Editorial: Be prepared for the worst of spring weather

Published 11:03 am Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Albert Lea area knows all too well the hazards of spring. Every June 17 we recall the tornado outbreak on that date in 2010 and hope we won’t face another massive disaster like that one.

Many families learned that having ducks in a row paid off afterward.

Here are disaster tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA:

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1. Identify important documents and place them in a safe space.

• Scan important records such as medical records and financial documents, and save the files on disk or flash drives. Password-protect the data you have stored and keep the backup records in a safe deposit box or other off-site location.

• If you have no way to scan/copy records, store them in a flood and fireproof home safe or a safe deposit box. Avoid storing on the floor of a basement, especially if it is prone to flooding.

• Include any records that you may need immediately, such as medical records or medical contact information, in your disaster kit.

2. Enroll in online banking, direct deposit and/or Go Direct to minimize disruptions to receiving paychecks or any government benefits you may receive.

• Consider keeping a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks on hand in case ATMs or credit cards are not working.

3. Plan ahead of time to recover by considering your post-disaster needs and preparing for them now.

• Make a record of personal property for insurance purposes, and if possible, take photos or a video of the home and other property. Consider keeping a copy on a CD or flash drive in your disaster kit, so that you can provide it to your insurance company following a loss.

• Ensure you’re adequately insured. Contact your insurance agent to review your insurance coverage so your home is financially protected.

• Identify potential spending needs now, and plan for ways to meet those needs.

• Store contact information for all of your financial institutions; after a disaster contact your credit card company, your mortgage lender, and other creditors to let them know about your situation.