Preparing for Disaster
The year 2020 has been rife with a seemingly never-ending bombardment of heinous horrors that has the United States crying uncle. Forests are burning all across the western United States, threatening the homes and businesses of millions of people. Parts of major cities are being razed to the ground due to riots in the streets. We have had a very active hurricane season this year with Hurricane Laura completely destroying the city of Lake Charles, LA, and we have (expected) Hurricane Sally brewing in the Gulf of Mexico as I am writing this. To top it all off, a lot of people have lost their jobs, homes, and businesses due to government-mandated shutdowns over the Covid-19 pandemic, and the entire US economy is on the verge of collapse. People’s mental health is deteriorating, and their anger is billowing to the point of eruption. It’s all we can do just to ride this out.
Most of these articles focus on the basics, but today I am going to speak on certain aspects of disaster preparedness that most people do not write about.
This perfect storm has shifted a lot of people’s perspective on what is truly important: family and their protection against this world’s horrors. People are understanding now that you need to have your house in order for when disaster strikes, and it will strike. Did you know that according to a 2019 study by Experian, the average American is $90,000 in debt, not including mortgages? Americans have more unfulfilled financial obligations than you can shake a stick at, and the ones who hold these obligations are the ones who get hit the hardest. What is even scarier though, is that Yahoo Finance found that 58% of Americans have less than $1000 in their savings account. They have nothing to fall back on in a dire situation, leaving them no choice but to borrow more money and fall even further into debt.
Digging your way out of debt and establishing a fat emergency fund is a great start on the road to financial peace and it creates the strong first line of defense against disaster for you and your family. If you lose your job, get injured, or heaven forbid something worse, you have that buffer to absorb that blow. If this sounds great to you, but you have no idea how to even start going about this, Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and The Dave Ramsey Show podcast is a great place to start. His program has helped me (the author of this post) tremendously in my personal life, and it can help you too. His program also speaks on insurance and what is best for you and your family. These insurances make sure that you and your family are guarded against the most horrific things life can throw at you.
Emergency Kits and Bug Out Bags
What is in your emergency kit? Do you even have an emergency kit? What about a bug out bag? These are things that you really do not think about having around until there is already a looming threat. It is highly recommended that you put together an emergency kit for your household and a bug out bag for each member of your family. For an emergency kit, you would definitely want food, water, flashlights, batteries, and an AM / FM radio at a minimum. Meals ready to eat (MREs) are a great option for an emergency food supply. If they are stored at temperatures below 80 degrees, they can last upwards of 10 years. While this may be the case, it is best to keep your emergency kits up to date with MREs over 3 years. Batteries will degrade over time as well. Keeping fresh batteries in your emergency kits is imperative.
Bug out-bags are a bit different than an emergency kit. These bags are for when things get really bad in your life and you need to get out now. Usually, these bags contain a few MREs, a canteen full of water, a change of clothes, a couple of hundred dollars cash, a prepaid phone, and many other items that you would need in an emergency situation. There are entire YouTube channels dedicated to bug out bags, survival equipment, and emergency preparedness that will go very deep into things that should or should not go in bug-out bags. While I do not have an emergency kit for my household like I should, I do have a well-stocked bug out bag just in case. Given that our company is in the gulf south where there are hurricanes-a-plenty, getting out seems like a more likely option than hunkering down.
After every disaster, there is always a mess that has to be cleaned up whether it is financial, emotional, physical, or any combination thereof. Financial crises are a hard mess to clean up, but with a bit of sacrifice, focus, and elbow grease, it can be done. By those same methods, you can set yourself up to where you will never have to face these financial hardships again. Pay that debt off. Get you a fat emergency fund. Doing so will help you sleep a little bit more peacefully at night knowing that you and your family are taken care of.
When it comes down to the physical mess, this is where Pot-O-Gold really specializes. We have helped clean up after fires, floods, explosions, hurricanes, tornadoes, and anything else you can imagine. Right now, we have a large fleet of drivers in Lake Charles helping with the devastation that Hurricane Laura left in her wake. We have been providing porta potty rentals, hand wash station rentals, restroom trailers, and shower trailers to FEMA, Red Cross, individual contractors, and other organizations spearheading the cleanup effort. Through these efforts, we have made friends and connections that will benefit our customers in the future.
Thank you for reading and thank you for choosing Pot-O-Gold Rentals.