JoDana Bright Taylor

EDITOR’S NOTE: The North Lincoln Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) works to help the community be prepared for disasters and various emergencies. One concern often heard is how overwhelming it seems to take all the steps needed to be prepared for a disaster. To address that issue North Lincoln CERT has embarked on a 52-Week Personal Preparedness Challenge.

We are, to a large degree, a cashless society.  Credit and debit cards are standard, and PayPal and smart phone apps make cash nearly superfluous. 

This type of commerce society, however, relies completely on one important resource: electricity.  If the power and communication systems are out, credit card scanners don’t work, banks close and ATMs cease to function.  Without cash in hand, your ability to procure the items you need in an emergency gets exponentially harder.

 It’s important to keep some cash in your emergency kit.  Plan to put some cash in your kit every month, whether it’s $25 or $5, creating a habit of setting a little aside for emergencies is important.  Use small denominations, $20 and under, and include coins as well.

If you need a few eggs and you only have $100s, guess how much those eggs will cost?

 When you are planning your emergency cash budget, focus on meeting essential needs of shelter, fuel, food, water, clothing. 

You may need to purchase lumber to patch broken windows and roofs, you may need a little fuel to run that chain saw (of course, that should be part of your emergency prep if you are so inclined), or you may need to purchase some supplies that are missing from your cache. 

During the emergency stage, don’t worry about house and car payments or credit card bills, as those can all be sorted out later; your first priority is your family’s survival.

Also in your kit, be sure you have a list of account numbers and contact information for all of your financial institutions. 

You will at some point move past emergency to recovery and you will need to put the rest of your finances in order.  Most financial companies have mechanisms in place to help you get caught up and back on schedule without too much fuss after a disaster. 

Include your insurance policy information in your kit as well, including the declaration page that summarizes your benefits and the claims contact information.  You will want to start property claims as soon as possible to get quickly back on the road to recovery.

 During an emergency, all focus should go to survival and safety. 

That stage, however, generally passes quite quickly, as we move on to the stages of assessment, acceptance, and then recovery.  The goal is to move into the recovery phase as soon as possible, and every bit of planning we do helps make that happen quickly.

 

If you would like to know more about Community Emergency Response Teams or have a representative come talk to your neighborhood group, church or business, please contact North Lincoln County CERT Public Information Officer JoDana Bright at 541-994-2700 or nlccert@yahoo.com.

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