Over the last week I have taken you through some simple steps that will help you be prepared in the case of an emergency. Making sure that you are prepared for a disaster helps to minimize the damage to both your wallet and your life.
I distinctly remember during my last year of nursing two back-to-back lectures. One was for my complex care class and the other was for my community health class. Both of them were on the role of a nurse during a natural or man made disaster. After 6 hours I walked away with one message; be afraid, be very afraid.
Fortunately I had the chance to muse over what I was told and eventually decided to take a somewhat pragmatic view of the matter. Yes, there is the chance, even the likelihood, that disaster will strike within your lifetime. On the bright side there are many things that you can do to prepare for and mitigate the outcome of a disaster. The question is how much is enough?
When allowed to our imagination will run wild with all the awful things that could possibly happen and soon it will seem that you are only safe if you have a million dollar emergency fund and a nuclear bomb shelter in the basement. I can’t give you exact number to keep in the bank though I’ll ball park the normal 3-6 months of living expenses. I also can’t tell you if you should stop at a panic bag or go further. My advice is do what you need to do to sleep at night.
With that in mind remember the following. You need never face a disaster alone. When you lose your job or your house burns down your family and friends will be there. Maybe not with an open checkbook but with help in your job hunt or a warm bed for the night. Some of the most devastating natural and man made disasters in history have also resulted in the most generous and amazing shows of human compassion and aid. While friends, family, and community will not remove the need for a good emergency fund and an emergency plan; neither will an emergency fund or an emergency remove the need for friends, family, and community. How can you be sure that people will be there in your time of need? By being there for them in their time of need.