Mission Possible: Getting Down to Business
March Mission: Disaster Business
Time to think about the business side of disasters; how are you going to get back on your feet?
- Gather all your important documents; birth certificates, copies of insurance policies- Homeowner’s, renter’s and car as well as any earthquake or flood policies as well as your agent’s phone number and information. If you are business owner, don’t forget to include your business in your plans as well. Include copies of any health or prescription insurance you have as well.
- Banking information and small amount of cash in small bills (if you can’t get a couple hundred all at once, take $10-$20 a week and add to it through the year). If you are owed a refund on your taxes, it would be great if you could start or add to the emergency fund. Consider how much a nearby hotel room would cost for just 3 days, and start with that.
- Copies of your driver’s licenses and IDs, recent photos of your family including pets (maybe your left over holiday family photos?)
- This month, take pictures of any high dollar items in your home, room by room pictures to prove content, as well as any pictures of the outside of the home. You can store these on a blog, flickr, or any other outside source of your choice for safe keeping. (If you choose to store online, mark as private and do not include your exact complete address on the site for your safety).
To save space, these can all be scanned and stored on a USB flash drive too, except the birth certificates; there may be a need for the originals.
- Spare (charged) battery for your cell phone. Electricity might be hard to come by, and you’ll be on the phone often.
Put all these in a storage or freezer bag and put it in your new kit container. If you have a portable fire safe, that is even better. If you don’t, put one on your gift list for your birthday or the next holiday. They are available at any big box store or office supply store, from around $40.
Another option is a safety deposit box at the bank, you will need to check on pricing and procedures for access after a disaster.
Now is a good time to review your insurance policies also. With the changes in the economic markets, do you have enough insurance to cover losses?
The rest of the basics:
Spare clothes and shoes. Rotate these out seasonally for winter and summer weather. Shoes should be sturdy, with a thick sole for traction and safety. No flip flops or sandals.
Tents, blankets, flashlights, sleeping bags, battery operated radio and batteries, cooking vessels, dishes & utensils, all should be in your kit. Did you round out the food items from January? Add a few more cans, some dried milk this month. Keep it going through the year, rotating out as expiration dates come up.
Before cooking with any kind of open flame, make sure there is no smell or threat of leaking gas lines. Never use camping stoves or grills indoors (not even in garages with the door open) due to the carbon monoxide they emit.
Congratulations! If you have followed these steps, you have a workable emergency kit!
You can tailor the kit now to your individual family needs, adding to it as you see fit. You will be able to see to your family’s food, shelter, and recovery needs.
March Cost $40-$50 for a basic fire safe for documents.
Total minimum cost for do-it-yourself emergency kit: $61 to $71 spread out over 3 months.