How to prepare for a natural disaster

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5 natural disaster preparation tips

When a natural disaster hits, the economic and societal impacts can be massive. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. has sustained 203 weather and climate disasters that have cost $1.1 trillion damages since 1980. And in 2016 alone, 15 weather and climate events cost Americans more than $1 billion in damage.

Severe weather isn’t always predictable—so it’s important to be as prepared as possible. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) outlines steps anyone can take to better prepare themselves and their families for catastrophe. For help drafting your family’s emergency preparedness plan, check out these tips.

Steps to prepare for a natural disaster

  1. Put together a natural disaster preparation kit for emergencies.

    FEMA recommends having enough essential supplies for at least three days. Non-negotiables include fresh water, clean air and food that doesn’t require refrigeration, such as protein bars, dried fruit and canned items. Also set aside extra clothing, medication, batteries, flashlights, matches and electronic devices. Prepare two kits—one with everything you need at home, and a smaller, lighter version to take on the road.

  2. Create a family plan for communications, shelter and exit strategies.

    Family members might not be in the same place at the same time when disaster hits, so it’s important to know how to contact each other. Be sure to establish a safe meeting place with alternate routes to the destination. Create an emergency contact card for each person that lists friends or family members for reference—and keep them in the loop, too.

  3. Keep financial documents in a safe, accessible place.

    Identification and financial documents are always needed post-disaster. Use a bank safe, deposit box, computer storage devices (USB drive, CD/DVD) or waterproof storage containers to secure personal identification (driver’s licenses, birth certificates, military IDs and passports). Be sure to also include any financial account information, home insurance policies and health records.

  4. Stay informed about current hazards in your area.

    Knowing how to prepare for a natural disaster requires you to stay informed. Take time to research information about the local climate, areas prone to flooding, evacuation routes and other potential risks. Follow developing reports on active threats in your area and adjust plans accordingly.

  5. Get involved—help prepare your community.

    After you’ve established an emergency preparedness plan for yourself and your family, take it a step further and help prepare your community. Organizations like Citizen Corps help educate and train volunteers to make communities safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to natural disasters and other threats.

   

In the event of a disaster, Comenity’s priority is the safety of its customers and employees. If you need help with your account, please call us at the number located on the back of your credit card, or access it here.

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