I was reading an article in the Stratfor Global Intelligence column (highly recommended and free) yesterday about the FBI apprehending an aspiring jihadist in Chicago earlier this month. That got me thinking about disaster preparedness and how most of us are not ready for any kind of disaster.
When or if disaster strikes, we may be on our own for hours or days before help arrives. Here in the MetroPlex, I always think about the traffic jams that would occur if we were told to evacuate the area. Think about the last cars trying to get out of New Orleans when the Katrina was coming. I remember the pictures of the hundreds of yellow school busses under water and people not getting out of town.
In the event of a disaster I think one of the interesting phenomena will be that our cell phones will be worthless. Most of you long time cell phone users can remember when you received the message that no service was available due to heavy usage, usually during rush hour. Phone companies have improved service today but I am thinking it’s not enough if we all dial at once.
Here is a short list of basics.
- Enough food and water for three days. The Red Cross recommends at least a gallon of water per day per person. The food should not require refrigeration as power would probably be the first thing to go. Don’t forget to have some kind of utensil to open the cans.
- A first aid kit plus any non-refrigerated medications.
- A battery or crank powered radio. Remember no power means no TV and no internet.
- Cash, if the power is out debit and credit cards don’t work. I was shopping in Office Max the other day when the power went out. They couldn’t even open the cash registers. (I gave them exact change and they hand wrote a receipt. How quickly we can be thrust back in time.)
- A plan for family and friends to meet at a specific location or a backup location. (remember you can’t call each other)
- Personal documents all in one place so they can be snatched up and transported at a moment’s notice.
- Flashlights, blankets, tools, personal hygiene products. Think about the people that ended up staying in the New Orleans Superdome. One could probably have made a good profit there selling toilet paper.
The Red Cross has a ton of resources at their site.
“Alas Babylon” was written early in the Cold War and is an excellent fictional account about what would happen if the USA was hit by atomic bombs-again highly recommended and a great story, if nothing else.
So not much humor today, but some actions that one should take seriously.