I know that everywhere you turn you hear a lot of preaching about how to be prepared for your own natural disaster. At this point you might not even be listening to the advice anymore.
such as Katrina. The people who did not evacuate right away had very little time to collect and save anything. Most of the people we saw on the news left with the clothes on their backs, and perhaps an armful of belongings.
Even if you feel that you wouldn’t be able to carry all that water or supplies with you in the instance of a quick and devastating natural disaster. Even if you feel it is a waste of time to put together supplies to last the 72 hours every government official recommends you have on hand. Even if you simply don’t want to think about such a thing, there are a few things you really should have together and ready to go. Things that could mean the difference between picking up the pieces afterwards and not being able to.
Government officials say that you need enough food and water to last 72 hours after a natural disaster. This is for every member of your household. They say to have flashlights and a medical kit with the food and water, ready to be used if needed.
What else should you have sitting with your provisions? You won’t have time to grab anything but what you can carry of this pile of provisions, so what should be there ready to go with you?
You should have an accordion file. In this file you should have copies of all your important papers.
- Birth Certificates
- Mortgage Records
- Marriage Certificates
- Social Security Cards
- Insurance Policies
- A photocopy of all of your Credit Cards and the phone numbers for contacting them
- A list of all the important people you need to contact
- Anything else you can think of that you wouldn’t want to have to try and replace
- Bank information, including account numbers and the banks phone number
Years ago my grandparents home burnt to the ground. They were able to get out, but only had time to grab one thing on the way out. Grandma grabbed her cat. Grandpa grabbed Grandma.
Their marriage certificate burned in the fire, along with all their other important documents. They were able to replace every document, over a very long period of time, except one, their marriage certificate.
The church they were married at had long burned down itself. The pastor who married them was deceased. The courthouse where the marriage certificate had been filed was gone as well. There was absolutely no record of them ever being married. Here they were with 3 children and 6 grandchildren and they couldn’t even prove they were married.
What did they do? They had to get remarried. All of their children and most of their grandchildren attended, including myself, but it was a bitter sweet moment. Grandma was really hurt by the whole thing.
If my grandparents had had an accordion file near their exit path that they could just grab and run with then they not only would have avoided the entire 2nd wedding, but they wouldn’t have had to deal with the stress they went through replacing the birth certificates, social security cards etc, without knowing the numbers or having the important information with them.
I saw many people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina who had an armful of things they grabbed and ran with. How many of them, do you think, had a small file filled with all of their very important information?
What did Hurricane Katrina teach me? It’s time to realize that no one is immune to a natural disaster. Even if something happens where you are unable to grab any supplies or that handy accordion folder, what about the disaster that happens where you do have the time to grab them?
To everyone affected by Hurricane Katrina, my heart aches for you, and my prayers are with you. To everyone who simply got to watch it unfold on the news, please prepare yourself. Make sure you have food and water for 72 hours per person in your household. Make sure you have copies of your important papers and information ready to go too. It might make the difference between having to put your life back together and not being able to put it back together.
The author Kerry Flinders is the owner of Personal Organizing Solutions located in Southern California. Kerry and her company are dedicated to helping others organize their clutter and their lives, eliminating unnecessary stress and helping the client to find more time in their day for the things they love. Kerry is the author of the book “Organizing With NO Budget”. You can find sign up for Kerry’s Organizing Newsletter, or request her Organizing Tip-Pak by visiting their website at personalorganizingsolutions.com
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