Top tips to protect valuables from extreme weather disasters

(BPT) - Natural disasters cost Americans $91 billion in damages in 2018, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

With parts of the country in the midst of peak hurricane season, and other regions of the country approaching the dangerous wildfire and flooding seasons, experts emphasize the importance of safeguarding key assets, especially those irreplaceable personal and financial documents.

“As the number of extreme storms in the U.S. continues to rise, so does the importance of protecting your assets like sentimental family photos, wills, insurance/tax documents and more,” advises Cheryl Nelson, a certified instructor at FEMA’s National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC). “We can’t always predict exactly when natural disasters will strike, but we can take proactive steps to safeguard the things we deem irreplaceable.”

In observance of National Preparedness Month in September, the Master Lock Company and Nelson partnered to offer insights and advice for safeguarding valuables from the unexpected.

Safeguard your irreplaceable belongings. Whether you’re waiting out a storm or must quickly vacate your home, your most important papers, records, photos, valuables and heirlooms will be more secure when stored in a fire- and water-protected safe, such as the durable SentrySafe Combination Fire/Water Safe or portable SentrySafe Fire/Water Chest.

Maintain digital copies. Plan ahead for contingencies by storing copies of your most essential documents safely in the cloud, as well as portable flash drives. Free apps for Android and iOS phones make it easy to scan documents for that purpose.

Consider moving expensive artwork, antiques, wine, cars and/or other possessions to a temperature-controlled, generator-protected storage facility built for that purpose.

Secure your yard and home. Make sure your trees are properly trimmed and ensure your yard is clear of lawn furniture, landscaping equipment and other loose items. Strong winds can also open doors to storage areas and sheds if not properly locked. Consider a durable Master Lock padlock, such as the new “Now Even Stronger” Laminated Padlocks, to keep outdoor storage areas secure.

Close interior doors. Taking that step may preserve your roof in high winds, since it compartmentalizes the pressure inside the home into smaller areas, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

Prepare for insurance claims. Inventory and photograph your belongings as they’re purchased, attaching receipts and including appraisals when applicable.

Establish a lock box. You never know when you could be trapped inside your home and/or need someone else to check on it during a disaster. Options like the durable Master Lock 5400D Portable Lock Box or easy-to-use Master Lock 5440D Portable Bluetooth Lock Box provide access via combination or smartphone.

A trusted name in security for nearly 100 years, The Master Lock Company offers a full suite of security solutions offering enhanced durability, reliability and security in myriad circumstances caused by natural disasters. For more information, visit www.masterlock.com.

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