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Do Not Be Caught Unprepared

Disaster can strike at any time. A tornado, a fire, a flood could tear your world – certainly your home – apart in moments.

See Also: 4 IRS Tips on Preparing for a Disaster

We’ve seen that in Tennessee over the past year with historic floods and horrific tornadoes that wreaked havoc throughout the state.

The impact of these disasters is typically most severe for people who have not planned for emergencies.

Don’t be one of them. Be prepared:

  • Take an inventory of the contents of your home and take photos or videos of the exterior and interior. Keep them in a safe location off the premises.
  • Talk with your family members and neighbors about a safe place to reconnect, a contact number or somewhere that you will check in if you must evacuate or flee.
  • Purchase a battery-operated radio and have flashlights with extra batteries easily accessible.
  • If you have time before you evacuate, lock doors and windows; turn off water, gas and electricity; move valuable objects away from windows and wrap in plastic.
  • Place copies of vital documents and records (like personal identification, bank statements, wills, prescriptions Social Security and health insurance cards, important phone numbers) in a weatherproof container that you can grab as you run out the door. You can use an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
  • Have an emergency supply it ready – with a change of clothing, prescriptions, extra glasses, cash, water, food, blankets, whistle and face mask.
  • Put an emergency checklist near the door to make sure you don’t forget anything important.

If you’re thinking about purchasing or building a storm shelter, you probably want to do that before the end of the year. The Tennessee Legislature approved a new law that authorizes a tax break for the purchase of building supplies or the prefabricated materials used in the construction of storm shelters. You can get a rebate of up to $2,500 per household on the sales tax spent on such a purchase between July 1 and Dec. 31.

Find more in-depth information about emergency preparedness, or download the Older Americans brochure.

Check out Create the Good for evacuation plan tips and information on duplicating vital documents, as well as a toolkit you can use to help friends and neighbors prepare for emergencies.

As the proverb says, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

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