Preparedness Month: Financial Preparedness
2018 Preparedness Month Op-Ed
Erica Bornemann, Director, Vermont Emergency Management
September 26, 2018
Hurricane Florence was on the minds of east coast residents for several days as they waited for the inevitable, and is still on our minds as the long process of recovery begins.
Although we often have some advanced warning of a potential crisis, disasters do not always announce themselves ahead of time. That’s why the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your property is to be prepared. September is National Preparedness Month, our annual push to remind everyone of the importance of planning for potential disasters.
The key to weathering any emergency is to plan. Have extra bottled water, flashlights, canned food and opener, over the counter and prescription medications, and other essentials in your home. Plan how you and your family will find each other during an emergency if you’ve been separated, know your evacuation route, where your local shelter is, and other steps that are listed at www.ready.gov.
However planning should not limited to making it through the first 48 hours.
When you are forced from your home during a storm or other disaster there is no guarantee you will be returning right away. Bring important financial papers if you evacuate, and determine if that should include your checkbook. Will you be able to use credit or debit cards after a disaster? It will be important have access to money as you will likely have to continue to pay your bills and cover the cost of food and shelter. For tips on how to plan for finances visit https://www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness.
Recovering from a disaster is also problematic if you do not plan.
For far too many people, disasters are life changing and last for years when homes are destroyed and there is no easy way back to normalcy. That’s why we always encourage homeowners to look into flood insurance, even if you don’t live in a traditional flood zone. More than a few homes were destroyed in Tropical Storm Irene because of their proximity to a stream that was overwhelmed and spilled its banks.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as little as one-inch of water can cause $25,000 worth of damage to your home. That’s a hefty bill, and it will be worse if your home is inundated.
Look into flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program – www.floodsmart.gov.
We don’t know when the next disaster will occur here, but we do know there will always be hazards that could and will impact Vermont. Don’t wait until danger is imminent, make sure your family is ready by preparing now.