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Strengthen Your Financial Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies

Many of us are faced with some sort of disaster or emergency in our lifetime. We often try to prepare for these events with the necessary equipment such as first aid kits, generators and other disaster supplies. But what about your finances in these times? Do you know if you have access to personal financial, insurance, medical and other records in a quick and efficient manner in a time of crisis?

You often only have seconds or minutes to react in these situations. In those critical moments, your focus will be on your family’s safety. Your financial records may be one of the last things on your mind. Once the threat passes, having important documents and information is essential as you begin the recovery process.

FEMA has a great Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) that can help you assess, compile, review and safeguard your information. You can start and complete your EFFAK here:

But you also need to become financially prepared and have basic knowledge of your finances. Financial literacy is the ability to make informed decisions in managing your financial resources and making smart choices on how to spend your money. Being educated about your finances and how to manage them can help you plan for emergencies and disasters.

Another important aspect to remember is that in the event of an emergency or disaster, you are still responsible for paying your mortgage and credit card bills. If you do not pay your bills, this can negatively affect your credit at a time when you need credit the most.

Finally, you should always be aware of fraud after a disaster. Unfortunately, many fraudsters prey on disaster victims at a time when they are emotionally devastated and most susceptible to scam artists. Scams may be scammers claiming to be government employees and charging you up-front to help you claim services, benefits or get loans. They may also pretend to be contractors selling repairs door-to-door, insurance agents trying to sell after-the-fact policies, or organization with names similar to government agencies or charities.

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