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Disaster’s Don’t Wait, Make Your Plan Today

Hodgen Mainda, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the State Fire Marshal, shares his perspective on why National Preparedness Month is important.

Ten years ago, Nashville and the surrounding areas were devastated by a flood whose magnitude will never be forgotten. As the floodwaters invaded Nashville, took lives and damaged property and public infrastructure, the nation watched with immense disbelief and sadness. As the floodwaters receded, we pulled together, volunteered and helped the city recover.

This year has brought a series of tornadoes, flooding and a derecho across Tennessee simultaneous with the spread of COVID-19, wildfires in the west and hurricanes in the gulf. We have yet again faced unbelievable sadness and devastation nationwide. As we always do, I know that Americans will pull together, overcome and move forward in the aftermath of immense devastation.           

September is National Preparedness Month. This month we take time to prepare for disasters and learn from past disasters. Unfortunately, disasters don’t wait, they can happen at anytime and anywhere. Therefore, it is important that you create a plan for you and your family today. It all starts with a conversation among your friends and family about how you will communicate, what you will need and where you will go before, during and after a disaster. In these unprecedented times, make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations due to the ongoing coronavirus.

Next, build a disaster kit. You should gather supplies for everyone living in your home and ensure the supply will last for several days after a disaster. Remember to consider the unique needs of each person or pet in case you must evacuate very quickly, such as specific medications and medical supplies. Be sure to include items such as face masks and hand sanitizer in case you must go to a shelter after the disaster strikes.

Not all insurance policies are the same and you should be sure to review your policy to make sure the amount and types of coverage you have meet your requirements for all possible hazards. For example, homeowner’s insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.  Flood insurance is vital for flood preparedness because aid can take months and it may not be enough to cover the costs of rebuilding a home in the aftermath of a flood. 

Having insurance for your home or business property is the best way to make sure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged.

As a nation, let’s volunteer to be better prepared by taking the right steps to protect the life you have built and your property. Preparedness begins with you.

Learn more at Ready.gov.

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Last updated September 29, 2020