It is never too early to prepare for disaster — never too early to plan instead of react.
Often, it’s only in the aftermath of a storm or other natural disaster — as we’re sifting through debris that used to be valued belongings — does it hit us: We should have been better prepared.
Granted, Richmond County isn’t on the coast, but we’re not immune from the ravages of what a hurricane can do to people, pets and places. And we know we’re not safe from strong winds and tornadoes — it was just last month that a tornado touched down and ripped roofs off homes south of Rockingham.
Thankfully, no one was killed or seriously injured.
Here are some tips from the NC Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to help you get ready for the next disaster — before it hits:
• List important numbers and store them in your wallet and cell phone. Numbers to include: your insurance agent’s phone number, your bank and credit card account and phone numbers, and the number for the Consumer Protection Division, 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
• Keep important documents such as insurance policies, mortgage documents, bank account information, passports, social security cards, and health insurance cards in a safe place where you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate. You may also want to store copies in a secure location, such as a waterproof/fireproof container or a bank safety deposit box.
• Take your bills, too. No matter what the weather, your creditors will still expect you to pay on time.
• Inventory your home to make filing an insurance claim simpler. Try to videotape or photograph each room, being sure to record your most valuable items. Store your inventory in a safe place, such as a waterproof/fireproof container or a bank safety deposit box. Consider storing photos or videos on a website that you can access from anywhere.
• Keep some emergency cash on hand. If the power goes out, you won’t be able to use the ATM or shop by debit or credit card.
• Fuel up. If you may need to evacuate soon, keep your car’s gas tank full so you’ll be able to leave when you need to. Also, keep your cell phone and other portable devices charged in case you get stuck without power.
Be smart. Be proactive. Be prepared.