At Your Fingertips Organizing

At Your Fingertips Organizing
Downsizing. Productivity. Speaker.
prepare for emergency

The official hurricane season for the Atlantic basin is June 1 to November 30, but activity can sometimes occur before and after these dates. According to experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2024 could bring a record-setting number of storms and landfalls to the Southeast and Gulf coasts. Specifically, they predict an 85% chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. This could result in as many as 17 to 25 named storms. Of those, 8 to 13 could become hurricanes and as many as 7 could develop into major hurricanes.

“That would never happen to me,” you might be thinking. But do you really want to take a chance and NOT prepare? I think not. In fact, I personally use the Atlantic hurricane season as the perfect time to not only prepare for natural disasters, but also for emergencies that are more common and that my husband and I have a greater likelihood of being affected by. Below I will elaborate on three potential emergencies:

Fire: I live in a community with several buildings. Each building contains six attached townhouses. Because they’re connected, a fire in one unit could very quickly and easily spread—not only to other units but also to other buildings. As a result, my husband and I are obsessed about fire prevention. We never do anything that could potentially result in a fire. And I have to believe that my neighbors are just as obsessed, which could be why we’ve never experienced a building fire in the seven years we’ve lived here. We’ve experienced a car fire in the parking lot just feet away from our home. But thankfully, we’ve never experienced a building fire. However, that car fire could have quickly and easily spread to our unit through no fault of our own. So we prepare.

Theft: While this example doesn’t qualify as a natural disaster, a theft could very easily happen, no matter how prepared you are. What if someone robbed your home? While it may not require evacuation or sheltering-in-place, it certainly would be very helpful to prepare in advance so you have the documents and information you need at your fingertips. One perfect example is an inventory of your possessions that you could use for filing an insurance claim if necessary.  This is a service I provide to clients, allowing them to choose how simple or detailed they want it.

Power Outage: A power outage is yet another example of an emergency you have no control over yet could affect any of us. Several years ago when my family and I lived in New Hampshire, there was a major winter ice storm that left us without power for nine v-e-r-y long days.  In fact, we couldn’t even drive out of our quiet cul-de-sac for the first few days to go to the market or anywhere at all due to a huge downed tree blocking the roadway.

So the simple message I’m trying to convey is this—prepare, prepare, prepare!

There are several things you can do to prepare. Rather than elaborate on each suggestion below, I’m going to provide links that will direct you to the experts’’ websites. One of my top website choices is the government website because it contains a wealth of information no matter where you live and no matter what the emergency.

How To Prepare:

1. Make a Plan- recommends these four steps to get the ball rolling:

  • One of the first things you need to do is create a plan with your loved ones (family, friends, household members, etc.). The link above contains a great list of questions you should discuss to get the ball rolling!
  • Consider the specific needs of everyone in your household.  Don’t forget to keep varying ages, dietary needs, medical needs, pets, disabilities, etc.  
  • Create a Family Emergency Plan by filling out their fillable form.
  • Practice your plan with your household members. 

2. Build your Emergency Supplies Kit

Their valuable link not only provides a list of basic supplies but also additional items that would probably come in handy!

3. Get Tech Ready

Their website also provides the following critical links and information:

  • apps to download
  • text shortcuts
  • how to stay in touch with loved ones during emergencies
  • the importance of having an emergency charging option for your phone and other devices
  • tips to keep your critical things safe: back up important documents, digitize photos, sync contacts, create a group chat, etc.

These are just a few of the resources available on For comprehensive information, click here

Below are a “few” more preventative measures that I personally recommend and help clients prepare.

Vital Documents Grab & Go Bin: 

Organize your vital documents (emergency contacts, financial, health, education/employment, communication & wishes, etc.) so they are easily accessible whether you need to evacuate or shelter in place. Some people prefer paper files; others prefer digital or a combination of the two. Whatever your choice, ensure they are kept in a water-proof container and one that can be easily retrieved and transported.

Home Inventory:

Create an inventory of your possessions so that you have them handy should you need them. It can be as simple or as detailed as you wish but essential information could include:

  • Brand Name
  • Model number
  • Serial number
  • Purchase Price (with receipt if possible)
  • Date Purchased
  • Description
  • Photo

Safety Deposit Box or Home Safe as an Option?

I learned a very valuable lesson from experience one year when a hurricane was headed toward Myrtle Beach. My husband and I used to keep a hard-copy of our critical documents in our bank’s safety deposit box. However, because of the approaching hurricane, the bank closed a couple of days before the hurricane was supposed to hit for the safety of its employees. That  makes perfect sense; however, there were those who didn’t realize until the bank had already closed that they no longer had access to their money or safety deposit box items. As a result, my husband and I purchased a fire-proof and water-proof safe so we had more control over our documents and access to them. 

Document Scanning

Got too many vital documents in paper format that you want/need to take with you? Have scanner, will travel. I’ll come to your home/office and digitize any documents you want to have available electronically.

Paper/Digital File Organization

  • Do you have trouble finding paper and/or digital documents?
  • Do you have different filing systems for each?
  • Do you wish there was a better way?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these, I can help! The first step is to contact me for a free consultation.

I’m not sure what the odds are that you will be personally affected by a natural disaster or general emergency, but consider pre-planning to be an insurance policy of sorts. It’s something you hope you never have to use, but if you do, it’s life-changing. And if you’re never affected, then you’re ahead of the game. Why? Because when you update this information annually (at a minimum), consider this a huge gift for loved ones as well. Because not if, but when something happens to you and you’re no longer on this earth, you will have made their lives so much easier and saved them so much time by not having to  dig for it.

Looking for even more resources? Check out my “Protect Your Legacy” or “The Benefits of Creating a Home Inventory” blogs.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

~ Benjamin Franklin ~

What burning question do you have about organizing your vital documents?  Please post it in a comment below not only to get your question answered but also to know that the answer may help someone else who may have been too embarrassed to ask.