Monday, June 15, 2009

The Big One

A few months back, my friend Stephanie forwarded an email to me with an alert from someone’s friend of someone’s friend at Homeland Security forwarded from someone at the U.S. Geological Survey. It explained that due to an alarming amount of recent seismic activity, a large earthquake might be in the immediate offing for we in the So Cal area. It went on to mention that, earthquake predictions are unreliable but to use this time as the motivation to check your preparedness and be ready; if The Big One didn’t happen in the next 3 days, it was still going to happen sometime.

We compared notes on our shocking lack of preparedness. Stephanie mentioned that after a quick mental review of the supplies in the house for her family of six, if the big quake should hit now, after 20 minutes they would be eating each other. We were not much better off here. At best, we were “prepared” for 3 days of eating mayonnaise sandwiches in the dark. Unacceptable.

My mom was still living in Northern California during the big and deadly Loma Prieta quake in 1989. More specifically, she was in Aptos, 2 miles from the epicenter. As I watched the live news coverage of the quake, there was very little information to be had other than that the epicenter of this giant quake was based in my mom’s living room. I had no way of contacting her. I was worried, but the one thing I did know was that as long as she had made it through the shaking, she would be prepared for what came after. I knew she had enough canned goods and batteries in the house to outfit the neighborhood for a month. She ended up losing some glass things and had some structural damage, but she was lucky, and fine, and organized, and ready.

So, I knew what ready looked like. It wasn’t us. That one dead flashlight in the garage wasn’t going to do much for us in the event of a big quake, mild storm, or even 20 minute power outage.

I decided I needed to make it all happen while I was still motivated by fear and paranoia. I made a late run to Ralph’s (at 11:00 PM on a school night) and filled a shopping cart with 3 first aid kits, a palette of batteries, gallons of bottled water, a serious ton of weird canned stuff (Dinty Moore Beef Stew anyone?), and a small propane BBQ.

It's done. We have stuff. We have a plan. We have emergency kits in both cars. If I am forced to camp out on the 210 for 3 days, I can make coffee. We have a butane lantern for seeing the rubble. As directed, I also hid some cash. After the quake, ATMs and credit cards could be worthless and Coinstar does not accept tears.

According to the Holy-Crap-You-Are-Screwed email, here is the basic list of stuff to have on hand. (Not just for earthquakes - this also works for tornadoes and hurricanes, times of civil unrest, or living until your unemployment check kicks in.)

• Half gallon of water per person in your household per day. At 7 days, that’s 3 ½ gallons per person.
• A week’s worth of food – and don’t forget a manual can opener and a propane stove or outdoor grill to cook it on.

Some suggestions for your food cache:

• Canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, soups
• Protein bars
• Dry cereal or granola
• Peanut butter
• Nuts
• Dried fruit
• Crackers
• Canned juices
• Non-perishable comfort foods, like chocolate
• Bottled drinks with electrolytes, such as Gatorade
• Baby food in jars, plus formula, for the little ones
• Pet food

• Lanterns and flashlights - It’s going to be several weeks, possibly months - without electricity.
• Batteries
• Battery-powered radio
• Extra prescription meds - You can ask your doctor for a 1-time additional prescription, then rotate those into your regular supply each month to keep them fresh.
• First Aid kit - Include anti-diarrhea medication, in case you ingest some bad water.
• Garbage bags - You can line your toilet with these, too, since there won’t be any water to flush when you get that diarrhea.
• Alcohol gel for hand washing
• Toilet paper, paper towels, disposable diapers (For the baby. Or you. You are a mess.)
• Whistle
• A communication plan - The California phone servers will be down and/or overwhelmed, but you may be able to reach someone out of state if you use a cell phone. Designate one out-of-state person to be your family’s contact person, and make sure that all your family members living in LA know to call that person if you are not all together when a quake happens. If your kids are at school when it hits, they need to know to call Grandma in Florida so that Grandma can relay messages for you.

Those are the absolute basics. Don’t forget to keep food, water, and blankets in your car, as well as an extra pair of sneakers, socks, and a sweat suit or something comfortable to wear. If you are unfortunate enough to be on a freeway at the time of a major quake, you will probably be stuck there for days. Bust out the coffee.

19 comments:

  1. Living in Hurricane Central, after moving here I decided this was absolutely something I had to do! Being a Gemini, I got bored after buying the battery operated lantern and quit. (makes great wall bunnies though and gives my husband ample ammunition to fault me see-though -it -ness).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Lisa,
    Having just experienced the disaster that hurricane Ike with no elec, water etc for the week+ I now read these more carefully. This is fantastic list btw. We had the benefit of seeing the storm coming. The thing I would include is the recycling of all second hand water. You can't imagine the glorious sound of a flushing toilet!
    - Shannon

    ReplyDelete
  3. Having been right smack dab in the mayhem of Loma Prieta I would like to add my suggestions of having sleeping bags,pads and tent conveniently located and safely accesible. As was the case with us, your house may not have fallen down, but you can't necessarily go back inside for a few days, let alone want to with the events of aftershocks.
    Outside can be a much safer place, no matter what the weather is like.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Never underestimate the power of clean socks and underwear!

    Each member of my family has a backpack of stuff we call a 72 hour kit. It includes (hopefully) all we REALLY need to survive for three days. Will it really be enough? I don't know. We try to inventory it every 6 months or so and change the food and clothing (kids grow).

    ReplyDelete
  5. You want to have your home cleanشركة تنظيف بخميس مشيط and free of microbes and germs hideous thou Dear customer looking for our company as we are working on the Eradication of Kaveh germs and microbes that are found in your home to keep you, you and your family as well germs harmful to children very much and our distinct also in the fight against insects finalشركة رش مبيدات بخميس مشيط where we use materials wipes final insects without harm to the residents of the house and this ugly flies, mosquitoes and ants insect understanding of the most dangerous insects in the environment where they work on the spread of germs in the home, do not worry Dear customer, We excel for any company of others, where we are working to destroy it entirely wished you Dear customer, take a look at Our Location
    شركة رش مبيدات بخميس مشيط
    شركة تنظيف بخميس مشيط
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بخميس ميشط
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بخميس مشيط
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بخميس مشيط
    شركة تنظيف منازل بخميس مشيط
    شركة نقل اثاث وعفش بخميس مشيط
    شركة تسليك مجارى بخميس مشيط

    ReplyDelete
  6. Best Company cleaning tanks in Khamis Mushayt Dear customer, the water is the secret of our existence you must take care of them, we know mixing drinking water with sewage, which does the accumulation of tanks and makes water taste and peculiar smell it harm you Dear customer, because we care about your health have we founded your company cleaning and disinfection of tanks Khamis Mushayt where there are two ways to clean the tank شركة تنظيف خزانات بخميس ميشط
    1. manual method: namely, that one of the workers down in the tank and clean it with materials left sterile.
    2. Chemical Almikaneckh way: They have to put the tank sterile materials and anti-bacterial and Nmlae the tank is empty.
    There is a small-sized reservoirs where not to nine group to come down and cleans it, we have to add a second method where the material is then appropriateness of the reservoir and move it several times until cleaned in a final

    شركة رش مبيدات بخميس مشيط
    شركة تنظيف بخميس مشيط
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بخميس ميشط
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بخميس مشيط
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بخميس مشيط
    شركة تنظيف منازل بخميس مشيط
    شركة نقل اثاث وعفش بخميس مشيط
    شركة تسليك مجارى بخميس مشيط
    شركة تنسيق حدائق بالرياض

    ReplyDelete