5 Insurance Tips For Fire Evacuees

From KTVZ – for those affected by Oregon wildfires:

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has five tips for homeowners and renters who have evacuated or been affected by fire, smoke and ash damage.

  • Call your insurance company. Let your company know if you have evacuated. Coverage is typically available for fire, smoke, and ash damage to your home and personal property.
  • Ask about your auto coverage, too. You need comprehensive coverage on your auto policy to cover fire, smoke, and ash damage, no matter where your vehicle is located at time of the loss.
  • If you had to evacuate, save your receipts and, when it is safe, let your insurance company know you evacuated. Your homeowners policy may pay for expenses such as lodging, food, and even pet boarding due to a mandatory evacuation. Be sure to check with your insurance company to confirm your specific coverage.
  • If you have not evacuated and it is safe to do so, make a quick home inventory by taking photos or video of each room in your home. Pay close attention to what is on the walls and in drawers and closets. Don’t forget storage areas such as the attic and garage. Check your insurance company’s website for an app or checklist that will help. Or use the Insure U Home Inventory Checklist.
  • If your personal belongings are damaged, the insurance company will request a list of items that are damaged or destroyed. Take some time to work on your home inventory list now. Look through your photos and videos to help recall personal items. Be sure to look for smaller items, such as jewelry. To the best of your ability, write down the age, original cost, and replacement cost of each item.

Following these tips will help save you money, time, and stress during a wildfire. For more information on preparing for a wildfire, visit the division’s wildfire page.

Oregonians that have been forced to evacuate their homes because of area wildfires should contact their insurance companies as soon as possible to let them know they have evacuated and discuss next steps. If you still have questions or concerns, the division’s Advocacy Team is here to help. Call the team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or visit dfr.oregon.gov.

If your law practice has been affected

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Oregon Vital Records Free of Charge to those Affected by Wildfires

From the Oregon Health Authority:

Many Oregon families may have lost all vital documents due to the wildfires. Family members may also have died in the wildfires. Under a new temporary rule, up to three certified copies of Oregon vital records will be provided free of charge if requested in connection with Executive Order 20-35. This new rule will remain in effect until March 1, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does this mean?

The State Vital Records office will provide up to three (3) certified copies of a birth, death, marriage, divorce, domestic partnership or dissolution of domestic partnership free of charge if the record is requested in connection with Executive Order 20-35 related to wildfire response. The Executive Order only applies to fires that occurred in Oregon.

County Vital Records offices will provide up to three (3) certified copies of death or birth records free of charge if the record is requested in connection with Executive Order 20-35 related to wildfire response.  

When does the fee waiver go into effect?

The fee waiver goes into effect September 14, 2020 and will remain in effect until March 1, 2021.

How do individuals get the vital records fees waived?

When ordering the certified copies of the vital record, the person ordering the certificates must state the reason for needing the record as “Executive Order 20-35” or “Oregon 2020 Wildfires”. It is important that this information is noted on the order so the fee can be waived appropriatelySee link for ordering information.

What happens if I order by mail?

Complete and sign the order form. State the reason for needing the record as “Executive Order 20-35” or “Oregon 2020 Wildfires”. It is important that this information is noted on the order so we know why a fee is not included. Provide identification as required. We may request additional documentation if it appears the request for records is not in connection with the wildfires.   

What happens if I order over the Internet or by phone?

If you are ordering via the Internet or phone, you will need to pay the entire fee upon ordering. The certificate fee will be refunded once the order is received by the Center for Health Statistics. State the reason for needing the record as “Executive Order 20-35” or “Oregon 2020 Wildfires” when completing the order. It is important that this information is noted on the order so the certificate fee can be waived appropriately, and a refund submitted. We may request additional documentation if it appears the request for records is not in connection with the wildfires.

County Vital Records offices will provide up to three (3) certified copies of death or birth records free of charge if the record is requested in connection with Executive Order 20-35 related to wildfire response.  

Wildfires in Oregon – How to Stay Safe, Replace Lost Documents, and Get Your Ballot

The Ready.gov checklist below describes how to prepare for, survive during, and be safe after a wildfire.

For resources on replacing lost documents or receiving your 2020 ballot, see the postscript.

Please share this post if you know someone affected by the wildfires, including those who are under a Level 1 or 2 evacuation notice.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A WILDFIRE THREATENS

Prepare NOW

  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Sign up for email updates about coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Check AirNow.gov for information about your local air quality.
  • Know your community’s evacuation routes and find several ways to leave the area. Drive the evacuation routes while following the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your state and local authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Have a plan for pets and livestock. Remember that some shelters do not accept pets.
  • Prepare for long-term social distancing by gathering emergency supplies. Include cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, first aid supplies, and water. Consider gathering soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, household cleaning supplies, and masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Set aside supplies in case you must evacuate to your safe location. After a wildfire, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment. Being prepared allows you to address smaller medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.
    • Being prepared allows you to avoid unnecessary excursions and to address minor medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.
    • Remember that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, making essential purchases and slowly building up supplies in advance will allow for longer time periods between shopping trips. This helps to protect those who are unable to procure essentials in advance of the pandemic and must shop more frequently. In addition, consider avoiding WIC-approved products so that those who rely on these products can access them.
    • If you already have one at home, set aside a respirator, like an N95 respirator, to keep smoke particles out of the air you breathe. Respirators are not meant to fit children. Due to COVID-19, it may be difficult to find respirators. While cloth face coverings, surgical masks, and dust masks provide protection from exposure to COVID-19, they will not protect you from smoke inhalation. To ensure that healthcare workers have access to N95 respirators, it is best to limit your exposure to smoke rather than buy respirators.
  • Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. Close all doors and windows. Set up a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions exist.
  • Keep important documents in a fireproof, safe place. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Use fire-resistant materials to build, renovate, or make repairs.
  • Find an outdoor water source with a hose that can reach any area of your property.
  • Create a fire-resistant zone that is free of leaves, debris, or flammable materials for at least 30 feet from your home.
  • Review insurance coverage to make sure it is enough to replace your property.
  • Pay attention to air quality alerts.

Survive DURING

  • Evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so. If possible, bring items with you when you evacuate that can help protect you and others from COVID-19 while sheltering. Examples include hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, cleaning materials, and two cloth masks per person to prevent the spread of infection.
    • If you are unable to stay with family and friends and must stay at a shelter or public facility, take steps to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19. Wash your hands often, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet between you and people who are not part of your household, wear a mask. If you can, wash your face covering regularly. Masks should not be worn by children under 2 years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the covering.
  • If trapped, then call 911 and give your location, but be aware that emergency response could be delayed or impossible. Turn on lights to help rescuers find you.
  • Pay attention to any health symptoms if you have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant. If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and let the operator know if you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth fae covering before help arrives. If staying at a shelter or public facility, alert shelter staff immediately so they can call a local hospital or clinic.
  • Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
  • If you already have an N95 mask, use this to protect yourself from smoke inhalation. N95 masks also protect against the spread of COVID-19, however they should be reserved for healthcare workers. If are in a public cleaner air space or shelter, use a mask to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • If you are not ordered to evacuate but smoky conditions exist, stay inside in a safe location or go to a community building where smoke levels are lower.

Be Safe AFTER

  • Listen to authorities to find out when it is safe to return, and whether water is safe to drink.
  • Avoid hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris, and live embers. The ground may contain heat pockets that can burn you or spark another fire. Consider the danger to pets and livestock. When cleaning, wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, appropriate cloth face coverings or masks, and sturdy thick-soled shoes during clean-up efforts. These will protect you from further injury from broken glass, exposed nails, and other objects. Use appropriate masks or respirators and maintain a physical distance of at least six feet while working with someone else to protect yourself from COVID-19. When cleaning up ash, use a respirator to limit your exposure.
    • People with asthma and/or other lung conditions should take precautions in areas with poor air quality, as it can worsen symptoms. Children should not help with clean-up efforts.
    • Pay attention to any health symptoms if you or your children have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant. Get to medical help if you need it.
  • Continue taking steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as washing your hands often and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.
  • Send text messages or use social media to reach out to family and friends. Phone systems are often busy following a disaster. Make calls only in emergencies.
  • Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Document property damage with photographs. Conduct an inventory and contact your insurance company for assistance.
  • Wildfires dramatically change landscape and ground conditions, which can lead to increased risk of flooding due to heavy rains, flash flooding and mudflows. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored—up to 5 years after a wildfire. Consider purchasing flood insurance to protect the life you’ve built and to assure financial protection from future flooding.
  • Be available for family, friends, and neighbors who may need someone to talk to about their feelings. Many people may already feel fear and anxiety about the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The threat of a wildfire can add additional stress. Follow CDC guidance for managing stress during a traumatic event and managing stress during COVID-19. You may need to talk to someone about your feelings, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or professionals if you need help coping with your stress, anxiety, or sadness.

Last Updated by Ready.gov: 09/09/2020

Postscript

If you or someone you know had to evacuate without important DMV documents, here’s how to replace them.

The League of Women Voters offers this advice for getting your 2020 ballot if you’ve been displaced.

Should You Be Using Grammarly?

Do you rely on Microsoft Word’s grammar check to clean up your writing? You may want to make the switch to Grammarly, the online writing assistant.

Grammarly promises to help you write mistake-free in Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other app you use including text messages, your browser, and Microsoft Word. The basic version is free, with premium plans starting at $11.66 per month.

Security and Client Confidentiality

Grammarly data is encrypted and stored in the United States on a private, secure network. As to data access and client confidentiality:

Grammarly has a set of policies and technical controls that prevent employees from accessing customer data that is stored or processed by Grammarly systems. Where appropriate, Grammarly uses private keys and restricts network access to particular employees.

While Grammarly may track anonymized, aggregate statistics by website domain, Grammarly doesn’t collect browsing history from specific users while they browse the web. Information such as web server access logs or IP addresses is collected only for a limited time and only to provide specific services to the user, such as fraud prevention.

How Does Grammarly Work?

To learn how Grammarly works, we turn to Ayesha Siddiqua from Blogging Filter. Ayesha’s post covers all the details, including features, benefits, platforms, and plan specifics.

‘To err is human,‘ and that’s where the need for grammar checker tool emerges. I have curated this review post to let you know all about Grammarly, …

Grammarly Review: Is It the Best Grammar Checker Tool

All Rights Reserved 2020 Beverly Michaelis

Marketing Strategies for the New Normal – Part 2

Last week we focused on the importance of being client-centric – always good advice. Today we talk about two specific action steps designed to help you connect to potential new clients.

Post Social Media Videos

Five- to ten-minute videos taken on your smartphone or tablet can answer common questions quickly and effectively and are easy to share on not only business profiles, but Facebook groups and related pages as well.

Need ideas? Use Google’s “People also ask” search results or answerthepublic.com.

Reach Out to Local Media

Using local news websites, reach out to field reporters. Find their contact information or Twitter handle and send suggested content ideas for news segments. Marketing expert Angela Wearn: “Content is most useful when it supplements their most recent stories (i.e., if a reporter just announced a local business that shut its doors because of COVID-19, business attorneys could follow up with content about how businesses can protect themselves against the same thing).”

Tips for Implementation

If either of these strategies appeal to you, all credit is due to expert Angela Wearn. For more advice on how to make videos or offer content to reporters, check out her post.

All Rights Reserved 2020 Beverly Michaelis