It's another year and it's hurricane season once again. This year's Atlantic Hurricane Season got off to an early start with Tropical Storm Andrea, which impacted the State of Florida and U.S. East Coast with heavy rains and several tornados. Hopefully our luck will continue to hold out and no devastating hurricane will hit our shores, however logic and nature suggests that it's just a matter of time and it only takes one to possibly change our landscapes and lives forever. So it is the best interest of each person to take responsibility for his or her self and immediate family and be prepared to be self sufficient for a minimum of three days, though I prefer two weeks.
In earlier entries, I have suggested several general and basic tips, along with links for additional information, so take a minute to review those if you're new to Hurricane preparedness.
Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Hurricane Preparedness Basics
In this year entry, we'll discuss ways of securing your valuables, documents and having accurate records of your home's contents for your insurance company, should disaster strike.
Instead of waiting for disaster to strike and not being able to find all the necessary documentation or contacts you may need, it's is better to gather this information ahead of time and review at beginning of every hurricane season, making note to include any updates or changes.
The Following items should be kept in a waterproof container on or near your person, should you need to make a quick evacuation, copies of all of the following should also be kept in another location such as with relatives out of state, in your office, safe deposit box, etc. I prefer to scan a copy of all of the items and save to an external hard drive.
Home Owner's Insurance Policy
Flood Insurance Policy
Mortgage Company Contact Information and Account Information
Any Deeds, Titles, pertaining to any Property you own
Car Registration, Title, etc.
Car Loan Company and Car Insurance Policy and Contact information
Medical and Dental Insurance Cards or Contact Information
Electric Power and Other Utility Invoices/Statements with contact and Account Information
(Water, Cable, Gas, Oil, Sewer etc.)
Passport, Social Security Card, Birth Certificates, Naturalization Papers, Green Card etc.
Banking Information (accounts statements, safe deposit box key, etc.)
Credit Card Statements with Account and Contact Information
*External Hard Drive with digital photos of your Home Inventory or actual photographs of your Home inside and out.
Phone Book with contact information for friends, family, businesses such as Doctors, Roofer, Plumber, etc.
I would also include some Cash and any jewelry or irreplaceable momentos or photos in this container.
Taking Inventory of Your Home
You're probably like me and don't have or can't find all the receipts for every purchase major or not that you have made, so here is where your camera and smartphone if you have one comes in handy.
There are several apps available that you can download to your phone or tablet that will allow you to take photos and create an inventory of your house room by room.
With your phone, tablet or camera walk through each room of your house, take pictures of the entire room from different angles. In each room, take individual pictures of any high priced items such as televisions, computers, furniture etc. Photograph your closet, your shoes, your bags. Take pictures of ALL of the Contents of your house. You can approximate cost of replacement from your pictures if the items are damaged, however if you do recall how much you paid, please document in your inventory and include picture of the item.
Do the same thing to the exterior of your house, take pictures of your landscape, house, cars, fence, etc. Also take pictures of your shutters and other outdoor preparation once after they have been made.
Store all of this information on an external hard drive or portable back up that you will be able to access from any computer should disaster strike. Your hard drive or physical hard copy of your inventory should be included with the above items in your waterproof container.
May we never have to use these preparations, but you will sleep sounder knowing that you have gathered all of this vital information in one portable and accessible container and space.