Sep 22 2008

Preparing for the worst–a different sort of emergency fund

EMERGENCY

In the personal finance community, we often talk about how important it is to have an emergency fund. Preparing for a financial emergency is a good idea, but what about other types of emergencies?

All areas of the country can be affected by inclement weather. Hurricanes not only affect coastal regions, but their winds and rains can have an impact far from any ocean. With Hurricane Ike, residents of the Gulf Coast felt the strongest effects, but the storm headed northeast and walloped parts of the Midwest and Canada as well. Chicago faced serious flooding, and hurricane-force winds were felt in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and more. Some people are still without power here in Pittsburgh, one week after the storm passed through.

Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, ice storms, strong thunderstorms, heat waves, power outages, and other disasters — man-made or natural — can spring up no matter where you live or what season.

To make life a little easier during such times, it’s important that all families have some sort of emergency kit.

I’ve never needed a full-blown emergency kit, but I’m just flirting with chance on this one. I have had times where I wished I had a few more candles, or a few more batteries, or a battery-operated radio during extended power outages.

I’m done messing around. Time for me to be a grown-up and get supplies together for those unexpected events.

I’m assembling kits for our apartment and our car, as well as updating our first-aid supplies for each location, and I’ll use a few posts this week to describe my process.

Feel free to join me! This is one of those things where you hear about it and say, “I need to do that,” and then sometimes, it gets put off until it’s forgotten. Don’t. If you need to do this, do it!

In the meantime, check out these helpful sites regarding emergency preparedness:

From the US government/orgs:

Ready.gov and the FEMA web site

The American Red Cross

From the blogs:

Lessons learned from our 30-hour power outage at Stretching a Buck

Ready for Gustav? At The Wisdom Journal

Freebies in my emergency kit at Freebies4Mom

Water: Don’t be without it at Small Notebook

It’s time again for hurricane 101 at HomeEc101

Preparing for the storm at Living Well on Less

Photo credit: Chris Violette, used with Creative Commons license


7 Responses to “Preparing for the worst–a different sort of emergency fund”

  1. A well-timed reminder – thanks, Kacie!

    Amphritrite’s last blog post..Reaping the Benefits: Dinner with the BF

  2. Thanks for the link-love, Kacie. Great compilation of resources.

    Heather’s last blog post..New Giveaway- $25 Gift Card To Build A Bear Workshop!

  3. Those are really good links you added. I never think about preparing for an emergency since its been awhile since we had any severe weather that caused me to be without power for an extended period of time, by the way I’m from Portland, Oregon. We do have to worry about flooding so we have really good renters insurance but other than that we don’t have a kit prepared other than my handy dandy first aid kit. Good reminder though that it can happen.

  4. Yes, it is definitely important to plan way before a disaster strikes. My family in Houston were greatly affected by Ike (no running water for a few days, no power for more than a week, no work for a week). My mom experienced Hurricane Alicia in 1983 and had a similar experience, so she is always prepared — she has a huge stash of batteries, water, and non-perishable foods. Her boyfriend always thought she was foolish for being so overprepared, but he was so grateful during Ike that she had this. This also made us all discuss the fact that it’s always important to have a cash emergency fund at home. Some ATMs in Houston couldn’t work with no power. Some had extremely low withdrawal limits since everyone needed cash. A lot of stores had no or limited power and couldn’t accept credit cards. Basically, people who had a literal cash reserve were much better off. Preparation really is key.

    Emily’s last blog post..Criminal Charges: Volume VIII

  5. Since the recommended water storage amount is 1 gallon per person per day we use this 7 gallon Aquatainer (http://www.generalarmynavy.com/Aquatainer7GallonWaterJug-idv-40-97.html) to store water. We have one for each member of our family.

    I have it on my calendar to empty and refill the jugs every 6 months. Thankfully, we haven’t ever needed them. But just the other day my sister had no running water due to a water main break. When she called me I was surprised to learn she had NO water anywhere in the house to use for the few hours until it was turned back on.

    The jugs are heavy when full but if you are strong they are portable, so they could be taken with you if you needed to leave your house.

    By the way, we found them a lot cheaper than at the above link at a local farm/fleet store (about $7 on sale).

  6. Hey Kacie! Thanks for the link! Sorry it took me so long to acknowledge it, I’ve been on vacation.

    Good job getting prepared, I know I had put it off for a very long time.

    I hope your week gets off to a great start.

    Rachel Meeks’s last blog post..Tasty Popcorn, No Microwave Needed

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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