Nov 24, 2008

Emergency Preparedness Reminders

When I was watching news coverage of the wildfires last weekend, I caught the state insurance commissioner, Steve Poizner, reminding people to take action before their homes were in danger of burning. It was great advice, and I've moved the following items to the top of my to-do list:

Inventory our home.
This was one of Poizner's recommendations, and while a thorough inventory takes time, any kind of inventory is better than nothing. It's been at least three years since our last inventory, probably longer. So before the month is over, we are going to make a video of our home's contents. As Poizner reminded everyone, keep this video offsite! It will do no good if it's lost with the rest of your belongings.

Update my list of accounts and policies.
Marc and I consider ourselves a team, and we make our family's financial decisions together. But as is probably obvious, I handle the vast majority of our day to day finances. So I keep a simple list of all of our accounts and various policies for him. The list includes bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, our different insurance policies, account numbers, passwords, contact information, and if applicable, notes on how the account is held (e.g., jointly or individually) and what the account is used for.

It's a list we hope Marc will never have to rely on, but if something catastrophic happened to me, I'll have made things a little easier on him. In fact, I think that when I update it, I will include a section at the end on how I think he should simplify things if I'm not able to manage the accounts anymore. If you don't have a document like this started yet, check out this guide from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

Make sure our earthquake kits are fully stocked and updated.
Because we live in earthquake country, we have several earthquake kits at all times. But sometimes it's hard to remember to check them to be sure everything in them is updated, especially because the kids are little and growing so fast. I probably need to swap out the diapers and clothes for a bigger size, for example. It's also good to check items that expire, like food and batteries.

Make a list of what we'll take in an emergency.
I've thought about this before, but I never did get around to writing anything down, besides what's in my post. This time, I am going to actually make a printed list that I'll put in the grab-and-go earthquake kit so we don't have to think in an emergency.

Taking MetaMommy's advice, I'll divide the list into two sections: (1) things to take if we only have 5 minutes to get out and (2) things to take if we have 30 minutes to get out. For the first time ever, I'm putting my coupons on the list! :)

What are your best emergency preparedness tips?


Anonymous said...

I have an emergency grab list with a 5 minute list and a 60 minute list.

Number One priority on the both lists is a black Sharpie to write their name and an off site phone numbers (cell or relative) on my children's backs.

That way if we are separated for any reason the authorities would have that info available. Even older kids who know the info might in a panic forget or not want to tell a stranger.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend putting your video inventory and list of accounts online at somewhere like Microsoft LiveMesh or something like that. Then they would be instantly available from any computer anywhere. If they are in your safe deposit box and the bank is closed or in a damaged area you might have trouble accessing them.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Shelly - That's a new one to me. I'll have to add that to our list. Thanks!

@Mary - Good idea, thanks!