September is National Preparedness Month and each week, the Office of Emergency Management will be sharing important disaster preparedness tips with you. This week’s focus is preparing for the financial impacts of a disaster.
They say money makes the world go ‘round, but if you have no access to it during a natural disaster, it could make your world come to a halt. We try to think of all the basic things we need in a disaster including food, water, an evacuation plan, etc., but as people living in a time filled with online money transactions, we may not consider that during a natural disaster our credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay or Venmo accounts might not work due to power and internet outages. What to do? Don’t worry, the answer is a simple, visit your bank or ATM to ensure you have some cash on hand. When you do this, it’s a good idea to make sure you have plenty of small bills on hand because some places may not be able to provide you change for larger bills. This will help to ensure that you are able to refill on needed supplies if a disaster or disaster recovery lasts longer than what you have in your emergency supply kit.
There are a few other important things to improve your financial preparedness for a disaster, including acquiring the proper insurance coverages, and access to important documents. For example, depending on your living arrangement, making sure you have the proper insurance coverages can help mitigate the impacts from disaster. For more information, view FEMA’s Document and Insure Your Property Guide. As a reminder, flood insurance is separate from Homeowner’s insurance and should also be assessed. Visit https://www.floodsmart.gov/ to learn more.It’s also a good idea to have your financial information on hand in a waterproof box or bag, along with other important documents you may need after a natural disaster has come and gone. For an in depth look into the important documents and other detailed information that will be useful before, during, and after a natural disaster, please visit Ready.gov’s website or watch this two minute video from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about preparing your finances for a disaster.