Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Prepare for an Emergency

When Tragedy Hits – Be Prepared   The tornado and horrible storms hit the Midwest while I was visiting my family. Those storms brought another house cleaning chore to mind and one that I need to bring current as well.

     So what would happen if you heard a tornado warning or listening to the news were told to evacuate? Your home and all your possessions are about to be demolished – everything gone in minutes. You have time to take only a few things. What will you grab?

     You best have your important papers handy and in one spot so you can grab them and head out the door.

Here is a list of things to help you prepare for an emergency:

1)      Take pictures of every item in your home – don't you love those digital cameras? Include pictures of everything, computers, jewelry, cars, collections like baseball cards, appliances, tools, computers everything you own needs to be on film including an overall picture of your closets, cabinets etc. 

Now copy those pictures to your computer and save that to a separate CD. Then start by placing one picture per page into a folder titled Household items or whatever is best for you. On that page list when you purchased the item, how much you paid for it and the item name.

2)      Also keep receipts for everything that is a major purchase. Appliances, computers, cameras, furniture tools, locate all the receipts you can. Beginning today keep all receipts for major purchases in one place where you can grab them easily.

3)      Your insurance papers and any and all important documents like birth certificates, SSN papers, CDs or stocks you may own, a copy of your last pay stub, passports, a few checks from your bank and a couple of withdrawal stubs, a copy of one statement from each of your credit cards and any other document that will give you the information you need to start your life again. 

Take Copies Make a copy of your drivers license front and back along with a copy of your insurance cards and your credit cards front and back. These items will help clear your identity.

Make a living will along with a regular will or instructions on how to settle your estate should something happen to you.

4)      Start a spread sheet folder with the names of all your banks, CDs, your stocks who they are with and the amounts, when and where you purchased them and when they are due along with the name and number of your broker or bank etc where they were purchased. 

Also list all your credit cards, who issued them, the amount owed and a phone number to call if something goes wrong. This is an excellent idea anyway in case your billfold is stolen. Include copies of your 401K plan and your IRA and savings deposits.

Add to that the name and phone number of your insurance agent and who to call in case of emergency. Include any hospital phone number, your doctor, dentist and all pertinent phone numbers – family members included. When you are in the middle of a catastrophe it is easy to forget your own phone number let alone that of family. Don't assume you will remember – trust me you won't. I've been through both a hurricane and a tornado. You will not remember.  

5)      I have never read where experts advise this but after hurricane Katrina I have also included pieces of gold and silver. Paper money can get wet and be of little or no use. So if you want to put some paper money in with this information make sure it's in a vacuum packed bag so it can't get wet. Many of the Katrina victims could not get access to their bank accounts because their bank had been demolished. Keep enough money there to get you by for about a month.

Now most important, make a copy of this CD and send it to a family member, preferably whoever would be the executor of your estate. This should not go to someone in your own home town as their home may be destroyed as well.  If your executor is in your home town, then forward a second copy to a family member you trust but who is living out of town.  Even more importantly print out a copy to send to these people along with a copy for you to keep. You will not be able to get access to your computer to read the document.  Again vacuum pack this document along with the CD so they won't get wet.

This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at http://www.goclean.com. Copyright @2007 All rights reserved worldwide.



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