Preparing for Disaster

With hurricane season bearing down upon us, we are reminded once again about the importance of preparation for that storm that may hit.  But preparing doesn't just mean having extra water, gas in your car and a first aid kit.  It is important to make sure YOU are safe, but beyond that you can take steps to protect what is yours and minimize the impacts of a natural disaster.  Here are some things to consider when preparing for a storm:

Organize your records so they are handy in case of evacuation or for easy access when filing claims.  Bank On Hampton Roads offers a great checklist for you to use.  Download our FINANCIAL RECORDS ORGANIZER to make sure you have the essentials. You may even want to scan an electronic copy of valuable records so that it can be kept on a flash drive or shared with a guardian of records in case of emergency.

Contacts:  Have an out of town contact who knows your plan of action.  If you need to evacuate, let them know where you will likely travel and how they can be in contact.  They can serve as a communications person in the event that you are out of area.  You can then focus on your own plan of action and not have to worry about keeping family and friends in the loop.

Take photos now:  Have a record of the condition of your valuables before the storm arrives.  It will help you as you are filing insurance claims should damage occur.  It will also help you remember some of the things that may have been lost in a storm.  As you take photos write down a little inventory for yourself.

Minimize the threat:  Move valuables where they are less likely to become damaged in a storm (away from windows or perhaps out of the basement).  Also look around outside for things that might become loose or airborne in high winds.  Move them to a location where they are secure.  Trash cans, bicycles, children's toys, yard art etc should be moved to a location where it can't fly.

Have some cash:  If hurricane should render services ineffective (electricity and water) it may be difficult to get to your funds.  Ready cash for gas, necessary supplies for clean up or to purchase services to remove debris and trees makes recovery much easier.

When to flee: Make a plan with your family about when you will plan to evacuate.  Where will you go?  Where will you stay?  What will you take with you?  It is better to flee and be safe from disaster than to stay and place yourself in harm's way.

When to return: After a storm passes, it may not be safe to return immediately.  Make sure you have access to local news and information to know what travel locations are open and what is still closed.  Also, prepare yourself for the potential of utilities interruption for a period of time; downed trees and flooded waterways can create interruptions in service.  This kind of information will help you know what you need on your return.

Bank On Hampton Roads wants you to be prepared, stay safe and weather the storms of life with minimal disruption.  Prior planning is a great way to start.