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Cutting Through the Clutter: Are You Prepared in Case of a Disaster?

March 26, 2019 GMT

It’s that time of year in the Midwest when mother nature disasters are likely to happen. But there are other disasters that happen in your life and answering these questions with a yes should help you be prepared for them.

Do you know the possible disasters that are likely in your area?

Tornado, hurricane, flood — these are all what people think about when you hear disaster and what people prepare for, but regardless of where you live here are some other man-made disasters that you need to prepare for: job loss, identify theft, serious illness or a death in the family.

Do you have a binder with all your important documents in one place?

Start one today. Make copies of all your important documents. Duplicate the entire binder and store it in a different location — preferably out of state at a relatives or friends house. Here is a list of the important documents that I would recommend you start with: wills, investments, safety deposit box list, life insurance policies, list of Social Security numbers, list of credit card numbers. Add whatever you feel is important. I call my binder “Just in Case.”

Do you have an emergency kit?

Every household needs one. Mine is a clear plastic bin and filled with things such as canned foods (pull tab), drinking water, bleach, crank radio and light.

Do you know what should be in your emergency kit?

There are great lists all over the internet. The red cross sells an emergency kit at www.RedCross.org.

Do your kids know the name and number of your emergency contact out of town?

Such an important and relatively easy thing to put into place. I have a sibling that lives out of state. My kids and husband know to call-text him if there is a disaster at home to let someone know we are all safe.

Is someone in your household CPR-First Aid Certified?

Many park districts and community colleges offer classes for CPR and, or First Aid — look into taking one — you might save a life one day.

Are you prepared in case of a job loss?

Have your resume updated regularly. Start a LinkedIn account today and keep up with your network of previous employers and co-workers. Make sure you have an emergency savings account to get you through until you can land your next job.

Do you know what to do if your identity is stolen?

Make sure you have a list of all your credit cards and their account numbers plus how to reach the companies. Call your bank immediately if you suspect something with one of your accounts. Companies are willing and able to help you through an identity theft.

Do you have a working flashlight and know where it is?

Another easy one — buy one tomorrow and extra batteries. You should have one on every level of your home.

Do you have a fire extinguisher? When was the last time you checked to see if it still worked?

Most extinguishers last between five and 15 years, according to manufacturers. Check the tag on your extinguisher for dates and manufacturer’s instructions. A fire extinguisher with a gauge should be checked every month to make sure it is not reading empty. I for one am going to buy new fire extinguishers for every floor in my house and one in the garage.

Being prepared and organized for disaster is important. Do it today.