“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
All we need to do is turn on the news any given night and we will hear about disasters happening around the world. Whether it is fires or earthquakes or floods, or other disasters there is always the risk of these things happening to any of us at any time in life. That’s why we need to follow the boy scout motto and BE PREPARED. We may not be able to stop a disaster from happening but we can at least gain a little peace of mind by knowing we have done what we could to prepare BEFORE a disaster strikes.
I’ll admit that preparing in advance seems difficult because frankly it feels like we’re already SO busy just trying to handle those things that are currently happening to us, so how in the world will be have time to prepare for something that may someday happen. But the fact is that if we don’t take time to prepare before a disaster happens we will most certainly find ourselves looking back wishing dearly that we had. That’s why I’ve decided it’s time for me to make it a priority to get on top of being prepared for a disaster. I want to have that comfort that comes from knowing that I have done what I could to help my family be prepared.
There are many facets to getting prepared for a disaster. It covers everything from having food storage, to gathering emergency supplies, to having an action plan, and protecting our data. There are a lot of websites out there that sell food and supplies, but the area we have to spend quite a bit more time on is protecting our data. Here are some ideas about protecting our data::
1. We need to scan all of our insurance policy papers (homeowners, car, life, health, etc), wills, legal documents, bank account records, 401k info, prior year’s tax returns, birth certificates, passports, social security cards, car titles, stock certificates, and any of those types of records into digital files and then store them either on a USB drive in a bank safety deposit box or on an online website where we can have them saved as encrypted files as our backup copy.
2. We need to get a camera or video camera and take photos or record everything that we own in our homes to make a legal record of it for the home insurance company in order for them to reimburse us for things. We need to record the makes and models of things in the photos or videos, capturing our TV’s, appliances, furniture, appliances, clothes, etc so that we can prove everything we lost if the home is destroyed. We can make a paper log of everything but without the receipts to prove the purchase many times the insurance company won’t cover you adequately so making the photo log or video is a really important aspect in protecting what you have.
3. We need to scan all of our family photos and personal journals and life history books into digital files and store them safely offsite as well (either in the cloud or in a safety deposit box).
4. We need to have an evacuation plan put together with our family. If phone lines are down how will we plan to reach one another? If parents are not home where do the kids need to go and who should they contact? We need to have a meeting spot setup. We also need to have contact numbers programmed into everyone’s phones but we also need to keep a paper copy of the numbers somewhere for everyone to access in case the phone battery is dead. Our kids need to know the plan and we need to review it with them often so they don’t forget. We also need to give the kids a secret family code word that we will use if we ever send a stranger to pick them up so the kids know to ask the stranger for the code word before they agree to go with him or her. That way we ensure the kids safety in dealing with strangers working on our behalf in an emergency.
5. We need to have a backup hard drive for our home computer that is kept in a different location (again in the cloud or safety deposit box or something like that). So much of the data we have is on our home computers so we need to make sure we have a plan to grab the hard drive or computer in an evacuation as well as keeping a copy offsite and secured.
“Be Prepared… the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.” -Robert Baden-Powell
We will all sleep better at night if we can lay our heads down knowing that we have prepared ourselves and our families to the best of our ability for whatever may come to pass. Peace of mind will never come from thinking we can avoid natural disasters, because that would be impossible, so peace of mind must come from knowing that we are prepared to handle it should a natural disaster take place. Which is exactly the reason we need to make it a priority to BE PREPARED! #summergoals
Have a great start to the week everyone!
~Amy Rees Anderson