Almost every year, around the world, some natural disaster happens, you very well aware of what just happened in Japan, what happened to Haiti last year, Pakistan the year before.
May be your city is next, quiet a few fault lines run across continental USA. This article is to guide people on the course of action in case disaster strikes at you. When the first time it hit us, we were clue less.
That was a lesson learned and now we are prepared as we created an emergency bag for carrying items that are essential and would be absolutely needed if we lose all our physical belongings.
We keep our valuables in bank locker. Read on:
1. We keep our jeweleries in bank locker, on occasions we go to bank, take out what we need for next few days, and when it’s over, we go back and put it back, thief proof. but I know if bank building goes down, there is very high chance that we won’t get our jewelry back. But, don’t the bank buildings are supposed to be ‘everything proof’?
2. Last 3 year’s tax returns, car title, marriage certificate we keep in the locker as well.
3. I have a paper with all online id and passwords I keep in the locker, a copy of it we keep in our ‘Crisis bag’ (will give details later). As I track my net worth in Yodlee, Yodlee is our financial savior as well, I just need to remember Yodlee password.
4. I do not need to keep by bills, credit card statements etc any where, as a software professional, I do have faith in online maintenance of these kinds of document. I do not keep any money where they do not offer online account management. In time of crisis, all you need to know is the user id and password, I have that in locker.
5. We have a carry on suitcase, exactly of the size they allow on air crafts. We keep our passports, since I am a visa worker, my I94 card, external hard drive ( I do replicate data every week).$1000 cash, emergency kit (bought during hurricane season), first aid and the paper with user id and passwords and locker keys.
6. I keep $200 in my wallet always (oops), she keeps some unknown amount, which I am not supposed to know. We do not let our gas tank go down by more than half ever.
7. We both keep our driver’s license and all credit/debit cards in wallet and purse always, they never keep flying from bed to sofa to table etc. We maintain very healthy debit to credit ratio, and we pay off balance every month (interest save as well). So there is no way our cards will be blocked.
8. We upload all our photos in Picasa. and videos on YouTube, its a cumbersome process, but, ability to share moments with others is added bonus.
9. There is very small effort we need to put after disaster , I need to wear the pant, where I kept my wallet. we need to put both our laptops in crisis bag, I think only these two trivial steps would not be of much of a problem even when there is a complete madness.
We do not yet have any medical problem, and family practitioner has all the records of our visits. I do not need to worry about that now.
We created crisis bag, when there was a fire in neighborhood apartment, we were evacuated out of home, and couldn’t take any thing out with us, we both came out in our PJs in the night.
Thankfully firemen put up a brave effort and controlled it completely before reaching our home. Crisis bag was created very next day.
We have experienced another natural disaster, other than fire, hurricane Wilma (Katrina went over us as category 1, thank god). We had no power, no water and no cell phone signal for 3 days. We did BBQ day and night, and I still can;t thank my wife enough for her decision to fill up both bath tubs with water the night before hurricane Wilma made a landfall in south FL.
What we learned from that is, how to BBQ, and how not to wait for gas tank to go down to almost zero before filling it up. I queued up for 4 hours to have two gallons of rationed gas. We also learned that during hurricanes we shouldn’t park our car near buildings, our wind shield was smashed by roof top tiles.
There are few demerits in crisis bag approach, If we are away from home, and something happens, crisis bag will be in crisis. We are prepared for even that. I have scanned copies of passport and few other documents in my office computer. I will loose hard drive and $1000 cash, but what else can be done?
What tips you have for all of us?