Tornadoes, flooding, ice storms and more. In Kansas, if it's not one thing it's another. What we call a disaster can take many forms. It could be individual, as in a fire to one's home, or local, as in a tornado that hits a community. It could also be regional, such as a flood that follows the trail of a river, or even statewide, such as an ice storm that knocks out power to a large percentage of residents. September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to make preparations in the event a disaster should strike.
Just as good businesses plan ahead to mitigate the impact of disasters, so should families, says Jamie Rathbun, who is a family and consumer sciences extension agent in Ellsworth County, Kan.
She is part of a team of extension agents who recently published a fact sheet, "Get Financially Prepared: Take Steps Ahead of Disaster."
The four-page publication is available online free of charge at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/famec2/m....
One way to be prepared for emergencies is to create a grab-and-go box. Kept in a secure place in the house, in a waterproof, fireproof container, it would be ready to be taken at a moment's notice. Items included should be those that would provide access to cash, banking services and the personal identification needed to conduct day-to-day financial life after a disaster. Items in the box should include:
Identification and other key documents that may be needed to restore financial records, including copies of driver's licenses, passports, Social Security cards
Insurance cards, policies, or other proof of insurance coverage
Bank account numbers, cash
Copies (front and back) of ATM, debit, and credit cards
Phone numbers and account information for all financial service and insurance providers
Important telephone numbers (family members, doctors, veterinarians)
Names and prescription numbers for medications
Safe deposit box key
House and car keys
Backups of financial data kept on the computer
Pocket notebook and pen or pencil
If the following items are not kept in a safe deposit box, these should also be kept in the grab-and-go box.
Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
Wills, contracts, deeds, stocks, and bonds
Titles to vehicles
In addition to the Extension publication mentioned earlier, more information on preparedness can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/features/beready. Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) site, www.ready.gov, contains information on preparing for various kinds of disasters.
Disasters can be devastating, not only to property, but also to emotions. Having the needed information handy can help make recovery from a disaster a little easier.
Editor's Note: Ann Ludlum is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Southwind District--Fort Scott office. She may be reached at 620-223-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.