“Be prepared” is the time-honored motto of the Boy Scouts but, unfortunately, it’s a bit of a cliche. In today’s jaded society it’s easy to be skeptical of the need to be prepared. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks a public campaign promoted emergency preparedness; every family was encouraged to have enough non-perishable food and water (and duct tape and plastic sheeting) on hand to last through a multi-day emergency situation.
Did you do it?
If you’re like most Americans you purchased a few extra cans of tuna and a spare flashlight, but that was the extent of your emergency preparedness. There was a time when the Rational Living household had a two week stash of food and supplies kept in a watertight container in the basement. Around the first of the year I would rotate out supplies, restock flashlight batteries, sizes of diapers, etc. so that we were prepared for whatever misfortune came our way.
Living in Kansas, the most likely misfortune to hit us would be a winter storm or, that classic Kansas icon, a tornado. We have a weather radio and on the nights were it appeared a trip down to the basement would be necessary we lined up shoes, blankets, and such to grab if a tornado warning was issued.
That was then, this was now.
Now, our emergency supplies are sorely neglected. This became painfully obvious last week when, after hardly a tornado warning for our city in several years, the weather radio went off at 11:00pm with a sudden and unexpected tornado warning! Granted, it was raining, but we weren't even under a tornado watch.
TMOTH and I jumped up out of bed, woke up the girls and corralled all (including the pets) into the basement. There were no shoes, no blankets. There was only one flashlight with batteries; all the others were either missing batteries, had dead batteries, or were buried deep in the camping supplies. The hand-crank radio was lost somewhere in the old emergency supply box where (goodness gracious) I found some diapers.
Our girls our 7.5 yrs and 9.5 yrs old (yes, I have to put the half in there or they will disown me). The diapers served as a stark reminder that we have not been on the up-and-up when it has come to maintaining our emergency preparedness supplies.
Unfortunately, it CAN be too late to be prepared, and there's lots of reasons to be prepared that are statistically more likely than a red alert level on the Homeland Security Advisory System.
Flooding, winter storm, tornado, fire, contamination of public water supplies, pandemic, hazardous materials spill, and sudden unemployment are just a few.So what do we need to do? Well, there’s various levels of preparedness, and different locations to consider. Ideally, we should have a grab-and-go emergency bag for situations that require short-term relocation, a stockpile of food and supplies for an emergency of longer duration (at least two weeks or so), and a seasonally-appropriate emergency kit in each automobile.
We've got a long way to go.I've asked TMOTH to chair this particular task, so he'll get to spend the next few weeks perusing the various websites and blogs that talk about general preparedness, good things to know for when SHTF (the Sh*t Hits the Fan) happens and ponderings about TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It). I have no doubt he will enjoy this task.
In the meantime, I'm adding a few no-battery flashlights to this week's shopping list, and am gonna make sure that the hand-crank radio is out and accessible.Are you prepared, dear reader?