Money Saving Articles

Emergency Preparedness

safety summer weather

This has been weighing on my mind lately, too late for our Midwestern states, but still an important topic. I just moved away from the coast, so hurricanes aren’t much of a concern for me anymore but flooding still is. And in many parts of the country, snow can wreak all kinds of havoc, too. Hurricane season officially starts on June 1, so its time to start thinking about readiness.


You Can’t Predict the Weather

It seems that the weather is getting more unpredictable over time, I keep seeing the “spaghetti model” maps. The sheer number of different ways to predict weather patterns looks like spaghetti on the screen! While technology keeps improving, it really seems that it increases the uncertainty of weather forecasting.

A few years ago, I watched Hurricane Harvey from a distance, and it took a sharp turn at the last minute and barely affected my city. The forecasts had it hitting anywhere from 90 miles south of us all the way to the next state to the east! I breathed a huge sigh of relief and immediately added flood and wind insurance to my policy to gain some peace of mind. I highly recommend at least a flood policy if you live in an area that historically has flooding issues, even if it isn’t required.


Have a Stockpile

Have you ever noticed that when bad weather is predicted everybody runs out to buy milk and bread? I have always wondered why bad weather requires these two items. Obviously, you can’t stock up in advance on these, but there are things it’s smart to keep around. My local grocery store has a leaflet that details hurricane supplies to have on hand, and the same list would be handy in most weather emergencies. It also covers other issues like evacuation plans and pet care. Our state also has a great site with resources, again, the information is useful for most emergencies.


Evacuating? What Do You Need?

When I fled town ahead of Harvey, I had a few days to load up my car, so I was able to really think about what to take. In many cases, you will only have a few hours or less to grab things. It’s a good idea to plan ahead so you don’t need to think under pressure. I have a set of important files, copies of my pet’s vet records, my passport & other personal documents, and my few valuable jewelry items all together so I can grab them in a hurry. Because I travel often, I also always have a bag with my basic personal care supplies together, and I can pack a suitcase in a hurry. Your needs may be different, so take a few minutes now to decide what’s most important to you.


Shelter in Place or Evacuate?

Sometimes the decision about staying is made for you by the local government or law enforcement. If there is a mandatory evacuation, please go! In some situations, however, you will be able to decide what to do. Many people stayed home in my neighborhood during Harvey, there were even homes that never lost power! They were very lucky; my home was without power for nearly two weeks. I went home for the last 5 days, and it was definitely a challenge to live without electricity for that long. Some things I was glad I had around were a battery-powered fan, a gas stove, and a French press to make my coffee. I also had plenty of batteries, matches, candles, and shelf-stable cream for my coffee. It would have been nice to have a generator to keep the fridge running, but those are pretty pricy.


What to Do When You Go Home

Get your fridge emptied as soon as possible after an extended power outage. Rotten food smells awful, and the smell can ruin your fridge! If you have a plastic interior, the smell gets into it and never goes away. If you have a slight odor, you can put an open bowl of ground coffee in the fridge & freezer to get rid of the smell. An alternative if don’t have coffee around or don’t like the smell, plain charcoal briquets will also work. Do an inspection of your home and take pictures of the damage before you start to clean up. This will help later if you need to file an insurance claim.

One type of claim you can make immediately is food spoilage, it entitles you to $500 to replace perishables. There is no deductible, and it doesn’t affect your insurance rates at all. My memory is that it’s about enough to cover the basics you probably always have around.


How Does This Relate to BillCutterz?

It doesn’t, but it’s important information to share. Sometimes we just want to provide information to help out our readers.

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