Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti – A Disaster Preparedness Lesson 7 Tips to Help You

Once more, we are reminded about the awful effect and cost of human life, livelihoods and resources that are a result of an earthquake. This time in Haiti on January 12th.

Add to those tears the heartbreak of crumbling public and holy buildings full of memories, faith and art. Unfortunately, though, the country will not likely be on a fast track for repair. It’s too rural, not magnificent enough, not published in all the art books, not world famous enough -- and there is a lot of damage to deal with during trying economic times.

Of course, the center of damage is now rubble. But, there are many, many homes in the area that were only badly rattled. That’s the case, also, in a hurricane, tornado or even a bad storm; a focused area gets the brunt of the impact and the vast outlying areas just get shook up. So, actually, there are huge numbers of people that were not physically at risk, but they may have lost and had damaged many cherished family treasures.

Disaster preparedness for your personal items includes knowing how to protect your genealogy, heirlooms, photographs, letters, old books, art work and important documents. Set priorities and protect, first, your most important items. Here are 7 tips to help you be better prepared:

  1. Use an anchor wax to secure items that can fly off shelves and rattle around in display cases. (Home Depot) This is a VERY good tip!

  1. Keep photos in archival photo albums that are easy to grab and go. Keep them in a book case or storage box that is easy to get to.

  1. Keep storage boxes away from water pipes (water heaters too) that could break and flood on your treasured items (causing water and mold damage).

  1. Make sure hanging hooks AND wires are strong, oversized and well anchored into the wood. I can’t tell you how many paintings and frames I’ve repaired that fall off the wall onto a corner of a table or through a vase. Or what about that heavy item hanging over your head in bed!!??

  1. Photograph treasured keepsakes and copy docs; keep a copy in another location (another city or state!)

  1. You may need supplemental insurance for earthquakes. Make sure your homeowner’s policy covers your contents. Heirlooms should not require a Fine Arts rider but should fall under your regular home owner’s policy. You will still need photos and values for a claim (go to www.faclappraisals.com).

  1. Get a copy of “How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster” (www.saveyourstuff.com).

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