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Planning for a Catastrophe Increases Survival Odds; Families Should Map Both Escape Routes and the Road to Financial Recovery.

LOS ANGELES -- As Californians rush to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, they are reminded of their own threat of wildfires, earthquakes, floods and other hazards. For many families, survival and recovery may depend on a carefully crafted household disaster plan. E[acute accent]California's own troubled history of natural disasters has demonstrated how one disaster can trigger another. As with Hurricane Katrina and its subsequent flooding, the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake led to widespread fires that leveled the city. The combined disasters claimed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives. E[acute accent]Living under the constant threat of multiple natural hazards, Californians should take the time to prepare their families and finances.

E[acute accent]Prepare Your Family

E[acute accent]--Begin with a family evacuation plan. Map out a main evacuation route as well as a backup route should streets become impassable.

E[acute accent]--Establish an out-of-town friend or family member as a contact that family members can communicate through if they are separated during an evacuation.

E[acute accent]--Store three-to-four days of supplies -- including non-perishable food and water, flashlights, a transistor radio and batteries. Also, a list of prescriptions and have medications handy for easy access if evacuated.

E[acute accent]--For families with pets, include food and water for them, as well.

E[acute accent]Prepare Your Finances

E[acute accent]--Keep copies of your insurance policies in a safe place outside the home, such as a safe deposit box.

E[acute accent]--Review your homeowners or renters insurance annually, paying close attention to any changes that may affect your policy and whether you need the added protection of flood or earthquake coverage.

E[acute accent]--Create and maintain a home inventory and keep a copy of it in a safe place. Home inventories can be in written, photographic, video ore electronic form, and may even be stored in cyberspace using a personal web site.

E[acute accent]"A lesson Californians can learn from Hurricane Katrina is that emergency aid may take some time in getting to you after a disaster," said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California. "Families can and should work together to plan not only how to escape and survive a catastrophe, but also how to recover financially." E[acute accent]IINC offers free home inventory software, as well as brochures on homeowners insurance and recovering from a disaster, on its Web site at E[acute accent]IINC is a non-profit, non-lobbying insurance trade association dedicated to helping consumers understand insurance and safety issues. IINC has spokespeople in both Northern and Southern California to discuss this and other insurance topics. To schedule an interview, call media relations at 800-397-1679.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 7, 2005
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