Disaster Preparedness Class

Last week the husband and I went to a disaster preparedness class. I found out that we weren't really as prepared as I thought. I have lots of things that are useful in a disaster. I just don't have them organized where you could grab them and go out the door or hunker down in a room to 'shelter in place'.

The class was interesting in more ways than you'd think. My husband and I were perhaps the youngest people attending...we're in our 40s. I'm not sure what that means. Does it mean that the younger crowd doesn't think anything will ever happen? Do they think that the government will take care of them in a disaster? or maybe it's because they've looked all this up on the Internet and have prepared disaster kits. I hope the latter is the case.

Another interesting thing that I learned was don't go to the fire station or hospital if there's a disaster. Well, let me qualify that. If you are having a medical emergency, then you belong at the hospital. If you can walk yourself to the hospital, then you don't belong there and they are likely going to tell you to go home or at the very least to the end of the line. They are going to be very busy taking care of people who are seriously injured and in danger of dying. There was a scene in Jericho where Dale and Skylar are at the hospital after the riot/fight at the mine. Skylar has sprained her ankle and Dale is trying to get some attention for her. When I first viewed that episode I thought she was being ignored because people didn't like how she handled her ownership of the mine. I thought it was about feelings and relationship. In reality, she would probably receive the same treatment even if the doctors and nursing staff didn't know her. A sprained ankle would be very minor when patients are being triaged. So in a disaster think about that scene and whether you really belong at the hospital. You may be wasting your time getting to a hospital. You may end up being more comfortable at home, in the park, or wherever safe shelter can be found. It's not going to be fun sitting around a hospital watching other people get treated in front of you. If you're not suffering from a life threatening ailment, then stay at home. Be prepared to treat your own scrapes and bruises.

I'll repeat that again because it's important to understand. Be prepared to take care of yourself. That really begins with the prepared part of the equation. If you or a member of your family depends on oxygen, do you have extra canisters? Do you want to stake your life or the life of a loved one on the fire department or some other organization being able to reach you with another oxygen canister? I wouldn't.

Medications: Are there medicines that you require to stay alive? Do you have a seven day supply on hand? Yes, seven days at least. Just think back to those news images of the Super dome in New Orleans or the recent earthquake in China. Consider that it may take at least a week before you are in an area with a functioning pharmacy. Don't count on the Red Cross or any other relief efforts to provide you with medication. Even if you do get to an area with a pharmacy, they aren't going to just hand you medications because you say so. Make things easier for everyone by having your bottle with the prescription information on it or a copy of the prescription written by your doctor.

Are we beginning to see the theme here? Being prepared helps the whole system work better.

So husband and I have begun to work on getting all those disaster items that we have in various areas of the house organized. I started by organizing the food stores. I actually started that before attending the preparedness class. With food prices, I don't want to buy food that I may already have on hand. I found that I have seven jars of marshmallow creme fluff...or did the total rise to nine? Anyway, more than enough fluff. The movement of food from the four foot deep pantry shelves to walk-around shelving in the garage netted about twenty boxes of Hamburger helper. Oh well if we get tired of it we can just cook the noodles and use the flavor packets for broth or something.

Turns out that the pantry design creates shelving that is too deep. Things get pushed to the back of the shelves and stays for years. The plan is to put plastic shelves in the garage. They are free standing so we're able to walk around them and shop from our own little store. Since they can be disassembled, they'll move along with us if we decide to go somewhere else. So what about all that pantry space in the house? I've decided to move the deep fryer, steamer, rice cooker, etc into those deep shelves in the pantry. After all it's a lot easier to see that big rice cooker behind the fryer than it is to find the can of beats behind the cans of pineapple and corn. Hopefully, we'll have no more lost food. We'll know how many cans of pasta sauce we have on hand and will buy more only when the supply reaches the restock level.

The other messy place where food gets lost is the bulk foods tub. It didn't start out that way. It started out in plastic bags from the grocery store that collected on the counter top. Then it got cleaned off for a party and parked in a tote (still in their plastic bags from the store). Pretty soon we didn't know whether we had dried cherries, corn meal or farina. So I've gone on a buying spree to acquire square or rectangle storage containers. Round containers seem to leave too much wasted space. The containers must stack. They must be labeled. Now I'm focusing my obessive organization skills on our food supply. Now we can quickly tell how much bottled water we have on hand.

I'm still reminded of the Jericho episode where Jake is talking to Hawkins. "You have a generator and a food supply..." Jake seems to think that makes Hawkins a terrorist. Why? Maybe he's just prepared for the nexted disaster. Sad to think that someone might be labeled a terrorist just for being prepared. Although I'm not as prepared as Hawkins, I don't have a generator. I don't have a concrete room in my basement. Mainly because a basement doesn't really working in my semi-wet geographic location next to the old swimming hole. However, if I ever move to Kansas, I will have a basement. I grew up on the edge of tornado alley. I've seen a few of them on the ground. I've heard them in the air when they didn't touch down and I've driven through the aftermath of tornadoes. For Kansas, I'll have a safe room in the basement or an underground house.

Which brings me to my dream house....good for tornadoes, nuclear attacks, and keeping burglars out. Call me crazy, a recluse, or maybe the woman of your dreams but I want my very own missile silo. I want to win the lottery and convert my missile silo into a luxury home. This website shows one man's dream plan for converting a missile silo into living space and more. It's called "World's End". Just imagine fourteen levels of living space. Swimming pool, theater, and all the storage you could ever want. No danger from tornadoes. Just build a nice earth sheltered garage above and you can laugh at the weather. I'm sure lots of neighbors would start stopping by whenever the weather started getting rough. Well, at least there'd be plenty of room for everyone.

I'm chuckling right now as I write. I'm sitting in a Starbuck's in an upper class neighborhood while I write this. Not exactly the type of place where you hear conversations about disaster preparedness, growing food in tubs or living in missile silos. Of course, I'm drawing more than a few glances in my jeans, hiking boots and waterproof jacket. Of course, if they were designer jeans and the latest in high tech outdoor gear, I'd be acceptable. But here I sit writing away. They'll just have to deal with this decaf drinking hick chick. Oh yes, did I mention I ordered and am drinking black decaf coffee? Not an Americano, not a latte, just plain old decaf coffee. In the Pacific Northwest, that's almost as bad as walking into a Northwest brew pub and ordering a Budweiser. Sacrilege! But hey I got free coffee because they had to brew it. Didn't expect that...that is the free coffee. They always have to brew decaf for me.

This is quite the rambling post but maybe you'll stick with me and learn something or begin to think about things. It doesn't matter if you don't learn from me. If you just start to think about things and go elsewhere to learn more, then I feel like I've accomplished something.

Since watching Jericho, I've found myself reading more. I read about solar power and hydroponics. In searching out these books at my library, I've remembered how much I love libraries. They are magical places for me. With a book and some time, there isn't anything I can't do. My husband has rediscovered the library and now has his own library card. He loves movies and used to buy lots of DVDs. Then there was the day that he bagged up a grocery bag of DVDs that he no longer wanted. Of course, several hundred dollars of DVDs will get you less than fifty when you sell them. So back to the library. You can check out DVDs at the library. Wow! Free DVD rental! In this economy that can be a wonderful thing. So I urge everyone to find their local library, get your library card and spend a few hours discovering what's available.

The well of words has finally run dry for the day.

1 Comment:

  1. canon590 said...
    I have to add one thing, and this is one thing almost every emergency preparedness tip forgets..

    Make sure to have a number of the nearest International Air Ambulance Service in your town, because bad things can still go wrong.

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