Friday, February 14, 2014

Love yourself, check your supplies

We don't celebrate Valentine's Day around these parts. I think it's a silly holiday, though I do enjoy the extra chocolate that seems to pop up at work. I was thinking about what this silly stupid holiday could be good for and I thought about emergency preparedness.

A year ago we had a dinner party to celebrate the anniversary of the Cascadia quake. It was really fun but I think we scared the shit out of our guests. This year Greg had the brilliant idea to do zombie preparedness instead. I could still harp on people to be prepared for emergencies but within the safety of a discussion about how awesome The Walking Dead is.

In the course of the evening I found out one of my friends doesn't own a fire extinguisher and I proceeded to harangue her ALL night. I am the worst hostess ever. We played a round of Zombo, which is just like Bingo except it hopefully inspires a feeling of panic in those who don't have emergency supplies at home.

So how about this year we check our emergency supplies instead of trying to get a reservation for that restaurant that will charge you twice what it would on any other night? Maybe you can eat that canned food that's going to expire soon. The list above is by no means complete, but it's a great start.

So this is your gentle reminder: give your sweetheart a real gift and check your emergency supplies. If nothing else, when you see the valentines candy at the grocery store, I want you to think "disaster."

Your fire extinguishers: are they still within their expiration dates? When natural disasters hit, emergency services get overwhelmed. Fires are very common after earthquakes/zombie attacks and the fire department may not be able to get to you. If you don't yet own a fire extinguisher, you can order one online or buy them at any hardware store.

Do you have a first aid kit? I'm not talking about the old box of band-aids in your bathroom cabinet. If something sharp fell on you (or your dog or your cat) and caused a deep gash, do you have supplies to staunch the bleeding? If emergency rooms are overwhelmed, do you have enough first aid supplies to take care of non-life threatening injuries?

Do you have enough food set aside for three days of meals? When we first started putting together our kit I thought, "We've got loads of food in our kitchen cabinets!" It turns out a lot of it (assuming we could get to it) wasn't ideal. We had a lot of pasta, which would require a stove, a pot, and precious water. Have you ever eaten black beans straight from the can? They don't taste very good. Instead we stocked up on baked beans, spaghetti-os, canned fruit, refried beans, and things that are edible straight from the can. This is the first time in my life that I bought processed, sugared peanut butter.

You may get caught in an emergency situation while in your car. Do you have supplies there? Remember after Katrina how the highways were like parking lots? You may need to hang out in your car for some time. Having some food and water, plus a small first aid kit would be a good idea. You can buy pre-made kits on Amazon (I don't make any money off of these Amazon links, I just don't like leaving the house).

Do you have spare food for your pets? What if a disaster strikes and you had planned to get food at the vet/store that day? Stores might now be closed or unreachable. Portland shuts down when there is one inch of snow on the ground. Even a minor disaster will likely bring us to our knees.

In our party bags this year we packed mylar blankets, twinkies, and glow sticks. My next goal for myself is to pack "go bags" for Greg and I. Ideally we'd have backpacks stuffed with extra clothes and basic supplies, in case the house was collapsing/on fire and we needed to grab it and go. I also need to get my bicycle in working condition.

Do I have everyone feeling sufficiently panicked? How about we calm down by looking at this photo from the recent snow.

Remember: Valentine candy = disaster. Delicious disaster.


  1. What a great post! I want you to know that we have some disaster supplies packed away in a closet, but we don't actually have any food in it. Lots of other stuff, though. I can't quite get my mind around the idea that I will have to squirrel away food that does have an expiration date, and then do it again in a year or so when it expires. That seems like a waste, and I am such a fan of food I hate to waste it. We also have fire extinguishers. We could use a good first aid kit though. No rolled gauze.

  2. I recently did a clean up of our overflowing storage room in the basement. It's where our emergency food and water is (great idea if the house collapsed on it, right?). Anyway all the food was at least 3 years expired. We're so not prepared.

  3. Can opener!!!! :-)

  4. Half of our water supply is in the basement--worst location ever!

  5. My friend had a great idea--every year before Christmas when everyone is doing their canned food drives, she goes through her supplies and donates anything that's going to expire in the next year. Everyone wins!

  6. My sister-in-law said that after a year or so, plastic water bottles start to degrade and leak. Have you heard of this? Something to think about.

  7. What a great reminder! I hope your friends appreciated the value of the game. Our disaster supplies certainly need review - at the moment, I think the cats may be the only ones whose needs are well-supplied. We've been sloppy, despite regular warnings about the inevitable "big one."

  8. Last week after I caught my scarf on fire while cooking on the gas stove I checked for our extinguisher (fire was out and scarf is still usable after a trim) . I move it every now and then when trying to decide the best location and could not find it right away. Brilliant!
    Actually I think we need two extinguishers because of weird kitchen layout.
    But here's the thing. It has a rounded bottom so won't stand up easily. I guess it needs a wall mounted holder because some strapping would be too tight to remove it in a hurry. Or strapping but while on the floor in the pantry. Wish I had told my husband to get the #2 one while he was a the hardware store today.

  9. A good reminder to be prepared! I'm hoping that when the big one hits, I'm killed fairly quickly so that I can avoid the zombie apocalypse that will follow. Not much of an emergency plan but it's what I've got for now along with the years supply of food I carry around on my body.

  10. Hmmm...I am now very very ashamed, But I do like the snow shot.

  11. Great post, and what a fun idea! Zombee preparedness bingo! Love it!