What if you had to evacuate your home immediately and had MINUTES not HOURS to prepare? Would you be able to act quickly and think rationally, taking all the necessary and important items to survive for three to five days?
There has been a lot going on in the world in the last few months, including:
- Hurricane Harvey that devastated Houston, Texas, with flooding that trapped people in their homes and cars.
- Hurricane Irma that destroyed many of the islands in the Caribbean, left many in Puerto Rico without electricity and clean water for weeks, and threatened to destroy all of Florida with its width greater than the size of the state.
- Wildfires in Northern California that came with no warning in the middle of the night, was not contained after a week of spreading, burning down entire homes, and melting the windshields of cars.
These natural disasters have left many people scrambling at the last minute, fleeing their houses with only their clothes on their backs, and often getting stuck on the road due to flooding, traffic jams, and running out of gasoline. I read one colleague’s Facebook post stating that it took him and his family three hours to pack a bag to evacuate. What?!? That is way too long, especially if you have young children and pets. It breaks my heart to see and hear about all the casualties and despair of those affected, especially when taking the time to plan can make a big difference in the severity of the consequences.
With that, I will be sharing in a series of posts how to both financially and physically prepare for emergencies and natural disasters. Otherwise, you will find that dealing at the last-minute with disasters and emergencies can be time-consuming and emotionally exhausting, pulling your attention away from your job and business. I will also help significantly cut down on your research time by showing you the exact items that I personally bought for my family.
Part I: What You Need for Emergencies and Natural Disasters
1. Create an emergency cash cushion of at least $1,000.
- If you are in debt, look to sell unused items in the house to quickly generate cash or take on a part-time job.
- If you don’t know how to begin to create a cash cushion of this amount, contact a financial coach through this list of money coaches.
- True Story: I knew a family who was in danger of Hurricane Irma wiping out their house. When told to evacuate, their response was, “We don’t have the cash to pay for gasoline to get us very far, nor extra money for a hotel. We just can’t afford to leave.”
2. Get the cash in small denominations, including $1s and $5s.
- If the power is out, ATMs and credit card machines won’t work, so you can’t rely on credit cards if you need to purchase necessities.
- Small denominations will allow you to pay for things (i.e. food and gasoline) without worrying about needing change.
3. Store your cash in waterproof and fireproof location.
- Keep this emergency cash where you can access it quickly (i.e. don’t put this cash in the bank, especially if you need to flee in the middle of the night or weekend).
- First, put this cash in a waterproof container, because cash is NOT waterproof.
- Cheap option: Use a freezer bag.
- Better option: Use a triple-sealed waterproof bag/pouch: Mudder brand
- Then, put your cash in a waterproof and fire-resistant safe.
- Water proof and Fire-resistant design withstanding temperatures of up to 1700 degrees F for up to 1 hour: First Alert (Waterproof and Fire-resistant)
- Waterproof option (not fire-resistant): Container Store: Weathertight Trunk
- Be prepared to grab the cash and run, so don’t stack a bunch of stuff on-top of it where it will take you several minutes to find the bag.
I hope this list gave you enough information and ideas to get you started…TODAY. Please take the time to learn from the recent disasters to prepare yourself and your family. Don’t wait until the emergency is here and realize that you don’t have the cash to get what you need, and where you need to go. Stay tuned for more posts including what you need to physically prepare for an emergency and natural disaster.
If you found this list helpful or if there is something you think that should be in this list, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!