Preparing for a natural disaster
Preparing for a natural disaster
Living here in Florida we have been hit by some major hurricanes the last couple of years and it seems every time I turn on the news another part of our country is being affected by a natural disaster. The northeast is getting pounded by heavy rain and flooding, the west is on fire, and earthquakes are rocking the northwest. We all know the potential disasters we may face living in certain areas, but there are also the individual disasters we could encounter, such as a house fire, burglary, car accident and more. Although this blog is about being debt free it is also about making smart decisions to protect our families and ourselves from financial, emotional and physical ruin.
Being prepared for specific events and having emergency plans in place is often overlooked until it’s too late. I remember the countless people on the news last year as hurricane Irma drew closer to south Florida that just did not have the means to get themselves out of harm’s way. Up until the last couple of years Florida has not had any direct hurricane hits in quite some time, so it is easy to forget that we live in an area where our lives can be dramatically changed in a matter of days. Therefore I feel it is imperative for all of us to assess our possible risks based on our location and prepare accordingly to be able to move out of harm’s way and to have the necessary life saving items to get us through until help arrives. There are tons of resources on the internet about disaster preparedness from basic snowstorms to all out nuclear war, I encourage you to at least stock up on the essentials and plan an emergency evacuation route for your family should such an event occur.
The second part of disaster preparedness is preparing for the rebuilding process, having adequate insurance coverage for all of your valuables should be the very least you do. Life insurance is also important in the event that a family member does not survive. After a major natural disaster your home and belongings may be destroyed, your vehicles and place of business may also be gone. Having a place to go, and resources to replace your basic needs items until insurance kicks in are the first priority.
In baby step one we plan on having $1000 set aside for immediate emergencies, and in baby step three we encourage you to have 3-6 month of cash reserves which may be exactly what you will need at this time.
I apologize if this blog post seems morbid, but I feel it is a serious disservice to not discuss the reality of these events, we see them unfold everyday on TV around the world and many of us have not experienced this level of trauma in our personal lives. I hope the day never comes but if it does you should be prepared.
In conclusion I recommend discussing your plan with your spouse and take these action steps.
- Adequately insure everything valuable life, health, home, auto. Discuss your concerns with your insurance agent and come up with a plan.
- Save 3-6 months of cash reserves and keep some cash in small bill on hand to get out of town in the event of a power outage.
- Research survival preparedness for your area, adequate food, water, clothing and medical supplies should be on hand and easily transported should you have to move fast.
- Keep a backup of all of your important documents in a safe place or digital format. Also any family photos or other important irreplaceable items should be protected in a safe place.
Remember stuff can be replaced, and with the proper insurance you may even get better stuff, but your life and your family’s well-being are the first priority. Have a way to get to safety and enough of a nest egg to get you back on your feet. Don’t let your family be one of those on the news living in a FEMA camp. The time to prepare is now!