Emergencies and Disasters: Protecting Your Financial Health
In our increasingly unpredictable world, the threat of emergencies, disasters, public health crises, crime, grid failure, and terrorism looms large. It’s vital to take proactive measures to safeguard your personal identity, financial details, and insurance data.
When faced with a crisis, the last thing you want is to be burdened with the added stress of potential identity theft or fraudulent activity. While stocking up on emergency supplies is crucial, we must also invest time and effort into fortifying our personal and financial security.
Prepare for the unexpected by taking steps to protect your identity, secure your financial information, and keep your insurance data readily accessible.
Can you evacuate your home in ten minutes with these documents?
- Marriage, birth, and death certificates
- Driver’s license and social security card
- Car, home, and health insurance documents
- Recent tax returns
- Wills and powers of attorney
- Bank account and credit card information
- Essential business documents
If you’re missing any of these, it’s time to build your Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK).
Create Your Emergency Financial First Aid Kit Today!
Developed by FEMA, the EFFAK is a comprehensive tool designed to aid citizens in protecting their financial well-being.
Download the EFFAK: Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) (.pdf) You can download the document as a PDF and use it for your immediate needs, or use it as a template to create your own financial preparedness kit.
- Ensure that each family member’s details are included in your records.
- Regularly update this kit every six months to a year to keep it in alignment with your evolving financial circumstances.
READY.gov also provides excellent resources for safeguarding your finances and important records.
Get started by following these steps:
- Identify your important documents and place them in a safe space: Use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (.pdf) to help get you started.
- Download phone applications that can help during emergencies: Use the FEMA phone app to access to disaster preparedness, response and recovery resources including disaster assistance.
- Enroll in Go Direct to minimize disruptions to receiving any federal benefits you may receive.
- Plan ahead of time to recover after a disaster! here is a handy resource to get you started: Recovery After Disaster (.pdf)
Additional tips for financial preparedness:
- If you maintain crucial financial information and passwords electronically, make a backup paper copy or store a backup on a thumb drive kept with your EFFAK.
- Duplicate your essential documents and your completed EFFAK, then secure them in a safe place. This could be a fire/flood-resistant safe at home or an off-site location like a trusted family member’s home or a bank deposit box.
- Always have at least one copy of your EFFAK and supporting documents readily available. If you can’t access your bank-held papers, you’ll need a reliable alternative.
- Alongside your EFFAK, store a cash reserve sufficient for at least three days of emergency lodging, food, and other necessities if you can’t return home.
Portland Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Resources
Portland Bureau of Emergency Management: Offers invaluable resources for personal preparedness and community resilience.
American Red Cross – Oregon: Provides disaster preparedness, response, and recovery services in the Oregon area, including Portland.
Oregon Humane Society – Disaster Preparedness: Offers guidance on how to protect pets during a disaster, along with pet-specific emergency supplies.
Multnomah County – Emergency Management: Provides resources for emergency preparation, including plans for evacuation and sheltering.
Portland Fire & Rescue – Emergency Management: Offers extensive resources on fire safety, disaster preparedness, and emergency response training.
Now that you’re equipped with the necessary information and resources, it’s time to get started!
Begin assembling your EFFAK and make sure that your critical documents are safe and accessible at all times.
Remember, preparedness is not a one-time effort but a continual process that involves updating and fine-tuning your plan according to changing circumstances.
Your Pets Are Family, Too!
Don’t forget to include your beloved pets in your disaster preparedness plans. Just as your financial health is crucial in times of emergencies, so too is the well-being of your animal friends.
As you navigate the journey to comprehensive disaster readiness, know that BatCo is here to help with any questions, concerns, or needs that arise, especially those concerning your pets.