Disasters Can Happen

Evonne Lai, senior product manager, Wells Fargo Internet Services Group, offers tips in case disaster strikes.

Tip of the Day

Disasters Can Happen

Be prepared with these tips

-Evonne Lai, senior product manager, Wells Fargo Internet Services Group

a family gatheringNo woman ever wants to be the damsel in distress. And while it would be really useful to be able to predict a hard drive crash or natural disaster hitting your hometown, alas we are powerless when it comes to seeing the future. The good news? There are things you can do to prepare yourself and your family should disaster ever strike.

The most important thing to do? Plan! The Associated Press reported in September 2008, just 44 percent of U.S. residents surveyed said they have all or some of the basic elements of a disaster preparedness plan.

Here are some tips for stocking an emergency kit:

Water, Water Everywhere: Store one gallon of water per person in plastic containers such as soft-drink bottles. Have at least a three-day supply. Children, nursing mothers and anyone with an ongoing or temporary illness will need more.

In Case You Get Hungry (and You Will): Have at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water (not the most delicious options, we know). Include a selection of ready-to-eat canned meats, juices, fruits and vegetables, high-energy foods, vitamins, as well as food for infants.

Secure Copies of Your Docs: Use a service like Wells Fargo vSafe, a personal online safe designed to store copies of all important documents like your passport, insurance papers, wills, deeds, birth and stock certificates, etc. The best part? You have the safety of a bank guarding them so you can rest easy that, should anything happen to your home, the replacement process will be much easier. Check it out here: vSafe.

Make Like a Girl Scout and Have an Emergency Kit: Assemble a first-aid kit with adhesive bandages, sterile dressing, gauze bandages, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes and anti-bacterial ointment. Also include extra eyeglasses, contact lenses, and prescription medications.

What, Where, When: Store cash in small denominations, a change of clothing and sturdy shoes, a portable radio and items such as a flashlight with extra batteries, basic tools and a map of the area. An emergency kit for your car is a good idea too, especially if you commute, since you may be unable to get home during a disaster.

Ensure You’re Insured: If you’re a renter, be sure you have insurance. If you think quickly about what all your favorite clothes, handbags, electronics and (God forbid!) shoes, were to cost if you had to replace them, I’m pretty sure you’d feel your stomach flip a little – mine did!

Key It Up: Make sure all the numbers you may need in an emergency are programmed into not only your cell phone, but in that of a family member’s as well. Set up an emergency speed dial as well so you can dial 911 with just one key if necessary. If you have a Smartphone, you may consider enrolling in mobile banking through your bank so that you could transfer funds immediately in a dire situation. Wells Fargo offers free mobile banking and recently expanded availability of its Wells Fargo Mobile Banking service for iPhone and iPod touch users by making it accessible from Apple’s App Store online.

See Spot Run: Have a planned meeting spot close to your home, but far enough away that if any natural disaster were to occur, everyone in your family could then meet and be together, but still remain safe.

Letting Loved Ones Know: In the event of an emergency, you’ll be unable to communicate your status to all those you’d want to. Have a designated out-of-state relative or friend to call so that that person can call all your other loved ones to inform them of your safety and your whereabouts.

Nobody wants disaster to strike, but if it does, you definitely want to have a plan in place. Keep these tips in mind and be prepared. It could make all the difference in the world for you and your family’s safety and well-being.

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