In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, First Community Bank (FCB) of East Tennessee and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) are reminding consumers of simple steps they can take to prepare their financial documents and help alleviate financial concerns ahead of a natural disaster or emergency.

“As a cornerstone of economic recovery for our communities, FCB considers it our civic duty to be prepared and resilient in the face of the unknown,” said Miranda Cooper, SVP of Retail Banking and Marketing.   “We stand shoulder to shoulder with our communities—helping them plan for the unknown so they can focus on the recovery and rebuilding process once the crisis passes.”

ICBA and FCB offer the following tips to help consumers prepare for the unexpected and reclaim their financial wherewithal following a natural disaster.

  • Prepare backup communications plans if both cellular and landline services fail.
  • Store digital and paper copies of critical documents in a safe deposit box. These include a driver’s license, passport, military ID, bank and investment account information, proof of occupancy, a mortgage deed, insurance policies, and three years of tax returns.
  • Make copies of personal documents—marriage license, birth certificates, adoption papers—for safekeeping and alert a relative, trustee, or attorney of their location. 
  • Print out contact information for trustees, guardians, and executors and pack them away for safe keeping and share a copy with a trusted family member or friend. 
  • Create an inventory of personal and household valuables and use photo or video documentation to help assess their value and determine replacement costs.
  • Contact your insurance agent or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website, to determine if you need a flood insurance policy. FEMA also offers a guide with checklists to help prepare for emergencies and natural disasters.

“Community bankers are not fair-weather lenders,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “As trusted financial advisor, your community banker can help evaluate financial preparedness before these unexpected, stressful events occur to help protect you and your loved ones from the long-term effects of these unplanned emergencies and jumpstart your financial recovery.” For more information on crisis preparedness visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org/news/crisis-preparedness.

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