Being Prepared For The Worst - Part II - First steps
C & I made some good progress in getting prepared for the worst.
First Aid Classes
We signed up for some first aid classes at the Red Cross in San Francisco. They are on Feb 2nd (4 hr class for $50). The class teaches: "how to recognize and care for victims of injury or sudden illness plus how to treat cuts, bruises, bone and muscle injuries, shock, bleeding and other emergencies." I think learning some first aid is a lot better than squealing nervously in the face of an injury.
It is really amazing but it has been a week since the Haiti earthquake and news is still rampant about people who don't have water and food. I know the environment in Haiti (existing poor country, bad infrastructure, and all sorts of awfulness) make getting supplies to people who need it much harder.
But don't forget that when Katrina hit New Orleans, thousands of people were also stranded for days without water and food.
I hate sounding like a nutso-alarmist, but if San Francisco was hit with a huge quake, being on your own for multiple days is a real possibility. Think of this stat (via Wikipedia):
As of January 1, 2009 the California Department of Finance estimated the population at 845,559. With over 17,000 people per square mile, San Francisco is the second-most densely populated major American city.Think about that. 17,000 people in a square mile. That doesn't even include people who are commuting into the city on a daily basis and the fact that we live downtown (SOMA) where the density is likely higher.
17,000 people in a square mile. In a major earthquake, water, power and electricity are likely out. Many buildings are in shambles. The roads are a mess. How many emergency personnel and how much time do you think it will take to get aid and supplies to 17,000 in a square mile. I shudder thinking about it.
I know..I sound like a nut-case. But after today, I'm a nut-case that will be a bit more prepared. We bought the following on Amazon:
I've always wanted a Leatherman. This little exercise was a good excuse to get one. A Leatherman makes a swiss army knife look like a fancy-Q-tip.
I absolutely love this. It's a hand crank & solar powered radio/flashlight/phone charger. Needing a flashlight is a no brainer. But I previously never thought of the importance of needing a radio. In the age of MP3 players and streaming music, I haven't owned a radio in years (let alone a radio that would work without needing to be plugged in).
First-aid kit. No explanation needed here. There are a lot of different options when it comes to First-aid kits so I settled on something compact and not too extravagant.
Water disinfectant. This little bottle, for only $13 bucks, will amazingly purify 500 gallons of water. God damn I'm sure they could use this in Haiti.
A few survival lists I read said make sure to have some of these emergency blankets. They are cheap, waterproof and windproof. You'll want to have these around in case you need to spend time outdoors in an emergency. I was also considering some emergency light weight sleeping bags.
Waterproof matches. Also a no brainer to have in the house/emergency kit.
This is just the start of our emergency kit. You can actually buy some pre-packaged kits (Quakehold! 70280 Grab-n-Go Emergency Kit, 2-Person 3-Day Back Pack,) but it was a good learning experience building up a kit myself.
Check out the Red Cross site for more tips on what should be in your kit.
Other things we still need to add to our kit:
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Pictures of us
- Some cash
Some of you may think this is a bit extreme. I probably would have thought the same thing before I read Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life. But just watch any news footage about Haiti, videos about Katrina or the South East Asia Tsunami in 2004 and you will sadly realize needing this shit is a real possibility.
Please donate to Haiti relief if you can.