When a storm is bearing down or a wildfire or tornado is approaching, you don’t want to be thinking about all the things you should have done to protect your family, house and finances.
So with wildfires raging in parts of the West, and hurricane season in full swing, taking some crucial steps in advance—especially if you live in a region prone to natural disasters—can help you minimize any damage.
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“It’s imperative to make sure you are prepared,” says Thomas Kirsch, a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and co-director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at Johns Hopkins University. “Get things ready to go,” he says, with a disaster kit “and the appropriate financial stuff available to you.”
1. Make a Plan
Create an emergency plan, detailing where you and family members would meet up after a disaster and how you’d stay in touch. Also designate an out-of-state contact whom people can call if they’re unable to get to the meeting spot.
Next, put together a disaster kit and store it in a place all family members can easily access. The disaster kit should include nonperishable food items and water for your family to last 72 hours, a first-aid kit, a flashlight and batteries. Also be sure to keep some cash on hand in case you can’t access a bank or ATM.
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