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Financial Watch | September 2021

Financial Watch | September 2021

| September 22, 2021
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Floods. Wildfires. Hurricanes. What’s in Your Household Emergency Kit?

September is National Emergency Preparedness month, and government and community leaders from coast to coast are encouraging Americans to take important steps to ensure they are ready for any emergency. These reminders come on the heels of massive wildfires in the Western United States, and deadly floods, property damage, and compromised infrastructure, along a 1,500-mile path from Louisiana to New England, in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, climate change is expected to worsen the frequency, intensity, and impact of extreme weather events like these.1 However, it’s important to remember that not all disasters are natural. Many are the result of human activities, such as chemical spills, gas leaks, infrastructure failures, and other events that can threaten lives and impact entire communities. That makes it critical to have a plan in place for how you and your family can prepare for and remain safe in any emergency. Begin with the following steps, which can help you plan for the unexpected and protect the people and property that are important to you.

1. Make a Plan

While it can be hard to plan ahead for every possible scenario, some are more predictable than others. When developing your family emergency plan, start with the types of risks you may be exposed to in the area where you live. For example, if you live in an area that frequently experiences tornadoes, it’s important for all family members to know where the “safe zone” in your home is located, whether that’s a basement or a first-floor closet or bathroom, away from windows. If you live in an area that is susceptible to wildfires or hurricanes, familiarize yourself with evacuation routes, which can be found on your state or local emergency management website.

Discuss your plans with friends and family, including how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster, and talk to your kids—and everyone in your household—about what to do in case you are separated. Make sure you designate a place to meet that is accessible for all household members. Take the time to tailor your plan to your specific needs and responsibilities, keeping the following considerations in mind:

  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others, such as aging relatives
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs, including prescription drugs and equipment
  • Needs of family members with disabilities, including access, devices and equipment
  • Language, cultural, and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals

Quick Tip: Download your free Family Emergency Communication Plan template now.

2. Build a Kit

In an emergency, there may be little or no time to gather important papers and essential supplies. Having an emergency kit ready to go is essential when disaster strikes. Keep in mind, while many important documents may be stored electronically, you may not have immediate access to the information in the event of a power outage. Some of the things you may want to include in your kit are:

  • Copies of important legal documents, such as drivers’ licenses, insurance policies, passports, estate planning documents, and medical insurance cards
  • Cash
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications, contacts, extra pair of eyeglasses, etc.
  • First-aid kit
  • Bottled water, nonperishable snacks
  • Extra clothing and shoes for each family member
  • Battery-operated flashlight and weather radio; extra batteries
  • Chargers for smart phones and electronic devices
  • Pet food and supplies
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE), based on CDC recommendations

Experts recommend gathering enough supplies to last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly.

Quick Tip: Not sure what to include in your emergency kit? Download this handy Emergency Supply Kit Checklist.

3. Stay Informed

Staying informed during an emergency situation can mean the difference between life and death.

In addition to local news outlets, familiarize yourself with your state’s emergency management website, mobile app(s), social media sites and emergency alert systems, which provide breaking news and potential life-saving information in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Plan to download apps and sign up for alerts on your devices well before a disaster occurs.

Quick Tip: Download the FEMA app now to receive real-time notifications, text messages, and alerts for events impacting your location.

Having adequate emergency savings on hand is another important aspect of planning for unexpected events. If you have questions about whether you will be financially prepared to weather an emergency, contact the office to schedule time to talk. 

This information was written by KRW Creative Concepts, a non-affiliate of the broker-dealer.

1 https://www.c2es.org/content/extreme-weather-and-climate-change/

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