Posts Tagged ‘family’

Procrastination is Preparing to Fail

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”Ben Franklin

An emergency is usually sudden, sometimes unforeseen, but always requires immediate action. Emergencies will vary due to location but can include disease, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, lack of power, terrorism, tornado or tsunami. None of these events are pleasant to think about, but preparation requires pre-planning.

Location, Location, Location

NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE OR WHERE YOU VISIT, you are at risk for contagious disease, power outage, terrorism or fire. If you live on the coast, you should also be prepared for tsunamis and hurricanes. If you live in an area prone to tornado, earthquake, flooding, blizzards or avalanche, you should be prepared for those. For instance, in the last 100 years, the area where I live has suffered damage or loss of life from flood, flash flood, tornado, derecho (windstorm), snowstorm and blizzards. It would be wise to take precautions and make sure my family is knowledgeable in case those things ever happen again.

Don’t be HOOD-winked: Know your neighborhood

 You don’t have to have tea with your neighbors, but it doesn’t hurt to know them and know who regularly visits them. This is about being aware of your surroundings and keeping your family safe. It’s also a good idea to have the phone numbers of a few of them. There is power in numbers. Do you have elderly or disabled neighbors who would need help in an emergency? Don’t hesitate if you are able, an emergency situation is the wrong time to test the validity of karma.

What are you waiting for?

* Familiarize your family with two places they can meet you in the event of an emergency, one within the neighborhood and one outside of it.

* Keep all your vehicle’s gas tanks at least half full at all times.

* Keep cash on hand, at least $100 in small bills.

* Talk to your family about possible escape routes from your home in the event of different types of emergencies.

* Make sure all family members know how to use a fire extinguisher.

* Make sure all family members have a contact number memorized that everyone can call in case you are separated.

* Locate gas main and other utilities, and make sure all family members know when and how to turn them off.

* Practice different scenarios during different types of emergencies regularly.

FIRE!

Make fire drills something you do monthly if you have kids. They will especially  benefit from the repetitiveness to help them remember what to do in an actual fire. Make sure they know two ways out of every room. Remind all family members to crawl on the floor because smoke rises, to check doors for heat before leaving a room, and to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch fire. Emphasize getting out of the house quickly and that once they have left, they MUST NOT re-enter the house for ANY reason. Have a designated neighbor’s house to meet at and instruct everyone to go there and to call 911. Make sure you keep important documents in a fire-proof safe or at a secure location. Check batteries in your smoke detectors every time you have a drill.

Inventory

Filing an insurance claim a horrendous activity if you have just experienced a loss. You will be asked to provide minute details, and the more timely and accurate the details, the more likely you will receive a faster and more accurate settlement. Make a home inventory of everything. Even if an item isn’t valuable, it will still require replacement. Whether you document your inventory on paper, by photographs or video, make sure you have more than one copy and that at least one copy is offline. Important things to remember are:

a. Take pictures of both the inside and outside of your home, and of each room within your house. This will help you to list your items, and will provide evidence of the item’s existence if needed later.

b. List items by room and take notes on specific information, such as serial numbers, purchase prices, date of purchase and present value if known. It might be worth it, especially for valuables, to have them appraised.

 c. Scan photos and receipts if available. This saves you having to enter so many details.

d. Update your inventory at least once or twice per year, or sooner if an expensive item has been purchased or sold.

e. Here is a list that can help you remember items:

  • Appliances
  • Books
  • China and Flatware
  • Clothing
  • Collectibles, i.e. stamps, coins, art
  • Computer, Electronics & Accessories
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry and Watches
  • Musical Instruments
  • Toys
  • Vehicles
  • Wine/Spirits

Documentation

Gather these items now:

* marriage license/divorce decrees

* passports/travelers’ checks

* driver’s license/professional licenses

birth certificates

* insurance policies, numbers, information

* wills/trusts/deeds

* financial statements

* prescriptions

Store copies outside of your home in a safety deposit box or with a person you trust.

Go-Go Gadget!

Buy, borrow or beg a back pack or a rolling suitcase for every member of your family and attach an ID tag to it. After this has been done, put the following items into each one:

* flashlight

* battery operated radio

* batteries

* pocket knife

* change of clothing and shoes

* emergency money (small bills and quarters)

* local map

* food and water

* photos of family and pets

* emergency phone numbers

* list of medications

* allergies and medical conditions

* copies of health insurance and identification cards

* extra prescriptions

* first aid supplies

* personal items

* tooth brush and paste

* extra keys for your home and vehicle

* Don’t forget a Go kit for your pet. Theirs should include an extra collar, ID tags, license information, crate or carrier, food, water, medications, non-spill bowl, manual can opener, plastic lid and a recent photograph.

Go Long! (Disaster preparedness for a minimum of 72 hours)

Several manufacturers make plastic, sealable containers in many sizes and shapes. Buy some with carrying handles that make them easy to transport. Clean trash containers with tight-fitting lids are another choice. Buy a variety of container sizes that you can pack into your car in a short time if necessary. Include the following:

* Food and water

* Manual can opener and cooking utensils

* First Aid Kit and instructions

* Copy of important documents and phone numbers

* Warm clothing and rain gear for every family member

* Heavy duty work gloves

* Disposable camera (specifically for documentation of damage for insurance claims)

* Liquid bleach and an eyedropper for water purification

* Personal hygiene items

* Prescriptions and/or medical equipment

* Basic tools

* Heavy duty garbage bags and a bucket

Master Binder

This will be an important and useful gift for a spouse or friend in case of an emergency, such as a sudden illness, hospitalization, or funeral. It will help them keep your household running. It can also be a great friend to you in time of need, when it’s not easy to think clearly. Make sure to include:

* important phone numbers

* shopping lists

* lists of prescriptions and dosing information

* bills and cleaning checklists

* maps to nearby locations

* menus for local establishments

* written instructions for a babysitter

* central family calendar, birthdays and special occasions

* family and pet information

Hurry up and wait!

If you’re prepared, things will automatically go more smoothly. Just take things one step at a time and do not panic. Some of us will never have to use these preparations, and most will be used for minor situations. But, reality teaches us there’s always the possibility of an emergency.

Being prepared is the key to getting back to a normal life as soon as possible, after the situation has passed.

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Are You in Good Hands?

No, not Allstate. But that slogan, created by David Ellis, the general sales manager for Allstate Insurance Company in 1950, sure has gotten solid traction.

I don’t work for Allstate, but I have worked in the insurance business for ten years, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you have enough insurance to ensure that your family is taken care of should something happen to you or your spouse. I’m all for your children’s protection should you or your spouse get hurt and cannot work. I also know the importance of insuring your property in case of damage or total destruction. Planning for emergencies is just the responsible thing to do.

But have you thought about whose hands are holding your soul? Are they truly reliable? I’ve called myself a Christian for almost thirty years, but I will admit that for much of my life I haven’t fully relied on God. I have found myself depending on other things and people, my parents, my husband, my friends, my teachers, my job, my insurance policies and my government. It’s not just wrong to trust these things and individuals with your faith, it’s detrimental. When we put our faith into people and things, we set ourselves up for a big FAIL.

People are human beings, so they are variables. They cannot be depended upon. Things are just things. We cannot take them with us and they certainly only take us as far as we are willing to go ourselves. We are the makers of money, investments and security for our families. It’s not the wealth that takes care of us, it is us and the grace of our God. We must remember that our innovation, our skills, our health and our talents are gifts from Him. In times such as these, when we have concerns about energy and food prices, the leadership of our country and the unrest in the world, it’s easy to want to rush and put trust in people and things that we want so badly to believe have answers for us. But stop and remember, think back in your life at any troubling times you’ve had in the past. Who stands out as being the game-changer, the compass and the cornerstone of strength?

He is the only one that never fails, He is the only one that never changes. His mercies are new every morning and we can rely on Him, because He will never leave us. His nail-scarred hands, the gracious hands of our Lord, are the only hands we should allow to hold our souls.

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