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 The headlines and media sources are awash with news clips and photographs from the devastation caused by severe weather conditions around the world.  The types of severe weather and climate changes affecting all corners of the globe include extreme fluctuating temperatures, flooding, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, lightening hits, mud slides, high winds, and more. These catastrophic events have grounded thousands of air flights, wiped out huge areas of land masses, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, interrupted world trade, and caused huge icebergs to break free from Antarctica. How prepared are you, your family, and your home for any one of these severe weather conditions?

 Depending on your location, states and municipalities prepare guides for storm preparations and evacuation directions that are free of charge to local residents. The National Weather Services and NOAA have extremely informative websites where people can obtain current information on weather conditions, weather forecasts, storm preparedness, household storm assessments, severe weather statistics for the present and past, and a host of educational materials for all geographical areas in the United States. These comprehensive resources are able to aid your survival during a severe weather occurrence, but there are other important areas of your life that also need to be secured in the event of weather devastation that will not be covered by their information.

Here are a few suggestions and resources for maintaining the security of your personal records during a severe weather occurrence:

• External back-up- You will greatly benefit from having an external back-up provider for all of your computer records that may be lost in a flood, tornado, or other catastrophic event. These servers can back-up your computer files daily while you are still working on the computer, they ensure security, and their services can cost as little as $50.00 per year per computer.

• Electronic Medical Records- For many reasons, developing Electronic Medical Records can be an enormous help to individuals when they move, change physicians, see specialists, or become forgetful as elderly patients. However, one of the most valuable reasons for developing Electronic Medical Records may be in keeping one’s medical records, medications, x-ray films, and other pertinent medical information secure in case of property loss or damage.

• Insurance Information Institute- This service lets you develop a portfolio of your possessions with uploaded pictures and descriptions so individuals and families can keep an accurate record of their furniture, vehicles, equipment, boats, airplanes, valuable collections, animals, jewelry, art, etc. This online service can be found at www.knowyourstuff.org.

• Tax Records- In the event of a disaster destroying your tax records, the Internal Revenue Service can be of great help. The IRS can provide replacement copies of destroyed past tax returns, free disaster loss workbooks, and any tax return attachments through their website at www.irs.gov. Taxpayers can also use a toll free telephone number, (866) 562- 5227, if they wish to speak with an IRS specialist about storm related losses.

• Pet Find Services- There are many forms of pet location services from personalized ID tags to inserted microchips that will help you find your animals who become lost during severe weather occurrences. It is also a good idea to have an electronic picture of your animals and pets for easy identification. Hundreds of thousands of animals are lost and displaced every year during severe weather circumstances, and you will be greatly relieved to have a retrieval plan in place for this important part of your family.

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