From our Disaster Preparedness Program coordinator Sheryl Gerety (firstname.lastname@example.org): a monthly, seasonally appropriate checklist page to help us tackle preparing for a disaster in manageable steps.
Following a disaster, many of the services we rely on and take for granted may be unavailable for a while. ATM banking, access to cloud storage, and anything needing electrical power, transmission towers, or delivery via roads are almost certain to be interrupted. The temporary closure of county courthouses and city halls is frequent in such situations, and some of us may find our citizenship or legal presence in the US challenged.
Taken all together we need a disaster plan that supports us in the early days so that we can engage contractors, endure shortages, be forearmed against fraud, and endure or circumvent long lines and waiting periods during the recovery.
Cash reserves and checks
- Having a small pot of money, even $100 in small bills, can make possible initial purchases of cleaning supplies, groceries and other essentials in the early days
- A checking account and the ability to write checks on the balance takes the place of debit and credit card purchases
- Paper photocopies of important documents (drivers licenses, passports and visa documents to insurance contracts, deeds, vehicle titles and registrations) stashed in your emergency stores can mean repairs and clean up start before the power comes back on.
- Copies of bills sent to your name and address are proof of residence. Make sure addresses on ID are up to date. Aid from Red Cross, FEMA and other sources requires documentation. If your presence in this country is likely to be questioned, best be prepared.
Interruption of employment
- Disasters may disrupt transportation, close businesses, damage inventory, interrupt power, cell and internet services
- If you lose your job, or one to several pay checks, communicate regularly with your supervisor, look for the least expensive means for supplementing savings and cash reserves
- Your bank should be the starting point, not a last resort
Secure bonding, licensing and proof of reputable reliable work history
- You may face more than clean up or minor repairs to property, or perhaps you don’t have the skills, time or strength to take care of things yourself, so having a contact list of reputable local contractors and
- Demand to see certifications of tradesworkers to ensure compliance with insurance, permitting requirements and safety regulations