Planning Ahead for a Hurricane
In 2012, it was SuperStorm Sandy in New Jersey, last year it was Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and today it is Hurricane Florence in several southeastern states. Each year at this time, hurricanes occur. It is just a question of how many, where, and when. Those who get through this experience with the least amount of financial stress often plan ahead. Unlike tornadoes, hurricanes generally come with up to a week of advance notice. Below are five tips to prepare to evacuate and cope with resulting losses:
¨ Prepare a Grab and Go Box– Include insurance policies and provider contacts, contact information for family and friends, a cell phone charger, plastic bags (to protect wallet, phone, etc.), toiletries, several days of clothes, snack foods, and bottled water. For a complete list of what to include in a “Grab and Go” box, see https://texashelp.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/evacuation-grab-box.pdf.
¨ Document Your Possessions– Take photos or videos of your most expensive possessions and make a list of these items with make and model numbers and serial numbers. Store this information remotely on a flash drive at a remote location or on a cloud server platform such as Dropbox, iCloud, or OneDrive.
¨ Move Things to Higher Ground- Examples include moving a car parked in an area where flooding is predicted and moving personal possessions in the basement or first floor of a house to a higher level.
¨ Get Gas and Cash– In the event that debit and credit card networks go down, have small denomination bills available to make purchases. Fill the gas tank for your car and a generator before supplies run low.
¨ Find Local Resources– Reach out to the Red Cross for emergency shelter, if needed. If your house is fine but you will have no power for several days, find a place to go during the day for heat, food, and internet access. Examples include libraries and restaurants with wifi (if open) or hospital cafeterias.