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Quick List of Important Documents to Save

When it Pays to Keep Recordsdebris from tornado

I have been fortunate and never been through a storm, earthquake, flood or anything else that might destroy my home.

That being said, I see too often how quickly this type of devastation can hit.  I have a small pantry with emergency food and equipment for 3 days of survival (everyone should have this).  However, If a tornado hit and took out your house, would you know what documents you had at home, which credit cards to cancel, how to contact all the people, banks, etc to let them know to turn everything off so you aren’t a victim of identity theft?  After all, if all of your bank statements and credit card statements are at home, after a storm they could be miles away for anyone to pick up.

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Are You Ready?

CERT trainingOver the past several years, our environment and weather has been changing. Storms are getting severe and coming more frequently. Last year a nearby neighborhood was evacuated because a train carrying severe chemicals overturned. It was safer to leave than to stay.

Other episodes have happened over the country where chemical plants, truck trailers and trains have had leaks. In those cases people needed to stay home and follow specific instructions to avoid the toxic air.

On any given day your emergency personnel may be consumed in chaos and live-saving scenarios on one side of town. If a problem occurs on your side of town, will there be emergency personnel available to help? If they can’t get there due to downed power lines (electric storm or tornado), what will you do?

Many cities throughout the United States are gearing up for just those situations. If you want to be able to help your family when your own disaster arises but no one can get to you, you need to join CERT. This stands for Community Emergency Response Team. You can voluntarily attend CERT training in one weekend, for nominal cost and sometimes for free.

It will train you on basic life saving skills, how to set a splint, how to turn off electricity, how to turn off gas and even how to use a fire extinguisher. Basic things, but all very important in an emergency.

In Washington County, WI the local volunteer center supports this program. It has skilled trainers, law enforcement and fire fighters teaching the classes. If you only learn it to help your family, you could save a life. If you have two people on your block who are trained, you are a team and can help each other.

I’m not saying you will go rogue and start pulling people from burning buildings. Your training will tell you when this training can go outside of your own family’s needs.

Check out the FEMA website to learn more. Find a training site near you so your family will have peace of mind.

I am CERT trained and a trainer. It only took 21 hours to learn many protocols and helpful information. I now carry a hard hat, light, gloves, vest and emergency kit in my car. I am not looking to randomly find someone who needs help. I want that backpack with me at all times so it is there if I need it, my co-workers need it or my family.

It’s more than a first aid course. It’s better.