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.