Every year, we see instances of all types of emergencies, including extreme weather and other unforeseen natural disasters. From tornadoes to wildfires, and severe weather including winter storms and thunderstorms, it’s important to have a disaster plan in place as part of your emergency preparedness. One way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to be ready before disaster strikes. If you’re wondering where to start, we have a few tips.
Preparations for Sheltering in Place
- Keep cash on hand. In case of an extended power outage, consider keeping a few hundred dollars of smaller bills in a waterproof and fireproof safe in your home.
- Build your emergency savings fund. Experts recommend saving enough to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses, if possible, to help you bounce back after a natural disaster.
- Review insurance coverage. If disaster strikes, you’ll want to be able to repair, rebuild or replace damaged or destroyed property. Review insurance policies annually (life, health, auto, homeowners or renter’s) and update coverage, if necessary. Learn about disaster relief and the National Flood Insurance Program to check into flood insurance in your area.
- Stock up on food and water. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests storing 1 gallon of water per person per day. Store enough emergency supplies for each person for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks or more. Have a supply of nonperishable foods on hand in secure tubs and cans, and don’t forget a can opener.
- Prepare for power outages and have a preparedness kit ready. Have extra batteries on hand, a flashlight and a battery-powered or hand crank radio. Stock your first aid kit with different-sized bandages, antiseptic ointment and sanitizer.
Use the FEMA’s customizable Basic Disaster Supplies Kit list.
Preparations in Case You Need to Evacuate
We rarely have much notice if a call comes to evacuate, so having a few things ready beforehand can save you some frustration.
Create an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit. Create an emergency financial first aid kit, which should include your household, financial and legal information. Keep important documents in your emergency kit (like deeds; titles and policies; bank accounts; adoption records; birth, death, and marriage certificates) in a fireproof and waterproof box in your home or in a safe-deposit box at your financial institution.
- Have a “Go Bag” ready. Having a “Go Bag” prepared ahead of time, with items like your cell phone and charger, medicine, first aid and sanitizer, some nonperishable food essentials and important documents/information (e.g., insurance and bank accounts, photo IDs, Social Security cards) included. Make sure any physical copies are stored in a waterproof container. Websites such as ready.gov, The Spruce, and CNET offer more suggestions for what to include.
- Make sure everyone understands your emergency plan. It’s important that everyone in your household knows where your safe place is, especially if you become separated. Designate an out-of-town emergency contact—a person to contact if you need to leave the area.
- Have a contact list. Have a list with contact information for:
- Family members and phone numbers
- Your employer
- Banking institutions
- Insurance company and agents
- Health care providers
- Friends and neighbors
- Place of worship
The American Red Cross has a printable emergency contact card template you can use.
- Sign up to get alerts. If you have a smartphone, sign up to receive alerts for extreme weather and other emergencies and types of disasters.
- Gas up your car. It’s a good idea to always keep your tank full, especially if you live in an area that has seasons of extreme weather.
At Navy Federal Credit Union, we’re committed to helping you protect your finances so you can focus on keeping your family safe. Whether you need help planning your financial future or checking out life insurance options, we can help.
- Use our emergency savings fund calculator to see how much you should have to support your family in a pinch.
- Create an emergency financial first aid kit in next steps, which should include your household, financial and legal information, in a fireproof and waterproof box in your home or in a safe-deposit box at your financial institution.
This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.