7 More Tips to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

Photo (cc) by waitscm

The U.S. government declared a record number of natural disasters last year – and some people probably ignored them.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency declared 99 major disasters in 2011 – the highest number since it began doing so in 1953. And based on responses to a new survey, insurance company Allstate believes 27 percent of Americans would “ignore evacuation orders and wait until absolutely necessary before leaving their home or seeking shelter in the event of an imminent natural disaster.”

Other findings…

  • 21 percent of Americans have had their home damaged by a natural disaster but…
  • 46 percent have no evacuation plan
  • 62 percent don’t have an emergency kit
  • 56 percent don’t have a home inventory

News flash: Whatever that mayhem guy and Mother Nature decide to do to your home is going to happen regardless of whether you’re in it or not. (Although you should prepare your cell phone for an emergency in case disaster strikes you.) The less you prepare, the more at risk you, your family, and your assets are.

Last month we offered 12 Tips to Disaster-Proof Your Home and Finances, but here are some more…

1. Hit the ATM

If the power’s out, you might have a hard time accessing your money. ATMs won’t work, and you won’t be able to swipe a credit card at the store. So stash some cash.

2. Buy a backup phone

Go to the cell phone store and buy the cheapest possible phone that will hold your SIM card. Charge it and keep it in a waterproof container. This way, you have a fully-charged backup and a replacement if your primary phone gets wet, damaged, or lost.

3. Add your insurance company as a contact

After a disaster, the first calls are to friends and family. The next one might be to your insurance company – and in a first-come, first-served freak-out, the fastest dialers win.

4. Digitize docs

You should waterproof hard-to-replace documents – things with raised seals, original signatures, special ink, or inimitable features (like car titles, passport, the deed to your house).

But you probably don’t have enough waterproofed space to protect all your records. Even if you did, it wouldn’t be a very portable solution, and you would still need to somehow mark the most important docs for a grab-and-run.

So get in the habit of scanning and backing up your documents using free services like Amazon Cloud Drive, Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft SkyDrive.

5. Prep your appliances

If you have to evacuate, put refrigerators and freezers on the coldest settings to protect your food as long as possible. Turn off and unplug unneeded small appliances and electronics – and your air conditioner.

6. Keep pen and paper

Aside from signing checks, we don’t do much writing these days. But in a disaster, you may need to copy down important information or make notes without a computer or phone handy.

7. Plan for pets

Don’t abandon your pets when you evacuate. Your emergency kit should also include a leash, food and meds for your pet, and your vet records. Keep a photo of your pets handy in case you get separated – someone might recognize them. You could also make a separate “pet survival” kit by keeping all these items in a pet carrier.

Plan shelter for your pet too – investigate pet-friendly motels, since many emergency shelters don’t allow them.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores
10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores

Wholesale clubs might have great deals, but these mistakes will cost you.

2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?
2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?

If retirement is on the horizon, you can’t afford to take too much risk, but you also need to make as much as possible. Here are your options.

8 Products That Make It Easier to Get Fit
8 Products That Make It Easier to Get Fit

Amazon reviewers give high marks to these tools that can help you get in shape without a gym.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Generic products are a great way to save money, but sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC has unveiled a schedule that likely will determine who gets the next doses.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.