and collars in your disaster kit.
  6. Keep back-ups of photos and special memories. Save personal photos and memories on in a photo sharing app online or in the cloud.
  7. Connect with media outlets a variety of ways —  over the air, on social media, smartphone apps, website live streaming, radio or text notifications.
  8. If you take medication: Keep records of your medication, dosage, refill dates and any special instructions with your disaster kit.
  9. If you are warned of an impending disaster: stock up on gasoline, charge electronic devices and charging banks. Download and use Missouri’s MODOT app for up-to-date road conditions
  10. If you have time, prepare your house! Clean gutters and drains to avoid water back up, move furniture to higher levels of the house (or out of the house), disconnect appliances, turn off water, trim trees, etc.

Want to learn more? Our team is evolving the Catholic Disaster Preparedness Program into a session-based training for parishes and parishioners to better equip communities to prepare for and respond to disasters. In the meantime, you can see our “Top Ten: Things to Do After a Disaster” post to familiarize yourself with how to best respond after a disaster affects you or your community.