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Are you ready for an emergency?

(NC) Unexpected emergencies occur time and again in communities and cities across the country. These events have the potential to put you and your home at risk. There are ways, however, to reduce the risks from natural events, from technological or environmental accidents, and from human-caused incidents.

“Over the years, various emergency situations including hurricanes, flooding, blackouts, and accidents have impacted Canadians and the homes we own,” says Steve Gray, a broker with Royal LePage Kelowna. “However, you can prepare and follow up after such emergencies in a variety of ways to reduce the impact on both you and your investment.” Gray advises taking these steps:

Check your insurance. Adequate insurance coverage can help you replace what's lost, and cover your expenses if you are forced to leave your home during an emergency. Discuss your needs with an insurance representative.

Prepare your home emergency kit. Your emergency kit should include enough food, water and supplies to meet your needs for at least three days. In addition, it should include copies of important documents related to your home insurance, financial/banking information and medical prescriptions. Also be sure to include in your kit clothing and supplies required should you and your pets be evacuated from your home.

Following an emergency, check your home for damaged utilities. If you smell natural gas – which is odourless in its raw form, although a smell, like rotten eggs is added for your safety – vacate the premises and call your natural gas provider immediately. If you see damaged or frayed electrical wires, or detect a water leak, contact your utility provider immediately. Turn off the main fuse box/breaker panel or water at the main valve where the water pipe enters your home.

Be sure to use home generators with caution and only outdoors in well-ventilated areas. Do not use charcoal or gas barbecues or camping equipment indoors.

While facing an emergency in your community comes with challenges, preparing for such an event can help you and your family to cope with the situation more effectively and to ward off potential additional setbacks. More information is available at www.royallepage.ca.

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