Document – A pre-loss report is the most important thing you can do to protect your property and belongings from being damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen during a storm, fire, theft or any other calamity. The burden of proof is on you to prove ownership and condition of your property. If you can’t prove it, your insurance company doesn’t have to pay you for it! Be sure to take photos, videos, and document everything is full detail. I cannot stress the amount of detail that may be required to be reimbursed properly from your insurance company. The more detailed you get on your pre-loss report, the better.
Have a “Bail Out Bag” for each person – This is your “We’re outta here, let’s leave NOW!” bag that you can grab and go if evacuations are necessary and you need to move quickly. Fill your “Bail Out Bag” with an emergency supply kit that includes items like; non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries, etc.
Make a Plan – What happens if you and your family members are not together when an emergency hits? Everybody will need to know how to find each another and how you will contact one another. You should also consider your evacuation route and plans, proper utility shut-off and learning safety skills, like administering first aid and using a fire extinguisher.
What about your business? Ready Business (http://www.ready.gov/business/index.html) has plenty of information to help you prepare your business for every emergency.
Know Who to Turn To – Don’t wait until the emergency to choose your contractors and repair guys. Make a preemptive strike by interviewing several contractors from each specialty. Enter into preferred vendor agreements if available with those you select, so that you can lock yourself into their service schedule and rates in advance. It is also a great idea to have these contractors in your mobile phone, and don’t forget to make a list for your “Bail Out Bag” as well.