SmartMoney features Colorado Springs Resident’s Experience

“you can’t protect yourself from every disaster, but you can certainly do things to tilt the odds heavily in your favor.”–  BILL BISCHOFF

This article in SmartMoney hits close to home. Bill Bischoff was evacuated from his Colorado Springs home, an event he never anticipated. Here he shares his learning experience and what he wished he had done before the evacuation call.

Below are a few lessons learned.

Put Together a Financial Go Kit

View from Mountain Shadows neighborhood, Colorado Springs
Photograph by Erin Christie

Things you’ll need:

  • homeowner and auto insurance coverage summaries;
  • health insurance information;
  • banking, mortgage, and credit card statements;
  • investment and retirement account documents;
  • tax returns for at least the last three years;
  • your will;
  • birth certificates;
  • social security cards;
  • and a key to your safe deposit box.

Place the case in a known location where you can grab it on the way out if you’re forced to leave your home in a big hurry.

We’ve all heard that you should put your important documents in a fireproof box, interestingly the author found that this wasn’t enough.

“By the way: those allegedly fireproof strong boxes don’t work in a really hot fire. An acquaintance of mine had one, and everything in it became toast when his house burned down.”–Bischoff

Take Lots of Pictures of Your Property and Your Stuff

This is probably the best advice. You may want to go a step further and take photos of your documents. You might store them on an Internet photo site that you can access from any computer.  Just make sure that it is a private, password-protected site.

Make a Grab-and-Go List

You probably have a list of important phone numbers posted on your fridge or prominent place in your home. The author suggests that you also have a list of reasonably portable items that you would most hate to lose. These are the things you’ll gather up if you’ve been called to evacuate your home.

Lessons Learned

Being prepared for emergencies is something that we all read and talk about, but seldom follow through. One lesson we can all learn from the wildfires of this summer is to be prepared because this can happen to anyone.

FYI: The Mile High Chapter of the Red Cross responds to a house fire on average once every 36 hours each year.

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