News From Our Blog

Make Sure You’re Financially Prepared for an Emergency

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By Operation Hope

April is Financial Literacy Month and Operation HOPE and the Federal Emergency Management Agency share information with you on economic emergency preparedness and recovery efforts during a natural disaster and/or terrorist attack.

You can download a version of the Economic Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) - a free kit that guides you to collect financial records in the event of an emergency.

Find more tips on being financially prepared in the event of a disaster.

Winging It Is Not an Emergency Plan

Emergencies can occur with no warning. Do you have a supplies kit and a plan of action?

September is National Preparedness Month. Visit Ready.gov for guidance on what to before, during, and after different kinds of natural disasters and other emergencies.

Another action you can take is to join the National Preparedness Community. It’s free and open to all. As a member, you’ll have access to special preparedness resources and can collaborate with others in your community.

Update on Tropical Storm Isaac and Tips for Preparing for a Storm

Tropical Storm Isaac is churning in the Caribbean Sea, and the storm is currently tracking south of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We will have a better idea if and where it might hit the United States mainland in the next 12 to 24 hours.

If you live in an area that is in the current path of the storm or in coastal regions that could be affected, the Federal Emergency Management Agency advises you to listen to your local news to monitor weather updates and warnings and follow the instructions of local officials.

FEMA offers the following tips to prepare for tropical storms:

  • Tropical weather systems can bring heavy rains, flash flooding, and high winds, so if you haven’t already, visit Ready.gov for tips on creating your family emergency plan and getting an emergency kit.
  • Rains from tropical storms can cause flooding. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.
  • High winds from tropical storms can cause power outages. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and U.S. Fire Administration urge consumers to use portable generators outdoors. Never use portable generators indoors or in garages. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide that can quickly incapacitate and kill.
  • Everyone should also familiarize themselves with the terms that are used to identify a severe weather hazard. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. If local officials give the order to shelter in place, take action immediately; and if the order from local officials is to evacuate, leave immediately. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.

Visit Ready.gov for more information on how to prepare for a tropical storm and check the National Hurricane Center to find the projected path of the storm.

Get Weather Emergency Alerts On the Go

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is soon launching weather emergency alerts to your mobile devices. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government authorities through your mobile carrier.

Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service.

You will be able to sign up for weather-related emergency alerts through your mobile carrier. The alerts will include extreme weather warnings, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, AMBER alerts and Presidential alerts during a national emergency. The alerts will look like a text message, but will include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice.

You can also receive alerts based on your phone’s current location. While most older phones are not WEA-capable, new mobile devices are. For information about which mobile devices are WEA-capable, please visit http://www.ctia.org/wea or contact your wireless carrier.

Learn more about Weather Emergency Alerts.

Summer Weather Dangers: How to Stay Safe

Summertime can bring a range of weather challenges and potential dangers. Some of these threats can occur with little warning, so do what you can to prepare by assembling an emergency kit and forming a plan of action.

Find out what you should do if faced with the following weather dangers:

Lightning

In the U.S., lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes and hurricanes. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance and should seek shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. While indoors, don’t use a corded phone, a computer or other electrical appliances; and avoid contact with plumbing (don’t shower, wash hands, do laundry, etc.). Learn more about lightning safety and get tips on what to do if you’re outdoors during a thunderstorm.

Floods

If you have time, move essential items to an upper floor. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Do not walk through moving water that is six inches or higher. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a flood.

Hurricanes

If you can’t evacuate, get inside and secure external and internal doors. Stay away from windows and doors and take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

Tornadoes

Storm cellars and basements are the safest locations, but if they aren’t available, go to an interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Stay away from windows, doors, outside walls, and corners. If you are in a trailer or mobile home, go to a sturdy, nearby building. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a tornado.

Extreme Heat

Stay indoors as much as possible. Consider spending the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned public building, such as a library or shopping mall. Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. Learn more about what to do in extreme heat.

Wildfires

If your home is threatened by a wildfire, you must evacuate. If you have time, bring an emergency kit that includes copies of important documents. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.

Earthquakes

If you are indoors, stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls and get under a sturdy table or desk. If you are outside, keep away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. If you’re in a moving vehicle, safely stop the vehicle in an open area and stay inside. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.