Archive for Environment

Safety First: Preparing For Hurricane Season

Hurricane season preparation

Have a Plan this Hurricane Season?

Statistics show that 97% of hurricanes in the Atlantic occur between June 1 and Oct. 15. This is according to researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In the Pacific, that date range runs from May 15 to Nov. 30. Like it or not, hurricane season will soon be upon us!
 
There’s nothing you can do to stop them from coming, but you can take steps to minimize the damage in situations like this. There are two big factors that influence survival and property damage: planning and swift action on the advice of emergency personnel. If you live in an area affected by hurricanes or similar natural events, the worst thing you can do is not prepare for them.
 
Here are four ways to yourself for hurricane season. Keep safe with strategies like these!

1.) Plan your evacuation

The most important things you can protect during any disaster are yourself and your family. The best way to do that is to get to higher ground, away from the dangers of wind and water. Having a plan for your evacuation helps you do just that.
 
Your plan should include where you’ll go, how you’ll get there and where you’ll stay once you’re there. Expect hotels and other shelters to reach capacity in a hurry, so try to find friends or family you can stay with. Have at least two routes planned in case one becomes blocked due to traffic or weather.
 
Don’t forget your furry friends. Many shelters will house dogs and cats in an emergency. If you can’t take them with you, have a plan for where they’ll stay until the weather returns to normal.

2.) Stock your shelter

If you don’t live in an evacuation zone or have facilities in your house to weather the storm, make sure you have adequate supplies in case power, water and other essential services are cut off for extended periods of time. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a list of supplies that should be included in your disaster preparedness kit. Topping the list are clear essentials: one gallon of water per person for three days, three days (nine meals) of non-perishable food, a flashlight and a first-aid kit.
 
One item that may escape notice is a crank-powered or battery-operated radio. Look for a weather-band radio that includes a cellphone charging port. This can help keep you connected in the event of an extended power outage.
 
Being financially prepared is important, too. If power or communication services are out, your debit and credit cards may not work. Have enough cash around to pay for a hotel stay or a week of groceries. Just ensure that cash is in a secure location where it can’t be easily lost or stolen.

3.) Prepare your home

There are several steps you can take around the house to minimize hurricane damage. Remove dead or dying limbs from trees on your property. Reinforce gutters and downspouts to minimize the threat of water damage.
 
Also consider reinforcing the windows and doors, including the garage door. Installing shutters or tracking hardware to facilitate the addition of reinforcements can not only provide you with peace of mind, they can add to the resale value of your home.

4.) Check your documents

In emergency situations, the last thing you want to be worried about is whether your insurance will cover damages. Review these documents with your agent at least once a year to make sure you have the coverage you need. Also, make sure you keep an itemized list of valuables in your home. Take pictures wherever possible.
 
While you’re securing documents, be sure to get copies of all your important identifying information. It may be smart to keep originals of documents, such as your Social Security card, birth certificate, the deed to your house and hard copies of your insurance policies in a secure location, like a safe deposit box. Trying to get duplicates of these in the aftermath of a storm can be challenging.
 
No one can do anything about the weather. All we can control is our response to it. Make sure you and your family are prepared for the worst, and weather the storm in safety!
 

In case of a weather emergency, learn more about CO-OP Shared Branching. This network allows you to do transactions at participating credit unions other than Section 705 Federal Credit Union!

 
SOURCES:

Shop Local

Shop Local, Keep Your Money Local!

various fresh fruitsYour credit union is built on the idea of people helping people. You already know we can do a better job looking after your money than a mega-chain bank that answers to shareholders, because we know you and our community. So why give that up when you find a bargain online? Shopping locally is better for the community, better for the environment and the best way to find something unique that can make all of your friends say “wow.”

1. Shopping locally benefits your community.

When you shop locally, the money you spend stays in the community. Buying a new pair of shoes from a local shop takes dollars out of your pocket and puts them into the pockets of a local resident, of course. What you might not consider is that those dollars get spent by the business owners as well, and they’re also likely to spend their money locally.

American Express estimates that about 68 cents out of every dollar spent in local shops stays at home, and if that dollar is spent locally three times, it means that – for every dollar you spend at local shops – $1.45 goes back into the community. It’s what economists refer to as the multiplier effect, and it’s very powerful.

Fun fact: The multiplier effect is why the government is still willing to make pennies, even though minting them costs more than one cent. The multiplier effect is powerful enough to justify all that loose change in the jar next to your bed, and it’s powerful enough to make shopping locally a force for change.

Of course, that money doesn’t just go to shopkeepers and restaurant owners. The local government takes out its share in local taxes. Even if you hate the idea of taxes, and we all may grumble in April, local taxes go to schools, firefighters, and other services in the area. Buying dinner at a local bistro can be the reason the town has enough money to fix the potholes on your street. Not a bad dessert.

2. Shopping locally is better for the environment.

You already know about the danger of greenhouse gases and the effects of global warming. If you don’t remember anything else, you probably remember Al Gore’s visual of a polar bear floating away. What’s easy to forget is that everything you buy had to come from somewhere. If you’re drinking imported spring water from Fiji, that water flew halfway around the world. If your new pants were made in China, they racked up frequent flyer miles, too.

It’s really hard to avoid foreign manufacturing, but many local businesses have locally made goods for sale, which eliminates at least one flight your product might take, saving on fuel and greenhouse gases. Even if the product you’re buying was manufactured overseas, buying it locally can shave a flight or two off the product’s carbon footprint.

3. Shopping locally is the best way to find hidden gems.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finding something your friends have never seen before. Whether it’s jewelry from a local metalsmith, a purse from a local boutique or pottery from a local artisan, local shops have the best potential for one-of-a-kind, where-did-you-get-that, I-love-it-so much uniqueness out of any shopping you can do. Anyone can get on Amazon or check out a department store. It takes a real connoisseur with a real eye for style to shop locally and find the best products. Show off your personal style with buys from local artisans.

One final benefit of shopping locally is that many of your finds come with a story. Those earrings might be from a local artist who got the inspiration from the nursery rhyme her mother told her, or those plates might borrow their pattern from the artist’s love of pop art. Whatever the story, local artists will tell you how they came up with their unique designs. Part of the fun of local shopping is the connections you can build with local artists, and hearing their stories is part of it.

San Francisco started recognizing the historic contributions of local businesses by listing important shops on its historic registry. Looking around [your town], which businesses would you nominate for historic status? Check our Facebook andTwitter to see what other members have to say, and let us know any place we’ve missed.

Don’t forget, Section 705 Federal Credit Union is local too. If you are a small business owner in the Acadiana area looking to belong to a credit union, visit our website to apply.

Sources:
http://ilsr.org/why-support-locally-owned-businesses/
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/small%20business/2014/11/21/small-business-strategies-shopping-local/19259277/
http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2011/10/28/how-consumers-and-communities-can-benefit-from-buying-local

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