Tips for Being Prepared for an Emergency or Natural Disaster

When a disaster strikes, you may only have seconds or minutes to react. In these critical moments, being alert, having emergency & communication plans in place, and having important documents secure can keep you and your family safe and help speed the road to recovery.

The Cass County Long Term Recovery Group encourages all residents to be prepared for an emergency. We offer these tips to be ready:

1) Be Alert

When severe weather threatens, or another disaster is eminent, tune into local media, and be aware of what is going on around you. Keep your phone’s battery charged and near you at all times. Local officials can push emergency alerts to most smartphones. If you don’t have a smartphone, listen to the radio or local TV stations for updates.

2) Have a Plan

Having a personal or family emergency plan in place will help to minimize the stress you feel when a disaster strikes and will help keep you safe. Nebraska is prone to severe weather, winter storms, and flooding.

In addition to having an emergency plan in place, make sure to have a communication plan, too. When a disaster happens, you may not be with family, or cell phone service may be disrupted. Have a backup plan to reach family and friends if communication services are disrupted.

Visit Ready.gov to learn how to be prepared and stay safe.

3) Build an Emergency Kit

During and after an emergency, you may need to rely on yourself to survive for a few hours or a few days until rescue crews can reach you. Being prepared means having enough food, water, medications, and other essential supplies to last for at least 72 hours.

For a checklist of what your emergency kit should include visit Ready.gov’s Build a Kit page.

4) Collect Critical Documents & Inventory Valuables

Once the disaster has passed, having your financial and medical records and important contact information will be crucial to help you start the recovery process quickly.

FEMA and the CFPB have put together helpful guides so you can safeguard critical documents and additional stress during the difficult days following a disaster.

FEMA’s Guide                    CFPB’s Guide

Maintaining a detailed inventory of your property’s contents will help you prove the value of what you owned, which can speed the processing of any insurance or FEMA claim. A detailed inventory will also provide documentation for tax deductions purposes. You can access FEMA’s guide to documenting and insuring your property here.

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