The past few years of hurricanes and wildfires have shown that disasters can strike at any time.

Paul Huang, assistant administrator for federal insurance at FEMA, said it's important for families to develop a plan with the following:

  • How to reunite when separated
  • How to communicate when calling and texting are not possible because the power is down
  • Have a meet-up spot
  • Have at least a three-day supply of food and water on hand.
  • Have batteries for radios and flashlights.

Cash is king. Credit card systems and power may be down. If a person needs to buy things, going to an ATM may not work when he or she needs it.

Huang said there are two very important things people often overlook when preparing for a natural disaster: prescription medications and their pets. Always have a supply of necessary medications with you and be sure to have enough food and other supplies for pets.

It is important for a family to practice an action plan, said Huang. Having the run-through and the practice as a family makes it less scary for children. It also prepares them that in the event of emergency, they know their parents have a plan to connect with them, especially if cell phones are down.

Flood insurance is also important to consider, said Huang. It is often overlooked and not part of the standard homeowner's insurance. He said in New Jersey there is quite a bit of flash flooding and there are few policies in the state for flood insurance. He said keep in mind that just one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage.

Floodsmart.gov is a resource to learn about flood insurance.

More information and tips on how to prepare for a possible natural disaster is at ready.gov.

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