No one knows when a disaster will strike, but taking even a few prudent steps proactively can greatly minimize the impact of a disaster
Novato, Calif. (PRWEB) October 26, 2007
Individuals and families who are threatened by Southern California wildfires or other natural disasters should consider organizing and storing all key personal, medical and financial information in one place to avoid a protracted and painful rebuilding process in case their homes are destroyed, according to AxcessPoints.
AxcessPoints, a highly secure online planning resource for organizing and retrieving critical personal, medical and financial information, said disaster victims often suffer a second tragedy following a catastrophe by failing to have key financial records and other critical data readily available to work with insurance companies, banks, utilities and other service providers.
To help Southern Californians in the wake of devastating wildfires, AxcessPoints is offering a free year of service for its secure, online repository through Nov. 30, 2007. AxcessPoints is $9.95 per month. Consumers can sign up at http://www.axcesspoints.com to immediately use the service.
"The lessons of Hurricane Katrina taught us that thousands suffered unnecessary hardship because they simply didn't have basic information, such as their homeowners policy or bank account numbers," said AxcessPoints CEO Karlyn Carnahan. "More than 1 million Southern Californians have been forced to evacuate their homes, many of whom grabbed family mementos or other personal items, rather than financial records to help them in the recovery process. The time to get prepared is before there's an emergency."
AxcessPoints, which provides a wealth of disaster preparedness resources, emphasized that consumers who take a few steps proactively can avoid a prolonged rebuilding in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Those steps include the following:
Prevent financial fraud by signing up for an identity theft protection service. After a disaster, people are most vulnerable to identity theft. Identity theft protection services guard against unauthorized financial transactions, and monitor credit reports.
Make a video of all personal possessions and then store a copy on a computer, an external hard drive or an online back-up company. In case of loss, a video of personal possessions, including cars, pets and all household belongings, will enable insurance companies to act quickly on your behalf.
Review your homeowner's policy immediately to ensure that the policy adequately covers the cost of rebuilding. Many Americans wisely purchase insurance, but then forget to review and update as life circumstances change. With more than 1,600 structures already burned in Southern California, it's likely that more than a few will not have enough coverage to pay for the entire cost of replacing the building.
Back up computer data, either through a third-party service provider or on an external hard drive. Information on your computer is likely to be extremely valuable for one purpose or another. On the list of items to take in the event of an evacuation, make sure a computer and/or the hard drive is high on the list.
Micro chip your pets. After Hurricane Katrina, thousands of pets were orphaned. If each pet is micro chipped, the humane society or veterinarians can quickly reunite pets with their owners.
"No one knows when a disaster will strike, but taking even a few prudent steps proactively can greatly minimize the impact of a disaster," Carnahan said.
To determine your disaster readiness and to access value disaster planning tools, visit http://www.axcesspoints.com.
AxcessPoints is an online planning resource that helps individuals and families better organize critical personal, medical and financial information and minimize the impact of a natural disaster. AxcessPoints provides a personalized, highly secure information repository that enables clients to quickly retrieve critical information to start rebuilding their lives. Accessible anywhere via a standard web browser, AxcessPoints can be configured to share critical information with family, friends and others who are geographically separated. For more information, visit http://www.axcesspoints.com, or 415.234.6358.