September is National Preparedness Month

Are you Prepared for the Next Disaster?


When we think of emergency preparedness, it can become overwhelming with all the different little emergencies that arise in daily life, as well as larger disasters.  Life seems to move so fast, and can wash you away in a blink of the eye. However, it is better to prepare for the situations before it happens, when you can think straight. Working in a disaster restoration company, I have helped people deal with the smaller emergencies as well as the larger disasters such as flood, fire, trauma, etc.  This is a time when you face many decisions about what is important in your life. Whether it be your family, health, or sentimental possessions, you should have some strategies in place to prepare for emergencies before they arise.

National Preparedness Month

  • Purchase home/renter insurance.
    • What is difference Replacement Vs. Actual Cost?
    • Ask your agent about sewage backup riders
    • Do you need flood insurance?
    • Detail your high value items
  • Establish escape routes from your home or business.
    • Pick an outside meeting spot everyone will remember
    • Do you need window ladders to escape a second floor?
    • Have a “Go bag”
  • Learn where your shut off values and breaker boxes are located
  • Remember to shut off utilities when leaving for extended periods of time
  • Know when and how to use fire extinguishers
  • Create an emergency supply kit
  • Make and attach pet tags/signs on the doors and windows
  • Fix old or loose shingles
  • Waterproof your basement, windows and doors
  • Check plumbing supply lines and shut off valves
  • Clear gutters and prune branches and shrubbery away from your home
  • Place all contents up off the basement floor onto risers or pallets for flooding purposes
  • Store content in plastic totes instead of cardboard boxes to protect
  • Check out ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburgh Facebook page daily for disaster preparedness “Tips”


Through many years of experience in the disaster restoration industry, I have seen only two consistencies.  First of all, neighbors will reach out to help neighbors when things go bad.  Second, while there are a lot of similar situations, we all handle situations differently.  You need to develop a plan that works for you, customizing it as needed. Shawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD, author of 31 Small Steps to Organize for Emergencies (and Disasters) stated that preparedness is “an ongoing, never perfect, process. There is no endpoint you can reach that says you’re prepared. It’s the path of learning, practicing, adding, and refining that helps you become better able to respond effectively during an emergency or disaster.”

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