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Renter tips and resources for natural disaster preparation

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Natural disasters can strike at any time. Depending where you live the likelihood of certain natural disasters change. The west may be prone to earthquakes, the midwest to tornadoes, the east coast to hurricanes, and flooding can occur anywhere. No matter the disaster certain preparations remain the same. Preparations should include the following:

1) Know what is in your lease in case of disaster. What happens if you property becomes uninhabitable? What if your place of employment is destroyed? If you saw the Mississippi coast after hurricane Katrina went through you’d know the potential damage of a major disaster. Make sure you know what to expect before it ever happens.

2) Keep all important paperwork in a convenient location. Items such as your lease, insurance policies, car titles, list of important phone numbers, Red Cross and FEMA contact information, etc should be conveniently located so you can take them if you need to evacuate. Be aware that cell towers and power are likely to not be available for days, weeks, or even months following a major disaster.

3) Develop a list of all your belongings. Include serial numbers whenever possible. Creating a video or taking pictures can be equally effective. The important thing is to have your belongings documented in case an insurance claim becomes necessary.

4) Create an emergency kit. The kit should include flashlights, extra batteries, a radio to listen to the news, drinking water, non perishable foods such as nutrition bars, and a first aid kit. If you have a permit to carry a firearm, including a firearm in your emergency kit would be a good idea. It gets crazy after a major disaster and it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

5) Talk to friends and family. Let them know your plans. Where you will go, how long you plan to stay, and who all will be with you. Follow your plan or if situations make that impossible do your best to keep your friends and family informed of you changes.

6) Important resources in the event of a natural disaster:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

http://www.fema.gov/plan-prepare-mitigate

Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/prepare

Center for Disease Control (CDC): http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/

National Hurricane Center (NHC): http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

Unfortunately disasters do happen. First and foremost you want to keep yourself and your family safe. If mandatory evacuations are ordered, follow the evacuation. Better yet, watch what is happening beforehand. If it looks like a category 2 hurricane is bearing down on your area leave before the crowd. You are allowed to evacuate before the authorities tell you to and you will be ahead of the masses. Grab all your items you prepared in case of an emergency and hit the road.  It is always better to err on the side of caution.

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