Sunday, October 15, 2006

An Emergency Plan

Do you have an emergency plan for your family? I just turned the TV on and saw people in long lines in Hawaii trying to get into a grocery store. Everyone has their own circumstances and many will say they don't have the money or the space to store food/water for an emergency but living in these days, I would highly recommend that everyone have an emergency plan for your family, as well as a stash of food and water.

In KY where we live, where that little white circle is, we're in the "most risk" category for earthquakes. We have floods, we have snow. Others of you live where there are hurricanes and other natural disasters. We all live with the threat of disaster from terrorists too.

Although we can't plan for every possible threat and have every single thing we might need, we can make an effort to be prepared. When disaster strikes, don't make things worse by being unprepared and being one of those standing in line desperately trying to get necessities. Plan for yourself and your family. Don't count on or expect the government to be there for you. I'm not saying they should or shouldn't be there when we need them but it's time for all of us to accept responsibility for our own well being . . at least as much as we can.

Some of the things we do to try to stay prepared are:

  • Keep gas in your car. We never let our vehicles get below half full. Most of the time, I keep mine really close to full.
  • Keep non-perishable foods. We keep canned goods, dried fruit, peanut butter, crackers, etc.
  • If you have a gas grill, keep an extra bottle of gas.
  • Medicines. I keep a drawer full of Tylenol, Band-Aids, burn cream, antibiotic cream, anti-diarrhea meds, etc. As we need to replenish something in our medicine cabinet, I get it from the emergency drawer and then replace it in the drawer with a fresh package of whatever we used.
  • Keep things to do. What would you do or what would your kids do if you faced days with no electricity?
  • Toiletries. I would NOT want to run out of toilet paper so I keep plenty of that on hand. Yes, it takes water to flush the toilet and in dire circumstances, we may not have water. As long as we're alive, the body continues to function and wherever I'm taking care of that function, I want toilet paper! I won't even tell you how many rolls of toilet paper we keep but I don't think we'll run out! Deoderant, soap, toothpaste -- keep extras on hand.
There are so many things . . these are just a few. It's so hard to imagine even a few days without electricity. When Hurricane Rita hit my family last year, I was so surprised at some of the stories I heard. My niece,who has three little girls, was suffering big time because there were no fast food restaurants open. When they finally were able to get back home, I asked her how things were. She said "Aunt Judy, we can't even buy fried chicken!"

Mom told me it took forever for the grocery stores to open and then when they did, it took ages to get milk and bread. I think the stores in Lake Charles, for the most part, didn't have milk and bread for weeks. I told mom to make bread! They had electricity back on. I'm sure they had yeast and flour. HUH? She didn't know how to make bread.

A couple of years ago, we received about 20 inches of snow in one day. The snow plow never did come through our neighborhood and it was at least five days before we could get out. I think it was seven days before I ventured out but the braver souls were out and about after about five days. The first few days, the police were asking people not to be on the streets unless it was an emergency.

I think we're ok for the average emergency. If we lost electricity and/or water for an extended period, it would be really difficult though.

If you don't have a plan for your family, how about spending some time this week to come up with a plan?

Judy L.


QuiltingFitzy said...

We are a red zone couple. We have at least a case of water on hand at all times, a hot tub to use to flush the commode with if need be. Our camping gear is ready at all times which would provide a makeshift home if our's was not safe. Luckily inclement weather wouldn't be an issue, it doesn't get very cold (and we have a camping propane spaceheater as well). We have skads of candles, flashlights, lanterns etc.

I guess I do need to shore up the canned goods, we buy rice by the 10# bags, dh makes bread weekly and he just made a solar oven to bake in. Our freezer is always stuffed to the gills and we're a 2-propane tank buyer for the grill.

Thank you for the reminder, it doesn't hurt to be prepared...and we all KNOW we should be!

Vicky said...

Thanks for the reminder, Judy. I need to get water put away here in this red-zone area. I remember not having electricity for eight days after Hurricane Andrew. The stuff in the freezer stayed frozen for about three-four days, and then I fired up the grill and cooked enough meat for a couple of days. The rest had to be thrown out because I didn't have any way to refrigerate it. (I also need to get an old fashioned drip coffee pot!)

If you have time, fill up the bathtubs with water. You can use that to flush toilets and for cleaning. Growing up in South Louisiana, I've learned to deal with hurricanes - with plenty of time to prepare because you know they're coming. These earthquakes out here, though, are another story. I need to heed your advice and get prepared now!!

Mary said...

I think it is hard to be prepared for any emergency although it sounds like you are! When we lived in Florida, we were always prepared for hurricane season. Here in the Atlanta area - I don't really prepare for anything but once we move to Minneapolis I've already told Keith we'll have to prepare for snow/winter weather emergencies.

I think in general it's easier to prepare for a season than to always be prepared for the unexpected but I agree with you - too many people don't prepare for anything and then rage against the government for not bailing them out soon enough.

Libby said...

We live in California -- a large red zone. In addition to supplies in the home, we have emergency kits in our cars, too. Comfortable shoes, water, non-perishable foods, mylar blankets, water-proof ponchos, water-proof matches, flash light, first aid kit, whistle. Also it does not hurt to keep some cash on hand. No electricity means no atms, debit or credit cards.

Also don't forget your beloved pets - they need supplies, too. Make sure you have food and water for them as well.

Carol said...

Great article Judy! As many hurricanes as we've been through in the past couple of years (this year has been wonderful) people here still wait until the last moment. When they say there is a hurricane headed our way the lines at the gas stations go on forever...and they get so angry that they have to wait. I always keep lots of gas in my car...I want to be able to go if I need to. Food, water, meds...I always for the dogs I always have (make sure you have a plan for them...but I'm going to stock up on toilet paper...didn't think about that one...where is my brain. Thanks for sharing!

Cindy B said...

We had an ice storm a few years ago and had no power for over 2 weeks. I was very surprised at how many of my neighbors didn't have enough food for a meal on the second day and the roads were too slippery to go to the nearest store which was closed anyway. (You would think a family with a baby would have sense enough to have a few weeks worth of formula and Pampers in the house). This was after the weather forcasters predicted a the bad storm and urged folks to prepare. Very few listened.

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

I was IN San Francisco for the big earthquake and to this day I carry a florescent light in my bag - honest! It is in my suitcase right now! Flashlight in the car. My Mom always had questionable cars so we never left home without our winter jackets, boots, snow shovel and some snacks in the trunk - I am still like that - can't even run to the corner store without my jacket... just in case! And of course - canned goods just in case... My DH rolls his eyes, but I just can't help it. Just this summer the fire department had to come over to shut off my sister's alarms and they were so nice - brought the kids over to a "safe" meeting place and explained that every family needs a safe meeting place outside the house - and away from where many BIG and NOISY firetrucks would park on the curb. It was a good lesson in a non-emergency situation.



Beth said...

We live in SoCal, right smack dab in the middle of the red zone. I'm embarrassed to say that I have been through several major earthquakes in my life having lived here all my life, but I still haven't taken the time to set up an emergency supply of anything. My husband and I have talked about it several times, but we never get around to it. I just hope the next big one we get, I'm not at work. I work in downtown LA on the 32 floor of this building. We've had small ones while I've been at work, the building sways a lot, sort of makes you seasick and dizzy, but no big ones, knock wood.

Stephanie said...

To add to the list of things you might need, include matches. Most stoves are electric start, even if you have gas. During winter, keep an emergency kit in the backseat of your car (not the trunk!). Include at least one blanket. When driving in winter, turn the heat down and keep your coats on. Your survival may depend on it if you are in a car crash.

I lived in a tiny apartment with 3 other people for a year. We always had at least 2 weeks of food. Store canned goods under beds if you have to.

Anonymous said...

Power outages are common in New England, especially during winter storms. Ultimately, there is a big RUSH of babies nine months after these outages. What do you THINK they do when the power is out?


Shelina said...

Judy, We don't get a lot of earthquakes, but we have had several watermain breaks. We keep several gallons of water for this kind of emergency. This way we can flush the toilet even when the water isn't working.