Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Be ready to take care of yourself: Get finances, paperwork, home in order

Hurricanes in recent memory have hammered home no message more important than: Don't count on immediate help from emergency crews, charities or the government. Be ready to take care of yourself at least for a few days, maybe longer. Here's a checklist to help you:

Cash up. If power is lost, ATMs will not work, nor will credit card networks.

Get your car ready. Gas up. Inflate the tires. Check the spare. Know where your jack and lug wrench are. Stow an empty gas can. Stash a cell phone charger in the glove box.

Charge cell phones and cordless tools that may come in handy.

• Have a land-line phone. (In case the cellular network goes out and a power outage makes cordless phones that require electricity useless.) Have change or a phone card available in case a public pay phone is your only alternative.

Take photos of your house and yard before the storm. Be ready to photograph storm damage after the hurricane passes.

Store important paperwork. If you have to evacuate, you'll want to take necessary and hard-to-replace documents. Here's what you should store in a waterproof, lockable container:

• Checkbook, savings passbook, credit cards

• Safe deposit box key

• Birth, death, marriage certificates, divorce decree

• Will and power of attorney

• Social Security card and records

• Medical records (living will, health surrogacy, etc.)

• Insurance policies and cards

• Retirement account records

• Recent pay stubs, in case you have to document employment to collect benefits

• Tax returns

• Car titles and registrations

• Mortgage deeds or rental agreements

• Warranties and receipts

• Passports, green cards

• Food stamp, WIC or other benefit cards, paperwork

• Important phone numbers (relatives, bank, insurance company)

• Disc or flash drive on which you back up computer files just before you shut down the computer and evacuate

• Home inventory (on paper, disc, flash drive or video; you should keep another copy in a safe place, maybe at work or at the home of a relative out of state)

Bring in outdoor furniture, potted plants, garbage cans, accessories.

Trim loose branches and overgrown shrubbery. Harvest fruits and vegetables that could do harm if wind-borne. Bundle the cuttings and put them in a garbage can in an enclosed area.

• If you have window protection — plywood, shutters, fabric — install it now.

• If you have a large permanent propane gas tank for heating and cooking, tie or chain it to a fence or other anchored object. Propane is lighter than water, so the tank could float away in flooding.

Prepare to turn off supply valves, appliance pilot lights, control valves and manual shutoff valves on gas or oil-related items.

Gas grills may be your only cooking option if power is out, so refill those tanks. Secure the grill to a post or fence so it doesn't blow away. The Propane Education & Research Council strongly discourages keeping grills and their fuel supplies in the garage.

Be ready to take care of yourself: Get finances, paperwork, home in order 05/21/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 21, 2010 9:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]