Every day, the world gets a little scarier.
Well, not really, but TV gets a little scarier. Shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Revolution” really make a person start to think about what they have put away in case of an emergency. Is there enough water in the basement? What about Band-Aids? And are they selling Twinkies again?
The problem with preparing for emergencies is that you don’t want to look like the crazy person on the block. Everybody has “that neighbor” — the guy who has two bomb shelters in his backyard, in case the zombies get to one of them; the woman who keeps her kids indoors every weekend in the summer, slathering them with sunscreen and making them help pickle the beets; the bachelor who stockpiles truckloads of cigarettes in his cellar to barter with after a nuclear apocalypse.
Emergency preparedness has been given a bad rap by the zombie/Cold War/gas-mask crowd, and frankly, it deserves better. We might not be ready for things like flesh-ripping undead walkers or diseases transmitted by rapidly evolving apes, but we can be ready when minor emergencies pop up.
Minor emergencies are the ones we don’t expect to happen, but still throw us for a loop. Losing a job, for instance, can throw an entire family out of whack. Also, there are unpredictable events like disability, sickness or cases of extreme weather that might not be world-shattering, but can put your grocery list out of commission for at least a few days.
Recently, a man with a great job woke up to find that the company he worked for had dissolved overnight. Before beginning his job search, he walked downstairs and did a quick check on his emergency supplies: food, water, Twinkies, etc. A little less worried, this man and his family were able to subsist off their emergency supplies until he was able to find a new job, and the hit to their savings account was negligible.
Locally, food storage is a big deal. Check any blog, and you’ll find things like “Aunt Laverle’s Eight Tips for Canning Peaches” or “Iodine and You: A Water-Purification Guide.” Or, a little more irrationally, “What Happens When Obama Kills the Government and You Can’t Find Oscar Meyer Bologna in Any of Your Looting Runs?”
Again, being prepared for an emergency is all about getting ready in small ways. Here are a few tips, even for college students, for getting that emergency preparedness supply in order:
Make sure you have food and water. FEMA’s recommendations are one gallon of water per person per day. In sudden emergencies, fill up the bathtub with water, in case water supplies are cut off.
Make sure you are safe, secure and sheltered. It might not be possible to stay where you are, so have a few items stored that provide instant warmth and shelter: blankets, tarps, matches, changes of socks, gloves, boots and beanies. This also includes medical supplies, including hygiene products.
Have a plan beforehand. Know where you’re going to go (and let somebody else know) if there is an emergency. Store necessary documents on a jump drive.
Get somewhere, and talk while doing it. It might be devastating to hear that you won’t be able to play “Angry Birds” in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but plan on your phone not being able to work. Have more than one way to communicate with others (crank radio, walkie-talkies, messenger pigeons). And keep a map around.