Preparing for an Emergency
In a disaster, services upon which you depend to serve your financial needs may not be available for a while. This could have an adverse effect on your ability to purchase things like groceries, fuel, and other critical supplies.
Follow these steps to better financial emergency preparedness:
Collect and Store Information
It should be simple to obtain rapid access to your records in an emergency:
- Collect all household, financial, legal, medical and other information in one place – both digitally (computer, iPad) and a paper copy.
- Use FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to document information.
- Store the paper copy in a safety deposit box and the digital copy on an external drive or cloud.
- Before disaster strikes, learn about programs and resources that may be of assistance such as DHSES Individual Assistance, which helps identify, coordinate and implement programs to address the needs of those affected by a disaster.
Stay Safe Online
Take some basic steps to ensure your online identity is secure from cyber criminals:
- Do not click on links in texts or emails from people you don’t know. The government will never call or text you about owing money or receiving economic impact payments. Scammers may also try to contact you via social media. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ReportFraud.ftc.gov if you receive messages from anyone claiming to be a government agent.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to prevent online accounts from being taken over by cybercriminals. MFA provides a two-step sign-in process, so if your password is compromised, there is a second step to the log-in process to protect you. It is free, easy to set up and widely available for many popular services.
- Don't reuse the same password for different accounts. Consider using a password manager to generate random passwords and store them. If you use a password manager, protect it with a strong, unique password and MFA.
- Update security for software and devices regularly – phones, computers, tablets, and software have an option to update automatically.
- For more tips on how to protect against fraud and cyber crimes, visit the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Stash Some Cash
In an emergency, paper cash may come in handy if banking services aren’t functioning:
- Stash a little cash somewhere safe. It doesn't have to be much - $5 or $10 for emergency purposes only.
- Inform family members where the emergency money is and what it's for.
- Save money in a separate bank account for emergency purposes only.
Determine Your Need for Insurance
Having insurance ensures access to critical financial resources to repair, rebuild or replace whatever has been damaged or lost in a disaster:
- Research different policies and insurance types to determine your need for appropriate property, health, and life insurance.
- Ensure your insurance policies meet all hazards requirements.
- Be “Flood Smart” and visit FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program website for information on flood insurance, flood risks, and maps that show flood zones.
How to document, organize and protect critical documents and valuables in order to avoid stress during the days following a disaster and to and ensure access to essential medical information.
Floods can happen anywhere and most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy that can cover buildings, the contents in a building, or both. Protect your most important financial assets — your home, your business, and your possessions.
The EFFAK helps individuals and families collect and organize critical financial, medical, and household contact information. After reading the EFFAK and filling out the included checklists and forms, individuals and families have a centralized record of essential household information.