If you live in California, the recent devastating wildfires have most likely not missed your notice.
It is hard to build something for years only for fire to destroy it in a matter of minutes.
As a caregiver or an elder yourself, times like these are scary.
In today’s post, I will be sharing some helpful pointers that will help you and your loved one stay safe during this season and a number of things you can do to protect yourself financially if you’re hit by such a disaster.
Staying Safe During A Season of Fires
- If you live in California, you may have noticed that the air is incredibly dry. This makes it easier for fires to accelerate once they are started. Make sure that if you start an open flame in or outside your house, you put it out COMPLETELY before you leave. This includes your gas stove, barbecues outside, fire pits and camp fires. Don’t accidentally start the next wildfire because you’re in a hurry.
- If you smoke, it is important you put out the cigar/cigarette completely when you’re done smoking.
- Using an oxygen tank? Don’t smoke near it.
- Make sure you read and understand your rental or homeowners insurance plan. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to lose their homes in disasters and be told by insurance companies that none of the property they lost was covered under the insurance plan. A better insurance plan for disasters may be a few dollars more than a basic plan that only covers some of your loss or (in most cases nothing at all).
- Consider starting an emergency savings fund just for situations like this. It will take the edge off the financial burden that comes from a natural disaster.
- Check to make sure the fire alarm and carbon dioxide alarm in your home are working.
- If you hear about wildfires in your area and you are instructed to evacuate, evacuate immediately. It’s helpful to have an emergency kit prepared so you can take off with your family quickly. Items to place in your emergency kit include:
- Water – At least one gallon per person for the next three days.
- Food – Non-perishable items like canned goods, crackers and granola bars work well.
- Battery-powered or hand cranked radio so you can get updates.
- First aid kit.
- Extra batteries.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Moist towelettes/wipes
- Diapers/incontinence products
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phones with extra batteries
- Safeguard critical documents. You will need to prove your identity and financial information when the time comes to file claims. Make sure to safeguard critical documents like:
- house/rental payments
- insurance cards
- bank statements – NOTE: If you have a bank with online banking, you can obtain this information by signing into your account online. Thus, if you haven’t created an online account with your bank, now is the time to do so!
- sources of income/pay stubs
- tax statements – NOTE: By inputting your information on the IRS website, you should be able to gain access to the last three years of your tax history if you have filed taxes over the last three years.
- birth certificates
- social security cards
- passports and driver’s licenses
- Pack a box with any precious memories you want to save.
- Drink a lot of water. The weather is very dry during this time.
- If you are going to leave on your own, call a family member so that they know where you are.
- Keep a small stash of cash on you. ATMs may not function or may run out of gas during the disaster.
- Fill your car up with gas so you are ready to go if you need to evacuate.
- Have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, read this post for what to do during a disaster.
Each year, natural disasters all across the United States remind us that everything could be gone in a minute.
In a lot of instances, there is nothing we can do about it.
However, there is a lot we can do to prepare for it and stay safe during.
In this post, I have share twelve things you can do to prevent, prepare for and stay safe during a wildfire or any disaster for that matter.
Share this with someone else so they can be prepared.