Thursday, October 2, 2008

How Long Can I Take Care of Myself and My Family?

That's a good question. How long could you remain cut off from the world and be able to take care of yourself and your family? Whether it is a treacherous, multi-day storm, a week-long bank closure (see comments in last post), or a smallpox outbreak which requires isolation and quarantine, being able to stay home for anywhere from one day to one month or longer may actually happen some time. Are you prepared? Here are some things to do:
  1. Pay your bills in full each month. Next have enough money on hand to cover your bills for the coming month. Finally, save enough to cover six month's worth of bills. This amount of money should be in the bank, not laying around your home. It's a good idea to be able to pay as many bills online as possible.
  2. Have enough extra food on hand to cover a week's worth of meals. Continue to add enough food to cover a month's worth of meals. Next, strive to have enough food for six months or more.
  3. Ditto for supplies (toilet paper, soap, etc).
  4. Have money in the bank but also have cash secured at home (anywhere from $500 to $10,000) in case of emergency. Even if you only have some spare change in a jar, start today to build your emergency fund. Have a garage sale, sell stuff on EBay, get a second job, whatever it takes to have a cushion of savings.
  5. Do what you can to prepare for residual problems caused by such an extended period at home or without services. Securing my home would be a high priority. Extra ammo would by on my (but not everyone's) priority list. Learn about basic first aid. See if your doctor will give you three month prescriptions for any medical conditions you or your family members have so that you will have extra meds on hand. Develop a nice library and include cards, games, and other things to keep people entertained. Have extra fuel stored for the car in case none is available locally. Depending on the type of disaster, you may need to have alternate sources of water, and alternate heating and cooking appliances available.

And now for the flip side of all of the fear and craziness that has been happening this.

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