Are you prepared?

Damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta quake.Most of our efforts at Smart Nest Egg focus on helping people get prepared for the big financial events in their lives: retirement, education of children or grandchildren, etc. But other events can have a huge impact on our lives and we need to be ready for them, too. The recent devastation in Haiti and Chile highlight that preparedness isn't just about having money in the bank.

A story on the UPI newswire this week highlights the results of a study of Californians' emergency preparedness conducted by UCLA's School of Public Health. Among its findings:

  • Fewer than 20 percent have inspected their homes to make sure they are up to code.
  • Fewer than 20 percent have earthquake insurance.
  • Only 40 percent have the recommended minimum water storage of 3 gallons per person.
  • Only 40 percent have made family disaster plans.

On the positive side, the study found that 80 percent of California households have first aid kits and flashlights with extra batteries in the house.

If you are among those that have made preparations, congratulations! You and your family are much more likely to weather a disaster with minimal personal trauma. However, if you are among those who have yet to act, I encourage you to do so. If you need more information about what you should do to get ready for a disaster, go to www.CaliforniaVolunteers.org.