Shake, Rattle, and Irene

I live in earthquake country. The notorious San Andreas Fault is about 55 miles away (it runs just to the north and east of San Bernardino); the Newport-Inglewood Fault (which caused the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake) is just ten miles from my house. Scientists think a major quake on the San Andreas Fault will likely come sooner rather than later (the southern-most section has not had a major earthquake in 300 years, and is thought to be far overdue).

But not just Southern California faces natural hazards. Earthquakes can occur in the Midwest (the New Madrid Faultzone), the South (Charleston, SC), and Virginia. That’s not to mention tornadoes and hurricanes.

With Hurricane Irene threatening the East Coast now is a good time to remember some tips for disaster planning. Have a disaster kit, have a plan, including an out-of-area contact (I know the importance of this from living through the Northridge Earthquake), and make sure you backup and store in a secure place your computer data.

For those living in earthquake country, consider earthquake insurance. In California, you must purchase this from the California Earthquake Authority (either directly or indirectly). If you live in an area that can flood, consider flood insurance. Make sure your homeowners/renters insurance coverage is up to date, too.

While there are casualty loss deductions available after the fact, its better to be prepared. Natural disasters will happen, and in this case an ounce of prevention is worth far more than a pound of cure.


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