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Everyone on the Gulf coast today is watching the news or accessing their favorite weather site. Fortunately, this storm will be passing over cool water before it hits land and thus will lose a good bit of its force. That said, everyone who has been through a storm before knows that strange things can happen. We all know what to do to prepare for a hurricane – fill up cars and gas cans, make sure that everything in your yard that could become airborne is put inside, board windows, get out the candles, batteries and flashlights, get some cash from the ATM, etc. We have all done this many times before.

Unfortunately, the steps listed above are generally those to which we devote the bulk of our energy. There are other things that, though equally or more important, are usually ignored. One reason preparing for a worst case disaster means facing issues that we don’t want to face.

Get over it, just like you did when you had your first will prepared (and if you haven’t done that, get over that first). Understand that you are taking steps that might help your family if the worst happens. Consider doing the following:

1) Make sure that all of your important papers (wills, insurance policies and banking records) are in your safety deposit box. Don’t have one? Head to your bank and get one. They provide good bang for the buck.

2) Keep your medical insurance documents – policies, plan descriptions and cards – with the family member who is most likely to be dealing with your providers.

3) If anyone in your family is taking prescription medications, make sure that your stocks aren’t low.

4) Make sure that people important to you know where the documents in 1) above are and come up with a communication plan in the event that power is lost (and it will be). Also, make sure that those same people know where you are going to be.

5) Develop an action plan for your pets.

6) Most importantly (probably should be #1), get out of the affected area if there is any doubt about the severity of the storm. Much better safe than sorry.

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