Nature is a powerful force, both uncontrollable by man and often unpredictable. When natural disasters do strike, they leave families homeless and broke. The only way to avoid this situation happening to you, is to be ready for any disasters that could affect your area. Keep your finances, important documents, family, and home safe with these preparation measures.
Store Important Documents in a Safe Place
The first step in natural disaster preparedness is locating and organizing a container to store all of your important documents. This container should be portable, durable, and fireproof. The types of documents to store in this container include copies of you and your family’s driver licenses, social security cards, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, photos, and descriptions of larger valuables.
In an emergency evacuation situation, it will be vital to take this box with you. It will aid in lessening the confusion after disaster strikes. The sooner you file reports after damage occurs, the quicker you can receive compensation. Also, with your creditor information in this box, you can contact them to ask a reprieve from payment during the chaos.
For other priceless items like photos or digital documents, back them up through a cloud service so that you don’t ever lose them, even if your computer is damaged in a natural disaster.
Create an Emergency Fund
Always have an emergency cash fund set aside both in your home, and at your bank. The bank account should be easily accessible from an online banking account in an emergency. The cash amount you keep in your home should be enough to last you about a week’s worth of necessities for you and your family in case of power outages in which you can’t access your debit or credit accounts.
Know What Your Insurance Covers
First, you need to make sure your home insurance is current. The next step is to figure out what exactly it covers. Areas of coverage to look for include flood, earthquake, fire, tornado, and hurricane insurance on your home. If you’ve just moved to a new state, check the home insurance rates in your state, because different areas need different coverage.
Once you find out all of your information, you’ll want to create a disaster contact list for your emergency box. Include insurance companies, creditors, mortgage companies, and other important contacts on this list.
Insurance is one of the most important elements of natural disaster preparedness. The Oklahoma tornadoes that struck in May of 2013, topped $1 million in property and insurance claims. Hurricane Andrew, that struck the southern tip of Florida in 1992, totaled $15.5 billion at that time which adjusts for inflation at $25 billion in 2012 dollars.
Prepare Your Home
Preparing your home for a natural disaster consists of everything from general preparedness with emergency food supply, to immediately securing your home. Different areas need to prepare for area specific disasters. For areas prone to wildfires, always keep the trees and brush around the home trimmed, clear dead vegetation around your home, and consistently remove debris from the gutters. If you’re thinking of building a home, opt for roofing materials like tile, metal, and slate which are safer than asphalt and wood.
For flatter areas prone to tornadoes, build a safe room in or outside the home that will withstand destructive winds and flying debris. There’s no excuse for putting off building this room, it could save your family’s life.
Homes in areas along fault lines, also known as earthquake zones, should always have bookcases, shelves, and grandfather clocks secured to walls, and any other large furnishing that are hazardous during an earthquake should be stabilized too. If you’re building a house in an earthquake zone, talk to your builders about building shear walls under your first floor. These walls absorb the force of the earthquake and transfer that force to the ground.
For coastal regions vulnerable to hurricanes, buy a generator in case of power outages, cover or tape your windows in case of flooding or high wind speeds, make sure your sump pump works as well. A good measure to take is storing canned food, bottled water, and extra gasoline in case of hurricane emergencies. Also have plywood panels made to fit all your windows so you can easily slip them on.
Natural disasters are scary but they don’t have to completely ruin your life. Keep your finances, family, and home safe by always being prepared for the worst situations. You never know when disaster could strike.