Disaster Preparedness Planning
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS PLANNING:
The many recent natural disasters have been very stressful, unpredictable, and caused a lot of damage. Personally, I have revisited disaster preparedness planning and updated our emergency kits. It is always a good idea to be prepared and develop a plan for your family.
In the event of an emergency, you may not have much time to get your things together or to think about what you need.
Consider creating emergency kits that you can store in accessible locations, like your car and somewhere central in your home.
Here are the two best lists that I found about what to have in your emergency kits:
You can find starter emergency kits online or in stores that you can build onto as needed.
Keeping important documents safe:
One personal suggestion that I have is to keep your important documents safe as this means one less thing to worry about.
Hard copies of key documents like passports, social security cards, birth certificates, real estate deeds, and your Estate Plan can be kept in a fireproof and waterproof container.
Additionally, you should have digital copies of these important documents available. These can be scanned then stored on the cloud through services like Dropbox. You can also keep a USB drive with digital copies of all the key documents with a trusted friend, family member, or in your safe deposit box at a bank, if you have one. (Update November 12, 2018: We had a set of clients whose home was lost in the 2017 North Bay fires. Their Estate Plan was completed 20 years ago and they had no scans or copies of the plan. The original attorney also did not retain a copy. Their plan did need to be completely updated due to changes in life circumstances anyways, but not having any copies of the documents would have been disastrous should something have happened to them.)
Do make sure that important loved ones (e.g. nominated trustees and guardians) know where these documents are and would be able to access them should something happen to you.
Make a plan with your family:
Have a designated place near your home or your neighborhood that your family will meet.
If you have children at school, determine with your partner or other guardian who will pick them up in the event of an emergency. It is important that whoever is picking up the kids is on the pick up authorization list with the school.
Make sure you all know this plan and have each family member's phone number handy (since we often just rely on the address book in our phones).
A couple of other personal tips I like:
Don’t let the gas tank become empty. In the event there is a disaster, lines for gas stations may be enormous or the stations may run out of gas.
Have some cash on hand so if there are electrical outages, you still have some money.
Keep snacks and water in the car. This might be something I’ve learned as a mom anyways!
Stay safe and be prepared.