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September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, and there's no time like the present to make sure you're as ready as possible for a disaster. We believe everyone should make sure their family or business is resilient against extreme weather, unforeseen trouble, and freak events. That's why we've rounded up some guidelines filled with links for more information so that you can lower your risk and keep safe.

 Remember, if you have questions or concerns about your coverage at any time, you should contact us. We want our customers to be informed and understand their policies. There's no such thing as a silly question. Call our office, email us at general_inquiry@markhaminsuranceagency.com, or send us a message through Facebook @MarkhamInsurance or Twitter @SJ_Markham. And of course, we love seeing our customers in person in our downtown Fitchburg office.

We'd also like to express our sympathy for those lost in the recent natural disasters. For those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, our thoughts are with you. We hope everyone is safe and doing okay.


 Protection for everyone

Everyone should sign up for emergency text messages, allowing you to stay informed about conditions in your area. You can sign up for alerts here.

It's important to know what property you have in case it is lost. The best way to do so is to make an inventory of your items and document them before anything happens. Then you won't be stuck wondering how many sets of antique china you have or forgetting the size of your flatscreen TV. FEMA has a great guide here that applies to homeowners, renters, and business owners.

Everyone should know how to shut off the gas, electricity, and water in the building. Don't rely on one employee or one family member who may or may not be around when something happens.

Have copies of important documents offsite either in a secure place or with someone you trust.

Remember, most policies DO NOT cover earthquakes and flooding. If you're worried about a burst pipe, contact our office today or use our free online quote form to get an estimate for flood or earthquake insurance.


Personal and family protection

Does everyone in your home know all of the escape routes? What if your ten year old daughter is on the second floor when a fire happens? Make sure you have a designated meeting place and that every family member knows where it is and how to get there from multiple places in your house.

Have an emergency kit with plenty of food and water, medicines, a first aid kit, copies of important documents such as bank records, your insurance policies, photocopies of everyone's IDs, and charging cords for phones and any important electronic devices. Make sure your kit is prepared for the right season too. You'll want blankets and so forth for colder months.

Designate an emergency contact person who doesn't live in the area. Make sure everyone knows who this person is and can memorize their phone number and/or email address, allowing you to check-in with each other if something happens away from home.

Identify any potential hazards in and around your home and make a plan for what you'll need to do or be aware of. Hazards will vary depending on the situation. What might be a hazard in a fire or in an earthquake?

The Center for Disease Control has a handy guide for emergency preparation, including information on how to keep your furry friends safe.


Business protection

Your business is your livelihood, but how sure are you that you can reopen after a disaster? The federal government estimates almost 40% of small businesses don't reopen after a weather-related disaster and the road to recovery can be long and challenging. The Small Business Administration has a guide catered to business needs.

There's a very good chance your business needs to have an Emergency Action Plan or EAP. Find out more here and make sure every employee is aware of this plan and can follow it.

Your building should have flood coverage, the cost of which will vary depending on the building and its contents. Even if you can't see how your area would flood, pipes burst and accidents happen. See FEMA's guide for five ways you can lower your flood insurance premium.

Consider having an office go bag for emergencies. Items you may want to consider having include backups of important information, insurance policy numbers, first aid supplies, office calendar, employee contact information, finance records, book of passwords, and so forth. Ensure every employee knows where this bag is and decide who is responsible for it.

 Who is your leader if regular managers have the day off? Elect someone calm and responsible and make sure everyone knows this chain of command. 





From all of us at SJ Markham & Son, Inc., we hope you have a safe and happy September!

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