The holidays may be long gone, but inclement winter weather isn’t leaving anytime soon. From the heavy rains and flooding in California, to the severe snow storms in the east, it seems that winter has decided to stick around a bit longer. Whether you live in an area prone to natural disasters, or just the occasional power outage, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. Below are some helpful tips for creating an emergency kit, so that you and your family won’t be caught off guard.1
- Use a fireproof box and fill it with items such as personal identification, important financial records, family photos, and emergency cash in smaller bills.
- You should have a disaster plan. All family members should know who to contact and where to meet in case of an emergency.
- Make a list of emergency phone numbers, including the local fire department, poison control, and ambulance services. Keep the list somewhere you can easily find it.
- Have a “go-kit” packed and ready with emergency essentials. This can come in handy should you ever have to leave in a hurry. Use a sturdy yet portable bag such as a backpack or suitcase on wheels.
- Be sure you know how to shut off valves for gas, oil, and water. You should also know how to turn off your home’s main electrical supply. The Federal Emergency Management Agency advises you to put tags on these valves so you can easily find them. When it comes time to turn them back on again, it’s best to have a professional do it.
- It’s recommended that you store at least three days’ worth of nonperishable food and a gallon of water for each family member. Food items such as peanut butter, energy bars and canned food are all good options, but don’t forget to include a can opener!
If preparing for the unexpected has started you thinking about home repairs you’ve been putting off, a reverse mortgage may be able to help. Many seniors use the proceeds from a reverse mortgage to fund much needed repairs and renovations. For those unfamiliar with this product, a reverse mortgage enables seniors to access a portion of their home’s equity to obtain tax free2 funds without having to make monthly mortgage payments.3
If you’d like to learn more about how a reverse mortgage could help you, please use our Reverse Mortgage Calculator or call 800-218-1415.
1 6 Ways to Prepare for a Disaster – aarp.org, by Bulletin Staff, 05/2016, http://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2016/disater-preparedness-safety-tips.html.
2 Consult your financial advisor and appropriate government agencies for any effect on taxes or government benefits.
3 You must live in the home as your primary residence, continue to pay required property taxes, homeowners insurance and maintain the home according to Federal Housing Administration requirements.