Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Disaster Planning (Just in Case)

By now, regular readers of this blog are familiar with my own particular neuroses about the unexpected. I do tend a bit toward the "worst case scenario." Call me superstitious, but I happen to believe in the notion that if you're ready for it, it won't happen. And so, as the weather forecasters in my part of the world go back and forth about the weekend track of Hurricane Earl, I'm turning my attention to our family's disaster plan.

No one is predicting that Hurricane Earl will actually make landfall here in the Metro DC area. But in 2003 Hurriance Isabel just grazed our region... and our power was out for a week. Since 2010 has already been our "Year of Weather Nightmares" (60 inches of snow over the winter in three separate blizzards, a summer of record-breakingly hot temperatures, several lightning storms that closed roads and took down trees, and let's not forget, the EARTHQUAKE with an epicenter of a few hundred yards from our house!) it seems smart to replenish the supply closet, just in case.

In addition to checking the flashlights, buying more batteries and a few jugs of bottled water, this time, too, I decided to double-check myself against the County's emergency preparedness recommendations. It turned out to be a good idea: both girls have changed schools since I last thought about rendez-vous spots in the event something happened and we're in different locations. And though I've taught Lil Bit "911" and her address, it's time to start drilling her on other emergency names and phone numbers. She's going to be 5 in a couple of weeks: she can learn them competently now with a little work on my part. And of course, the County's plan gives a good checklist for a disaster supply kit.

I once had a fully stocked "disaster kit": a bin full of things that would needed in the event of an emergency. In the days after 9/11/01 when everyone was in a panic about security, I put together our own survival supplies in a large storage bin; it held blankets, a first aid kit, extra flashlights and batteries, canned foods, etc. Over the years, however, the bin's has emptied as our perception of the imminence of any threat has diminished. The blankets are on beds and in closets. The flashlights got taken to camp and are now scattered around the house. I realized out was out of one thing or another needed for a recipe and raided the canned goods as a backup (not the intended emergency, I know, but an appreciated alternative!). The first aid kit was opened for extra bandaids inside. It looks almost bare to me right now. Even the candles have been moved and used.

In the event of a real disaster, we wouldn't have tiime to run around the house gathering up these things-- and that's exactly why it's important to set them aside in advance of an actual emergency. It's time to replenish these supplies and seal up my bin again. True, over time they will be used for other purposes and dispersed... but that's the good news. It means we've been lucky and blessed and haven't had any actual emergencies.

Paranoid? Maybe. But one of my favorite saying is that we should pray like God exists and work like He doesn't...and emergency preparedness is just another place where fortune favors the prepared. Even if you and yours aren't in the path of Hurricane Earl (or any other warning, for that matter) it's not a bad idea to check your readiness every so often. As my mother likes to say "better safe, than sorry."

1 comment:

  1. Khadija posted this podcast on her old blog some time ago. This seems right up your alley:

    Anyway, you are prepared, not paranoid. Imagine being out of power for four days during a bad snowstorm, with no food, no way to keep warm, and no lights. With kids. THAT could happen to anyone. Then they'd be kicking themselves for not being more "paranoid".