I’m convinced that there’s lots going on out there in the world that’s being kept from me and you because...who knows why? Recent events such as the Gulf oil spill and Russian spies in our midst only bolster my conviction that there are many hidden conspiracies.
And while I’m not yet making myself an aluminum foil deflector beanie (though I have checked out the online instructions just), I’ve decided that some basic emergency preparedness for my family might calm my nerves.
Particularly after I spent an afternoon reading about potential ignitable methane gas bubbles and tsunamis in the Gulf resulting from BP’s greed. Enviro-spouse says there’s no juice in that cup. Our family’s more likely to die on the highway than in a fiery apocalypse precipitated by good old American capitalism. Even so...
In order to stave off the call of the aluminum foil, E-spouse suggested that we take a day to clean out the basement and set up an emergency preparedness center. Really, he just wants to get crap out of the basement and sees this as a way to motivate me. I think it’s a damn great idea — at least the emergency center part.
Already I have jugs of fresh water squirreled away down there. Remember when the remnants of Hurricanes Frances and Ivan knocked out the City of Asheville’s water supply for three days in 2004? Yup, I was one of those people in line at the Red Cross begging for water with my 3 and 6-year-olds in tow (E-spouse managed to be out of town the entire time — which I’m still struggling not to be bitter about).
So what do we need to prepare for a disaster? I spent another afternoon on (ironically) the U.S. Government’s Web site, Ready America: www.ready.gov.
I’ve decided this. We’ll organize two areas in our basement. One will be the “We need to survive at home for several days with no access to outside food, water or electricity” preparedness center. At one end of this area will be the “Load up the Mommy van and get the hell out of Dodge” pile. The second center will include the “Holy hell, the zombies are coming!” necessities.
According to the government, here’s what we’d need for the basic emergency kit (Center One): three-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of water per person per day, a can-opener, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio, extra batteries, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a whistle, dust masks, plastic sheeting, duct tape, moist towelettes (for personal, ummmm, sanitation), garbage bags, maps, and a cell phone, preferably with a solar charger.
That’s also the stuff we should throw in the back of the Mommy van when we attempt to outrun the poisonous and improbable cloud of methane gas as it explodes toward us from the Gulf.
The “Holy hell, the zombies are coming” area (Center Two) contains guns and cyanide pills.
I’m joking. I don’t believe in having either of those items in households where there are kids.
Other items that could be important to have in your emergency kit, depending on the people you’re trying to keep alive, include stuff you really can’t live without, such as: eyeglasses, prescription drugs, diapers if you have a baby, and pet food if you want to keep Fido fed.
Also good to have on hand are extra clothes, blankets, cash, copies of important documents, matches, and chlorine bleach or iodine to disinfect people and water.
Finally, here’s stuff not on the gov list that I would need in case of emergency: lots of dark chocolate (which, if kept cool, will last forever — it was a primary food source on long sea journeys in the 19th century — seriously), a few great books (though this list may take another few months for me to come up with), sunglasses and sunscreen (what can I say? I’m blue-eyed and white as the inside of an egg), and several good knives (both for protection and death, if necessary, to a semi-domesticated wild turkey or two living in my hood).
Hopefully, having an emergency preparedness center in our basement will ward off my cravings for that aluminum foil deflector cap for a few more years. Though if it comes to that, I think I’d rather not survive the apocalypse.