Extremely important - When disaster is imminent you may only have literally minutes to get you and your family into a safe place.

  • Secure Your Documents
  • Protect Your Data
  • Weather is Expected
  • Siren is Sounding
  • No Time to Plan
  • Your Gear

Secure Your Important Documents

What are you going to do this weekend? Before a storm or other disaster strikes you should gather all of your important documents and store them electronically in a safe place.

  • Gather or prepare the following legal documents:
    • Last Will & Testament
    • Living Will
    • Power of Attorney
    • Pet Protection Agreement
  • Also gather the following documents for you and members of your family:
    • Birth Certificates
    • Drivers Licenses
    • Marriage License
    • Confirmation, Baptism Cards
    • Passports
    • Social Security Cards
    • Insurance Cards
  • Create a document which includes the following information:
    • Banking Account Numbers/ Online Passwords
    • Investment Account Numbers
    • Insurance Account Numbers (Medical and Home/ Auto/ Flood)
    • Credit/Debit Card Numbers / expiration dates / ccv number off back
    • Important contacts and phone numbers including:
      • Insurance Agent
      • Physician
      • Immediate family
      • Any other important contacts
      • Your essential computer passwords
    • Essential medical information for you and family information including prescriptions


If these documents are not already in electronic format such as a word document or pdf file scan them and save them in an Emergency Folder.

Safeguarding your Emergency Folder

Now that all of your vital information is in one place it should be stored on more than one device in more than one location so that it won't be lost if your computer is destroyed.  Alternative locations for your folder may include:

  • A thumbdrive (USB attachable device)
  • An external hard drive
  • Stored "in the cloud"

This information should be safeguarded by either password protecting it and/or encrypting it.  Just make sure that you or those who you might need to see the information also have security codes for access in case you become disabled or injured.

Other steps you may take to safeguard the information include:

  • "Zip" up the Emergency Folder.  This is useful if the amount of file space used int the folder is very large.
  • Copy the zipped up folder and paste it onto both a thumb drive and a small external hard drive
  • Place the thumbdrive in a watertight bag
  • Place the watertight bag with the thumbdrive in a safety deposit box at your bank.
  • Place the external hard drive in a water tight bag and drop it off at a trusted friends house (your sensitive personal info is on this) that is not in your neighborhood.


For the sake of protecting your personal information and to prevent identity theft you should make sure that your Emergency folder is  adequately safeguarded. We will be providing further information regarding this important step in the "Protect your Data" tab.

Protect Your Data

If you have secured your important documents you have taken care of an important step. Now, let's think about your data. Items you may have electronically stored on your computer that are difficult or impossible to replace include:

  • Banking information including check registers
  • Family Photos
  • Household inventory records
  • Contacts
  • Credit card records
  • Records of purchases made elecronically


There are numerous backup methods currently available which you may be aware of.  But there are two important things you must do:

  • Have a backup of your data in case your computer is destroyed
  • Maintain this backup in multiple locations, preferably another physical location as well as stored "in the cloud"


Bad Weather Has Been Predicted

Preparing for an expected weather event

Many times weather warnings for storms are released by NOAA well before a weather event. If your local news has predicted storms in your area you need to do the following to ensure that you are prepared for the worst:

  • Place your phone on a phone charger that is plugged into a surge protector until it is fully charged
  • Place fresh batteries into your NOAA weather radio
  • Plug in your NOAA weather radio and turn it on.
  • Make certain it is tuned into the correct station (if it is a SAME, then make sure it has been programmed for your area)
  • Keep your TV tuned into a local news channel if possible
  • Determine where your place of safety is
  • Place all items from the safety gear checklist into storm shelter or place of safety
  • Make sure that your place of safety is clear from:
    • exposed sharp objects
    • any heavy items or equipment overhead
    • dangerous chemicals or chemicals that can cause noxious fumes/vapors  (gasoline, kerosene, ammonia)
  • Find out where local shelters may be set up after the storm in case your home is destroyed
  • If you have children, know the school's procedures for dealing with this storm (bus schedules, keeping students late, etc)
  • If you have pets, your pet safety checklist has been completed
  • Communicate with several people as to your plans
  • Plan any routes that must be driven to/from as the time of day and the storm's path to prevent from driving into an oncoming storm.
  • Make certain your vehicle safety pack is in good order and in each vehicle in case you find yourself in your vehicle during or after the storm.

When Bad Weather Is Somewhat Close

As the weather approaches but well before it is in your area you may want to take the following actions if time allows:

  • Unplug all outlets, even if they are on surge protectors
  • Last minute facilities trips can be helpful at this time as being stuck in a storm shelter with a full bladder is not very comfortable
  • Quick calls to check the whereabouts of friends and family - careful not to use up precious cell battery life

When The Siren Goes Off

When a storm siren sounds, your SAME equipped weather radios are alerting you of danger, or your weather professionals have told you to take your place of safety it is time to take action. If you have had time to prepare and were expecting the storm then you should be as prepared as possible

Move as quickly as possible:

  • Make sure that you have your NOAA Weather Radio and your cell phone
  • Place your loved ones in their place of safety
  • Strap on your safety gear (helmet, etc)
  • Strap on your children's, parent's, and pet's safety gear
  • Keep your radio tuned in to listen for instructions from your local area
  • Do not leave your place of safety until the threat of danger has passed

You miss the warning or the event is unanticipated

Disaster forecasting has become increasingly accurate, particularly for tornadoes and hurricanes. But in the event that you are not prepared, regardless of the nature of the impending event, what must you do?

  • Gather your loved ones.  For those in the immediate vicinity, account for them and make sure that they are also physically protected.
  • Be as physically safe as is possible - A safe place with protective clothing or headgear can be the difference between life and death.
  • Make sure you have communication equipment.  Keep your cell phone on your person.
  • If there is time, gather your lighting such as your flashlight or headlamp.
  • Get to your place of safety - ASAP. Do not leave until the threat of danger has passed.

 Your Gear

It is essential that you plan ahead for the type of disaster you may face and prepare accordingly. Whether it be communication devices such as weather or short wave radios, protective equipment such as helmets, lighting, food, or first aid equipment, you can literally be making a life or death decision by not looking ahead and assembling the gear you may need.