I recently received an e-mail from a local utility company informing me that September is Emergency Preparedness Month.
I got it on October 1st. I guess they just weren’t prepared.
Still, it’s an appropriate follow up to Fire Prevention Week, and a reminder would be good for us any time of the year, not just when I’m working on deadline. I mean, the Feds shut down, so it’s not like they’re going to show up if somebody drops Mentos into the local Coke bottling plant and your town is overwhelmed by a fizz flood.
Which I believe is an upcoming SyFy Channel original movie.
The thing is, most of the things you should do to prepare for a disaster are good for any disaster, so it’s not like you have to specialize. Your emergency kit is going to have much of the same stuff whether you’re cut off by a blizzard, flood, tornado, or all at the same time, which in Indiana isn’t impossible. The other day vacuum cleaner salesmen rampaged through Albion, but I was prepared to hide out for days in my basement. If Churubusco was attacked by a herd of angry turtles …
Wait, let me check something ....
Huh. If Churubusco was attacked by a turn of angry turtles (who knew?), or if Huntertown was attacked by a mob of …um … hunters, you’re still going to need to eat, drink, stay warm, and listen for alerts from the Emergency Broadcast system:
“The Center for Disease Control reminds you to keep fingers and toes away from angry reptiles … and wear orange.”
So create a disaster plan, build an emergency kit, learn first aid and CPR, and for crying out loud, tell no one that you stockpiled a year’s supply of chocolate. People have killed for less.
Here are some of the things you should have in your emergency kit:
One gallon of water for every person, per day. Remember, if the power goes out for an extended period of time, the water supply could be affected. Or the water supply could be contaminated by zombies, or angry turtles, or angry turtle zombies. You should keep a two week supply, which in my house would mean 28 gallons if you include the dog. I have my water in jugs labeled “fuel”, and fuel in jugs labeled “water”. Somebody steals from me, they’ll get a nasty surprise.
A two week supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food—you might not have gas or electricity. Got cans? Great. Got an electric can opener?
I have two fifty pound bags of dog food. Hey, it’s good stuff, very nutritious. Makes gravy with water.
A flashlight and battery powered radio. And here’s a crazy idea—batteries. They make hand cranked versions of both, but I figure I’ll be cranky enough after two weeks without The Big Bang Theory.
Yeah, no TV. Panicked, yet? Get some books.
A first aid kit. It should contain stuff for first aid.
A week’s worth of your favorite medications. If you get stuck with kids in a home without TV, internet, or video games, you’ll need to be medicated.
Personal hygiene items. Let your imagination do the walking.
Cell phones and chargers, and since we covered the electricity thing, keep those cell phones charged. They usually work even when the electricity goes out, so at least you’ll have Candy Crush.
Emergency contact information and personal documents. That way you can call people with those cell phones to let them know you hit level 80.
Extra cash. I don’t know, find some. I usually keep at least two dollars in my couch cushions.
An emergency blanket. Yes, you should have blankets around the house, but have one packed in your kit in case you have to run for it. On a related note, you might want to keep maps of the area in case you’re one of those people who gets into a rut, only takes one way out of town, and finds that one way blocked by something truly terrifying, like road construction or mimes.
A multi-purpose tool. You’d be surprised how handy those can be. I’d throw in a roll of duct tape, too, since that stuff is handy for almost everything and can also be used to quiet down the kids after the fifth or sixth day.
Personally, I’ve also got a huge supply of candles and—on a not unrelated note—a fire extinguisher. Candles have some advantages, but rarely do homes get set on fire by flashlights.
While you may need a few more items to drive off zombies, vampires, and politicians (but I repeat myself), the basic stuff really is good for just about any disaster or emergency. Here in Indiana it’s not unheard of to have blizzard and tornado warnings in the same month, and don’t get me started on the Great SnowFire Tornado during the Drought of ’88. If you want to get serious about it (and you should) try going to a website with fewer jokes, but a lot more information:
And be prepared. ‘Cause I’m not letting anybody near my stockpile of chocolate.