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What to Do When a Storm ApproachesPDF Document

Have a plan of evacuation, including a list of people to contact in the event you need to leave your home.


    Home Information

    List individuals to be contacted before and after evacuation (one person should be out of state). Include Name, email and phone number.


    List Evacuation Route Options

    Establish two evacuation locations where your family will meet if you are not directed to a location by local authorities.


    Medical Information

    Be sure to have key medical information with you (List of medications, Health Insurance ID Cards, Record of Immunizations/Allergies, etc). If you take prescription medications regularly, you should contact your pharmacy before a storm strikes to get prescriptions filled so that you don’t run out.


    Make an itemized list of your belongings

    Include costs, purchase dates and serial numbers. Attach receipts, especially for “big ticket” items. Your insurance company may require proof of the cost of any item for which you make a claim. Dated photographs or videotapes of your possessions also are good ideas. (see section 2 in Homeowners Insurance Toolkit)


    Take copies of your legal, financial and medical documents with you

    This should include bank statements, insurance policies, mortgage information, credit card addresses and toll-free phone numbers, wills, birth certificates, passports and medical prescriptions.


    Know Your Insurers

    Write down the names of your agent and agency, your insurance company, your policy number and telephone numbers to report claims. Remember that the name of your insurance company might differ from that of your agent, agency or underwriter.


    Do you have enough cash?

    Remember to withdraw money before a pending disaster. Since carrying or keeping large amounts of cash in your home can be unsafe, take out only as much as you’ll need. Financial institutions usually close for at least two days after a direct hit by a hurricane, and ATMs could be out of commission even longer. Be sure to get receipts for cash purchases right before a storm.


    Do you have enough credit?

    Keep and protect a credit card with an available balance of at least $1,000. Use credit cards to finance minimal repairs when necessary. Document all these transactions.


    Paying bills

    If you pay bills by phone or online, try to pay them before a disaster hits, even if they are not yet due. Hurricanes and wildfires could interrupt phone service, causing you to miss payments and incur late charges. If you pay by mail, send payments as soon as possible. The U.S. Postal Service will not pick up mail within 24 hours of a hurricane strike. Keep copies of all payments mailed within three days of a natural disaster, if possible. After a storm, contact those you've sent payments to and confirm they have received them.


    How can you safeguard your records?

    Keep insurance and financial papers in a secure and accessible place like a safe deposit box, or with a relative or friend. Include your insurance policy, inventory records, agent or company telephone numbers for reporting claims, mortgage and other loan contracts and payment records. You might need quick access to this information. If you need to evacuate, take records with you.


    Make a pet plan

    Inquire in advance how and where you can leave your pets; Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relative out of harm’s way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster. (see http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pdfs/Pet_Plan.pdf for additional information)