Whether caused by Mother Nature or a person, an emergency can throw our lives into chaos. But being prepared in case an emergency strikes can help minimize the impact. How prepared are you? September is National Preparedness Month, a great time to evaluate your emergency readiness. The following tips will help you be prepared for some common emergencies. Like an insurance policy, I hope you never need to make use of your preparation, but it’s important that you do indeed prepare.
Set up an emergency plan with your family. Sit down with your family members and plan where you’ll meet and how you’ll contact each other in an emergency. Keep in mind the types of emergencies you may encounter such as fire, flood, and tornado and that not all household members may be at home when the emergency occurs. Remember, you can’t rely on cell phones to keep in touch! Cell phone towers could be damaged or circuits could be busy.
Minimize the impact of a lost purse or wallet:
- Carry only essential items. For example, leave seldom-used store credit cards at home and only take them with you when you plan to shop at those stores. Don’t carry your Social Security card or anything with this number unless it’s necessary.
- Record the important information you carry. Photocopy the front and back of each card and file the copies in your safe-deposit box, fireproof safe, or filing cabinet.
- If credit cards are lost or stolen, notify the credit card issuers and the police, credit reporting agencies, and the Social Security Administration (SSA). We’re all aware that we must notify the issuing companies if our credit cards are lost or stolen. In addition, you should notify the police, credit reporting agencies, and SSA, which demonstrates your effort to prevent fraud. Any company that checks your credit will know your information was lost or stolen. The agencies to contact are:
Trans Union 800-680-7289
Social Security Administration Fraud Line: 800-269-0271
Make a record of your possessions. If a disaster strikes, you’ll need to provide documentation of your possessions to your insurance company. Take time now to prepare this. Video or photograph the contents of your home. Keep receipts from major purchases such as furniture, audio-visual equipment, and jewelry to prove ownership. Keep receipts for home improvements and consider storing paint strips and fabric swatches. File your documentation in a safe-deposit box or fire-resistant safe.
List your important financial and personal records. This will help you easily find or reconstruct important records. List or photocopy vital documents (such as your will, life-insurance policies, and stock certificates), note the location of each item, and note the appropriate contact information. Keep a copy in your files at home and store one in your safe-deposit box or fireproof safe. Also, consider giving a copy to a trusted friend, family member, financial advisor, or attorney.
For more information about planning for emergencies, visit www.Ready.gov. If getting prepared” sounds overwhelming, consider implementing just one tip each week – then you’ll be ready for anything. If you’d like help organizing your home or paperwork to be prepared for an emergency, please get in touch.
Wishing you simplicity, harmony and freedom,