Emergency Preparedness includes Safeguarding Records


Summer in the Midwest generally means heat, humidity, and the possibility of severe storms. Have you thought about what records could be destroyed if a severe storm damaged your home or business?

Important original documents should be kept in a safe, a safety deposit box, vault, or similar storage mechanism. In addition, consider keeping a backup set of records electronically. Keeping documents in a safe is only helpful if you can locate the safe after a tornado tears through. Saving important records electronically is quick, easy, and can be much more organized than paper copies. However, saving everything to your home computer, or to an external hard drive or storage device that is physically kept in your home will not help if your home is destroyed. Consider cloud storage, or take the physical storage device (CD, external hard drive, etc.) outside the home to a safety deposit box or to a friend or relative outside the area.

Document valuables. Keep photographs (including electronic copies) of expensive items in case you need to prove the value for insurance claims. Photographs themselves may be invaluable, consider making an electronic copy of  those old family photos.

Have an emergency plan and keep a list of important phone numbers and addresses. Most likely internet and/or phones will be non-functional for at least a short time after the disaster. Do you know the phone numbers of close friends and relatives? Key employees? Do you know the claims number for your insurance company? Would payments or transfers get made on time, such as for payroll or other bills? Do you know your bank account information if you can't use the online banking service?

Safeguarding records takes time and preparation, so get started before the storm hits.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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