Are you prepared for the worst-case scenario?
Are you prepared for the worst-case scenario? Are you prepared to not be a victim? Are you prepared to relocate yourself and start fresh somewhere else, even if only temporarily? Generally, most people do not think that worst-case scenarios happen where they live. In the Northeast, we do not worry about wildfires like they have in the west. Nor do we usually worry about tornadoes, Yet, on average, the Northeast gets eight tornadoes a year. Another worst-case scenario is a house fire that destroys property, which accounts for 26% of fires reported. Now, I am not telling you this to create more fear, but rather to give you advanced preparation time for yourself. If you take just one or two items from this article, you are better prepared to face any emergency than you were yesterday. So, let’s get started.
My first piece of advice would be to create a phone tree for you and your family. This is meant to be the communication channel that would be activated if an emergency were to occur with you or your household.
It is a simple listing of family members, their relationship to you, phone number, and email. Email is needed just in case cell phone service has been impacted. This file should be shared with those involved and saved to a place that you can retrieve readily via a computer or phone. A Google shared document is easy to put in place. This will also save you and your family valuable time in getting the word out.
At this point I ask you to think about whether or not you have all of your medical, financial and personal information that is necessary, should anything happen to you or your family. We all believe we are more organized than we actually are in this area. With that said, the following will be a high-level view of some of the emergency preparedness activities that you might think about tackling.
Status of Your Medical Information:
Listing, and possibly a copy, of all of your medical, dental, and vision insurance cards and policies that includes a picture of the front and back of your cards.
A list of all medications for you and your family members.
If applicable, an Advance Directive and a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney. A copy should be kept in this file, with the original in a fire safe box or safety security box.
A list of all doctors’ phone numbers and contact details (including specialty, etc.).
Status of Your Financial Information:
Listing of all of your credit cards including account numbers, phone numbers, website, user ID, and passwords. I use my iPhone to scan the front & back of all of the cards and ID that I carry in my purse so that I can take quick action should I lose my bag.
Insurance coverage information by policy, including the name of the insurance company, numbers, website, and critical information to access accounts. This will help you stay calm while taking action during a crisis. My Home Emergency Preparedness listing has a detailed list of financial and legal documents that should be pulled together in preparation for a personal emergency.
Know where your money is and what is required to access it in an emergency.
Have some cash on hand (about $300-$500). This cash is for small purchases, should your credit card system be inoperable.
Status of Personal Contact Information beyond medical and financial:
(Keep these items in a portable fireproof security box.)
Driver’s license/state ID
Social Security Card
List of all critical accounts with account numbers, websites, and contact information. If you have a password vault with all of this information, include the master password in this list.
Children’s names, if applicable, as well as names of schools.
Your employer, as well as contact information.
Partner’s contact information, if applicable, as well as their employer
Additional quick tips -
Prepare and communicate your emergency plans with household members BEFORE they need to be activated.
Whose job is it to communicate to other family members and friends?
Who is grabbing the essential items when you leave? Create an emergency checklist on your phone that will remind everyone. Or, tape the instructions to the top of the portable security box.
Keep an updated list of emergency contacts that can be sent to anyone in your phone tree. Remember that the relationship of these contacts should be clear, so that appropriate action can be taken.
Take pictures or videos of your home and store them on a regular basis for insurance questions. This will help you with a home inventory that might be needed for claims purposes. Do not rely on your memory.
Don’t forget information about your pets. Where are their records? Who is their vet? Be sure that registration and vaccine documents are included.
Are your photos saved in a safe place that can be accessed remotely? Or, are they on a thumb drive that needs to be added to your emergency exit listing?
Where are all the keys to the house, cars, sheds, and storage places? Do you have copies or are they included in your emergency exit listing?
For Facebook users, you can set up Facebook Safety Check – this can be used to post status and updates for your family during an emergency.
Always keep at least one portable backup charger for phones and mobile devices. This may be handy if you have to travel without your car. It is also good to have if power is not going to be consistent and predictable.
I hope you found this document to be helpful, and maybe even a catalyst to get one item checked off for your own emergency preparedness. By having a plan, you will help reduce your anxiety in the worst-case scenario. If you have an idea that you want to share, please drop a message. If you have questions or need help, please contact me.