I’ve been spending what little free time I’ve had over the past week kicking myself in the face (figuratively) for being very short sighted in my life.

I write 3-5 blog posts a week talking about how to be financially responsible for your life. Many of the topics I write about have to do with ensuring your financial life is okay in case of some kind of financial disaster. Here are a few examples of financial disasters and way to mitigate the risk of them causing serious damage:

  • Job Loss: Create an Emergency Fund (I use my Roth IRA but other people use savings)
  • Natural Disaster: Home/Renter’s Insurance, Car Insurance
  • Theft: Home/Renter’s Insurance, Car Insurance
  • Sickness or Disability: Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, Life Insurance

The other day I was thinking about how I spend so much time preparing myself financially for disastrous situations that I’ve completely neglected preparing myself in other ways for a disastrous situation.

While your financial life is a huge part of a responsible adult’s life, it pales in comparison to basic safety. Here are just a few of the things I’ve been thinking about over the last few days:

Situations I’m Completely Unprepared For:

A Fire in My Apartment

house fire

photo credit: Ada Be

Let me give you a layout of my living situation. I live on the fourth floor of my apartment building. I have one door that exits to a hallway, another door that exits to my deck, and a window in my bedroom. If there were a fire in the hallway or in my apartment blocking access to the hallway door, I would basically be screwed.

While I do have fire alarms and a sprinkler system in my apartment, I don’t have a fire extinguisher. I also don’t have an escape ladder. My current (non-existent) plan to address a fire is to a.) hope the sprinklers put the fire out or b.) jump from four stories high onto a concrete parking lot and hope to survive.

Obviously my current strategy is terrible. I will be buying a Fire Extinguisher and an Escape Ladder soon.

Tom Cruise Movie Situations

I don’t want to sound like an end of the world prepper, but I’ve started thinking about how completely dependent I am on a fully functioning society. If something crazy happened (terrible flu/bacteria/virus pandemic, World War III, economic collapse of America, etc.) where I’m trapped inside my apartment because it’s too dangerous to leave, I have enough supplies to last me about… a week if I’m lucky.

I have no bottled water or dry goods saved up for emergencies. I usually have less than one week of food in my fridge and cabinets (of which the stuff in the fridge would go bad in a few hours in the event of a power outage). If the water goes out I’m completely screwed.

I’ll never be an end of the world prepper: if all hell breaks loose and it never goes back to “normal” then I’m most likely screwed. However, I need to at least prepare myself with enough basic necessities to allow myself to hide in my apartment for a few weeks and wait for the cure to whatever disease is killing everyone. Dry food and bottled water is also very useful for tornado/earthquake situations where you might be trapped in your house.

And worst case scenario, I eat and drink the stuff before it expires.

Financial Soundness Doesn’t Matter if You’re Dead

I’m going to keep being a responsible financial adult, but it’s time I started being a responsible adult when it comes to disaster preparedness. I’ll spend the $100-$200 it will cost for fire escape equipment and a small amount off food and water, and hopefully I’ll never have to use any of it!

Readers: Are you prepared to make it through a fire or some terrible disaster?