You survived 2020 — what lessons did that harrowing year teach you? Few things can prepare folks for a pandemic, but you probably learned a thing or two about how to be ready for anything.
Why not make 2021 the year you brush up on your survival skills? Here are eight smart ways to prepare for family emergencies this year.
1. Cover Yourself
Unfortunately, in America, job loss often equates to waving goodbye to your health insurance. However, if you lost work due to the pandemic, there’s a good chance you qualify for Medicaid or Marketplace coverage — check with your state department of economic security for eligibility and application help.
What would your family do if you could no longer provide for them? Please don’t think you can’t get life insurance if you have a medical condition — many insurers offer policies that don’t require an exam. You may pay more, but the peace of mind that your kids are protected makes it worth it.
If you work for yourself, or your employer doesn’t offer it, get disability insurance before developing any health woes. If you wait, no insurer will cover you minus an exclusion restricting the very condition that threatens your ability to work.
2. Rebuild Your Emergency Fund
If you took a financial beating in 2020, you aren’t alone. Even those who had healthy emergency funds before the pandemic often had to dig into those savings — sometimes bringing their accounts to $0.
Now is the time to rebuild — you can start with your $600 stimulus if you didn’t need it to cover other bills. Even $5 a week is a start, and as things slowly return to normal once vaccines become available, you can dedicate yourself to bringing in extra income to pad it further.
3. Get a Physical
When was the last time you saw your doctor? Even if you feel fine, an annual physical can detect conditions like prediabetes, which can lead to severe health woes if left uncorrected.
Knowledge is power when it comes to your health, so schedule a thorough workup, including a blood test. If your provider warns you about high blood sugar or liver issues, you know it’s time to quit drinking and improve your diet.
4. Master Basic Automotive Tasks
It’s one thing if your ride breaks down at noon in a suburban neighborhood. It’s quite another if it happens on a dark desert highway.
You owe it to your kids to learn tasks like changing a tire and adding antifreeze to your radiator. You’ll feel safer and more empowered on your next road trip, even if you also have roadside assistance as a backup.
5. Protect Your Homestead From Fire and Flood
Do you live in a flood zone? If you aren’t sure, please check. Typical homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover damage from rising waters, and the government requires you to have it if you live in such a region.
If your yard is a quagmire of overgrown shrubbery and debris, and you live in a wildfire zone, your home is a torch awaiting a match. Clear away any dead branches and leaves and trim back all tree branches from your home to keep flames from leaping to your roof.
6. Rehearse Your Escape Plan
There’s no time to coax your child over their fear of heights when flames lick through your home. If you have a two-or-more story house, ensure everyone in your tribe can scurry down that escape ladder like a spider monkey.
You also need to coordinate a plan for where to meet after a home disaster and if one occurs while you are away. You don’t want people rushing back into danger if everyone has already evacuated, and you can go mad wondering if your kids are safe if a tornado struck during the school day. Ensure everyone who goes off solo has a cellphone and backup charger to communicate.
7. Learn First Aid and CPR
You know what to do if your little one asks you to kiss their “owie,” but could you react as quickly if they started choking? Learning adult, child and infant CPR and first aid could potentially save your loved one’s life. According to the Red Cross, we could prevent over half of all deaths from injury if folks knew what to do before first responders arrive.
Likewise, if you ever have to hire a sitter — what parent doesn’t — ask to see copies of their certifications. Possessing such credentials tells you a potential child care worker takes their responsibilities seriously, even if they are only 16-years-old.
8. Take a Survival Course
Are you looking for the ultimate fun family adventure? After nearly a year spent indoors, why not sign the whole gang up for a survival course? Even teens get into this activity, especially if you tell them you’re prepping for the zombie apocalypse.
You don’t necessarily need to learn how to build a lean-to or skin wild game. However, it’s helpful to know how to build a fire without matches. You can even round out your family meals if you take a foraging class and learn to recognize the food growing wild everywhere — even in urban areas.
Prepare for Family Emergencies the Smart Way This Year
2020 was the year that taught everyone one lesson — expect the unexpected. Prepare for family emergencies this year with the eight tips above.