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Prepare now to weather next disaster

RALEIGH, N.C. : September 25, 2012 - By Attorney General Roy Cooper
While we are fortunate to enjoy plenty of beautiful weather in our state, we are certainly no stranger to hurricanes, tornadoes and severe flooding. September is Emergency Preparedness Month in North Carolina and there is no better time to make sure you and your family are prepared in case of a natural disaster.
Your family’s safety should always come first, so if you ever need to evacuate on short notice don’t risk your safety by gathering your personal items and financial records. But if you take the time to prepare now, you’ll be better able to handle the next disaster and its aftermath.
Here are some tips from my Consumer Protection Division to help you get ready:
• List important numbers and store them in your wallet and cell phone.  Numbers to include: your insurance agent’s phone number, your bank and credit card account and phone numbers, and the number for the Consumer Protection Division, 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
• Keep important documents such as insurance policies, mortgage documents, bank
account information, passports, social security cards, and health insurance cards in a safe place where you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate.  You may also want to store copies in a secure location, such as a waterproof/fireproof container or a bank safety deposit box.
• Keep medications and prescriptions handy. If you are forced to evacuate you will want to make sure you have any medications you take regularly and/or copies of prescriptions and medical records.
• Take your bills, too.  No matter the weather, your creditors will expect you to pay on time.
• Inventory your home to make filing an insurance claim simpler.  Try to videotape or photograph each room, being sure to record your most valuable items. Store your inventory in a safe place, such as a waterproof/fireproof container or a bank safety deposit box.  Consider storing photos or videos on a website that you can access from anywhere instead of only on your home computer.
• Keep some emergency cash on hand.  If the power goes out, you may not be able to use the ATM or shop by debit or credit card.
There’s much more you can do to plan for a disaster. More tips and general information on disasters is available at . For general tips on keeping your family safe during and after a disaster, visit