Take Time to be Financially Prepared for Emergencies

Posted at 11 a.m.

inancial preparedness. It’s not something that’s top of mind for many of us when we’re considering our readiness for emergencies. But as an old oil filter commercial used to say, “You can pay me now, or pay me later.”

Sure, sometimes we may think about our emergency supplies and emergency kits and whether they’re stocked sufficiently. Or about how we’re going to get reunited with our children or loved ones if something happens while we’re at work. And maybe we remember to ask ourselves if we have enough batteries for our battery-powered radio or television in case we should lose power.

But what about really being financially ready for a crisis? Have you given that much thought? Any thought?

Be financially prepared for any crisis or emergency

April is Financial Capability Month, as proclaimed by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and it’s a good time to give some thought to being prepared financially. Consider these tips:

  • Plan for out-of-pocket expenses for lodging, food, gas and more if you have to evacuate your home for any reason. Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis.
  • Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATM’s and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
  • Review existing insurance policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Store important documents either in a safety deposit box, an external drive or on the cloud to make it easy to access during a disaster. Remember things like a photo ID to prove identity of household members, birth certificate to maintain or re-establish contact with family members, Social security cards  and pet ID tags.
  • What about physician information to provide doctors with health info if medical care is needed? Copies of health insurance records to ensure existing care continues uninterrupted. Immunization records and medications. Also, be prepared for the cost of deductibles for insurance and medical co-pays.

Learn more from Ready.gov. The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit also can help you prepare financially and provide tips to reduce the impact disasters can leave you with financially.

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About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.