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Emergency Preparedness: Ready, Set, Go!

Many emergencies strike without warning. Are you prepared for what life might throw your way? September is National Preparedness Month, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on your emergency planning. Coming up with a plan of action for all the potential scenarios can be overwhelming, but fear not, we’ve broken down the major areas into three sections to help you hit the ground running.


How many of us have burned 20 minutes looking for car keys? Something we use every single day can completely escape us when we’re rushed. In an emergency, you don’t have 20 minutes to spend rifling through drawers, looking for that one last thing.

Organize your important documents. 
Locate all your account logins for monthly bills and other key documents, like insurance policies, mortgage or rental agreements, and financial investments. Find a secure location or digital storage service to house your paper documents. Consider a fireproof and waterproof lockbox inside the home or even a safety deposit box at the bank.

Look for ways to save.
Review your finance agreements and investments. See if there are better ways to allocate funds or opportunities that would be financially beneficial to you. Shop around to see if you can get better rates on insurance or save by refinancing long-term loans, like your mortgage.

Complete routine maintenance.
Make time to take a quick walk around your house and remove any fire hazards by clearing away dead brush. Check the batteries on smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and schedule routine maintenance for major appliances. Keep car care top of mind, too. A car maintenance schedule can help you keep your vehicle running smoothly.


While you hope to never need them, it’s great to be prepared. Set yourself up for success by prepping ahead of time.

Download mobile apps.
During an emergency, you may not have the time or connection to download useful apps. Instead, add them to your mobile device now and be prepared down the road.

  • The Red Cross has several mobile apps dedicated to first aid for people and their pets.
  • OnStar® has turn-by-turn directions that can help you find the quickest route. If you're not driving a GM vehicle, download a GPS app to navigate unexpected closures and traffic jams.
  • FEMA mobile app allows you to receive emergency alerts before, during and after disasters.
  • ICE Standard allows you to safely store your information for medical professionals to access in case you’re unable to communicate.

Restock your car.
In addition to your trusted emergency kit in your trunk, throw a bag of wet wipes, a phone charger and a seatbelt cutter/emergency hammer in your console. Keeping a few extra masks and disposable gloves in your vehicle is a good idea, too.

            Need help fitting everything? Check out these trunk organization tips.

Pack a “go bag.”
The idea of a go bag may seem extreme to some people, but it’s very helpful when you need to leave quickly. If you live in an area where a natural disaster could occur, prepping a go bag is just good planning. A basic go bag might include:

  • Clothing for six days for each family member
  • Documentation
  • Toiletries
  • Medication
  • First-aid kit
  • Pet supplies
  • An emergency cash fund (including small bills)


Now that you have the tools you need, it’s time to communicate the plan. Sit down with your loved ones and discuss what to do after a car accident and in other emergency situations. Designate a meet-up place if you’re unable to return home, and have a plan of action for potential natural disasters.

Thinking about all the potential what-ifs can be a little scary, but having a plan can help you tackle those scenarios more easily. If an emergency situation ever arises, you’ll be well-prepared.

Kelly Schaefer Hill
By Kelly Schaefer Hill, GM Financial

GM Financial’s Kelly Schaefer Hill is a seasoned road warrior with a history of long road trips and early morning drives. When she’s not belting out an alternative rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus” to her daughters, she's digging into digital marketing data.


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