Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy: How Prepared for an Emergency Are You?

Superstom Sandy just blasted through the eastern seaboard with a vengeance. I am extraordinarily blessed that all of my family in New York and New Jersey  weathered the storm, minus electricity, but still intact and safe. I am also thankful for the numerous friends and family in the east who were bypassed by the worst of the storm and did not see the destruction that they saw following Hurricane Irene.

This storm made me realize something: my family and I are woefully ill-prepared for an emergency situation. We live in Southern California, where we don't have hurricanes or tornadoes or blizzards like other parts of the US. And we sort of rest on our weather laurels as a result, forgetting that there is always a chance that we will have "the big one." An earthquake could easily knock out power and water for days.

And we would be screwed.

For example, FEMA recommends a 3 day supply of water for each person in the household at the tune of 1 gallon a person. That is 12 gallons of water for my family (15 gallons if we include the dog). Right now, I have one 16 oz bottle of water in our entire house.  That is right folks, 16 ounces of water. Screwed.

Because of this realization,  I went looking for some sites to help us prepare our emergency supplies. One I particularly liked is on Org Junkie. It not only talks about what to have in your home, but in your car and for your pets. Very smart. 

I also liked this article from Parents Magazine's website, because it includes things like creating an emergency communication plan for your family and writing your kids a letter for in an emergency when they are at school (and if the author's letter to her child doesn't make you get a little choked up, I am now worried that you have no soul-- or no kids, but even then... ).

When I told Diesel about our need to prepare, he said "I've been watching Revolution. What we need is guns. Lots of guns." So, I guess there is that too... But, firearms aside, he is definitely on board with us getting our act together. Funny thing is, we have a lot of the "stuff" we need, but just not in one place. In some ways, it is just a matter of us being more organized.

So, my challenge for my family, and yours if you aren't already prepared, is that by December 31st we will have amassed enough food and water for us and the dog for 3 days, created an emergency plan, and have gathered up items such as clothing, blankets, flashlights and batteries, and put them all together in our garage.

My question for you today is, are you prepared? Or will you be joining me on this challenge? What would you add to your emergency supplies that isn't on either of these lists?


  1. I love the idea of being prepared. When we lived in the mountains, we were pretty good about it. I felt like- hey we can make it. Now that we are city dwellers....I feel woefully unprepared. No woodstove, no trees to chop down, no neighbors I like or know that well. I think this is a smart move. We had a snowstorm a couple of years ago that knocked out our power for five days up in Oakhurst and we made it. I filled the bathtubs with water for flushing the toilets, I filled the fridge and freezer with all my tupperware packed with snow from outside, I melted snow to do the dishes. We had lots of candles and bottled water. If we had to leave though...ugh.

    1. Yeah, when I lived in more rural places I feel like we were more mindful of being prepared. Heck, you need to be more prepared just because the nearest grocery is a 30 min or more drive, so you have to be prepared in the day-to-day. Now, the grocery store is 5 minutes away, I kinda get lax about keeping stuff in the house. I hope this post got you motivated to start preping for life in the suburbs!

  2. Perhaps it was that I happened on -- and became addicted to -- NatGeo's Doomsday Preppers, or the long stretch since our last big quake, or the civil unrest in Anaheim a few weeks back but I find myself increasingly insistent upon building up my emergency stores for the fam. I'm so glad to know that you picked this as a topic and I hope your readers will take your AWESOME advice to heart and put a plan in place. I'm with the Diesel on the security! It may sound like paranoia but if we ever had an actual emergency and needed to dip into these supplies, chances are that someone who wasn't as diligent will head out looking for their own sooner or later. And nobody's taking food out of my kids' mouths -- or my godson's! The luxury item that I would consider adding to the list? A portable generator.


    1. A generator would be a really good idea. Diesel actually suggested filling some of our large rain barrels with tap water and adding a little bleach for even more emergency water-- and water that can be kept outside of the house, just in case something catastrophic happened to our 60+ year old house.
      And we bought a case of water at Costco on Sunday.

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  4. I totally recommend that you go through CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training locally. It is a nationally vetted preparedness program that guy and I did this past spring - we got a sitter for the weekly meetings and made it our date night. Nerdy, I know, but the best way I could get him on board with emergency prep, something I've been highly involved with through work. When a disaster strikes I am expected to respond, so I need to make sure that I have the peace of mind that my family will be self sufficient and ok.
    You would also like the "map my neighborhood" program out of Washington state. Google it!


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