Monday, March 14, 2011

Are You Ready for An Emergency? I'm Not.

The awful tragedy in Japan got me thinking. I am in no way prepared for an emergency. What if I had to go without electricity, power, or gas for a few days or a week? What if the stores were all out of goods, or the lines were too long, or the looting so prevalent that I was afraid to leave the house? (By the way…how about there being no looting in Japan? Amazing.  Chicago would not be like that.) What if for some reason I couldn't leave the house?  While I have some food and water in the house, it isn’t much. Usually I drink out of the tap and go to the grocery store once or twice a week. I have a few candles, but not enough. I don’t have a flashlight. Then, what if I had to leave my house quickly because of a fire or for some other reason? Would I even know what to grab? Could I make such a decision? 

Am I insane?  I've thought about doing this over the years, but for some reason I never actually did it.

My plan is to remedy this situation. Watching the Japanese people on the news in the aftermath of the tsunami/earthquake has really, really hit me how important it is to at least make an effort to be prepared for something like this, in the event that it takes time for relief to arrive.  (Obviously everything could be obliterated quickly, which would make the whole thing moot, but still.  There are a lot of people sitting at home in Tokyo with no power.)  So, I’m going to put together a survival kit. Here are some links with great checklists and ideas for things to put in it: from the government, Popular Mechanics, and FEMA.  I'll also stock up my basement with some additional cases of water.  Finally, I’m going to carefully think through the important things I need that are either not replaceable or would be useful in the situation if I lost my house – i.e. my passport, some heirloom jewelry, my dad's class ring and wedding ring, photographs, etc., and put those things in one location, in a small box or bag, so they are easy to grab should I have to run.  

It’s bizarre, because as I get older I think about dying and emergency type things all the time. I’ve been carefully organizing my paperwork (financial info, bank accounts, user ids/passwords, life insurance info, etc.) because it occurred to me that if I dropped dead my family would have no clue where I do my banking, who is in charge of my life insurance, what investments I have, my friends’ phone numbers, etc. I also need to write my will. Why am I thinking about this stuff so much? I’d like to just think I am well prepared.

1 comment:

  1. Th lack of looting and overall calm of the Japanese is blowing my mind. I read somewhere that they basically have faith that their government will do the right thing so, if they can only buy 2 bottles of water, then so be it.

    So yeah, my mom and I were talking about getting together an emergency kit too... important documents and general survival stuff in a plastic bin in the hall closet - something to grab and put in the car.

    My family and I endured Hurricane Isabel years ago. We didn't have power or clean water for 1-2 weeks. With my dad being a contractor, he has generators but we had to go across town to get gas for it. We ran it during the day w/ the fridge, mom's TV and the coffee pot/toaster plugged in. At night, he had to put it in the basement so it wouldn't get stolen. We grilled everything and I went 30 minutes away to a Wal-Mart to get a ton of baby wipes and jugs of water. The worst thing was laundry piling up.

    We were the only house on the block with a generator. People were knocking at our door with coffee mug in hand at 6am. I yelled at them to sleep in and slammed the door in a few people's faces. We let people charge their phones and helped as much as we could but come the hell on! Some lady we didn't even know sat in my mom's room watching football and never spoke to her for an hour. I kicked her out when I came back home. People in the US are insane.

    I would much rather be prepared and independent that be a pain in the ass to other people.