Thursday, January 14, 2010

Being Prepared For The Worst - Part I

We have all seen the awful things going on in Haiti right now. Please donate if you can (I actually think it's better to donate via websites such as vs. the texting method because the money will get to the organizations faster via the websites).

All of this coupled with the recent slew of small quakes we have had in the bay area recently makes you wonder how prepared you are for a disaster.

I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, C and I are probably at about a 3 or 4 in terms of being prepared. I think the one thing we have going for us is enough water and non-perishable food in our house to last at least 5 days. We stockpile spam. It's a weakness.

But otherwise, I think we would be in rough shape.

I'm going to add one more New Year's resolution to my list (maybe booting off learning Chinese..because it hasn't been fun at all): being prepared for a disaster.

This is oddly something that C and I have been talking about doing for the last 6 months. We both read the book Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life, and believe me, when you read it you'll feel the urge to get prepared for a disaster as well.

It is a really fantastic book and it will open your eyes into how potentially helpless you will be in an emergency (i.e. a huge quake).

Here are a few depressing but thought provoking questions to think about (most are raised in the book). If there was a big quake in your city, and assuming you were lucky enough to have your apartment in tact, but the rest of the city is in shambles with likely no help to get to you within 48-72 hours would you know:
  • What to do if you or your partner had a severe cut or broken bone in the quake? If you did know what to do, do you have supplies in your house?
  • Do you have enough water for 3 days? I read that a person needs a gallon of water per day (I kind of question that..but it's a good benchmark to use when stocking up)
  • What do you do with all your shit and piss if all the plumbing is out?
  • How long after electricity goes out is the melted frozen food in the freezer going to be good for?
  • Do you have even the basics of flashlights, candles and matches/lighters in your house?
  • Do you have a plan in place to contact each other in case you are separated and phones are out?
Scary shit isn't it? I'm not an "End-Of-World Alarmist", but I think not being able to answer yes to the above and MANY more similar questions is a disservice to yourself and family. I can't answer yes and that is sad.

So my NEW resolution is to be prepared for the worst.

What do I want to accomplish in the next few weeks?
  • First Aid classes - I took some first aid in high school but there is a reason they make you get re-certified every year. You don't remember that stuff if you aren't doing it on a regular basis. You can get first aid certification at your local Red Cross (Bay Area folks - The Bay Area Red Cross has different classes for CPR ($60 for 4.5 hrs) and general first aid ($50 for 4 hrs)).
  • Emergency supplies - I'm not even sure what else we need to be prepared. Again, the Red Cross site has lots of good tips that we'll be going through. We'll probably be making a Target/Costco trip to stock up this weekend.
I'll be updating this blog as we make progress towards not being helpless in the face of an emergency. Hopefully it will inspire some of you as well.

Be safe. Donate if you can. Hug your family and friends extra tight tonight.

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At 8:26 AM, January 15, 2010, Anonymous C said...

I don't think the world will be ending tomorrow but it can't hurt for us to be prepared, right? For water, this seems a bit useful (saw this introduced by Michael Pritchard In our world of this-could-never-happen-to-us, let's get prepared and learn to save a life. Kudos for a great post :)

At 9:54 AM, January 15, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the 1 gallon of water per day refers to all needs, right? drinking, some form of bathing, toilet, sanitation etc. you gotta have something to flush the toilets with...


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