Ernie Neve, CPA
September 17, 2020
2020 has been a very stressful year, and even if we “forgot” the COVID pandemic, the sheer volume and scale of the disasters we’re seeing are daunting.
Fires in California, hurricanes in the Deep South, and civil and social unrest in middle America are all causing stress and worry. Now, even as an accountant and tax specialist, we are truly concerned about the health and wellbeing of our people, so we created a simple list of items you absolutely NEED to have handy (and in one place) in your home (or even your car!) “just in case.”
- Gasoline. It might seem crazy, but keeping your car’s gas tank topped off isn’t really hard, and – if you have to make a quick exit from an area – it might just give you the edge you need to get you and your family to safety. We’ve all seen the lines for fuel when a disaster occurs, so this simple act of preparedness is easy to do and really can help.
- Masks. By now, most of us have become used to wearing a mask in public, but a small pack of disposables in your emergency kit is a smart idea. These days, they’re for sale nearly everywhere and a sealed pack of them can allow you to move freely in the event you must leave home quickly.
- A Water Filter, Not Just Water. Everybody wants to buy case after case of bottled water in emergencies, but why not simply buy a filter you can use in your home (since many systems are gravity-fed) and one in your emergency kit. The ones you can keep in a kit actually look like giant straws and are good for many, many uses.
- First Aid Kit. This one is common sense, but I’m still surprised by how many folks don’t even have the basics – Band-aids, an antibacterial ointment, and other practical wound-care tools and pain relievers can all be stored in a small space.
- Bleach. No matter how much technology you have (or like), plain old boring bleach is a very powerful cleaning and disinfecting agent that can be used to make water safe, sanitize surfaces, and costs less than $2.00. A gallon tucked away in your home can really help you stay sanitary when trouble strikes.
- Gloves. Most of you read gloves and think of the nitrile or latex ones we’re all seeing these days, but in an emergency kit, not only is a box of latex gloves a great idea, but a pair or two of inexpensive work gloves can help protect your hands in case of a natural disaster if you’re doing some heavy lifting to get to safety.
- Duct Tape. It might seem like the punchline of a joke, but yes, duct tape can do a LOT of stuff. We’ve seen it used for everything from primitive splints to shelter to patching holes in a roof with a tarp or some plastic sheeting. A roll will cost you very little ($2-5.00) but provide a use-value far in excess of that.
- A MultiTool. Thirty years ago, this was the ubiquitous “Swiss Army knife” and now, that small tool has evolved into the Multitools now sold by companies like Leatherman and Gerber. Price is indicative of quality, so buy the best you can and make sure it doesn’t migrate from your kit.
- A Phone Charger. There are a lot of ways to look at this, but a car charger for your electronics is very useful. Even if you don’t have your car, it’s likely a car will be handy. Having the tool that can charge the electronics you have is smart – but only if you pack it! Dedicate one for your emergency kit and don’t mess with it.
Are these the only items? Of course not. But these are all critical pieces of the puzzle that 2020 keeps throwing at us. Always consider things like prescriptions, the people you’ll likely bring with you, and the environment in which you live.
Someone escaping a riot in the Midwest has far different needs than a Californian escaping fires.
Use your best judgment and remember – this year, it seems like one disaster is begetting another.
Be safe out there!