Financially Preparing for Disaster?

Dear Readers:  I’d like to turn to you for some thoughts and advice on this.

Here’s the situation.  We live in a lovely condo in a planned community alongside a river. We’ve been here without difficulty for six years.  Last year, a large rain storm  flooded the river, and damaged an earthen dam upriver from us critically.

So here’s where we’re at.  Round-the-clock, we hear tractors filling 400,000 two-ton sandbags and placing them on top of the levy near our home. Those will be covered with plastic, and the plastic will have another berm of smaller sandbags to give the levy another 10 feet in elevation since the dam cannot hold as much water back.

In the event of  ”overtopping” (water spilling over the new, higher levy), we are predicted to get moderate flooding (about 5 feet of water).  Our condo is a 2nd story unit, so other than our garge, we’d have minimal damage.

In the event of a total dam failure upstream, we’re expected to have “total, catastrophic flooding.”

We’ve got flood insurance, and a place to stay as long as we need to (thanks mom!) and enough in our emergency fund to cover our insurance deductibles, and enough insurance to cover our needs.

image credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

image credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

We also have a room-by-room evacuation plan and we’ll be drilling on it soon (so the kids and I can get the house ready and evacuate within a short period of time in case my husband isn’t home when the time comes).

We’ve stacked up giant garbage bags–so as we leave, the bedding in each room can be stuffed into a bag, tied up and stacked on the beds.  The pets can be packed up and taken to grandma’s house, and everyone has all of their needs met.

So–if you were in my house, what would you be doing to get ready?  What valuables/sentimental items should I be thinking of having out of the house entirely? We’ve got the “grab bag” of emergency documents (insurance, adoption documents, etc) and the backup hard drive on the list.

If you’ve been through disaster like this–I’d love your ideas, especially if they’re frugal or if they’ll save resources as we prepare to get back on our feet afterwards.

Thanks in advance! (PS: We’ve already thought of selling the house, but as you might have imagined, the market is…umm.. .saturated).

One last note: the dam upstream from us will be replaced in five years, so we may not be out of the woods until then.

  • http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/ momstheword

    I sent you an email rather than do it all in a comment! So hopefully you'll get it o.k!

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  • http://www.moderntightwad.com/ A.B.

    I'm sorry to hear about the concern. I remember living in Sacramento during some of the great flooding that happened there. We weren't nearly as prepared as you seem to be, and we lived right between the Sacramento and American Rivers. I remember sitting there as report of levy breaking after levy breaking appeared on the news, and as a kid wishing we had a better plan. Afterwards, we created a direct route, meeting place, etc. Now, my husband and I are planning a bug-out bag, and doing so as frugally as possible. If I come across any tips, I'll let you know, and we wish you the best!

  • jessc098

    I love your term “bug out bag” :) We have a big bin (where everyone will
    toss necessary school materials–we homeschool–and pet supplies, etc). I'm
    hoping the bin, once filled will fit in my little station wagon. Thanks for
    the good wishes. We did get some good news this week that a repair on the
    dam should take our risks of flooding from one in four to one in
    twenty-five, which is really great news for us. We're breathing much easier
    and enjoying the rain much more.

  • http://www.moderntightwad.com/ A.B.

    I'm sorry to hear about the concern. I remember living in Sacramento during some of the great flooding that happened there. We weren't nearly as prepared as you seem to be, and we lived right between the Sacramento and American Rivers. I remember sitting there as report of levy breaking after levy breaking appeared on the news, and as a kid wishing we had a better plan. Afterwards, we created a direct route, meeting place, etc. Now, my husband and I are planning a bug-out bag, and doing so as frugally as possible. If I come across any tips, I'll let you know, and we wish you the best!

  • jessc098

    I love your term “bug out bag” :) We have a big bin (where everyone will
    toss necessary school materials–we homeschool–and pet supplies, etc). I'm
    hoping the bin, once filled will fit in my little station wagon. Thanks for
    the good wishes. We did get some good news this week that a repair on the
    dam should take our risks of flooding from one in four to one in
    twenty-five, which is really great news for us. We're breathing much easier
    and enjoying the rain much more.