Recovery Assistance & Mitigation Planning

Recovery Planner Jennifer Gerbasi


An Emergency Financial First Aid Kit

Friday August 20, 2021 08:29 am


Terrebonne Parish

Department of Planning and Zoning

Recovery Assistance and Mitigation Planning

FloodSafe Minute

As we get further into the storm season, we sometimes get comfortable that an evacuation is not likely, but there is still the threat of a hurricane or tropical storm that may affect the Parish.  Are you prepared to have access to all of your important financial information if you need to leave, or if your house or business is damaged?  FEMA has developed some checklists to help people organize their important papers to be ready for any event.  This is available in several languages, all of the full versions are attached here.

Four Simple Steps to Financial Preparedness

An Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK)

  1. Assess and Compile: Gather your important financial documents and contacts.
    • Complete and date all the forms in the kit.
    • Use the checklists to understand the documentation that you should collect.
    • If you do not have an original version of a document, contact the appropriate company or agency to obtain a copy.
    • If you receive paper checks for any of your Federal benefits, consider enrolling in automatic benefits through Go Direct (
    • If you receive paper checks from your employer, consider requesting direct deposit or prepaid debit cards.
    • Print or download statements of any bills that you pay automatically, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, loan payments, and membership fees.
    • Download any banking or bill pay mobile applications to your smart phone or device for any bills that you pay online. This will allow you to consider these costs without the need to refer or sort through paper statements.
    • Take photographs or record a video of the rooms in your home and any valuable belongings, as well as the important documents listed in your EFFAK. Include copies of these records with either your paper or electronic version of the EFFAK.
    • Keep some cash in the same safe location as your EFFAK to pay for emergency purchases in the event that ATMs are not functioning or banks are closed. The amount of cash should be based on the basic needs of your family, including food, gas, and other things you use on a day-to-day basis.
    • Know your FICO Score, which is a type of credit score that lenders use to determine the risk of offering credit to a borrower. Knowing your FICO score will allow you to take action if it needs to be improved in order to prepare for emergency borrowing.

2. Review: Review your insurance policies and financial paperwork to be sure that they are still accurate and current.

  • If you own a home or a car, ensure that your homeowners and auto insurance coverage is enough to support you in an emergency.
  • If you rent, ensure that your lease reflects your current rent and verify that your renters insurance is up-to-date.
  • Visit for additional tips on homeowners and renters insurance.
  • The EFFAK will help you to identify any important personal documents or types of insurance (e.g. a will, living will, life insurance policy, or health insurance plan) that you do not currently have. Consider taking the steps to set up these items.


3. Safeguard: Store paper and electronic copies of all files in safe locations.

  • Consider storing paper copies of important documents at home in a fireproof and waterproof box or safe, in a bank safe deposit box, or with a trusted friend or relative. If you are using a safe deposit box, you may want to ask your bank or check state laws to confirm who can and cannot access the safe deposit box if the owner dies or cannot access it themselves due to illness.
  • For electronic copies of important documents, store them in a password-protected format on a removable flash or external hard drive in your fireproof and waterproof box or safe. You can also consider using a secure offsite storage service.
  • For more steps on how to address your financial needs after a disaster, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at:
  • If you bank or pay your bills electronically, we recommend printing your account records to include with your EFFAK or download your bank’s banking app to keep track of statements every few months.
  • File living wills and advanced directives with hospitals and primary care doctors.
  • If you have a lawyer, financial advisor, or trusted family member or friend, you may want to provide him or her with a paper copy of your EFFAK in a sealed envelope. Provide instructions that they should only open the envelope with your approval or the approval of someone whom you have chosen in      the event you cannot make decisions on your own. These trusted people can be your next of kin or someone you have allowed to act on your behalf (known as power of attorney).


4. Update: Revisit and update your EFFAK regularly. Updates are especially important when significant changes in your life occur.

  • Suggested times when you should review your EFFAK:
    • During tax preparation time
    • At the start or end of daylight savings time
    • Around your birthday
    • At the start of a new year
  • Times when you will need to change your EFFAK as soon as possible:
    • When you change your insurance provider
    • When there is a change in residence
    • When you purchase a home or rent an apartment
    • When you open or close bank accounts
    • When you have a change in marital status
    • When you have a child
    • When your child changes schools
    • During retirement planning
    • When there is a death within the household

Related Information

Full Toolkit Korean
Fillable Checklist - English
Full Toolkit Chinese
Full Toolkit Spanish
Full Toolkit Vietnamese
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