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Take steps ahead of disaster

POSTED September 8, 2017 1:19 p.m.

Disasters such as the tornadoes that have hit our area have been significant news stories in the past few years. Now, the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in SE Texas and the predicted path of Hurricane Irma in Florida has our attention. Since our youngest son, Matt, made the move to Florida earlier this year to begin his career as a food scientist, we are paying close attention to the affected areas. Earlier this week Matt texted me a picture of an empty grocery store shelf and asked his family members to “please send bread.”
There is an excellent publication from K-State Research and Extension titled, “Get Financially Prepared: Take Steps Ahead of Disaster.” One of the authors speaks from the heart since she was a resident in Greensburg when that tornado struck.
Think about it – if you had only a few moments to evacuate your home, would you have access to the cash, banking services and personal identification needed to conduct your day-to-day financial life? Consider keeping the following items in a secure place in your home, in a waterproof, fireproof container that can be taken with you at a moment’s notice.
Create a “Grab-and-Go Box” that contains the following:
• Identification and other key documents that may be needed to restore your financial records, including copies of your driver’s license, passports, social security cards.
• Insurance cards, policies, or other proof of insurance coverage.
• Household inventory
• Immunization records
• 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
• Extra pair of glasses
• Infant formula and diapers
• Sleeping bag or blanket along with a complete change of clothes and sturdy shoes
• Personal hygiene items
• Books, games, and activities for children
• Safe deposit box key
• Pocket notebook and pen or pencil
If family records like birth, marriage and death certificates, wills, deeds, contracts, stocks and bonds, and titles to vehicles are not kept in a safe deposit box, these should also be kept in your grab-and-go box.
The publication includes additional tips on what to do after a disaster strikes. The importance of documenting the disaster and keeping receipts from purchases related to the disaster such as lodging, food, and clothing cannot be overemphasized.
Hopefully you will not need the information in this Extension publication but feel free to stop by either office (Great Bend or Hays) in the Cottonwood Extension District and pick up a copy.

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or dkrug@ksu.edu

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