by Gisele Jefferson, Extension Agent – 4-H, Family & Consumer Sciences, Washington County
Many of us in Colorado thank “our lucky stars” we don’t live near the coast with the annual threat of hurricanes. The truth of the matter is we all live in areas prone to natural disasters. For Colorado and the non-coastal states, tornados, floods and wildfires are very real and sudden disasters we should be prepared to face.
When you get the Reverse 911 call announcing the evacuation order or telling you to take shelter, you may only have a few minutes to get ready. That is not the time to think about what you may need to gather and take with you to a safe location or shelter site. It is best to do that thinking and gathering when you have a clear mind and time to collect all the necessary items. You want to create a portable file of important documents and other essentials.
Life’s emergency situations require advance preparation and planning. The first step is organizing your financial information. Do you have an appropriate place for filing each document? Have you told anyone else where you keep your vital information? Have you shared your wishes in the event of your death? Are your documents available to “grab and go” in case of evacuation? Many situations require that you take action now to avoid financial problems later.
Use a durable, sealed waterproof box, plastic tote, or backpack to hold your collection of items. Clearly label and store your “Grab and Go” container in a secure and easily accessible location in your home. And finally, grab the container and keep it with you at all times. Do not leave it unattended or in your car, as it contains valuable information.
So, let’s think about what do you need to take and have ready in a “Grab and Go” box. Put in copies of everything that is in your emergency file, and add other important papers and supplies, such as:
- Emergency phone numbers for family, insurance agent or company, doctors, pharmacies, financial advisors, clergy, repair contractors;
- medical prescriptions, including eyeglasses;
- copies of driver’s licenses, social security, passports and other identity documents;
- rolls of quarters