Be Prepared for Emergencies at Home

Storms, floods, heat and cold can hit anywhere, anytime. Are you ready for them?

Mother Nature has been known to suffer from sudden mood swings, and her wrath can be devastating and unpredictable. Because there’s no telling when severe weather will strike, it’s important to have a basic emergency supply kit on hand at all times—and a family plan for how to respond. Follow these tips to get started.

Create a Family Emergency Plan Staying connected is of the utmost importance during an emergency. Designate an out-of-town family member or friend to be your check-in person in case local phone lines are down. Make sure every member of your family knows that contact’s number and has a way to reach him or her—ideally a cell phone and charger or a prepaid calling card. Make sure family members also know how to text. Sometimes, text messages get through even when phone calls don’t.

If you have a cell phone, program that contact person as your “in case of emergency” (ICE) contact. Emergency personnel will frequently check “ICE” in a phone’s contacts list to locate a family member of someone injured in an accident or other situation.

Choose a local place where your family members should meet if they are separated when an emergency strikes and your home is unsafe. This might be a landmark or even a parent’s workplace.

Stocking a Basic Emergency Supply Kit A true emergency can leave you without basic services, including electricity, water, gas or sewage, for a few hours or a few days. Stock your family’s emergency kit with enough food, water and supplies to carry all of you through at least three days—and restock your kit once the emergency has passed. Be sure to include:

  • Water. One gallon per person per day to cover drinking and sanitation.
  • Food. At least a three-day supply of food per person. Pack non-perishables that require no refrigeration, preparation or water. Avoid salty foods. Include a can opener and scissors.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert. Pack extra batteries for both.
  • Hand-crank flashlight (or battery-powered flashlight and extra batteries).
  • First-aid kit including two pairs of sterile gloves; sterile wound dressing; soap and antibiotic wipes; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; and required prescription materials including insulin, asthma inhalers, glucose meters and heart medicine. Rotate medicine periodically by expiration dates.
  • A whistle to signal your location.
  • Garbage bags.
  • Wrench and pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Hand wipes.
  • Dust masks.
  • Local maps.
  • Cell phone with charger, inverter or solar charger.

Flood Coverage Learn how Nationwide comprehensive homeowners and flood insurance coverage can help get your home and belongings back in order. Contact your agent for details or visit

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