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  • Carol Ann Guarino

Flirting with Disaster


My partner should have been a boy scout, he has a great disaster plan. I always tell my partner that if disaster ever hits, I'm saving my fabulous coffeemaker. It's rather heavy and I probably won't get very far but we all have our priorities. He is prepared...everyone should be.


This past year has seen monumental disasters worldwide. My own three children were gravely affected by Hurricane Florence, both my daughters suffered significant property (and personal property) damage and my son lost his entire home. It's hard to think a disaster may strike but these last few years have shown that disaster can strike almost anywhere.


One thing easy to overlook until you need it is insurance. Take the time to look over your insurance policies to determine if you have adequate insurance. This is important even if you're renting, for example, renters insurance does not cover flooding caused by rising water and you will not be covered under your landlord's policy. Floods are the leading natural disaster in the US and even though you may not be in a flood zone or in close proximity of a waterway, your home CAN flood. Homeowners' insurance does not cover flooding due to rising water.


Have a plan in place with your family, write it down and make sure every family member has a copy. Know numbers and addresses where family members most frequently are. Know evacuation routes and sign up for emergency text alerts. Make sure family members have a small card with contact numbers on them in case they can not use a cell phone. Have designated meeting places in case of disaster. Make sure a friend or family member (preferably out of town) has contact information for every family member.


Gather all important information like health insurance, medical information, SS numbers, etc and store in a small water & fireproof safe that can be grabbed quickly. Also keep copies of important papers such as driver's licenses, passports, property deeds, financial records, marriage licenses, Social Security information, Military IDs, medical and dental records, address books/contact information for friends and family, computer passwords and Insurance policies in a watertight container.


Set aside a 3-5 day supply of food and water (one gallon per day per person) in a cool, dry place for families and pets. Store some items in containers to keep the kids occupied...think board games, books, comfort items like blankets and pillows. Store extra reading glasses, prescription information, and a first aid kit. Have flashlights ready to go, extra cash on hand and battery packs for cell phones.


There is never any harm in being prepared. Nothing is worse than scrambling last minute to evacuate while searching for all the important items you need to take with you. Pack your emergency supplies, make an emergency plan and be prepared.


As for my children....it's a new year...my older daughter sold her (newly renovated) house, my son is celebrating the birth of his second child in a new home and my youngest daughter is chasing her now five-month-old all around their apartment!!



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