Preparing For Natural Emergencies: Tips For Making The Best Of A Bad Situation

You can never predict when the next ice-storm, hurricane, or flood might happen, but when these natural disasters hit, those who have a response plan in place can recover more quickly from the ensuing crisis. If you want to make a preparedness plan for a fire, flood, or similar natural disaster, here are a few things to consider.

1. Have a financial back-up plan.

Often, a natural disaster affects an entire community. You might not be able to get paid if your checks are mailed or the server might be down that normally controls your direct deposit. You should have a small reserve of cash set aside in your home—preferably in small bills so that your neighbors and store owners, who may struggle to make change with limited access to banks or electronic payment methods, don't have to worry about breaking your hundred dollar bill. An easy way to build up this nest egg is to simply put aside any one dollar bills when you get them. Instead of using them on vending machine purchases or the occasional small order for lunch, setting them aside in a file box or safe will help to make savings without even hurting your regular budget.

You should also consider using a payday loan from a local or nearby lender like EZ Check Advance until your regular payments come through or until you are able to return to work—as some find themselves unable to work until offices, roads, or similar infrastructure is repaired. In fact, studies show that the ability for a community to rely on payday loans following a natural disaster increases the welfare of the community and decreases home foreclosure and similar difficulties. Fast cash loans can be beneficial to those who have a temporary upset in cash flow. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the interest rates and payback details to make sure that you avoid any fees or steep interest payment for paying late.

2. Build a 72-hour kit.

Every member of your household should have some emergency supplies stashed just in case you need to make a quick evacuation of the home. Backpacks or five-gallon buckets with tight lids are good for building a kit. Be sure to include items like

  • toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and other toiletries
  • non-perishable food items like instant oatmeal, granola bars, trail mix, canned goods, or MRE-style (meals ready to eat) food. 
  • enough clothes for three days, including warm pajamas
  • trash bags and rain gear
  • a space blanket
  • candles, matches, flashlights, and extra batteries

Beyond the essentials, you can also pack things to help pass the time, like playing cards and travel size games. Hard candies can also help to lift spirits when you're in survival mode. As part of your plan, have meals already planned with a tentative schedule. Have practice drills where family members know where the kits are stored and how to grab them quickly in the event of an evacuation.

3. Have water stored.

Sometimes, especially in hurricane, earthquake, or flood situations, city water infrastructure is compromised, leading to a boil water advisory. Sometimes when the power is out, even for a day, boiling water becomes very challenging. It's good to have a reserve of clean drinking water stored to last you at least a few days. It's recommended that you store at least one gallon per person per day and that you keep enough to last for at least three days. 

Storing water long-term can be challenging, so be sure to sanitize water storage containers if you are self-bottling. However, to make sure you water is completely safe, it's better to buy filled and sealed bottled and leave them sealed until the water needs to be used.