Disasters come in endless varieties – sewage backflows, lightning strikes, earthquakes, wind damage, fires and hurricanes or even burst pipes.
Whatever the cause, everything stops – abruptly.
The Restoration Industry Association has compiled
this list of things to keep in mind when preparing your home or office
for general emergencies:
Ask yourself: If you had to leave your home or business for three weeks, what would you wish that you
• Inspect every area and assess its vulnerability to water. Water is almost always a factor in disasters,
whether from fire suppression, roof damage, plumbing failures, chemical spills or earth tremors, even
when the damage originates on a remotely higher floor. Nothing but furniture and durable equipment
should be stored directly on the floor. Paper records and items are instant casualties.
• Desk and table tops are vulnerable to water from sprinklers or runoff from higher floors, as well as to
smoke and heat damage. Make sure important papers and files are put away in a filing cabinet or
• Take photos of each room in your house or apartment, save them to a CD and print hard copies. Keep
one set to take with you and a second set off site (e.g., safe deposit box, relative’s home). This gives
you a digital inventory of the major contents in your house and what they looked like prior to water or
• Back up your computers and keep the information where it’s easily accessible in an evacuation as well
as at an offsite location. (This is particularly important for people who work from home.)
• Businesses should maintain a moderate stock of emergency supplies. A few dozen plastic tarps, a
couple of wet-pickup vacuums with wands and floor attachments, and a few floor squeegees provide a
primary level of protection at a moderate cost. A case of absorbent wipes can also be useful. Rapid
response is the key to damage control. The ability to swiftly deploy tarps over computers, production
equipment, file cabinets and other critical components can dramatically curtail the extent of damage.
• If you have advance warning of a peril, charge cell phones, laptops, PDAs, etc. in case you’re without
electricity for a few days.
Items to keep in your emergency kit or gather during an evacuation if possible:
• Insurance information – health & homeowners
• Family photos, irreplaceable mementos/jewelry
• Digital inventory CD and printout
• Wallet, checkbook and credit cards
• Canned goods, baby food & food for pets
• Can opener/multi-purpose tool/sharp knife
• Bottled water, MREs, water purification tablets
• Work gloves & boots
• Water proof matches & candles
• Transistor radio, flashlight & extra batteries
• Duct tape, electrical tape
• Toiletries, toilet paper, feminine products, diapers, wipes
• First aid kit
• Cell phone, laptop & car chargers
• Extra clothing (i.e., socks, underwear)
• Sleeping bag
• Address book, paper, pens
• Medication & prescriptions
• Extra batteries
For more information, contact the Restoration Industry Association in Columbia, Maryland, (443) 878-
1000 or visit www.restorationindustry.org.
For water, mold, smoke and fire damage, contact AM/PM Restoration Services, LLC 24/7 at 602-862-9307