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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month---What's Your Plan?

Ah.....summer is here.  Don't you just love summer?  Hot days spent outdoors at the beach, in the mountains, by the pool or at campgrounds.  I can sense my blood pressure dropping as I write this.

Now that the summer months are here, the threat of tornadoes has lessened somewhat but now hurricane season is here.  For those who live in coastal areas, hurricane season is a real concern.  Even if you don't live right on the water, many living hundreds of miles inland of the hurricane's path can and often are affected in the form of flooding from torrential rain, high winds and tornadoes. (So much for that low blood pressure).

What if you had to evacuate your home?

SafelyFiled has recently become a member of FEMA.gov's National Disaster Committee where businesses, non-profit organizations and private citizens come together to provide information and services to the public regarding disaster planning and response.  One helpful article put out by that committee is Evacuation Preparations which you can read here.

If you find that you need to evacuate yourself and family, the article above lists some things you can and should do as a part of that plan.  But one thing it doesn't mention that should be a part of your evacuation plan is your important documents.  Documents such as your passports, medical records, mortgage paperwork, immunization records, insurance policies and the like.  Many of us have these documents in our homes in a "safe" place but may not even think about taking them with us if we had to vacate our homes. If your home is destroyed in a disaster, those original copies of documents may be destroyed as well and it can take weeks and even months to get them replaced and at a cost. 

No plan?  Here's some ideas to get you started.

We have a few ideas for you to think about getting into place as a part of your action plan where your important documents are concerned:

 1.  Scan or take digital images of all your important documents and put those digital images into SafelyFiled.  Give access to those files to loved ones, friends or professionals who may need access to them in the event something happens to you or if you're in a place where you can't get internet access yourself.   Use the Location Field of SafelyFiled to indicate where the original copies of those documents are if originals are kept and needed for legal purposes. 

 2.  Put originals of documents in a place where they are safe from fire, flood or other disaster but are accessible where you can get to them quickly to take with you if needed.  One of our affiliates,  LifeInCase, has a handy case that you can purchase to store originals in and be easily grabbed for quick evacuation.  Watch their video for more info.  They offer SafelyFiled members a 10% discount on these handy cases if you place an order using the promo code SAFELYFILED at check out.

 3.  Take a photo inventory of your home and contents, including serial numbers of electronics and appliances and put those photos in your SafelyFiled account.  Be sure to scan and upload any associated warranties with those items too.  This is a great idea to do anyway and then grant access to those files to your insurance agent.  There are services available to do this for you if don't have the time.  One such service can be found on our Affiliation page called Picture This Inventory (www.picturethisinventory.com).

We have free checklists on our website for you that can be downloaded and used to help gather together important documents.  Included in our checklists is one that specifically talks about the retention periods for certain files and suggestions on who you may need to share those files with. Be sure to take advantage of those checklists as needed.

Peace of mind

There are so many things that we have no control over.  But there is great peace of mind knowing you've been proactive in taking necessary precautions in the event of tragedy.

Now my blood pressure has dropped again :-)

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