RESIDENTS SHOULD HAVE A FINANCIAL PLAN FOR HURRICANE SEASON

PEARL On the third day of Hurricane Preparedness Week, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency wants to remind everyone that it is essential to think about finances as part of your preparedness plan for hurricane season.

“After a disaster, it is important to remember that if power is out, things like ATMs will not work,” said MEMA Executive Director Lee Smithson. “If you have to purchase goods or materials after a storm, it is good idea to keep cash on hand, as credit card machines may not work.”

Here are some helpful tips to keep your finances ready for hurricane season:

Start an emergency savings account. Most experts recommend having a minimum of three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund, if possible. 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, because it is not included in most homeowners insurance policies.

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 cards, bank and investment records; birth certificates, marriage certificates and wills. Invest in a water and fire-proof box or safe-deposit box to keep these records secure. You could also keep copies of them electronically on portable drives or make hard copies.

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 23-27 as Hurricane Preparedness Week in Mississippi.

For more information about how to prepare for hurricane season, go to MEMA’s website at www.msema.org or download the MEMA mobile app on your iOS or Android device. The best way to get up-to-date information is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook, or “Follow” us on twitter.

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