PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency wants to remind residents that it is essential to prepare yourself and your family’s finances in case of a hurricane.
“Having a financial plan in place, before tropical weather is imminent, can help you survive and recover from a disaster,” said MEMA Director Robert Latham. “Following a hurricane, access to financial institutions may be limited, so take action now as to how you would prepare financially. It is always a good idea to keep cash on hand.”
The following tips are what to do before a hurricane strikes:
Start an emergency savings account. Most experts recommend having a minimum of three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund. These funds can be used to make disaster repairs, cover insurance deductibles or pay monthly bills if your income is interrupted by job loss. Keep some cash on hand, because if the power is out in your area, it is likely that credit card machines and ATMs will not work.
Review your insurance coverage. Review your policy and make sure you have the proper amount of coverage to repair or replace your home and belongings. Pay special attention to deductibles that apply to specific events, such as hurricanes, which can be a percentage of your home’s value. Also review your flood coverage, which must often be purchased separately from your homeowner’s insurance.
Secure critical documents. Take some time to make sure that your critical documents are in a safe, secure place and could be taken with you if you have to evacuate. Documents you will want to secure include driver’s license, green card, passport; social security and tax information; titles, deeds, and registrations for property and vehicles owned; insurance policies; credit card, bank and investment records; birth certificates, marriage certificates and wills. Invest in a fire-proof box or safe-deposit box to keep these records secure.
Review your “what if” scenarios and make a plan. What if your place of employment is damaged and will close either for a few weeks or indefinitely? The rebuilding effort following a storm often creates new job opportunities. What if schools are closed and you don’t have a place to bring your children? What if your home is damaged and no longer safe to live in? Talk to friends and neighbors about sharing the childcare responsibilities until schools reopen.
Gov. Phil Bryant declared May 27-31 as Hurricane Preparedness Week.
For more information about emergency preparedness, visit www.msema.org.
The public is encouraged to follow MEMA on Twitter and Facebook for updates.