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. Dade City's Wild Things blocks PETA officials at gates for court-ordered site inspection

    Wildlife

    Times Staff Writer

    DADE CITY — Dade City's Wild Things founder Kathy Stearns refused to let People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals officials enter her facility on Thursday for a court-ordered inspection, court filings show.

    Dade City's Wild Things founder Kathy Stearns refused to let People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals officials enter her facility on Thursday for a court-ordered inspection, court filings show. This comes four days after 19 Wild Things tigers arrived at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. A judge had granted an emergency injunction July 14, ordering Stearns not remove any tigers pending the upcoming PETA inspection. Photo from Facebook page of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma.
  2. St. Petersburg City Council approves $326 million sewage fix

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Last week the City Council learned no criminal charges would result from the up to 200 million gallons of sewage St. Petersburg's sewer system released from …

    [LARA CERRI  |  Times]
  3. Pasco commuters watch out: Broken water main restricts State Road 52

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A water main break has caused a portion of State Road 52 — one of the busiest roads in Pasco County — to buckle on Thursday afternoon, reducing three lanes of westbound traffic to just one.

  4. Man taken into custody after live streaming drive along Clearwater Beach sand

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Clearwater Police took a man into custody Thursday afternoon after, they said, he drove his car over beach chairs and umbrellas along Clearwater Beach and streamed it on Facebook.

    Clearwater Police took a suspect into custody Thursday afternoon after he drove along Clearwater Beach to Caladesi Island, running over beach chairs and umbrellas. [Courtesy of Clearwater Police]
  5. Once trapped and wounded, manatee and calf return to the wild

    Wildlife

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The small crowd readied cameras and craned their necks, peering over heads and through bodies to try and catch a glimpse. Brittany Pharel, 10, wanted to see the hulking manatees, a mother and her calf, laid out on blue tarps Thursday along the edge of the Pithlachascotee River.

    Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo's associate veterinarian Lauren Smith, 33, examines the heart rate of a manatee calf named Cottee just before it was released into the waters of the Pithlachascotee River on Thursday. 
Cottee's mother Pascow was released at the same time in New Port Richey. 
The pair became stranded in May and the mother was found wounded. They needed to be rehabilitated before they could be released into open waters. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]