Chronicles Of A Father With Cents

Simple Life. Personal Finance. Family

Getting Ready for a Natural Disaster


Hello readers, in wake of the North Bay fires that happened last week in which one of our fellow PF bloggers, DadsDollarsDebts lost his home and wrote a frightening experience about it.  As a fellow blogger and Bay Area resident I feel it’s my duty to join in this great chain of other bloggers with their ways of how to be prepared for an emergency situation:

Anchor 1: DadsDollarsDebt – Tubbs Fire, A Sudden Evacuation 

Anchor 2: 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 Natural Disaster Preparedness

Link 8: The Financial Journeyman – Emergency Preparation: Be Proactive

Link 9: John & Jane Doe Guide to Money – 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 with Cents – Getting Ready for a Natural Disaster

Link 15: Rogue Dad MD – Disrupting the Equilibrium

Link 16: Unique Gifter – 10 Ways You Can Help Victims of Natural Disasters

Link 17: SomeRandomGuyOnline – Friday Blog Roundup – Emergency Preparedness Edition

Link 18: 99to1percent – 15 Frugal Ways To Prepare For An Emergency

Link 19: Thinking of Someday – Are You Prepared For When An Emergency Occurs?

Link 20: I Dream of FIRE – Your house is burning and you can only save 10 things – what do you choose?

Link 21: Full Time Finance – Emergency Preparedness in Place

My Experience with Natural Disasters

Growing up in the Bay Area not only we had fire drills at schools where all the students would evacuate outside but also earthquake drills.  Throughout grade school, we would have one earthquake drill every school year.  Once the bell rings in which it would go on and off for about thirty seconds, us students would go under our desk, fold our hands together and put them over our heads.  The theme was ‘duck and cover’ so if an earthquake were to happen we would cover ourselves under the table and we would prevent from getting hit at any falling objects such as the lights or broken glass.

It was a good thing we prepared because in 1989, a 7.1 earthquake hit the Bay Area.  I was in middle school and was getting ready to watch the World Series between the two Bay Area teams, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s.  As I was watching the pregame show with my brother, sister, and grandparents the windows in our living room was making some sort of constant noise and the cabinets in our house was starting to open on their own.  Once we saw that, my sister, brother and I went under to our dining room table and just ducked.  We knew this is the earthquake that we prepared for at school.  I believe the shaking lasted almost a whole minute and once it was over the power went out, neighbors started to go outside and see if everyone was okay and my dad called us from work about a few minutes after to check if we were okay.  My mom had just gotten off work when it happened and came home about an hour after the quake.  Fortunately the buses were still running after the quake and she took it home.  We came out okay along with our house but other Bay Area residents did not.  I grabbed our battery powered radio and turned on the news radio station about an hour after the quake and heard about the fires, freeways collapse, and portion of the infamous Bay Bridge collapsing.  It was a sad and unforgettable day in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Volunteering to Help in Natural Disasters 

In 2014, Mother with Cents and I were encourage by my in-laws to join this this group called Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, or NERT which is a training program for individuals and communities in San Francisco where you learn the basics or preparedness and prevention in any natural disaster.  This program was created in response to the 1989 earthquake so any San Francisco resident can volunteer and be trained to a personal emergency as well as act as members of a neighborhood response team.

So both us joined the training program and it was a 20 hour training program broken up into six courses where they trained us in various ways to help out victims in a fire, earthquake and terrorist attack.  We learned a lot from it like triaging, how to put out a fire with an extinguisher, awareness of hazardous materials, searching patterns when looking for victims in a disaster and how to treat victims.  It’s a great training program and encourage others in your area to get into a program as well.  When a disaster strikes we have to take care of ourselves first and know that our family and home is okay.  If/Once everything is okay then we are available to volunteer in our community to help out.  This is a way for victims of disasters to receive immediate assistant before the pros like the firefighters, first responders and police step in.

Are We Prepared?

The wildfires in the North Bay was a wake up call for us.  After reading DadsDollarsDebt post, we are getting prepared for any disaster that comes our way.  Here is what we have prepared so far:

  • Water bottles
  • Batteries
  • Battery powered radio
  • Toiletries
  • Important documents(birth certificates, copies of social security cards and passports) backed up on the cloud drive
  • Diapers for Baby with Cents
  • Back up phone chargers
  • Sleeping bag
  • Clothes
  • Bulk of oatmeal
  • Propane stove
  • Propane tanks
  • Cast Iron Pan

We are looking into getting a fireproof safe so we can store important hard copy documents like the social security cards, backup keys and insurance forms.  Most of our pictures we have taken the last few years especially with Baby with Cents are backed up in both an external drive and on the cloud.  So in terms of sentimental value, we are have our pictures backed up.

You never know when a disaster strikes, the best thing is to be prepared for it and with so many unfortunate incidents happening recently it’s definitely a huge wake-up for us.

Thanks for the PF Community

Wanted to say thanks for our tight knit PF community for bringing awareness to this and like how we all like preparing our finances, we should prepare for any type of disasters that come our way.

Have I missed anything in preparing for a disaster? What do you do to prepare?  Any natural disasters that can occur in your area?


  1. That must have been really scary Kris! That’s great that you volunteered!

    We live on the “ring of fire” so there’s always talk about the “big one” hitting and it’s terrifying.

    There was a 4.1 earthquake recently a few years ago and it terrified me I hid under my desk with my dog but thankfully nothing broke.

    I have a duffle bag packed but haven’t updated it to include Mr GYM and baby- really should get on that!

  2. Thanks so much for joining in the chain Kris. Looks like the earthquake preparation sure paid off, especially if your parents were away from home when it hit. Glad to hear your family made it through OK!

    • No problem Liz!! Yeah we were fortunate everyone including the house was fine. According to seismologist, our area is overdue for a big quake so we have our emergency bag almost ready for a potential quake.

  3. These posts are definitely a wake-up call to be better prepared! Omar and I have some stuff that we need to finish and start.

    • Yes please start preparing an emergency bag Kim especially if your area is prone to a natural disaster. The basics like a few gallons of water and toiletries is good start.

  4. I should really get this in order. I’ve been saying it for 2 weeks but things keep pushing it off. Plus we’re not totally prepared in terms of evacuation plan. The worry here is earthquakes as well. All I remember is stop, drop and roll…Oh wait…That’s not…

    • Haha, hey at least your ready if a fire happen. The sooner the better that you guys get started on preparing for an evacuation plan.

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