CBS News reported on Tuesday that the fires in Eastern Washington, which have been threatening population areas, have begun to quiet down. While this brings a collective sigh of relief to the residents of the state, it should also give us a reason to take stock of our property and life insurance situation, as well as our preparedness in the event of a disaster.
In the midst of a disaster, such as a flood, a hurricane, or a wildfire, our collective focus has to be on making it through. Those who are directly victimized must struggle for their own survival. Those who can lend a hand practically must do so. The rest of us ought to invest in charities – or at least pray – for the safety of the victims. During that time it’s just bad manners to opine about disaster preparation.
But the reality is that, much as we would like to ignore it, we live at the mercy of nature. Our insulated houses, our heaters and air conditioners, our stockpiles of food, and our emergency management services that respond so quickly and so well whenever we’re inconvenienced by the weather all combine to lull us into a sense of security. That security is false. Volcanoes will erupt. Earthquakes will happen. Disasters – both natural and manmade – are an intrinsic part of life.
Our preparedness is the only thing we have real control over. Every home – and especially every home where young children live – should be equipped with an emergency kit. There are numerous products available online that provide comprehensive disaster preparedness in one box, making it easy to equip the home. To those kits, it’s important to add a week’s supply of non-perishable dry food that contains complex proteins.
And although none of us like to think that a natural disaster could become a personal one, that possibility always exists. In tough economic times, it’s tempting to skimp on our insurance position, allowing high deductibles or eliminating aspects of coverage in order to keep the premiums down. But possessing adequate property insurance is an imperative aspect of possessing property. And it is irresponsible for anybody who has young, financially dependent children to fail to secure a life insurance policy.
Hopefully, the wildfires in Eastern Washington will continue to recede. Hopefully, the rain will come soon and put them out. And hopefully this disaster will encourage at least some residents of Washington to invest in disaster preparation, a dry food supply, and adequate property and life insurance.