10/22/2006

Emergency Preparedness

I had to take a little time off from both the house and the blog. For reasons both personal and professional, I've been extremely stressed lately. I haven't made much progress on anything, and I figured that it would be better to take a break than to get burned out.

Another source of stress has been very personal. About 3 weeks ago, Shayne fractured his C6 vertebrae in a fall. It was just a hairline crack, but he has to wear a neck brace for up to 8 weeks. The doctor said that the brace is basically a preventative measure against further damage, and at the last check-up the doc said Shayne's healing fast, but he's restricted to "light duty" at work until released by the doctor. Because the department he works for is so small, there isn't much as far as light duty. In the meantime, he's taken up dispatching and has begun training and taking classes. Thankfully this keeps his paycheck coming in, and we don't have to worry about depleting our savings. God has been very good to us, and I appreciate the prayers and support from all our family and friends.

All of this has gotten me thinking about what would have happened to us if Shayne hadn't been able to work. Or what would happen if I couldn't work. We have a savings account, but it wouldn't last forever. It wouldn't even cover a major repair on the house if there was a big problem or a disaster of some sort. I'm sure we have enough in the pantry and freezer to get us through a week, but we'd be SOL if the power was out. Our well pump wouldn't function, and we'd have no water besides what's in the tanks and hot water heater.

After talking with Shayne, we've decided to set aside an area under the stairs and dedicate it to an emergency preparedness kit. Some guides recommend having a 1 year supply of food, but we're not going to go that far. I'd feel more than comfortable with about a month's supply of canned goods and pouched, canned, or freeze-dried meat; staples like flour, sugar, and salt; extra water; first aid supplies and extra batteries; and a way to stay warm and dry. Some of these things I already have due to my backpacking habit. I have a stove that runs on denatured alcohol, and sleeping bags and tents that could keep us warm and sheltered in sub-zero conditions. I have a water filter, and we're close enough to the lake that I could conceivably use it as our water source. I even have a little heater that runs on 16 oz propane cylinders. The food and batteries are something I'll have to work on...

A part of me feels a little paranoid for even thinking about this, but my complacent attitude wouldn't help us much if there was a bad blizzard and we were snowed in for any length of time. Or if one of us was out of work and we couldn't afford to buy groceries... In any case, I'd rather err on the side of paranoia, considering the alternative.

Here are a few links that I've found to be helpful:
Emergency Essentials
The American Red Cross
The Prepared Pantry

I'll keep you all updated as this project progresses...

2 comments:

Diana M. said...

Smart idea...I know when the hurricane hit us in Virginia I wish we'd had more storage. We luckily had water, but 4 MRE's between us wasn't going to cut it. Luckily we had good friends, who's power worked! A good thing we kept around was a laptop, even if just to watch movies it kept our minds entertained. I'd highly recommend something like that. A portable DVD player or a Game boy with extra batteries. You can only sit and stare at eachother for so long...trust me...

---Di

Anonymous said...

By deciding to prepare you are smarter than over 90% of people. It's not paranoia. It's wisdom. Lots of things can happen besides weather. I remember my grandpa talking about the Great Depression. Having years worth of staples and cash on hand saved them.
Don't forget extra pet food, toilet paper and personal needs. A solar shower would be a blessing after a week of no utilities.