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Financial Conversations with Fitz #105 - Do you have a disaster plan for your home or business - 04 24 2012

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They always say that crisis or tragedy brings out character in people.  That was certainly true this week by the community and our employees.   Stopped over to Tyke on Friday night and viewed the building in its torn and twisted shape.    It was good to see the different vaults standing strong amongst the rubble.   It was encouraging to see the concrete slab that has been poured for the new mobile unit coming this week sometime.   This brought to mind as we followed all of our pre-written procedures and policies in our Bank Disaster Plan.   As a bank we are required by law and bank policy to have a detailed plan to follow in case of a fire or other severe disaster that affects our facilities.    It reminded me of it was time to review my own set up for my home.   We are trained in the bank to never leave out a customer file overnight that is not protected by a fireproof container.    That proved to be valuable for us and our clients.  

What kind of protection to we have for our business or home.    What kind of fireproof container do we have.    What is kept in it?     Does everyone know where it is?    Is it away from source of the hottest part of the fire?    Is it easily accessible after a fire or wind damage?   We are in a storm season the next two months - Iowa ranks 8th in the 50 states for having an average of 51 tornados annually  from ’91 to 2010.   We just have to read the recent newspapers for what happened in Creston and Thurman.    We don’t have to be reminded of what a tornado can do living in the Algona area.   Did you realize that every 84 seconds there is a home structure fire in the US.     26% of them caused by cooking mishaps.    So what is a family to do?    A good place to start is to be sure you have reviewed your insurance coverage with your agent.   They can give you information to be sure your home is as safe as it can be.    There are excellent sources for information for you to review with your family.  The Red Cross has several excellent plans and inventory of activities.   You know your school has a program to keep your children as safe as they can when they are at school.    Read over the information they bring home with them.  So we should do the same at home.    You should have several things in your home kit like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits.    Then have an exit plan from each room in your house.   Where should the family meet outside the home if separated on the way out?    Don’t hesitate to practice how this would work.  Do you have a plan B if the first route is non accessible?     I know the local fire departments always put out information each October.    They give classes to our children in school.        Do you have a contact person or number with a neighbor or relative in case of disaster?   We have that in our neighborhood.    It is important to stay informed in case of a weather tragedy.   Do you have a radio that works without electricity?    What should the children do if mom and dad are at work?   Have a trusted neighbor lined up before hand.  This is a good reminder for us to review our home plans to make and crisis less traumatic and safer for your family.

Remember that you should deal with people in community banks and organizations  that when they put something together for you that they will  be sitting with them at ball games, church or community events.  So, if in doubt give us a call.