National Preparedness Month

Whether there’s sunshine on your shoulders or you are trying not to belt out “rain, rain, go away,” we always have weather on the mind. The local forecast may be the last thing you hear before going to bed and the first thing you wake up to each morning. And even though it’s our go-to conversation starter and the deciding factor in our wardrobe choices, most of us don’t have an emergency weather plan. What better time to change that than National Preparedness Month?

Ready.gov, the federal government’s emergency preparedness website, lists 15 different types of natural disasters that could occur at any time, depending on where you live. But there’s no reason any of them should catch you off guard.

To be prepared for a natural disaster, you and your loved ones should establish a family meeting place, a method of communication, and have at least one disaster kit on hand and three days of food and water for each family member.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency and your local emergency management office will have localized suggestions on what your disaster kit should include, there are some basic items you can gather ahead of time:

• Flashlight
• First-aid kit
• Whistle
• Moist towelettes, toilet paper and trash bags
• A wrench or pliers
• Manual can opener
• Dust masks
• Local maps
• Cellphone
• Cash
• Plastic sheeting and duct tape
• Copies of important personal documents

It’s also important to establish an emergency fund for you and your loved ones equaling three to six months of living expenses. Having this money set aside in an easily accessible account means you’ll be able to use it for non-natural disasters, too, like major medical expenses, job loss and any other unanticipated expense.

While the specifics of the potential weather event or natural disaster may differ, the basics of preparing are similar for all. By taking time this month to gather your disaster kit and check on your emergency fund, you and your loved ones will be better prepared for whatever heads your way.

Any opinions are those of Nicole Middendorf and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.