Hi folks! I have a spontaneous post for you today. I was originally planning to post my third quarter 2017 update post, but I will save that for Thursday. The financial independence blogging community is very tight knit. I enjoy so much following other bloggers, engaging with the community and readers, and following the stories of others. Because of this tight knit community, I am compelled to join others in support of Dads, Dollars, Debts who lost his house (and nearly his life) in the Tubb’s Fire in California.
I am joining others in a blogging “chain of articles” talking about the importance of being prepared. The chain is listed below with links to other posts. I will continue to update this post with links as other bloggers join in. Check out the anchor post from Dads, Dollars, Debts for his harrowing experience!
Anchor: DadsDollarsDebt – Dads, Dollars, Debts
Anchor Two: Chief Mom Officer – Going Beyond The Emergency Fund-A Harrowing Escape Inspires The Personal Finance Community
Link 1: OthalaFehu – Cool As A Cucumber
Link 2: The Retirement Manifesto – Am I A Prepper?
Link 3: Mrs. Retire to Roots – In Case Of Emergency Follow The Plan
Link 4: The Lady In Black – Emergency Preparedness
Link 5: The Green Swan – Preparing for the Worst: My Emergency Story
Link 6: Minafi – Minimal Hurricane Preparation
Link 7: A Gai Shan Life – Earthquake and disaster preparedness
Link 8: The Financial Journeyman – Emergency Preparation: Be Proactive
Link 9; John And Jane Doe – Thinking the Worst: Emergency Planning or Fighting the Last War?
Link 10: Adventure Rich – Emergency Preparation Up North
Link 11: Money Beagle – How Much Would You Replace If You Lost Everything?
Link 12: Crispy Doc – Fighting Fire With FI/RE
Link 13: She Picks Up Pennies – How Can A Planner Be Unprepared?
Link 14: Chronicles Of A Father-Getting Ready for a Natural Disaster
Link 15: Rogue Dad MD- Disrupting the Equilibrium
Link 16: Unique Gifter-10 Ways To Help Disaster Victims
Link 17: SomeRandomGuyOnline-Friday Blog Roundup – Emergency Preparedness Edition
Link 18: 99 to 1 Percent: 15 Frugal Ways To Prepare For An Emergency
Link 19: I Dream Of FIRE – Your house is burning and you can only save 10 things – what do you choose?
Preparing for the Worst
Preparing for the worst is important…because it happens. We’ve been reminded of that many times in just the recent months with two category 5 hurricanes hitting the US for the first time in….who knows, maybe ever?? And on top of that we have some of the worst fires ever in California. And that is why I’m here today talking about my emergency story, in support of my blogging buddy who lost his home in Tubb’s Fire just a week ago.
Whether it is a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, fire or flood, natural disasters happen everywhere and we all need to be prepared! It could happen to us next…
My Emergency Story
In support of Dads, Dollars, Debts, I want to go back about nine years ago and share a brief story about a natural disaster that shook me, my wife (fiancé at the time), and my community.
Lucy and I were engaged to be married, but at the time both living in communities about 30 minutes apart. We were both out of college and working. It was the spring of 2008. We just had a pretty big winter with lots of snow. As it was beginning to melt and funnel into the rivers, we had massive rain in the forecast.
Preparing for the Flood!
We were preparing for a little flooding, but nothing too bad. My place of employment was actually a block away from the river bank. The river wasn’t expected to come that high, that would have been crazy, but just in case we sand-bagged the entrance of the bank. Inside the bank, out of extreme precaution, I moved things from my bottom drawers to my top drawers. But that wasn’t going to happen, no way water would come all the way up to flood a block over, breach our sand bags, and flood my bank. But just in case…
The ran kept falling. Snow upstream had been melting in the prior weeks and making its way down stream. The estimated river peak kept getting raised by meterologists.
Meanwhile, Lucy who lived downstream from me was also getting prepared. Her hotel was actually on the river bank, but they sandbagged like crazy knowing they may actually get some flooding. There were weddings planned that weekend and everything…but those didn’t end up happening, with the exception of one. The hotel owned an offsite venue that had power, water and could still accommodate the attendees. Lucy remembers sandbagging outside for hours when a tornado warning hit. Everyone was corralled in the back hallway… everyone including the wedding party. Talk about disasters on top of disasters.
Back in my city, the river kept rising over night and the next day. It was absolutely crazy, but water actually came into the bank and my place of employment. We sand-bagged knee-high, our building was a block away from the river, and it still breached it and entered the bank! The flooding was so bad it broke the 100-year flood plain!
A 100-Year Flood!
For those of you unaware, the flood plains are mapped by the federal government to mark floods that “should” happen once in a 100 years, and also a 500-year flood plane which marks floods that should happen once in 500 years. Funny how they can map these out given they don’t have flood history for 100 years, let alone 500…
But nonetheless, the flood reached the 100-year flood status. Also, it is noteworthy to mention that homes in the 100-year flood plain are required by mortgage lenders to buy flood insurance. But the river still hadn’t peaked…
Rain kept falling and water kept rising!
A 500-Year Flood
The water was entering neighborhoods and businesses that weren’t in the 100-year flood plain and never anticipated the flood. Folks were forced to evacuate to higher ground. And yet as the water kept rising, the flood actually broke the 500-year flood plain! Water kept rising in the bank, I obviously wasn’t going to work for a couple days…and by the time the flooding peaked the water was over 10 feet high in my bank! My bank, that was a block away from the river, and I can’t remember how many feet higher than the normal water level, and the bank that we sand-bagged knee-high and the whole time thinking we we’re wasting our time because the water would never come that high…
Well it did. The bank building stayed flooded for over a week, nobody could enter, mold started to flourish, and ultimately I never stepped foot in the bank again. It was a condemned property and needed to be torn down. This was the same story as many of the other commercial developments and neighborhoods in my city.
Many folks left their homes for higher ground thinking they’d be back in a couple days and, in the end, they never were able to return! Everything was lost and even some people lost their lives…
Lucy’s hotel faired much better. A levy ended up breaking down stream (no doubt putting other communities in that area to flood much worse), but the hotel was spared. Water only made it’s way into the hotel lobby, but the building was cleaned and saved from any mold. Lucy was able to return to work as normal just a few days later.
You always have to be prepared! The weather forecast isn’t always right. My city was hit with a horrible and devastating 500-year flood that even nearly 10 years later it hasn’t fully recovered from. This 2008 flood was one of three floods within 15 years that have crested the 100-year flood plane (one of which being a 500-year!). So not only can weather forecasts be wrong, but federally drawn flood maps can be wrong!
Lucy, who lived just a short 30-minute drive away, was in reachable for a week! The roads to her city were even flooded over! We were both stranded from each other and even our direct families for a while in what were some pretty scary times.
Are You Prepared?
Lets use the power of this community to help spread this message. Per Chief Mom Officer (Anchor #2 above…) who was the organizer behind the blogging chain, here are some resources to help you think of what to write if you want to join the chain or if you need help preparing for the worst:
Ready.Gov1 – Government site on preparing for natural disasters
CDC Site on Health and Safety Concerns For All Disasters – Good information on different things to consider for different types of disasters
Weather.Com Disaster Preparation Tips – Sorry about the slideshow format, but there’s good information here
Home Evacuation Tips1 – Good information on how to prepare for an evacuation
FEMA Evacuation Information – Also good tips on preparing for an evacuation
Thanks for taking a look!
The Green Swan