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Call To Action: Protecting Your Past

The things people most regret loosing to natural disasters are valuables, such as jewelry, items from the families past, such as photos and mementos, and important papers. While most of the appliances and furniture can be replaced, it is the treasured keepsakes and important documentation most regret loosing.

These items include but are not limited to...
  • Family Records (Birth, Marriage, Death Certificates),
  • Inventory of Household goods,
  • Copy of Will, Insurance policies, contracts, deeds, etc.,
  • Record of credit card account numbers and companies,
  • Passports, Social Security Cards, immunization records, and
  • Valuable computer information.
Depending upon your particular tropical cyclone hazard(s), you have several options you can due to minimize the risk of loosing these items.

Storm Surge
Storm surges undermine building foundations by constant agitation of the water piled high by the tropical cyclone. The end result can be a complete demolishing of homes and businesses. If the storm is bad enough you will be asked evacuate and head inland to safety.

In this case, you need to plan ahead for that possibility. For your valuables, have several large rubber storage containers available in which you place your photos and mementos so you can take them with you when you evacuate.

Wind and Squalls
Like the storm surge, hurricane force wind can destroy buildings. If a hurricane threatens your location your response should be the same as with the storm surge. Place your valuable in large rubber storage containers so you can take them with you should you need to evacuate.

Inland Flooding
If you live well inland and storm surges and hurricane force winds will not be a problem, you could still be affected by flooding from very heavy rains. However, even in the most severe inland flood events, houses usually are not completely submerged. Simple precautionary steps now will help you save your memories.

Begin with simply hanging pictures a little higher on the wall. This will help diminish the threat of loosing them forever to floods. Do you have extra photos laying around that may not be displayed? If they are not on display, place them in plastic storage containers and store them in the attic. Have an extra, empty plastic storage container available to quickly gather jewelry, mementos, and other displayed photos and place the container in the attic should a flood emergency arrive.

If a flooding is occuring at your home, immediately shut off your electricity at the circuit breakers. This will prevent short circuiting electrical appliance such as refrigerators. In many cases, with minor flooding, the refrigerator will just need to be cleaned and can be put back into use again. If the power was left on in a flood, the short circuit will make repairs very costly.

Also, if you normally keep valuable documents in a fire-proof safe, check to insure it is water-proof as well. A water-resistant safe might not prevent water from entering the safe should it become submerged in a flood.

Next: Protecting Your Present

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Page last modified: July 27, 2004
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