Are you ready for a natural disaster?
What about a terrorist attack?
I know…these topics are probably ranked somewhere near Talk To The Kids About Sex on a top ten list of uncomfortable conversations. Ugh.
With a hurricane you at least get to hear people use the term “hunker down.”
Well, I’m the first to confess that for a long time I procrastinated putting together my emergency supply items. Stupid, I know. Especially for someone that had lived through 9/11, the NYC blackout of 2003, and a tornado last year!
Well, the tornado last year woke me up. Figuratively and literally. I was clueless and didn’t even know it was coming while taking a little snooze on the E train to Forest Hills. Imagine emerging from the underground and seeing bent light posts on Queens Boulevard, mammoth oaks uprooted and lying upon smashed cars, store awnings strewn about the street, shattered storefront windows and people walking about in a stupor trying to make sense of it all. What the heck?!! Uh, what if lil’ ol’ me was caught in that?! I pictured myself trying to hold onto the trunk of a tree while being blown away. Reality finally sunk in. Not in a paranoid way, but just in an I-should-heed-the-warnings-now-to-get-ready-or-else-I’m-a-real-idiot sort of way. In the world we live in today it seems these things are happening more and more and they are unpredictable. And the last thing you want to do is leave everything to the last minute, if only to avoid grocery store mayhem. And besides, you may not have any prior warning.
Boo! Have I scared you?! I hope not! But I did want to share a few practical things with you.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED PLANNING FOR DISASTER
The one thing I want to make very clear is, don’t think that you have to get everything all at once. That was my mental roadblock.
Start with what you have and build from there.
It’s better to have at least a start on your supplies rather than procrastinate until you “can get it all together.”
Prepare a Disaster & Emergency Preparation booklet for your family with printouts of information pertinent to your geographic location. My dad put one together with printouts from local government emergency supply lists he found online. He also included information on what to do in case of a terrorist attack, hurricane, or earthquake. My roommate and I sat and read it together while we were waiting for Hurricane Irene to hit.
So, about a year ago I started with buying 3 Gallon BPA-free water jugs from REI. I bought 3 of them. Some lists recommend a gallon a day per person for 3 days. Mayor Bloomberg kept recommending that we have supplies for 5 days. I’m glad I went a little overboard, plus, I wanted to be able to share with someone if I needed to.
If you are expecting a disaster with possible water issues, be sure to fill your bathtub with water the night before. You can also fill pots and pans with water and top them with lids. I filled the freezer with every empty food storage container I could, after I filled them with water. Evidently, if the freezer is full it will stay cold for a longer period of time after the power goes out. Makes sense. And when the ice melts you will have fresh water in your containers! Yay!
Some lists suggest that you have everything in a plastic garbage can or storage container. Others just suggest to-go bags for each member of the family. I think it seems smart to have both, if you can. I made do with an old Patagonia backpacker style backpack.
I made sure my camping equipment was handy too. I figured if a tree fell on the roof and there was water damage I could rig my tarps to prevent further damage. I also put my sleeping bags in heavy duty garbage bags in case we had to evacuate somewhere to sleep or if our beds got ruined somehow. The tent might come in handy too. Extreme? Maybe, but it made me feel a little better! Someday I’ll drag my camp stove out of storage and have that ready too.
Think long term and shelf stable. This is what is in my backpack:
mini cans of tuna with pull tabs
several Dr. Mercola Cocoa Cassava chocolate bars ; )
Belgian Chocolate Chip Organic Food Bars w/ 12 grams of protein
Mary’s Gone Crackers x 2 packages
one box of Rice Check (this is one time BHT as a preservative is not evil.)
one box of Pacific Foods Almond Milk
several paper plates, bowls, napkins, plastic silverware, hot & cold cups
one can of coconut milk
one Sterno Cooking Fuel
aluminum pie pan to rig for cooking over the Sterno
one can opener
heavy duty plastic bags for garbage, etc.
two bottles of water
I threw in an old pair of Reebox with some extra undies and socks to change into.
personal care wipes
feminine hygiene products
roll of toilet paper
supply of contact lenses
I had all of my personal creature comfort toiletries ready to go in the bathroom, but I’d like to double up on them and just keep a stash in my emergency supply bag.
heavy duty plastic sheets from Home Depot
2 rain ponchos
wind up flashlight
wind up flashlight/radio/cell phone charger
pen and paper
dropper bottle full of bleach
a serious knife
plastic bag with passport, medical directive, drivers license, cash
Emergency & Disaster Preparation information booklet
LIST OF THINGS I WANT TO ADD
topographical map of area
flask ; )
first aid kit
batteries (not that I need them, but I bet you could use them for currency!)
first aid book
wind up alarm clock
pliers, wrench, screwdriver
heavy work gloves
camping water filter/ pills
It feels really good now to have a decent start on my emergency supplies. And if you’re all set, then pat yourself on the back!
I sincerely hope none of us ever have to use our emergency supplies, but it is better to be prepared, just in case.
Do you have any good tips or tricks for emergency planning you would like to share? What items do you have in your emergency supplies?
Was anyone affected by Hurricane Irene? If so, I’m sending you a huge hug! Please tell us what’s going on and how you are doing.