MANHATTAN, Kan. – In a very small amount of time – sometimes seconds – a lifetime of financial savings, hard work and dreams can be wiped out.
On May 25, 2016, Deb Wood learned that first hand.
Wood, a family resource management agent in K-State Research and Extension’s Central Kansas District, recalls that day when an EF4 tornado flattened the family’s home and farm, leaving only the concrete slabs where 10 buildings once stood, and machinery ground into small pieces.
Amid the devastation, the family slowly began the recovery.
“In addition to coming up with a list of household contents, we had to think through what was in all the sheds, the office and the shop,” Wood said.
Wood and colleague Joy Miller – a family resource management agent in K-State’s Southwind Extension District – now help others recover from natural disasters. On March 9, they will be presenting ‘Preparing Your Finances for Times of Disaster’ as part of K-State’s Living Well Wednesday webinar series.
There is no cost to join the webinar, which will be held from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. (CST), but registration is required to receive a link to the session.
“Many of us think of natural disaster, and it may seem far-removed – or once in a lifetime – but everything we will talk about is unexpected and could include such things as a car repair or a medical event or a fire,” Miller said.
Wood said insurance “is going to be really important in terms of recovery after disaster,” but added: “You want to make sure you’re adequately insured to protect your investments and your home.”
Miller and Wood strongly urge conducting an inventory of everything of value in the home and property, taking videos or photographs of everything you would likely want to replace in case of loss.
In addition, keep a “Grab and Go” box of important documents, including photocopies of driver’s license, social security cards, birth certificates, marriage license, passport and other items that will identify the occupants of the home.
In a home’s safe deposit box, homeowners should consider storing photocopies or important information regarding mortgage payments, online bill payments, credit cards, insurance policies, computer passwords, prescription cards, Power of Attorney documents, and more. As an alternative, store these types of documents in a bank’s safe deposit box.
Doing so, said Wood, will help jumpstart recovery.
“After an event, you’re going to be traumatized; you’re going to be going through grief,” she said. “There are a lot of conversations I don’t remember (immediately after the tornado).”
Miller added: “Preparation can save you hours of recovery.”
Also in March, K-State’s Living Well Wednesday series will feature the webinar, Consumers Beware: Avoiding Identity Theft and Scams, on March 23.
In addition to information online, interested persons can contact their local extension office for more information on Living Well Wednesday.
— K-State Research and Extension