With spring comes the threat of unusually gusty winds and floods, followed by the high heat and hurricanes of summer and frosty mixes in the fall and winter. Whatever Mother Nature throws your way, be sure to get your supply kit ready, because it only takes one weather-related emergency to disrupt your day-to-day.
Typically, the American Red Cross
and other disaster relief resources recommend a 72-hour survival kit of about a dozen essential items, such as food and water, clothing, a flashlight and the like. Increasingly, the Red Cross also emphasizes the need to be financially prepared for an emergency. Who knows if banks will be open or if ATMs or credit and debit card scanners will be working in the aftermath of a natural disaster?
How much cash you should keep on hand depends on your own situation, but a few hundred dollars is advisable, or enough to last a few days. Consider what you might need to pay for – food, lodging and other necessities. Another tip: Keep the cash and divvy it up instead of having just one person handle it, just in case that person gets separated from the group.
What else should comprise your weather emergency kit? First, make sure you get a waterproof toolbox to contain the items. Add these necessities to last at least three days:
- First aid kit with plenty of antiseptic cleaners
- Water and food that won’t spoil
- Can opener
- Battery-powered weather radio with extra batteries
- Blanket or sleeping bag per person
- Change of clothing and footwear per person
- Tools such as a wrench or hammer
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
- Current prescription medications
- Written instructions on how to turn off utilities
- Cell phone to call 911 in case of an emergency
- Toys, books and games for kids
- Pet care items
- A spare safe-deposit box key
Besides cash, it’s advisable on the financial-preparedness front to include in that waterproof box a list of account numbers and toll-free phone numbers for your financial institutions, credit card issuers, medical and property insurance companies, and mortgage and other lenders.
As Benjamin Franklin put it, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Senior Vice President
North America Operations