Who would have thought on the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I would once again find myself on the road not knowing when I would return home. But at the very least, I can honestly say, this time I was better prepared.
I know many of us take “warnings” with a grain of salt, thinking certainly Hurricane Katrina could never happen again. Or for those who were not affected by Katrina, may think – I am immune to these types of disasters. But I have to tell you, no matter where you live, you must be prepared.
So, how do you really prepare for these nasty disasters?
Get organized and declutter
Thank God, at the beginning of hurricane season, I decided to go through paperwork and organize every single piece of paper in my household. I decided to shred important papers I no longer needed and grouped important papers for easy access. In addition, I created a financial disaster checklist, which served as a reminder of what items to bring with me. This checklist not only helped me, but has also helped many of my family, friends and readers. The day before I evacuated, I made certain I had items listed on the checklist, such as cash, insurance documents, social security cards, birth certificates and other pertinent information.
Lisa and Chuck of New Orleans evacuated to Jackson, Mississippi to avoid Hurricane Isaac. Since both recently moved to New Orleans, this has been their first flirt with a hurricane. They warn others to simply be prepared.
“Do not wait until the hurricane approaches your area before getting food and supplies,” Lisa said. Prior to leaving, Lisa and Chuck visited several stores but had better luck at Sam’s Wholesale. “Since items are sold in bulk, there were more items on the shelves.”
All in one place
Chuck advised it is a good idea to keep items in a portable box that are simply irreplaceable. Putting items such as valuables, pictures, and family heirlooms in one place makes it easy to evacuate quickly. Prior to evacuating, Lisa and Chuck quickly grabbed their box and was able to head out of the city.
I also recommend setting aside one day out of the month to put important documents together. Utilize the financial checklist and place the necessary items in a fire/waterproof box. Your box should be ready and available in the need to evacuate. In addition, if there is a fire or flooding to your home, you can rest assure these items will remain safe.
Have the means to evacuate
Although I do understand everyone is not in a position to simply leave when a hurricane threatens. This could be due to financial, medical, or other reasons. But if you are able, please, please, please evacuate. If you do not have the necessary funds to evacuate, consider creating an emergency fund. Putting aside $50 a month can provide you with a savings of $600 in a year. If you are unable to do so because you are living paycheck to paycheck, consider reviewing your paycheck to squeeze the most of it. Remember, no matter what your financial position, you simply cannot afford to save for rainy days.
Remember, Your Choice, Your Future!