The following tips come from Cheryl Harper, regional manager for Catholic Mutual Group, the leading provider of property, liability and employee benefit coverage and related services for the Catholic Church in the North America.
1. Gather your important documents for you and all family members, such as birth certificates, passports, credit cards and all account numbers and passwords, insurances, wills, regular bills, etc. You can also take pictures of these documents on your smart phone as a backup and email them to yourself so you have them in two different places.
2. Take any prescription medications with you and keep renewal information handy (such as doctor’s name and contact number). Remember your glasses and contacts.
3. Make sure all important computer files are backed up so they are not lost. “I have everything backed up on the cloud,” Harper said.
4. Using your smart phone, video your home, room by room, closet by closet, to document your possessions, so in case of a disaster, you can prove what you had for insurance reimbursement.
5. Take with you jewelry, a first-aid kit, safe-deposit box keys and any heirloom items that may have been passed down or have important or special personal meaning. Take your photographs and photo albums in plastic bags. Remember charging cords for your computer and phone.
6. Establish an emergency call list and update it regularly, especially before hurricane season so your relatives and coworkers know how to contact you and you know how to contact them.
7. Think about your home and property. Trim tree branches and limbs back away from your home or roof. Clean your storm drains of leaves, trash or grass so water will drain. Bring any objects that could become projectiles in a storm inside a garage or home.
8. Review and reassess home insurance coverage and base this on the current value of your home. Pay special attention to the named storm deductibles.
9. If you plan to evacuate, perform basic car maintenance (fill up car with gas, check fluid levels, tire pressure), clean out your refrigerator and freezer, shut off water, unplug appliances and electronics such as televisions and computers. It is recommended – starting at the beginning of hurricane season in June – to keep items in refrigerator/freezer to a minimum, so there is less spoilage to worry about when leaving.
10. Take at least three days’ worth of non-perishable food, water (a gallon a day per person is recommended) and clothing and personal hygiene items for every member of your family, since you might not know where you will land. Don’t forget a can opener and moist towelettes.
A printable version of a checklist for businesses and families prepared by FEMA is available at: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
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