We’ve seen the life changing disasters on TV and shared thoughts and videos with family and friends online. Many have financially helped the victims in need and others have gone in-person to save lives, provide comfort, and help others begin returning their lives to some sense of normalcy. However, most of us have still not taken action to prepare ourselves in the event of a natural disaster when we are likely to go at least several days without outside assistance.
A slightly dated Time magazine poll shows that 56 percent of us have survived a major disaster at one time or another. Still, only 16 percent think we are well prepared for when the next one strikes us personally. There are two areas in your life that you should take action now to be more prepared. First, the basics of survival – food, clean water, medicine, clothing, battery-operated radio, and a plan. Second, safeguarding your most prized possessions.
Regardless of where you live, we have the technology and knowledge to accurately predict dangerous tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, floods, and other disasters. We know which areas are prone to earthquakes and areas that are susceptible to wildfires, and we know hours in advance whether a tsunami will hit our shores. While every disaster brings unique challenges, basic survival generally remains the same for each.
Too many people don’t keep a several day supply of food and water on hand. With a few hours of warning, you could be one of the many thousands rushing to the store to stock up before disaster strikes. Besides avoiding the traffic jam in the canned goods aisle, keep in mind that community stores only have a three-day supply of food and other essentials on hand. You should already have your own three-day supply of nonperishable foods like ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables along with a can opener, protein/fruit bars, dry cereal/granola, peanut butter, nuts, canned juice, nonperishable milk, and food for infants. It’s not a bad idea to include some nonperishable comfort foods like chocolate and cookies.
At the first indication of a pending disaster, check your critical medicine supply, contact your doctor, and refill prescriptions if needed. It’s a good idea to have a book or two about field medicine. Read it beforehand so that you know what emergency medical supplies to have on hand. It might not be a survival need but you should have a family escape plan. A plan that includes how to get out of a disaster area and where you plan to meet. Local telephone service is often one of the first casualties of a disaster. Have a relative at a distant location that your family can check in with and share information. Finally, check with your local Red Cross or other community services for plans specific to your location and the types of disasters most likely to occur.
Most people have family photos, personal memorabilia, jewelry, art, and collectibles on display in their home. You should have a plan to quickly safeguard these items in the event of an emergency. Things like photos, insurance policies, and videos of all your belongings can be digitized and kept at a safe location well ahead of time.
Very few people understand what is covered in their legalese written insurance documents. Talk to you agent now to understand what is covered and update policies if needed. Other things to take care of ahead of time include:
Disasters do happen. The best thing you can do is be prepare for these events. Even a little preparation will make a big difference.
Please comment with your own disaster preparedness insights, experiences, and thoughts.
Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 35 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest. In the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.