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The Best "Insurance" You Can Have: Preparing For Emergencies

profileJustin Oh

Remember Singaporeans scrambling for groceries at the start of COVID-19?

Or perhaps you’ve seen Russians rushing to withdraw cash in the news as a result of the war?

On top of all the madness that’s going on in the world, investors are seeing a sea of red and the rest of us are already feeling the pinch due to rising costs of living.

Source: Giphy

Of course, I’m not here to be a doomsayer and persuade you to go all “Doomsday Preppers” or buy up doomsday bunkers like the rich can…

But preparing ourselves for future setbacks is crucial in the event of emergencies.

So on top of having an emergency fund to cushion us financially, here’s an “insurance plan” to keep you prepared for emergencies in the unlikely event that sh*t hits the fan.


TL;DR: Preparing For Emergencies

Although our government has taken steps to improve our food security in case of emergencies, it wouldn’t hurt for us to prepare ourselves too.

Even as a self-proclaimed minimalist, I’d still advocate that every household has at least 2 weeks’ worth of food and water at home, on top of a bug out/GO bag for each household member.

If you think I’m crazy, just look back at all those chickens scrambling for groceries (and toilet paper) before Singapore went into circuit breaker.

Source: Giphy

It’s really not that much of a stretch if you think about it and it’s probably one of the cheapest “insurance plans” you can buy.


Level 1: Bug out/GO bag

First up, we have the bug out bag or a GO bag. As the name implies, this is the bag you take when you need to GTFO of your house in the case of an immediate emergency such as a fire or blackout.

These bags can cost you anywhere between $50 to $3,000, depending on how safe you want to be.

Source: Singapore Red Cross

At the bare minimum, the Singapore Red Cross recommends that the following be included in a GO bag:

List of items to be packed in the GO Bag

ItemCost
GO Pack 1
Torchlight$5 - $10
Whistle$1.50
Portable Radio$15 - $30
GO Pack 2
Personal Documents + Stationeries-
GO Pack 3
Personal Items (i.e. clothing + toiletries)-
GO Pack 4
Food/Non-Food (i.e. utensils, water)$10 - $30
First Aid + Medicine Kit$9.50 - $189
Water Bottle$10 - $20
CPR shield + ID tag-
Total cost$51 - $280.50

Prices are taken from First Aid Supplies, Decathlon, Shopee

If you’re a bit more kiasu (Hokkien: fear of losing out), you can also find various bug out bag item lists from the experts at The Prepared.

One of the most important items in a GO bag would be a First Aid Kit which you can get from trusted local sellers such as First Aid Supplies, Watsons, Northrock and more.


Level 2: Stock Two Weeks’ Worth of Food and Water

Now that you have your bug out bag, it’s time to prepare for extended periods of emergencies such as a nationwide lockdown or disasters.

The general recommendation from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US is to keep two weeks’ worth of food and water in case of emergencies.

For this, you can buy off-the-shelf 2-week emergency food supplies (From $300) or stock up on your own.

Source: desertcart

Here are some off-the-shelf recommendations:

As you stock up on food supplies, prioritise ready-to-eat food that does not require refrigeration or cooking. For storage, you can easily store your emergency food supplies in the storeroom or bomb shelter which some Singaporean houses have.

Fun fact: modern HDB flats and condominiums have a bomb shelter that protects you from blast fragments.


Afterthoughts

From here on out, anything more is up to you and how prepared you want to be for an emergency. As the Chinese saying goes “机会是留给准备好的人”, which means that opportunities are left to those who are prepared.

All said and done, the chances of you getting an insurance payout is higher than Singapore facing a doomsday scenario. So if you’ve yet to get yourself insured, check out our ultimate guide to insurance as a start and then come back to this article to prepare yourself better for a rainy day.

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About Justin Oh
Your average Zillennial who is obsessed with anime, games, movies and of course, personal finance. Join me as I break down personal finance into easily digestible and fun bits!
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