“Down Payment on Disaster”
We have written page after page of recommendations and suggestions about how to prepare for a disaster. Some of our tips include simple changes in behavior – like keeping a flashlight and shoes next to the bed, or making sure you have extra canned food stored in the back of the cupboard.
Other recommendations involve taking on what I would call home improvement or repair: attaching bookcases to the wall, strapping the water heater, or reinforcing the chimney.
Lately, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing how to assemble various emergency supplies, including water (number one), food (number two) and emergency communications (or is this number two for you?). You can be assured we’ll continue with this theme!
In any case, many of these recommendations involve spending money. Yes, making a deliberate investment in something you really don’t want to have to use!
How can you justify spending money on emergency preparedness?
I’m sure you can come up with several reasons, of course, but the main one is:
You don’t want your family to ask, “Why didn’t you do something to protect us?”
There’s another reason, though, that you may not have considered. And here it is, as a rule of thumb:
Every dollar spent on preparedness saves $4 in recovery costs, according to a widely cited report by the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Multihazard Mitigation Council.
Think “recovery” when you build.
- If you are building a home near the beach, for example, elevate it above the flood line! If you already live in a low-lying area, keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergencies.
- If you live in a hurricane-prone region, invest $3,000 in an underground shelter. (You may even be able to have part of the cost borne by the government.) Make sure your home has an extra strength frame and roof.
- Here in earthquake country, we recommend earthquake bracing for mobile homes, bolting sill plates to the foundation, and anchoring light worktables to the floor and heavy computer equipment to the table.
Everyone has to make decisions about what to spend on preparedness for natural disasters. A $4 savings for a $1 investment is a pretty good return. But if that seems too much for you, consider what a life is worth!
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