April 5, 2021

Preparing For the Unexpected: A Step-By-Step List

Preparation is everything. In an emergency like a natural disaster, it’s how we make it through. It’s also how we make it through changes in our lives that we didn’t plan for–even death is something that requires serious organization. In all circumstances, being ready is how we deal with life.

As a senior-care health organization with more than a century of experience, Kline Galland is uniquely positioned to help you prepare for whatever the future has in store–whether it’s an earthquake, a power outage, or even a birth certificate that has gone missing.

So, let’s spend a little time talking about the importance of planning, especially when it comes to preparing for the unexpected in all its iterations.


A safety kit that’s fully stocked and ready is your best insurance policy against putting yourself and your family at risk following an unforeseen event. In an emergency like an earthquake, power and water could be lost for hours, or even days, so making sure the essentials are within reach is truly a basic necessity.

Here are some items that should be in your kit:

  • Water–one gallon per person, per day, to cover several days
  • Food–at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Radio–battery-powered or hand-crank
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle–in case you need to signal for help
  • Dust mask
  • Moist towelettes
  • Garbage bags and plastic towels
  • Wrench, pliers and/or gas shut off wrench–to turn on/off utilities
  • Screwdriver and hammer
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone charger
  • Prescription medication
  • Non-prescription medications–pain relievers, anti-diarrhea, antacids, laxatives
  • Prescription glasses, contact lens solution
  • Pet food and extra water
  • Blankets/sleeping bags
  • Change of clothing
  • Mess kit
  • Cards, board games, activities
  • Water purification pills

As you can see, it’s important to cover all the basics. But it’s equally important that you stock those items that are essential to the particular needs of each member of your family–especially prescriptions, eyeglasses, and if you have pets…extra water and pet food. Make sure to keep your kit in a designated place so it always at the ready with all family members knowing exactly where to find it. And be prepared to rest just a little easier.


Once the physical emergency kit is fully stocked, it’s best to get an online emergency kit ready as well. In this case, if the emergency turns out to be a fire that destroys your home, you’ll have copies of important documents, bank account and insurance information, passwords, etc. resting safely in “the Cloud.”  It’s a simple process:

  1. Create a new file on your computer.
  2. Create a document on your computer and fill it with important information like your passwords, bank accounts, insurance information, etc.
  3. Use your phone or a digital camera to take photographs of essential documents, like your passport, your birth certificate, marriage license, etc. and download to the same file that holds the document with your passwords and bank accounts.
  4. Save this file to the cloud (Google Drive, Apple Cloud, etc.) and you’ll be able to access it at any time or anywhere. So even if you lose your passport while traveling, you’ll have quick access to a copy. Here’s a list of items you should have digital copies of:
    • Bank accounts and passwords, including credit card numbers
    • Insurance information and account numbers–make sure to take photos of your house “as is” so if you ever need to list out what you own for insurance purposes, you’ll have a photo reminder
    • Digital login and passwords
    • Key documents–marriage license, passports, titles, deeds, auto registration, etc.
    • Healthcare information–medical bills, emergency numbers, doctor’s numbers, etc.
    • Medications and prescription information
    • Water and power account information

The human angle

The last emergency is the one we wish we never had to deal with. Death is a simple fact of life. Making sure that a plan is in place and things are in order when the time does come is one of the most important (and loving) things that one can do for their family. Estate planning once entailed having to sit down with teams of lawyers to discuss plans, but today, the process is much less daunting, and much more human. Here are some of the steps to consider and where to find information:

  • Will planner–everything you need to know about creating your own will can be found at www.klinegallandlegacy.org/planyourwill
  • Advance directive or living will–makes clear choices for loved ones on end-of-life care
  • DPOA–Durable Power of Attorney, this allows the appointment of someone you trust to handle matters in case of illness or accident
  • DNR information–this is a medical order from a doctor to not perform CPR if breathing stops
  • Forever letter–a centuries-old Jewish tradition (also called the ethical will), used to share values, traditions, wisdom, love, life.
  • Estate planning guide–answers to all your questions about estate planning can be found at www.klinegallandlegacy.org/willsguide
  • Senior resource line—For any and all questions, you can call Kline Galland’s Senior Care Resource Line at (206) 723-INFO (4636) to speak with a live, experienced senior care specialist that can provide guidance and advice.


If you have questions about Estate Planning, please contact Nate Nusbaum, Chief Development Officer at (206) 456-9702 or via email at NateN@KlineGalland.org. If you have questions about care planning or services available in King County, give us a call on our Senior Care Resource Line at (206) 723-INFO (4636), or visit www.klinegalland.com

Categories: General