Family in a disaster that is a prepared homeowner

Homeowners Should Be Prepared

Whether you are buying a new home or have lived in your home for years, as a homeowner, you should be prepared when disaster strikes. Nobody knows when the next emergency will happen, but knowing the resources in your neighborhood, your home, and community can help you safely navigate whatever comes your way.

What you prepare for is often tied to where your home is located and what kind of weather and natural disasters tend to happen near it. If you own real estate in Rexburg Idaho, many of the basic preparedness items will apply. You'll need food, water, medical supplies, and lights. These home preparedness items are needed no matter where you live. But unlike somewhere like Los Angeles, Rexburg requires some planning for the weather. When the power goes out at 2 AM in the middle of February and the temperature outside is -23 degrees with a wind chill, you will need alternative heat sources, lots of blankets, a generator to keep your furnace running, and plenty of warm clothing. You will also need to find out where shelters are located nearby. For Rexburg, the best shelter will probably be Brigham Young University Idaho.

Residential Emergency Resources in the Community

Most cities like Rexburg or Idaho Falls have prepared for many types of disasters. It is important to know what resources are available and how to use them. For example, does your city have a warming center or cooling center? Does your community have a plan that includes food rations and water to get them through the first 72 hours? If there is an earthquake, what parks can you go to and what facilities will be available? These are just a few of the many needs your community may be able to fulfill for you. But don't just count on the city, you also have a neighborhood.

Neighborhood Preparedness

One of the best things you can do is talk to your neighbors about preparedness, especially if you have just purchased a new home. The benefits include getting to know your neighbors better, learning about the skills and resources they have that may be used in the event of an emergency, and the confidence that comes from knowing you are part of a community that has each other's back. For example, after an emergency, you may lose power. Your neighbor may have planned ahead and has a generator to power a well. In return for use of water from your neighbor's well, you may be able to supply people with extra food, toilet paper, or another commodity. You may have a gravity-fed water filter such as a Berkey water filter. Or you may have stored Life-straws for drinking questionable water. The resources of each neighbor will be varied, and together you can make it through whatever comes your way. However, neighborhood preparedness is only as good as the most important preparedness. That is family preparedness.

Home and Family Preparedness

No form of preparedness is more important that family preparedness. When you move into your new home, you buy insurance to protect it from unexpected events. Consider insuring your family against disasters as well. Early after purchasing your home, sit down and make a list of the items you would need in an emergency. Some of the best items to start with are water storage, water filters, first aid supplies, two or three months of regular food stored in your pantry, and a year or so of long term food storage. You'll also need to take care of sanitation, which is a major factor in illness after a disaster. Make sure you have a buck, plastic trash bags, a snap-on toilet seat, toilet paper, and a way to wash your hands and sanitize around the toilet. You'll also need light. The best light is something that can be recharged using solar panels. The list could be endless, so don't get overwhelmed. Start with the basics and then pick up a few extra things every month. You'll be well prepared in a very short time if you do these things.

Financial Preparedness

Financial preparedness is really important for a homeowner. Each month, set aside a few dollars into a rainy day fund. The goal is to build up a reserve that will allow you to make your mortgage payment for 3 to 4 months, cover your utilities for a year, and have some cash on hand if the bank teller machines stop working for a while. You don't have to start big and you don't have to do it all at once, but preparing for financial uncertainty can increase confidence and put your mind at ease.

Homeowners should be prepared so their families are safe and confident when unforeseen problems arise.