Are you prepared for a natural disaster?

BBB offers safety tips

With the threat of volcano eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis, Hawaii residents can never be too prepared. That’s why it is so important to make sure residents and business owners are prepared for a natural disaster, both in Hawaii and everywhere else.

While strangers will reach out to help others during a natural disaster, scammers make situations worse by trying to take advantage of victims. BBB reminds those affected by natural disasters to beware of out-of-town contractors soliciting businesses with ill intentions. While they may not all be frauds, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes or make big promises they can’t deliver. The con artists typically show up after a natural disaster offering to help with cleanup for a low cost. Be sure to research any company before doing business with them and never be pressured into making quick decisions when solicited by a contractor.

Remember, it’s just as important to be prepared before disaster strikes. Here are some steps you can take to get your home and business ready:

For consumers

Keep documents secure. Store your documents in a safe place that is easy to access such as a safe deposit box. This includes your Social Security card, birth certificate, passport and any other official, hard-to-replace documents. Documents not kept in a safe can land in the wrong hands.

Have a plan. Familiarize yourself with your town’s emergency plans for shelter and evacuation. Have a list of emergency contacts, the locations frequented by family members and know the specific needs of household members, including animals.

For businesses

Practice emergency drills. Businesses should practice drills with employees and have processes in place to account for employees in the event of a disaster.

Lock up customers’ information. Remember to safeguard your customers’ privacy by protecting their data. Lock up important papers or transfer them to the cloud to keep them safe and intact.

Visit FEMA’s website at to learn about the potential emergencies that could occur where you live and the appropriate ways to respond to them. Get more scam tips at

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