Here are some tips to help you be prepared in case disaster strikes:

Don’t Forget to Update Emergency Plans

Because a disaster can strike any time, be sure to review emergency plans annually. Personal and business situations change over time, as do preparedness needs. When employers hire new employees or when a company or organization changes functions, they should update plans accordingly and inform employees of the changes. Make plans ahead of time and be sure to practice them.

Create Electronic Copies of Key Documents

Taxpayers can help themselves by keeping a duplicate set of key documents including bank statements, tax returns, identifications and insurance policies in a safe place such as a waterproof container and away from the original set.

Doing so is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and financial information is available on the Internet. Even if the original documents are provided only on paper, these can be scanned into an electronic format. This way, taxpayers can download them to a storage device such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive, or burn them to a CD or DVD.

Document Valuables

It’s a good idea to photograph or videotape the contents of any home, especially items of higher value. Documenting these items ahead of time will make it easier to claim any available insurance and tax benefits after the disaster strikes. The IRS has created disaster loss workbooks for individuals and businesses, which can help taxpayers compile a list of belongings and business property.

Photographs can help anyone prove the fair market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Ideally, photos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area.

Check on Fiduciary Bonds

Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider.

Resources:

IRS Pub 584 

Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook (Personal Use)

This workbook is designed to help to help you figure your loss on personal-use property in the event of a disaster, casualty, or theft. It contains schedules to help you figure the loss to your main home, its contents, and your motor vehicles.

IRS Pub 584B

Business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook

This workbook is designed to help you figure your loss on business and income-producing property in the event of a disaster, casualty, or theft. It contains schedules to help you figure the loss to your office furniture and fixtures, information systems, motor vehicles, office supplies, buildings, and equipment.

Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.

Ready.gov

This brochure from Ready.gov provides a common sense framework is designed to launch a process of learning about Citizen Preparedness.