Be Prepared

News of the devastating earthquake in Italy prompted Consumer Reports to remind readers about the importance of having and safeguarding certain financial documents. It put together a helpful list showing where to keep various documents.

A comprehensive, easily accessible list of emergency phone numbers should be part of every household’s emergency preparedness plan as well. I learned that the hard way on a recent evening when we noticed that our kitchen faucet wasn’t producing much in the way of hot water. A quick visit to the basement showed water spraying out of the top of our three-year-old water heater (a far cry from a disaster such as an earthquake, I realize). It took me way too long to locate an after-hours number for a nearby plumber. The good news is that once I reached someone, he calmly diagnosed the problem over the phone, was honest enough to tell me that the problem could wait until morning to fix (saving on the cost of a Sunday night visit), and walked me through a short-term solution. Now I have a list of emergency numbers stuck to our refrigerator and programmed into my cell phone. Do you have a list of emergency phone numbers handy?

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