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Op-Ed: National Preparedness Month: Be prepared, not scared

During National Preparedness Month in September, we encourage everyone to take the necessary actions to prepare themselves, their families and their businesses for potential emergencies.

Following the past two years of historic disaster activity, it is more important than ever for all Americans to know their risk and financially prepare for the unexpected.

Many people have experienced the challenges of rebuilding their lives or businesses after a disaster. In these stressful circumstances, emergency savings — also known as a rainy day fund — can help individuals, families and organizations start the road to recovery and bounce back more quickly.

By setting aside money for unexpected costs, including repairs, insurance deductibles, food, gas and temporary lodging, you are well on your way. Checking your insurance and ensuring proper coverage for your home or business is important to guarantee you have the necessary resources after a catastrophe.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers affordable, low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses — up to $200,000 for homeowners and up to $40,000 for renters to replace damaged or destroyed personal property like furniture, clothing, appliances and vehicles.

It’s also vitally important to collect and secure critical personal and business documents such as financial, insurance and medical records before an emergency; they are often needed to start a quick recovery. Doing this before an emergency will give you and your family extra peace of mind.

Every segment of society, from individuals to small businesses, must be encouraged and empowered with the information they need to prepare for the inevitable impacts of future disasters. Although no one knows when disasters will strike, everyone can make preparedness action a part of their daily routine. Both the SBA & FEMA are ready at a moment’s notice to respond to a disaster and provide assistance.

Online tools and resources , such as FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, provide financial preparedness tips. Individuals and business owners can also register at DisasterAssistance.gov after a disaster to access the types of federal assistance for which they are eligible. Both the SBA and FEMA work with our federal partners to ensure all people are aware of the options available to them after declared disasters.

Having a preparedness plan in place will go a long way toward keeping your family and organization safe and intact while supporting the long-term recovery of your community. You can protect yourself, your family and your small business by planning ahead.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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