Make a Plan: September is Preparedness Month
Between the derecho that tore through millions of acres of Iowa farm fields last month, Hurricane Laura in Louisiana, and the wildfires along the West Coast, we are constantly reminded of the devastating financial impact that can accompany a natural disaster. In recognition of National Preparedness Month, Malvern Bank wants to remind you of a few simple steps you can take to prepare your financial documents and help alleviate financial concerns ahead of a natural disaster or emergency.
Here at Malvern Bank, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our community —helping you plan for the unknown so you can focus on the recovery and rebuilding process once the crisis passes. September is National Preparedness Month, and now’s the perfect time to make a preparation plan.
A few suggestions to help you prepare for the unexpected and reclaim your financial wherewithal following a natural disaster are listed below:
- Prepare backup communications plans if both cellular and landline services fail.
- Store digital and paper copies of critical documents in a safe deposit box. These include a driver’s license, passport, military ID, bank and investment account information, proof of occupancy, a mortgage deed, insurance policies, and three years of tax returns.
- Make copies of personal documents—marriage license, birth certificates, adoption papers—for safekeeping and alert a relative, trustee, or attorney of their location.
- Print out contact information for trustees, guardians, and executors and pack them away for safe keeping and share a copy with a trusted family member or friend.
- Create an inventory of personal and household valuables and use photo or video documentation to help assess their value and determine replacement costs.
- Contact your insurance agent or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website, to determine if you need a flood insurance policy.
Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security provides the following steps to develop an emergency plan:
Step 1: Put an emergency plan together and communicate the plan with family and friends.
Ask the following questions:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What’s my evacuation route?
- What is our family’s communication plan?
- Do we have an emergency kit?
You can create your own emergency plan, or download one here.
Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household.
In preparation, tailor the plans and supplies to specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Create a personal network for specific areas for assistance, and discuss these needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other. Keep these factors in mind when developing a plan:
- Different ages of members within your household
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
- Households with school-aged children
Step 3: Practice your plan with your family/household
Families may not be together if a disaster strikes. Know how to contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Malvern Bank cares about the welfare of their customers and community. For additional resources for an emergency preparation plan, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.