Natural disaster preparation

There is no arguing that this has been a devastating year for natural disasters. Hurricanes, fires and floods have caused catastrophic damage to communities across the country. This has provided all of us with a serious wake-up call: homeowners need to prepare for the unexpected events that can take direct aim at their homes.

When weather events or other unforeseen natural disasters occur, do you have adequate food and water to shelter in place or evacuate if needed? Is your financial house in order – and important documents converted to digital files – in the event that records are compromised? Do you have an emergency contact system in place to update loved ones on your whereabouts?

If you’ve answered no to some of these important questions, a personal loan from loanDepot can help you round out your emergency response plan to stand up a robust, prepared response. Speak to a Licensed Lending Officer today for more information.

In the meantime, consider these simple tips to help you respond to the fury of Mother Nature (or the zombie apocalypse):

Stock up on supplies

In anticipation of an incoming storm or another type of natural disaster, stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, medications, toiletries and even cash, since ATMs may be out of commission for a time. You’ll want to keep these together in one kit that’s preferably stored in a cool, dry place, so that it can easily be transported if you have to evacuate. Flashlights and first-aid kits, of course, are also important. You’ll also want to gather valuables, as well important documents and electronics, in a portable container you can take on the go.

Create an evacuation plan

Create an escape route in case, say, a tree falls on the house or a fire breaks out. What’s the best way to exit from the upper level? Are there fire ladders upstairs, and where are they stored? Make sure to explore how you’d exit the home in case the main entrance is unavailable, too. What’s the best escape route from the kitchen or living room? And if a tornado threat is looming, where’s the best place for shelter? Don’t forget about your pets, as well. Also consider the path you’ll take to drive away from your home, should you need to, and where you’ll go to seek shelter. Then, share these plans with all family members so that everyone knows what to do – and where to meet in the event you’re not all together when disaster strikes – in case of an emergency.

Get your financial house in order

You’ll want to be sure you’re prepared with flood insurance if you’re in a potential flood area or are simply concerned about your vulnerability to flooding, and you’ll also want to have your home insurance company’s contact information on hand should you need it (hopefully in your mobile travel box of documents). It’s also helpful to scan images of important documents – such as driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports, wills and previous tax documents – so that these files will be available digitally if the original files get lost or destroyed (though store the originals in your waterproof travel box, too).

However, don’t simply save files on your computer – a water-damaged laptop won’t turn back on. Upload them to the cloud, store on a secure online platform and email them to yourself so that you can easily access them in the future. Do the same for your digital memories, such as valuable photos and videos. Take pictures of all with your phone and save to cloud as well.

Stay alert

In the event of a possible emergency, you’ll want more than one way to stay on top of the breaking news. You can’t rely on your television for updates if you lose power, for example. Sign up for emergency text alerts by your local police department and download apps that will provide the latest weather warnings and flood areas. Invest in a transistor radio and keep extra batteries on hand. In addition, keep your phone charged and invest in extra battery packs and keep those charged. If you live in a rural area, a backup generator may be a savvy option. Finally, consider an app like Safety Check that could quickly alert your loved ones about your whereabouts if a disaster strikes.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared if disaster makes an unwelcome appearance. Of course, if it turns out to be a zombie apocalypse, it might be better to ignore all previous advice and just run.

Though, if you’re confronted by “real-life” disasters – as so many Americans have been lately – it’s much better to be prepared. A personal loan from loanDepot can help you get your plan in place. Speak to a Licensed Lending Officer now for more information.

Published Oct. 18, 2017


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