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Disaster Planning

If a major storm or other natural disaster strikes your neighborhood, how well would your family cope? You can take steps to prepare for a home emergency — steps that can help protect your loved ones and important family and financial records.

Have an Evacuation Plan

You may have to leave your home quickly when a storm is approaching or if damage has already occurred. Draw up an evacuation route and identify a meeting place in case anyone becomes separated. Make sure you have the following items ready in a disaster supply kit to take with you:

  • Nonperishable food, bottled water, flashlights, a radio, and spare batteries
  • Medicines and first-aid supplies
  • Cell phones, chargers, computers, and a backup hard drive
  • Extra clothes and bedding
  • Family heirlooms and photo albums
  • Account numbers, access codes, and contact information

Organize Documents

Take the time now to organize your important documents and put them in a safe place. Make copies of vital records and send them to an out-of-town friend or relative. Birth, death, and marriage certificates; passports; military records; Social Security cards; divorce and child custody papers; mortgage papers and property deeds; and stock or bond certificates can be kept in a bank safe deposit box. Just don’t keep the original of your will in a bank safe deposit box because the bank may seal the box temporarily at your death.

Create a Photographic Record

Photograph or video record your property’s exterior, your vehicles and furniture, collectibles, and the contents of your garage and closets, and keep the photos someplace other than your home. You may need this photographic record for insurance purposes.

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