Grab ‘N Go, be prepared for severe weather

By KARISSA SHOP
Cottonwood Expansion District

No one ever expects to be a victim of a natural disaster.

However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that the United States has suffered 355 weather and climate disasters since 1980 at an average cost of $57.8 billion per year.

Unfortunately, we can’t change the weather, but we can keep ourselves safe and prepare for disaster.

Elizabeth Kiss, Family Resource Management specialist from Kansas State University, shares more:

“One of the best things you can do is start or expand a so-called ‘Grab and Go’ box,” says Kiss. “If bad weather approaches… and you need to evacuate your home, just take the box and go, and you’ll have the supplies you need to recover from any loss.”

Items that Kiss requires to be kept in a Grab and Go box include originals or paper copies of items such as:

· Birth certificate.

· Social security cards.

· Marriage certificates.

· Passports

· Drivers license.

· Credit cards.

· Vehicle titles.

· Insurance policies, especially property insurance.

· Household inventory

Then consider some personal items, such as photos, letters and various souvenirs, and even a small amount of money. The box must be waterproof and/or fireproof, Kiss said.

“We’ve become very dependent on things being online, but depending on the severity of an emergency, we may be able to recover more quickly with paper copies,” Kiss said. “We just don’t know.”

Preparing a household inventory and building a Grab and Go box may seem daunting, but Kiss says it starts with just a little bit at a time.

“As far as household inventory goes, we recommend starting with one room, or even one part of a room at a time,” she said.

“Something is better than nothing. Nowadays you can even record documents with your phone, or take photos… that’s a start. You do need some documentation of when things were purchased and what their value was, but video or photos are a start. Then make sure you get your documentation off your phone and store it electronically so that you can access it if something were to happen to your phone.

Kiss also suggests talking to insurance agents to make sure you are adequately covered for home and personal property loss; and consider storing copies of your important documents elsewhere, such as at the home of a trusted friend or family member.

“A big part of the Grab N Go Box is data that you would keep anyway,” Kiss said. “It’s a form of record keeping, and it’s just being proactive about having it in one place in case of an emergency.”

More information about preparing important documents in advance of a disaster is available in K-State Research and Extension’s publication, Get Financially Prepared: Take Steps Ahead of Disaster.

Information is also available online from K-State Research and Extension and on the U.S. Government website, https://www.ready.gov.

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Karissa Winkel is the Family and Community Wellness Agent at K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. You can reach her at: 620-793-1910 or (email protected).