As you might have figured out from previous posts, the past few days have been less than relaxing for me. Between a fire, a power outage, an upcoming medical test (as you first read this, I'll be starting a week-long test to discover the exact nature of my seizures and figure out how to treat them; none too soon, as I had another grand mal seizure this past Saturday, which left me in poor shape for the weekend), and the general troubles of trying to keep up to date with my social and economic life, June is already turning into quite an adventure, and we've barely scratched the surface.
The events of the past few days have caused me to do some thinking, though, about whether I'm prepared enough for harmful events in my life. As much as I might complain about the university's response to the fire, they were able to get us moved into new apartments and set up with meal plans in under eight hours. When you're living on your own, though, you need to make preparations for fires and other emergencies on your own, and with a wife and baby on the way, I'll definitely need to be ready to handle these sorts of troubles on my own.
So, how should you handle a fire or other disaster that requires you to find somewhere else to live? There are a few steps you should follow when you find yourself dealing with such a situation, as well as how you should prepare before any emergencies befall you:
1. Gather Up Your Insurance and Other Pertinent Information: You will need to have a lot information available in the aftermath of any personal disaster. From the appropriate insurance policies to your identification paperwork to any monetary paperwork you have on hand, you should get a hold of your pertinent paperwork as soon as you are able.
Before the Disaster: It's good to have all the pertinent paperwork you'll need in an easily accessible place, preferably something that will survive through a fire or other disaster. There are plenty of fireproof safes for sale that can survive most disasters, many of which are also small enough to be taken with you in the event of a fire.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company and Other Sources of Aid: You'll find yourself facing a lot of needs in the aftermath of fire or other disaster. One of your first contacts should be your insurance company, to get the process of paying out your insurance claim moving as soon as possible. You can also approach your church, local aid service centers, and any other civic services organizations for any aid they might be willing to offer.
Before the Disaster: Making sure you have proper insurance coverage to handle any disaster that might occur (and remember, no matter how unlikely a particular disaster might seem, you should consider it possible). It's also good to familiarize yourself with the aid services in your area; helping them out before you need them not only helps to ensure they can provide for others, but can boost your own sense of purpose and accomplishment in life.
3. Replace Your Important Documents and Salvaging Your Supplies: One of the biggest things to do in the aftermath of a disaster is to replace the lost documents and all of your possessions. There's plenty of advice out there on how to replace your documents, and to get your possessions back into reasonable order. It'll take some time, but if you're devoted and patient, you'll have everything back to normal before you can imagine.
Before the Disaster: As mentioned above, it's possible to set many of your important documents in a safe, fireproof place to keep them safe and frequently, easy to move as well. You can also make copies of your pertinent documents, both to help you prove that you did have them at one time, and to serve as reminders for you will need to replace. For the rest of your goods, there are many different things you'll have to do, but some time and effort should be enough to get your life back in order.
I know it's no fun to live through a disaster like a fire, flood, earthquake, or anything else. But, if you're willing to put some work into both your preparations and your recovery, you should be able to get your life back in order before too long. Here's hoping you never have to experience this type of disaster in your life, and if you do, that you are able to recover quickly.