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Financial Preparedness

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Emergency Financial First Aid Kit PSA

Being ready for a disaster is more than storing water and supplies.  You also need to be financially ready.  Starting early and having adequate insurance, a plan to pay your bills and access to your important records and accounts will help you get back on your feet faster and avoid problems with your credit when you need it most.

The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a joint publication from Operation Hope and the FEMA Citizen Corps, can help you prepare now. Use the EFFAK to identify your important documents, medical records, and household contracts. When completing the kit, be sure to include pictures or a video of your home and your belongings and keep all of your documents in a safe space. Visit the EFFAK collection of resources to download useful tools including:

Safeguarding your finances and important records is easy if you start now. And this is one of the 10 ways to participate in America’s PrepareAthon! Register your preparedness action at

In addition to using the EFFAK, these other steps can help you get started:

  1. Download phone applications that can help during emergencies: Use the FEMA phone application [4] to access to disaster preparedness, response and recovery resources including disaster assistance.
  2. Enroll in Go Direct [5] to minimize disruptions to receiving any federal benefits you may receive.
  3. Plan ahead of time to recover: Our partners at USDA have created great resources to help get you started including Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit [6] and the Disaster Recovery Log [7].

For Organizations: 

Encourage people throughout your organization to be financially prepared. You can hold a brown bag meeting or make a presentation at an existing staff meeting to provide more information. Download the EFFAK Overview power point and the Safeguarding Your Valuables Facilitator Guide to support your discussion. Register your discussions at to be counted with millions of others around the country take steps to increase their preparedness.    

And remember, being financially prepared means more than planning for disasters. Help ensure a strong financial future for you and your family by taking simple steps now to make your money work for you in the long run. Order a free packet of publications from and you'll get tips on retirement benefits, smart saving for college, avoiding financial setbacks and more. You'll also get a copy of the Consumer Action Handbook, full of tips on how to avoid scams and fraud to protect your money and financial future. Order your free packet of publications today. Share these free resources with your family and friends, so you can all be financially prepared this month.

FEMA has worked with our federal partners from the Financial Literacy Education Commission and whole community partners to compile resources that can help you get involved in strengthen your home, your job and your communities ability to be financially prepared. We encourage you to use the tools below and start early on being financially prepared.

Inventory Home Possessions

Close up of legal document and penMake a record of your personal property for insurance purposes. Take photos or a video of the interior and exterior of your home. Include personal belongings in your inventory. You may also want to download the free Household and Personal Property Inventory Book from the University of Illinois to help you record your possessions.

Important Documents

A woman records the locations of her important documents

Obtain property (homeowners or renters), health, and life insurance if you do not have them. Review existing policies for the amount and extent of coverage to ensure that what you have in place is what is required for you and your family for all possible hazards. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Store important documents such as insurance policies, deeds, property records and other important papers in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box away from your home. Make copies of important documents for your disaster supplies kit. Having such information handy should make the registration process for FEMA benefits smoother, should you be involved in a presidentially declared disaster.


A woman records her credit card informationConsider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATM’s and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.