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Red Cross "ready to go" preparedness kit

Even before you have settled into your new home, it is time to start thinking about your family’s emergency preparedness plans. As California home builders, we can build the house, but it is up to you to prepare for any disasters which may arise in the future.

One of the most important first steps is to create an evacuation plan. The reality is that wildfires and earthquakes are common in California. It is important to know how you can safely get out of your home in a hurry.

You should have at least two escape routes from each room in your home. Escape ladders can be used in upstairs rooms. Not only should they be readily accessible to the upstairs rooms, but you should practice using them on a regular basis. Then if disaster does strike, you will know how to properly use the ladder, and family members are less likely to panic. 

Part of your escape plan should include a meeting point in case your family becomes separated and your home become unsafe for reentry. A friend or relative’s house or a public location are some options for meeting places. Along with that, you should designate a person out of your area that family members can contact and who has access to family member’s cell phone numbers, email addresses, and other information. This person can relay messages between family members if communication becomes difficult due to outages of cell phone service or other problems.

Another important part of your emergency preparedness plan should include knowing how to turn off your utilities. You, your spouse or significant other, and teenagers or older children should all be trained in turning off the utilities. Having these utilities turned off can prevent greater damage to your home and the surrounding area. Shutting off utilities is another thing you should practice with your family. Do not, though, actually turn off your gas during practice drills. It will need to be turned back on by a qualified professional.

If you have not already created one, an emergency preparedness kit is an essential part of your disaster plans. They do not need to be elaborate. They should be fairly easy to carry and should be easy to grab and take in a hurry. They can be created using backpacks or duffle bags. Storing them under beds, in a closet near your home’s entry, or on a shelf in your garage. Having an emergency kit in all your vehicles is another good idea.

The items you include in your emergency preparedness kit will depend upon your family’s individual needs, but items can generally be categorized into three groups: important papers, basic survival, and first aid supplies.

Important documents may include medical records, Social Security cards, and passports. These should be included in an easily portable case, preferably one which will not get damaged by fire or water. It is a good idea to keep digital records of these documents as well.

Basic survival items include food and water enough for your family for at least three days. This food should be non-perishable and should be rotated on a regular basis. If you are including items requiring a can opener, make sure that is included in your kit. Batteries, flashlights, battery-powered radios, and other items can also be included in this category.

Your first aid kit needs to include things such as bandages, ointment for treating injuries, sterile gloves, and medications for pain and stomach aches. You should also include travel size shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other sanitary supplies in your kit.  Of course, the hope is that you will never need to use your emergency preparedness kit, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

We want you to start out your new home journey feeling like you are prepared for the future, no matter what might come. Contact us to learn about the beautiful homes we have available.