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Huricane Season is Here

May 31, 2013

June 1st. As kids are unleashed from school, mother nature is unleashing her own little creations. Known as Disturbances, Depressions, Storms, Hurricanes, Cyclones, Typhoons, etc...these guys, at a minimum, give all of us who live within 400 miles of the Gulf or East coasts major anxiety attacks every year. At their worst, they bring unrecoverable loss of life and/or property.

Every region has its evils. There are deadly tornadoes, epic flooding, fierce fires, shattering earthquakes, halting snowstorms, etc. Our bodies and structures are no match to the fury that nature is capable of unleashing. So what do we do? Pray and prepare.

Pray that when a natural disaster comes your way, everyone will have enough time and sense to prepare. Here are a couple of tips just from talking to clients and our own experiences with mostly hurricane-related disasters.

Get Insured
Check your insurance policies. You can not get a policy issued if there are named storms out there, so get a few quotes, talk to people and see how they were treated by their insurance companies for Katrina, Rita, and Isaac. Then, if you decide you want to get insured or increase your limits, call your agent. Renters, remember that renter's policies are available to you, and I've heard they're fairly priced. We don't sell insurance here, but neighbor's testimonials are a good place to begin.

Some of you will take your chances and get no insurance (house is paid off and live in a high zone). Just like there are different styles in investing (conservative vs aggressive), everyone has their risk tolerance. What's yours?

Get a Good Filing Method
Whether you have all your important, original, documents in a clasp envelope, folder, Ziploc bag, ice chest, or a fireproof safe, make sure you know where all of them are.

"Well, what do I have to save?" you may ask. Here's a list to help get you started:

* Birth certificates
* Social Security Cards
* Passports, Naturalization/Residency Certificates
* Marriage Certificate
* Current Hazard, Flood, and Life Insurance Policies
* Any Stock, Bond, or Other Financial Instrument Certificates and/or account numbers
* Any Religious Certificates (baptism, confirmation, etc--the kids will need these if they get married)
* Vehicle Titles
* Deed to Your House
* Irreplaceable Photos (only the really irreplaceable ones, not ones that you can reprint from your memory card!)
* Home or Major Product Warranties,
* Your Pet's Papers (AKC, adoption, etc)
* Any Other Documents You Know Are of the Utmost Importance

For Business Owners
* Copy of Your Lease
* Employees' E-mail Addresses and Phone Numbers (cell and home)
* Your Occupational License (businesses were allowed to return first after Katrina)
* Copies of All Most Recent Government Forms (income tax returns, sales tax, payroll tax, etc--you may need these for FEMA or SBA applications)
* Your Company Checkbook.
* Any Other Documents You Know Are of the Utmost Importance

Get Out
Don't wait until the official evacuation order is given to start your preparations. If you are going to wait and see, at least make your reservations at a hotel 3-5 days in advance (most of them can be cancelled with 24 hrs notice without a penalty).

If you do evacuate, pray that you boarded up the windows and are leaving for nothing. Here in the New Orleans area, we have a good selection of areas to evacuate. Go to Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, even Florida (once they narrow "the cone" you can head east to Destin or Tallahassee, or west to Baton Rouge, Lake Charles or Houston). If you end up evacuating "for nothing", think of the trip as an "evacucation," which is why you want to pick a nice area to evacuate to (remember hearing about people who evacuated to Disney World, the beach, etc. and their insurance/FEMA paid for their stay?)

If you evacuated and your area gets hit---be thankful you got out of there.

Get Ready
If you decided against evacuating and you're "riding this one out," get all your supplies in order. If, God forbid, your area gets struck, you better be ready to:

* Stock up on candles, matches, batteries, bottled water, canned food, pet food, and some good books/board games.
* Lose your cell phone service and your electricity. You may even have to boil any water you wish to consume that you get from your faucets.
* Not have any emergency services available while the storm is going through--police, fire and medical staff are hunkered down, too. Maybe even after the storm blows over, as what you feel is an emergency nay not be viewed as such by your overly stretched, local first responder staff. You saw all the people who had to cut a hole in their roof to escape rising waters.
* Have your psyche tested. Worrying about creepy noises outside at night, possible looters, limited supplies, long lines to get ice/MRE's, and just the overall stress of being in a hot house with nowhere to go and nothing to do will certainly test your nerve.
* Work. Cutting carpet, dumping freezers/refrigerators, clearing debris (from your house and all your neighbors who evacuated--because you're nice that way), cutting trees, dragging stuff out to the curb, etc. All this would have to be done whether or not you evacuate, but wouldn't you rather do it after returning from your "evacucation"?

Good luck to all of us. Let's close with what to exoect this Hurricane Season (from

" The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued their latest 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, expecting yet another active season.

The forecast calls for 13-20 named storms, 7-11 of which are expected to become hurricanes, including 3-6 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). NOAA's forecast specifies a "70% likelihood" of a range of storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes."

God help us.

Category: Bookkeeping