Last week I laid out my alphabet-based plan to putting aside emergency provisions in 2017. The idea was to simplify the overwhelming task of getting started by taking one small step for each letter of the alphabet.
I started with A; so next up, of course, is…Q.
Q is for “questions.” And I am getting started by asking myself eight questions about emergency provisions. I’m asking these questions because my time and funds are limited so I want to get the most bang for my buck and for my hours.
What emergencies are most likely to happen?
I wrote recently about the relationship between risk and probability. Because I am so limited in my time and resources, it is vital that I focus on where to put them. I think the most likely emergencies for my family are serious injury, job loss, death, family sickness, fire, earthquake, and flood and I will be preparing for them before any others.
What emergencies do I NOT need to prepare for?
There are emergencies I afford to put further down the list or just plain ignore. Living in Utah at the foot of a large mountain, I don’t concern myself with tsunamis, hurricanes, or tornados. I live in an extraordinarily safe area, so crime and civic disturbance and not high on my list of concerns.
I’m also not going to worry myself about an asteroid strike or nuclear war because I don’t care to survive one of those events. Your mileage may vary, but are there events that are so horrific you’d rather skip them?
How many people do I need to provide for?
I have a wife and two children and at a minimum I am responsible for providing the necessities of life for them. Once the basics are taken care of, I will need to revisit this question—consulting with others in my family and area about the need to coordinate or provide for others.
Given the three questions above, are my top five provisioning priorities?
I created a “disruption worksheet” that helps identify which emergencies I’m concerned about and how they might disrupt my life. Take a look at what I wrote by clicking here. To download a clean copy of this worksheet for yourself, click here.
Where will I keep my provisions?
Is that location safe from fire, flood and theft? I have some provisions in my garage and plan to spend the weekend clearing some space in the utility room. It may be time to list some stuff on Ebay to make room. With the proceeds of the sale, I can buy a fireproof safe or some off-site electronic storage.
If there is a disaster in my community, will I leave town or shelter in place?
A lot of people in my area have recreational property or family in St. George or Idaho they could crash with. I have neither of these and feel pretty connected to my community. I have also been trained as part of the Community Emergency Response Team and once I have provisions, I will be ready to stay here as an asset not a burden.
(By the way, I totally respect getting out of Dodge in an emergency, especially for those who have young children or elderly people in their care who should really be moved to safety. If you are interested in getting your recreational property provisioned, check out this sponsor of my site.)
If I leave, where will I go?
Since I’m sheltering in place, this question doesn’t apply to me. But if I were planning to leave, I’d want to have a route and an alternate route and an alternate, alternate route and a way to figure out which route to take. This might be a battery powered radio or friends on the other side of potential bottlenecks who could supply me with information about the conditions.
Who needs to know that I am safe?
Unless the disaster is worldwide, there will be loved ones who are worried about me. Communications after a community disaster may be spotty and it will be helpful to have a single point of contact out of town that everyone affected can contact and who can be a clearinghouse for information about you and others. My mother in California is our designated contact and everyone in our family knows to email, text, or call (whatever technology is available) grandma.
My Disruption Worksheet
I’ve answered my questions and completing my worksheet of which emergencies I’m concerned about and what they would disrupt. I am struck with two findings: 1) many of the emergencies I am most concerned about all involve disruptions to my income, and 2) almost all of the emergencies promise to disrupt my (and my family’s emotional well-being. The first finding tells me I really need to focus on my emergency fund. The second finding tells me I really need to work on preparing mentally for trauma, stress, and perhaps periods of boredom.
I’ve got some ideas about building an emergency fund, mental resilience requires some more thinking and planning.
To download a your very own copy of my disruption sheet, click here.
Want to follow along and get your provisions mastered one letter at a time? Click the button to get a weekly reminder and instruction post sent right to you.