The Homeownership Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have released a free emergency preparedness guide for homeowners with tips on emergency supplies, emergency planning and terrorist threats.

“We were approached by the Department of Homeland Security to work on the guide because we do a lot to promote the fact that the American home is where many people have most of their money and we want to help them keep it safe and protect their investment,” said Karen Kay Chappell, spokeswoman for the Homeownership Alliance.

The guide was written by the DHS as part of its “Ready” campaign, created to help Americans be prepared for disasters and emergencies, Chappell said. The Homeownership Alliance is paying for printing and distribution.

The guide’s release will be formally announced today at a kick-off event at Habitat for Humanity International’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The guide advises how to seal off a room against airborne chemicals or other substances. Other tips include lists of necessary supplies and first aid items during disaster or attack.

One especially useful idea: Identify a meeting place in advance for all family members to get together in case of a terrorist attack or other disaster.

“That’s a good one,” said Chappell. “I’m in Richmond, Va., and during Hurricane Isabel there was no land phone service, and cell service was spotty. It would have been difficult to reach individual family members during the disaster and set up a meeting place.”

The Alliance will distribute 125,000 copies of the guide through 15,000 local Realtor offices, Habitat for Humanity International and other Homeownership Alliance member organizations. The guide will also be available as a PDF at www.homeownershipalliance.com.

“Realtors can put the guides in the closing materials and papers when people buy a home. And Habitat for Humanity will give them to folks when they turn over the homes they’ve built to the owners. Those are the two organizations who are involved in getting people moved into homes,” Chappell said.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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