Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes: Are you prepared?

Jennifer Y. Ross
Published on April 1, 2019

Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes: Are you prepared?

Hurricane season in 2018 was brutal. We saw eight hurricanes, with Florence and Michael producing the most significant damage.

Hurricane season this year begins on June 1.

Last month, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, declared a state of emergency in preparation for the 2019 wildfire season. The declaration allows him to waive environmental restrictions “to speed up fire prevention projects …” according to CBS Los Angeles.

Notice the key concept in that announcement: Preparation.

With a couple of months’ lead time, even the most unprepared homeowner can take steps to keeping his or her family and home safe during natural disasters.

Family first

We’ve all seen the news reports about people who wait until the last minute to stock up on supplies when a killer storm is expected. Don’t be one of them, facing picked over hardware items and empty shelves at the grocery store.

First, make a plan. Questions to have the answers to include:

How will we contact one another?

It is especially important for children to know the plan in case of an emergency. Designate one adult family member to be the designated contact. recommends choosing someone who lives out of town in case cell service is down in your area.

Write down the contact’s phone number and a reminder of the meeting spots and keep it in your child’s school bag. Cell phones may not be working

Where will we meet?

If your children are older, pick a meeting spot that’s close to home and an alternative spot that is outside the neighborhood in case roads are blocked.

If we have to evacuate, what is the best route?

Plan your route before disaster strikes. Figure out where you can go if evacuation is ordered. Think friends, family members or a hotel. The experts at suggest that you “Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.”

Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.

Always keep enough fuel in your car to get to your destination.

Do you have emergency supplies set aside? You’ll need a lot more than water if the power is out for any length of time. Find a list of what to set aside for emergencies at

Keep an emergency survival kit in the trunk of your automobile (especially if you live where earthquakes occur). Include, at the very minimum a portable radio, cell phone charger, matches, flashlights and batteries, blankets, extra shoes and socks in case you need to walk to your destination and drinking water.

You’ll find a list of other items to include at and on the National Safety Council’s website.

Don’t forget the pets

Although many Americans consider their pets as part of the family, they’re frequently left off the to-do list when considering prepping for the expected or unexpected that nature throws our way.

So, we’ve compiled that list for you and your pets:

  • Ensure that each of your pets is microchipped. Then, if a hurricane or other natural disaster is expected, ensure that they’re wearing collars with up-to-date identification tags firmly attached to the collars.
  • Don’t leave your pets behind if you need to evacuate. Have a plan on where you will take them before finding shelter for yourself. Ideas may include hotels that allow pets, boarding facilities outside of the danger zone, a friend or relative’s home, also outside the danger zone.
  • Keep a pet emergency kit. You can buy them online or create your own. has a brilliant list of items you’ll need in your kit.

Get more tips at

Items you’ll need for an insurance claim

Do you have an inventory of all of your belongings? If not, get that done now, before hurricane and wildfire seasons arrive. Photographs or video are ideal ways of cataloging your belongings. Be sure to include purchase dates and places and serial numbers.

If you need help visit the Insurance Information Institute’s website.

Then, keep copies of other important documents such as your driver’s license, insurance paperwork, bank account numbers, the deed to your home or your mortgage company’s contact information, vital statistics documents (birth, marriage, citizenship or Green Card).

Go to for more information on how to protect important documents and which ones you may need during and after a disaster.

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Introduction to Jennifer Y. Ross & The Westchester Living Team at COMPASS

Jennifer comes from Platinum Drive to Compass as an experienced agent. She epitomized Platinum Drive Realty’s motto “I grew up here. I live here. I sell homes here” and she is known for providing each of her clients with an exceptional experience guided by her expert local knowledge. She works tirelessly to ensure each of her clients has a professional, enjoyable and successful Westchester community & home buying search or selling experience. She often remains very friendly with her clients and welcomes the opportunity to be an ongoing resource as they settle into Westchester Living. Every step she takes will embody her core principals; integrity can never be compromised, clients’ interests always come first and character, commitment, and passion truly matter. For her buyer clients, Jennifer looks forward to the opportunity of being “Your NYC to Westchester” guide and real estate broker. For her seller clients, Jennifer is proficient at implementing an aggressive marketing strategy in order to obtain the best price possible in a highly efficient and seamless manner. Jennifer thoroughly enjoys assisting buyer clients in navigating the landscape of the Westchester residential real estate market. She is skilled at enabling clients to define where they see opportunity & facilitating the process from initial search through closing. Jennifer was awarded the Platinum Drive Star Award for Outstanding Performance in Sales & Client Services in 2014 & Platinum Drive Realty’s Superstar Award for Excellence in Sales and Client Services 2015 & 2016 for her outstanding performance in sales and client service. In addition to her passion for local real estate, Jennifer has a firsthand understanding of home renovation and new construction. Upon moving from NYC to Scarsdale, she and her husband performed an extensive renovation on their first home. After completion, they moved onto their second project in Larchmont, a full house renovation and expansion. More recently she is active with local developers who specialize in new home construction, home expansions and renovations. Jennifer has the ability to understand a home’s full potential and can help clients find or create their dream home. Jennifer was the Manager of Platinum Drive Realty’s Larchmont Office. Jennifer was raised in Scarsdale. After graduating from Scarsdale High School, Jennifer received a BA in Child Study & Sociology from Tufts University and an MA in Language & Literacy from New York University. Jennifer currently lives in Larchmont with her husband, Michael, and their three sons, Braden, Devon & Zane. She specializes in communities in Southern Westchester with a concentrated focus on the Sound Shore Communities of Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Rye Neck, Rye, New Rochelle as well as her hometown of Scarsdale. Prior to real estate, Jennifer was a teacher in the Mamaroneck Public Schools. Jennifer has a deep understanding of the local school systems and the needs of young families.

Professional Associations & Accreditation

Jennifer is a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker & has her Accredited Buyer Representative designation (ABR) and her Seller Representative Specialist designation (SRS).  Jennifer is a member of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors & the National Association of Realtors. Jennifer’s


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