I saw an interesting article on the FEMA website that referenced a financial planning guide that is free to download from the American Red Cross. The guide addresses the need to make financial plans before a wildfire disaster. We are aware that the better we prepare before an event, the more resilient we will be when a disaster such as a wildfire occurs. Financial planning is an important part of acting proactively before any disaster.
Some key areas discussed in the online guide are:
- Developing a general family disaster plan, including creating a disaster supplies kit, assessing your property’s disaster vulnerability and creating evacuation and communication plans.
- Protecting your property, including having adequate insurance and implementing mitigation efforts.
- Protecting your health and life, including understanding what is and is not covered by health, disability and life insurance policies
- Protecting your loved ones, including estate planning and creating a living will.
- Protecting your income, including managing debt and understanding government benefits after a disaster.
- Protecting your records, including what to keep and how to store it.
- Recovering from a disaster, including what to do on a financial basis in the event of a disaster.
Firewise has a wonderful resource available online as part of the 2014 virtual workshop series, that can help you survive a wildfire financially:How to Survive a Wildfire, Get Prepared, Stay Alive, and Rebuild Your Life. Author Linda Masterson shares her first hand experience about living through a wildfire in 2011, how she rebuilt her life and what she would have done differently. She shares some excellent tips with homeowners so that they don't make the same mistakes that she did.
Make sure you know your stuff by taking a home inventory of your furnishings and possessions. Seems like a difficult task? Well, there’s an app for that! (Android or iPhone). Also check out State Farm’s inventory checklist.
As we take action to make this a Year of Living Less Dangerously From Wildfire, financial planning is an important part of the process.