As potential hurricanes and cyclones loom in
the Atlantic and Pacific, fires continue to threaten California, and tornadoes
rage through Indiana, those preparing for the possible need to escape are
reminded that one of the first things to have handy when natural disaster
threatens is cash.
For example, the CDC puts on its Disaster Supplies Kit “cash and coins.” The American Red Cross also includes cash in their “Prepare for Emergencies” list.
The reason? Electrical power is one of the first things to go after a storm or other natural disaster. Who knows if banks will be open or if ATMs or credit and debit card scanners will be working in the aftermath? By setting aside some cash BEFORE something happens, families will have less to worry about as they flee – or worse yet recover – from damages to their property.
How much cash you should keep on hand depends on your own situation, but a few hundred dollars is advisable, or enough to last a few days. Consider what you might need to pay for – food, lodging and other necessities. Another tip: Keep the cash and divvy it up instead of having just one person handle it, just in case that person gets separated from the group.
What else should comprise your weather
emergency kit? First, make sure you get a waterproof toolbox to contain the
items. Add these necessities to last at
least three days:
- First aid kit with plenty of antiseptic
- Water and food that won’t spoil
- Can opener
- Battery-powered weather radio with extra
- Blanket or sleeping bag per person
- Change of clothing and footwear per person
- Tools such as a wrench or hammer
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled
- Current prescription medications
- Written instructions on how to turn off
- Cell phone to call 911 in case of an emergency
- Toys, books and games for kids
- Pet care items
- A spare safe-deposit box key
Besides cash, it’s advisable on the financial-preparedness front to include in that waterproof box a list of account numbers and toll-free phone numbers for your financial institutions, credit card issuers, medical and property insurance companies, and mortgage and other lenders.
As Benjamin Franklin put it, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Susannah Moore Griffin