Preparing for Disaster

The world watched in shock and sadness this week as flames tore through the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. What would happen to the priceless relics and artwork in the cathedral? And what would happen to the cathedral itself, after it stood for centuries? As the week progresses, we’ve heard good news that many items were saved, either rescued during the blaze or prior to it due to the ongoing construction. In addition, most of the exquisite stained glass windows survived and there are already donations pouring in to help begin the rebuilding process.

In the midst of all the news coverage, did you ever stop to think about what would happen to you and your life should you suddenly be faced with a disaster of your own? Natural disasters, house fires and general mayhem can happen at any time. Are you prepared to keep your financial life in order? Or at least prepared to recover with as little inconvenience as possible? Check out our tips below for help.

  1. Keep all your critical paperwork together and in a readily accessible place. This way, should you ever need everything in a hurry, you won’t have to rummage around trying to find that last important piece of paper.
  2. Keep all this information in more than one place. Yes, do keep a copy in a safe place at home but also consider keeping copies in a bank safe deposit box as well as scanning or taking photos and storing them to a secure online location or on the cloud.
  3. Don’t forget your pet records. Most shelters that take pets will require their shot records. Should you need to seek temporary shelter in a place that will not take pets, you will likely need to find shelter for them at a local boarding facility. Most of these businesses will also require that shots be up-to-date. The easiest way to show that is with a copy of your pet’s latest vet records. In addition, be sure your pet’s collar has your contact information AND that your pet is chipped so you can be reunited should you be separated.

Just what should you keep in this emergency file?

  1. Photo IDs to prove identity of all household members (again, don’t forget your pets).
  2. Birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, etc. which would be necessary to renew lost drivers’ licenses, establish new utilities if necessary, etc.
  3. Insurance policies, inventory and photos of your household possessions to speed insurance claims. A simple way to do this is just take your smartphone and video the contents of each room in your home. Put the video on a flash drive to keep in a bank safety deposit box, keep one in your secure file at home AND save one to the cloud.
  4. A list of all your creditors with account numbers, website and customer service numbers to contact them to arrange new payment options (if necessary) or to notify them of your new/temporary address.
  5. Any pertinent medical information or histories for family members. This includes prescriptions, health insurance information and physician contact information.

These are just a few tips which we hope you never need! Check out this website: https://www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness for further information and more details.


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