Thursday, September 8

Got An Emergency Plan?

Shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.*

As it happens, one of the side effects of last month's kitten-proofing the basement was an upgrade and expansion of our emergency preparedness. I'm curious about the rest of y'all. Got a plan? Anything happen recently to make you think about one?

Ours is pretty much an outgrowth of backpacking. I'm from the "be prepared for anything" not the "shave every ounce" school. Under duress grabbing my smaller pack, which hangs by the back door, would provide shelter, extra clothing, a pretty damned good first aid set up, means of purifying water and cooking, four freeze dried meals and oatmeal, bouillon, and stuff that'd keep two people alive for a week with no deprivation. There's blankets and a couple of gallons of water in each car.

The most likely disaster in this part of the world is a tornado. Surviving a tornado would mean being in the basement, and possibly trapped there. The best news about a tornado is that in the worst case the distruction might be a mile wide, so you're unlikely to remain undiscovered for long. Even so we're set for five days easy: a gallon of water per person per day, more meals, plenty of candles, another backpacking stove, another first aid kit, a toilet seat that fits over a five gallon bucket with disposal bags and enzyme treatment. Battery/hand cranked radio. Hammer, nails, pry bar, multi-bit manual screwdriver. Referee's whistle. Plenty to read down there, too, if you don't mind old magazines.

I've got means to feed the cats, too, for five days in our absence, but I can't imagine how it would come to that. There's two cardboard carriers upstairs and two down for emergencies--it takes two people five minutes to get Stinky into the hard carrier in the best of times, but he'll jump in a box by himself.

Regular maintenance: we don't have food-grade UV-proof storage for water, so we just rotate gallons from the grocery every other time. And prescriptions for vicodin, tylenol 3, and staydal nasal spray for the med kits. My wife usually does that because the doc is suspicious of me.

What isn't included: sleeping bags. If it were the dead of winter I'd try to grab the two 0º mummies, but otherwise ground pads and blankets are a better, space-saving choice.

Proposed upgrade: one of those inflatable beds for the basement.

Recent upgrade spurred by Katrina: more cash. They weren't accepting credit cards or doing any banking because the electronics were out. I never carry any cash, so now there's enough for two bus tickets somewhere and a couple of nights in a hotel.

Although I am thinking that current maps of all the routes to Canada might come in handy.

* Slim Pickens, Dr. Strangelove. The line was changed from "Dallas" after the Kennedy assassination, though why it was Dallas in the first place still puzzles me.


Anonymous said...

I have maybe 2 or 3 days worth of water now and maybe a week's worth of food. A large unopened first aid kit. I need to add more water. It has been 11 years since the last big earthquake and I've gotten a bit lax.

The trouble is, how do I know which part of the house won't be destroyed when the Big One comes?

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Vicodin? You know how to party!

Thanks. I've mastered the basics, except for the crowd part.

Vicodin could be the difference between life and death in the woods, especially if you hike solo. Staydal, now, you could give to someone before you removed his appendix, but probably not before you removed your own.

Anonymous said...

We've got water, mostly. For a couple days. While there are four of us and two cats, rarely are we all home at the same time. To be honest, with four of us crammed in here, there's not much room for anything else. And yeah, which-part-of-the-house-would-survive seems an issue. A first aid kit. Always more food than we need, in the pantry, definitely for the cats, but also for us. Flashlights, because my partner's into that. Painkillers, because of my migraines. Emergency cash.

I suppose I shouldn't say it, but my emergency survival plan is pretty much not to. The most likely disaster in my neck of the woods is either earthquake, which my partner's seismologist father thinks will leave our home largely unscathed, and volcanic eruption by Mount Rainier, which will put us down within minutes.

And honestly, if Rainier ends up looking like St Helens did, I'm not particularly interested in hanging around. You all worship what you want. But there's a river and a rainforest on that mountain that I can't do without.

Call it an end of life directive. I spent the first eighteen years of my life tooth and nail, I'm not planning on going back to it.

I'm a lot more worried about, and prepared for, fires. Zombies and the Apocalypse can take care of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Doghouse, Don't forget some form of id, maybe a copy of your drivers license would do. I heard today that FEMA were not going to give any more debit cards to Katrina survivors here in Texas. (I believe some were questioning how could they ensure the poor were using them wisely. WTF???) So how do the survivors get the money, you ask? Well, survivors have to have a bank account or a mailing address. One woman got a PO Box, but can't get her certified mail without an id, which she lost in the flood. Damn, those Republicans think of everything!