Preparing for the Unexpected

Why Prepare for the Unexpected?

When you think about a skydiver, one of the first things that may come to mind is the risk involved with that activity. After all, it does involve jumping out of an airplane! However, a skydiver generally doesn't jump out of a plane without advance preparation.

Although we might not jump out of planes every day, we do take risks on a regular basis. With advance planning and preparation, we can minimize our risks and be prepared for life events, unplanned emergencies, and natural disasters.

Below are resources that can be utilized for preparing personally and for teaching about emergency and financial preparedness.

Personal preparedness
As part of the Ready site, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a variety of resources to use in preparing, planning, and staying informed in an emergency situation. Each section provides detailed planning tools to use in preparing for natural disasters such as emergency-related forms and checklists.

As a starting point, it may be helpful to review and complete the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK). As part of the EFFAK, you will gather your financial and legal information (like mortgage or rental agreements, financial account numbers, insurance policies, and tax statements), household identification documents (such as driver's licenses, birth certificates, and employment details), and medical information (immunization records, medical insurance cards, and lists of medications). While collecting all of this data may sound overwhelming, it is a useful tool in the event of an emergency, and a process that may be made easier by breaking down the collection and updating into smaller portions over a period of time.

In the classroom
Lesson 1: Katrina Strikes of the Katrina's Classroom: Teaching Money Skills for Life curriculum lays the groundwork for developing the skills to create a plan for emergency and financial preparedness. The lesson examines planning, goal setting, risk management, wants and needs, decision making, scarcity, and opportunity cost. In addition to the main lesson, additional activities allow educators in various disciplines to use the video and core lesson concepts in their classrooms.

The video component of the lesson sets the scene by showing some of the devastation that the storm wrought, and introducing three families whose stories and lessons learned are followed throughout the curriculum.