Looming Crisis: How To Get Prepared

Looming Crisis: How To Get Prepared

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A category 3 hurricane is bearing down on your area or a wildfire threatens to burn out of control, putting you and your loved ones in harm’s way. Not all disasters give us much warning, including earthquakes that rattle west coast cities or a tsunami that washes away a tiny fishing village.

If you are fortunate enough to have some warning before disaster hits, then there are some steps you can take ahead of the looming crisis. Time is of the essence: the sooner you take action, the more likely your family will get through this big challenge with their safety secured.

Here is what you need to know about getting prepared when a crisis is unfolding:

1. Gather your family. The sooner that disaster may strike, the quicker you will have to make your exit. Gather your family together and prepare for an immediate evacuation. Bring your pets with you. In some cases, such as a wildfire, you may be able to escape only with the clothes on your backs.

2. Bring your most significant documents with you. You will need identification wherever you go. Besides your driver’s license, bring with you your passports, Social Security cards and your health records, including your insurance cards. A copy of your homeowner’s policy should be with you too. The best place to keep these items is in a secure, fireproof box.

3. Certain bills should go with you too. If your home is severely damaged or destroyed, you will need to get in touch with your creditors to inform them of your loss. Copies of credit card statements, car loans and personal loans should go with you. Keep these papers in your fireproof box too.

4. Keep cash on hand. If your area loses power, then bank ATMs will not work. Nor will grocery stores be able to handle electronic transactions. As you leave your area, stop by your bank’s ATM to withdraw cash, if time permits. Most banks restrict withdrawals to $600 per day, so keep enough money on hand to see you through at least one week, if not two.

5. Visit your service station. You won’t get far if your car is low on fuel. Top off the tank as you leave town. Keep your roadside assistance number with you. If time permits, check your emergency kits (first-aid and car) to ensure that all items are present.

Make Haste

If time permits, take inventory of your home. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to take pictures of every room with your smartphone. Those images can be stored in the cloud for later retrieval from other devices.

You should also bring with you your important phone numbers including your doctors, dentist, your insurance company and bank. Load these numbers onto your cell phone and bring a cell phone car charger with you.

Once a disaster passes, you will be in a position to react immediately. Contact your insurer if there was damage to your home and notify the police. Check on your neighbors and begin to piece your life back together.

See AlsoHow to Prepare for a Major Disaster

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