Apps, tips to help residents before and after disaster strikes

As the Yarnell fire rages on near Prescott, AZ, a lot of residents in the area are dealing with losing everything they own. And they may not have an inventory of all of their belongings for insurance purposes.

These days, though, smartphones are making it easier to keep an inventory of your belongings. It's something all of us should do now – before disaster strikes.

The MyStuff app for iPhones allows all of us to take an easy inventory of our belongings before a disaster. There is a free version of this app and one for $4.99.

For Android phones, you can try the My Home Pro app. It costs $4.

It allows you to take pictures of TV's, appliances, movies, jewelry and just about everything else you own. Then, you scan in the barcode on your belongings or type in a description of the item so that you can claim it for your insurance company later.

You can also try using a free app from Liberty Mutual. Anyone can use it and it's called the Home Gallery app .

You can email photos and descriptions of your belongings to yourself so you can save them permanently.

TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS

Most homeowners in the Prescott area are being kept away from their burned land as fires continue, but if you're one of them, experts say you need to act now.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) says you should open a claim with your insurer right away. And, if you have an ALE (Additional Living Expenses Provision), use it to help pay for temporary housing and food.

PCI also recommends making a list of your damaged property – this is where those home inventory apps can come in handy – and documenting damage by taking pictures and video.

Other resources from PCI:

Insurers Toll free Contact Numbers

PCI Insurance Checklist and Tips: During and After the Fire

TIPS FOR CHARITABLE GIVING FROM THE BBB

The Better Business Bureau is also warning consumers today about where they give their money in the wake of the tragic loss of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Fire.

To make sure donations go to the right people, they're pointing you toward their Wise Giving Alliance at give.org . It will provide you with free, reliable information about national charities.

They also warn that you should be wary of online giving and scams that will pop up in the wake of this tragedy.

The 100 Club of Arizona and the American Red Cross are both accepting donations to aid the victims of this tragedy.

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at joe@abc15.com or by going to my  "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.

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