With Manhattan dealing with ongoing flood concerns from Tuttle Creek Reservoir, K-State Research and Extension Family Resource Management Specialist Elizabeth Kiss suggests for families to make a “grab-and-go” box for any documents and papers that are difficult to prepare.
“Birth certificates, social security cards, marriage certificates and things that you might keep in a safety deposit box or you might be keeping at home,” Kiss said. “If you are keeping them at home, definitely then you would want to put them in a fireproof and waterproof container that you can take with you. So you will probably want copies of passports, drivers licenses’, credit cards, titles for vehicles, insurance policies, property insurances and some health insurances.”
Kiss also suggests that compiling a household inventory would also be a good thing to do to document possessions.
“Start with one room and you can video tape it with our phones nowadays, you can take pictures and video,” Kiss said. “Be sure that you take your documentation from your phone and store it in a way electronically that you can access if something would happen to your phone.”
Another thing Kiss says to make sure of is that you are adequately insured by having an up-to-date household inventory which will help determine how much homeowners insurance is needed.
“If you purchase a house with a loan the lender requires that homeowners insurance,” Kiss said. “Many people that have a mortgage have homeowners insurance, so the physical ability is the collateral for the loan and that’s why we have to maintain the home. But if your mortgage is paid off, then you might not have homeowners insurance. You want to cover your home and contents for at least 80 percent of its replacement costs, but you also need to see what disasters or what severe weather events are actually covered, because it does vary from policy to policy.”
To go along with having a convenient “grab-and-go” box, Kiss suggests having an emergency bag for the things you will need if you are going to be forced to evacuate your home for several days.
“You need at least a gallon of water per day per person for at least three days,” Kiss said. “At least three days supply of food (non perishable) — don’t forget the can opener. You also need prescription medications, eye glasses, info formula diapers, pet food and plan for about three days.”
And at last, even with the odds of your house catching on fire or being struck by a tornado are pretty slim, Kiss says your possessions can be damaged in a variety of ways: so be prepared for anything.
“If you keep things in the attic, you run the risk of a roof leak,” Kiss said. “If you keep things in the basement, then you might have water seeping up from the ground. Even non-weather related events can cause water damage to your house, or you have a pipe that bursts in your wall and it drips all over the place. So, all of these preparedness things are useful — yeah, you might not have a tornado, you might not have a fire or flood damage — but you can still have some of these internal mechanical things in your house, and then you will be prepared.”