Friday, September 10, 2010

Once Identified - Start a Plan For Your Emergencies

In the last post we looked at the types of emergencies we can face. I gave a list of 11 items I could easily think of as a starting point for you to devise your own list.  Using that list I want to start working on a plan.

Looking over the list, I see some logical groupings to help get the planning process going.
  • House Fire
  • Theft
  • Car Accident
  • Car Accident
  • Medical Emergency
  • Lengthy Illness
Natural Disaster:
  • Hurricane
  • Flood
  • Tornado
  • Ice Storm
  • Wildfire
  • Optional or Mandatory Evacuation
When dealing with loss, the most important thing to have is documentation.  From talking with countless people who have lost homes, the feeling of helplessness is what causes the most emotional trauma.  Having the ability to quickly identify what has been lost helps you regain your feelings of control.  Insurance companies want proof of what you owned. By documenting what you have it is easier to go through the process of replacement, or at least compensation.

Documentation can come in the form of receipts (make a copy, as receipt paper is designed to fade over time) or evidence of ownership.  Take pictures of expensive or collector items with serial numbers shown if applicable.  Store those photos off site.  Many insurance agents will keep a CD of your pictures in their files if you ask them.

Dealing with medical emergencies can also be an issue of documentation, but this time you need histories, medication lists and contact information. You need legal documents signed and witnessed before a person is incapacitated. You also need to know a person's wishes to assist in making appropriate choices.

Natural disasters may require survival skills and supplies.  You need to know ahead of time what you will do if you are trapped in your home or if you have to leave it.  You need to know where your supplies are and how to use them. (If you are storing canned food, make sure you have a manual can opener!) You also need to be familiar with emergency services in your area.

As we look at this topic more, we will discuss each individual topic in greater detail. Having a plan means more than identifying the dangers and potential emergencies, it means knowing what to do about them.

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