Are you prepared for an emergency like a pandemic, natural disaster, or an evacuation?
Let’s face it, a pandemic or a natural disaster like a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or forest fire happen all the time. Unfortunately, many people are not prepared, which can leave families in a financial crisis, badly hurt, or something much worse.
However, the tips in this post can soften the shock of an emergency to help safeguard you and your family.
Below are 10 tips how to prepare for an emergency with a video at the end of this post.
If you have a friend or loved on who could benefit from this information, please be sure to share it. It could help save a life!
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1. You Must Have an Emergency Fund
The minimum that you should have saved in cash is $1000. This can help cover rent, bills, utilities, or a small emergency. However, in case of a job loss, you should strive to save at least 3-6 months of living expenses.
On the other hand, famed financial advisor Suze Orman recommends saving 9 months of living expenses because that’s the average time it takes to find a full-time job.
So, if you haven’t started already, learn how to build an emergency fund.
2. Liquid Assets and Last Resort Cash
Liquid assets are usually seen as the same as cash, as their value remains largely the same when sold.
For example, savings and checking accounts, money market accounts, stocks and bonds, CD’s, accounts receivable, promissory notes, tax refunds, and marketable securities are liquid assets.
If you are in dire need of money and are completely out of options, your last resort cash can come from your retirement fund and/or your cash value life insurance policy like from whole life or universal life.
If you do an early withdrawal from your retirement fund, you will face penalty fees. However, at the time of COVID-19, the federal government lifted those fees that provided people an opportunity to withdraw up to $100,000 with three years to pay the money back.
As for your cash value life insurance policy, you can withdraw or borrow the cash you need instead of surrendering the entire policy. If you have such a policy, check with your agent about any penalty fees.
3. Stock up on Food
Another way how to prepare for an emergency is to have at least a 14-day supply of food in your cupboard and freezer.
As COVID-19 started to quickly spread throughout the U.S. and governors began locking down their states, people did do a lot of panic shopping of food and supplies that left shelves at the grocery stores completely empty.
I’ll admit, I was a panic shopper.
Therefore, the next time you go grocery shopping, get in the habit of buying some extra food. Spending an extra $5-$20 to stock up on food should be sufficient.
Items to mainly buy include ready-to-eat canned foods, but also stock up on frozen vegetables and fruit, frozen meat, rice, canned fish, peanut butter, oatmeal, soup, pasta, pet food, etc.
4. Emergency Equipment and Supplies
Other items to stock up on include medicine, a 30-day supply of prescription medications, water, hygiene products, household hygienic products, batteries, flashlights, extension cords, fire extinguisher, candles, matches, sewing kit, scissors, hammer, lantern, generator, waterproof containers, wrench, utensils, etc.
5. Emergency First Aid Kit
Shame on me…I did not have a first aid kit in my home.
It wasn’t until the series of July 4, 2019 earthquakes that prompted my sister to order us an earthquake survival kit that included a first aid or trauma kit.
You may want to consider having a first aid kit to leave in your car too. Some emergency items to have include basic medical supplies, jumper cables, an extra car battery, blankets, bottled water, a wrench, car jack, an extra tire, etc.
6. Full Tank of Gas
It’s a good idea to always make sure your gas tank is full or at the very least, half full.
I was one of those people who would always drive around on a quarter tank of gas or even on “E” like it’s no big deal. However, what if state officials tell you that you have to evacuate?
Rushing to the gas station to fill up your car is the LAST thing you want to do because everyone and their mother will be on that car line too.
So, always have your car filled up with gas. Even better, invest in a gas container to hold extra fuel for your car in the event you are unable to get to or find a gas station.
7. Life insurance Policy
This is imperative if you have loved ones who depend on your income. A loss of your income could financially ruin your family.
Plus, a life insurance policy won’t burden your family with funeral costs if you don’t have cash to cover your burial.
It sounds grim, but life insurance will give you and your family a piece of mind in the event of a death due to a pandemic or natural disaster.
8. An Evacuation Plan
If you and your family get separated, where are you going to meet up?
At a relative’s house?
A local hospital?
That cabin you rent for vacations every summer?
Again, if there is an emergency, you should have an evacuation plan in case you and your family are forced to leave your home. Also, be sure to have a designated meetup place in the event you all get separated.
9. Have Your Important Documents in Order
If you don’t have a fire and waterproof safety deposit box, now is the time to get one to safeguard your important documents.
Items you’ll want to make sure you have include your latest tax information (which was needed for people to receive a stimulus check during COVID-19), Social Security Card, birth certificate, Driver’s License or identification card, passport, insurance policies, medical documents, marriage certificate, will, trusts, banking information, family genealogy records, important family photos, etc.
10. Take Guidance Warnings Seriously
This is vital in how to prepare for an emergency.
If told to evacuate immediately, your emergency fund, having your car already filled up with gas, and having an evacuation plan will seriously come in handy.
Consequently, if your state officials tell you that you need to leave…leave.
Heed the lessons from Hurricane Katrina. Two main reason why many people perised, especially those in the lower economic areas were becuase:
1. they did not have the financial means to evacuate (this is why you need an emergency fund)
2. they did not the transportation means to leave, meaning…many people did not have a car (which is why if you do have a car, make sure not to go below a half tank of gas).
In conclusion, there will always be another pandemic and there will always certainly be another natural disaster.
As you take steps how to prepare for an emergency, rest assured you and your family won’t be completely devastated if and when an unexpected emergency arises.
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