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Preparing for an Emergency Part 2

Updated on June 19, 2009

Preparing for an emergency can be challenging and frustrating. It isn't exactly a fun job, because of course you have to think about bad things that could happen, but it is essential. Now that you have determined what types of emergencies might happen to you, let's talk about what you can do to prepare for them.

Being prepared for an emergency will make emergencies less stressful. For instance, our furnace broke in January, on a weekend. Because we have an electric heater and a good supply of fire wood, we did not panic. After calling the repair man and finding out it would be a $360 charge on top of materials to come out, we decided to use our emergency supplies to get us through until Monday. We hung tarps and thick blankets and blocked off two rooms of our house. We plugged in our space heater and built a fire. We were able to keep those two rooms at 60 degrees all day and night. We saved $360 by having a plan in place and supplies on hand to handle that type of emergency.

I am going to mention some specific emergencies that come to my mind and things to think about so that you can be prepared for them. Many of these things have happened to us.

  • It's 9:00 pm your child is running through the kitchen and hits her head. Blood starts gushing and you can see her skull. Do you know where the closest urgent care or emergency room is? Do you have gas in your car to get there? Is your cell phone charged so you can call home if you need to?
  • Your fridge breaks down and you suddenly realize on Friday night of a holiday weekend that your food isn't staying cold and it hasn't been running all day. Do you have money to cover the repair bill or a new refrigerator? Do you have a friend or neighbor who can keep some of your food in their fridge until yours is fixed? Do you have coolers that you can fill with ice to salvage what you can? It would be awful to have to spend a few hundred to replace bad food on top of spending money to repair or replace the refrigerator.
  • Your car breaks down and is in the repair shop for a week. Do you have the money to cover the bill? Do you have an alternate way to get to work? A bike to ride, a friend to carpool with, or a bus route close by?
  • A snowstorm that was supposed to drop six inches, suddenly dumps eighteen and the roads won't be plowed for a few days at best. Do you have food in the house? Do you have all the medications you take on a regular basis and can't do without?
  • You suddenly need to leave home on the spur of the moment (think forest fire or other natural disaster). What would you take if you had five minutes to be out? What would you take if you had ten minutes to be out? Do you have cash on hand to travel for a few days? Do you have gas in your car to get you started? Do you know where all your important papers are? Is your computer information backed up on something? What are you going to do with your pets?
  • The power goes out for several days due to a hurricane? How would you cook? How would you stay cool? Is there a store close by that you can buy supplies? Chances are good they will be operating on a cash only basis. Do you have cash? 
  • You are hiking through the woods, a mile or so from the car and your child falls and cuts her leg.  Do you have something to clean the cut with?  Do you have a band aid to put on it to stop the bleeding?
  • Your spouse is the only working adult in the household.  He just came home in the middle of the day, having been laid off suddenly.  Do you have money to pay the bills?  Do you have food to feed the family for awhile?  Do you have a plan about what to do next?

As you can see, "emergencies" can be big and small and can vary greatly depending on your situation.  What other emergencies can you think of? What might happen to you? What do you need to do to be prepared for it? Stay tuned for Part 3, putting together an emergency kit that you can take with you on a moments notice.

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