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Calgary Flood: Are you prepared for an emergency?


Nothing says “Welcome to Calgary!” like a mandatory emergency evacuation of the entire city due to flooding.

The Flood

I was supposed to run 9 miles for my half marathon training the Sunday after all the flooding but thankfully I decided to check it off my list Thursday evening since I got off work early and the weather was perfect for a long run. I got a text from my boss at Starbucks at 1am Friday morning saying “Our building is on lockdown. Don’t come to work. Be safe.” Instead of being concerned, I joyfully went back to bed as if I was reliving a high school snow day.

Dave left for work and called me within an hour of being there saying he was on his way back to get me. After two hours and multiple tries to get around every closed bridge, we arrived at a home on the South side of the city and stayed with a couple from our church in Calgary. Our apartment never lost power and didn’t get touched by water (we’re also on the 9th floor so it would have taken a LOT to affect us anyway) but we stayed with this family and then Dave’s coworker’s until Tuesday night when we returned home. We got by without a scratch, but there were a lot of people around the city who took quite a hit from the flood.

The water is usually 10 feet below the sidewalk!!

Emergency Preparedness

If your city had a natural disaster, do you have the savings to prevent you from starting with nothing? We are thankful that our apartment in Calgary is fully furnished and I was able to pack everything we brought here in a duffle bag. However, that wasn’t the case for many who are still not allowed in their homes due to excessive flood damage. During our engagement, Dave and I agreed that we wanted to enter into marriage with financial wisdom and direction. We accomplished so many financial goals in 2012 and one we are especially thankful for is our 6-month emergency fund. We don’t have a lot of stuff and were actually able to fit everything we own into one bedroom of our new condo so friends could rent out the rest of our place for the 7 months we are in Calgary. For us, covering 6-months of necessary expenses isn’t that much at this point in our lives. Do you know how much would it be for you?

Get started

One of the best ways we’ve been able to track our savings and keep them in a place where they can easily be accessed in case of an emergency is with a Direct Orange Savings Account through ING. I previously wrote about our multiple ING accounts here at Life and My Finances. I don’t get any form of compensation for promoting ING, I simpy think it’s wise to keep your savings in a place where it’s ‘out of site, out of mind’ but you are able to access it right away when needed.

If you don’t already have a monthly/quarterly budget set up, I recommend making a list of all the expenses you have and then putting them into two categories: “necessary” and “unecessary.” Multiply the total necessary expenses by 6 months (more or less depending what you feel comfortable having in savings) and that’s the amount you should have in your fund. NOTE: Cable, internet, gym membership, manicures… these do NOT fall under the “necessary” category. If you lost your job and are living off the emergency fund, I am confident you will survive without any of those luxuries until the new job you find gets you back on track financially.

We see natural disasters and unfortunate events all the time on the news but never expect it to happen to us. I can think of a list of things I’d rather do with the money sitting in our 911 fund, but I rest easy knowing that we have an emergency fund for that possible day we never expect to happen.

Do you have an emergency fund established? What factors did you consider to decide how much you needed to save?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I think the Internet would actually be essential for a job hunt in the future.

  2. Calgary was a bit of an eye opener for me. I think the circumstances that happened there would definitely overstrain my emergency fund if my house got hit. Sure, insurance does pay for things, but the money doesn’t always appear immediately.

    • I just heard a lot of families who were displaced from their homes and unable to go back at all got $10k per adult which is NOTHING when you think about the cost if a house here. I don’t think insurance covers much for flooding either. A lot of people are beyond their emergency fund :/

  3. Now, we’re on a tight budget, but are getting by and enjoying life. We keep it frugal, scoring awesome deals where we can, keep our food budget low , and don’t have many luxuries outside of our home. Even with all of that, if I ever lost my job, things would come to a screeching halt, and suddenly we’d have a HUGE emergency on our hands. $1,000 would not last long, and we’d have to stop paying our mortgage, among other things, and would end up in a tough place VERY QUICKLY! I like to have a MINIMUM 3 month’s saved up, and that $6,100 doesn’t even cover it, so I would say that our emergency fund is SMALL for someone in my situation.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Newton. Have you considered upping your savings? It’s hard to predict what kind of emergency may be in our future, so you never know how much will be enough. You’ll at least be more at ease for smaller speed bumps like unforeseen car troubles.

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