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Monday, June 10

Would YOU be prepared in the event of a natural disaster?

The deadly tornadoes that have hit in the Midwestern US are a wake-up call for us all to make sure we do what we can to be prepared to face severe weather. A natural disaster like a tornado can form at any time, sometimes with little to no forewarning. Having a family emergency plan in place just might save lives.

I remember the devastation when an F1 tornado touched down in Leamington back in 2010.  While luckily no one was seriously injured many homes and businesses were severely damaged. I remember driving out there weeks later and seeing the extent of the damage personally. Seacliff Park, a place we love to picnic at as a family, was right in the tornado path. The majority of it's majestic centuries old trees were either knocked down or severely damaged, leaving a landscape that was permanently and seriously changed.  Having a natural disaster take place so close to home and at somewhere we visit regularly was a real eye opener for me.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, insured losses from natural catastrophes in Canada are close to one billion dollars a year.  You're at greatest risk of being struck by a Tornado if you live in southern Ontario, southern Quebec, Atlantic Canada or the Prairies.

So what can you do to reduce your risk?

Take inventory.

Prepare a household inventory, useful for an emergency situation, but also invaluable for insurance purposes if anything should happen to your home. Anything from a plain old burglary to a fire or an unexpected natural disaster might cause some of your valuables to become damaged or disappear.

When we purchased our first home, I remember our insurance broker suggested that we use our digital camera to take photos or video of EVERYTHING in our house. She said just walk around the house and snap photos of every room so if heaven forbid we should ever have to make a claim we would have some proof of what our personal valuables entailed. Just writing this it occurs to me that our household inventory predates our kids, and badly needs updating. IBC has a handy home inventory form available on their website under the resources tab.

Think it through.

Be prepared. What does your family need to know before hand?  What if you're not together when an emergency strikes, where will you meet up? Create a family emergency kit and an emergency preparedness plan. Talk to your kids about what to do in the event of a natural disaster.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada's website has some great tips on how to make yourself less vulnerable to Tornado damage; everything from how to physically prepare your home, how to assemble a family emergency kit, and how to create an emergency preparedness plan for your family, to what to do in the event of an actual storm.

I just had a discussion my girls last week, based on the fact that the 5 year old was trying to convince her little sister that the best place to hide out in the storm was pressed up against a window at the tip of the top of the house, when actually the safest place to be is in a basement or cellar, as far away from windows as possible. Of course my daughter also still has an Oz obsession, and gets gleefully excited at the idea of a Tornado, which might spin her off to visit Dorothy and Toto. It's a careful line between trying to keep her safe, and having her understand what to do in an emergency, and trying to help her not cringe in fear of every rainstorm that passes through.

How do you discuss emergency preparedness with your kids? Do you have a family plan in place?

Disclosure: Although this post has generously been sponsored by Insurance Bureau of Canada, the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect Insurance Bureau of Canada.
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Hi, I'm , a Canadian stay at home mom to two rambunctious little girls.
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