Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

My Dears, 

Let’s talk earthquake preparedness. 

First, the obvious: We live in Seattle. Hello Ring of Fire

It appears to me that wherever you live, you are potentially at risk from some sort of natural disaster, be it hurricanes, tornados, floods, or wild fires. Here in the Pacific Northwest it happens to be earthquakes (among other things). 

My non-technical understanding of the situation is that we live in a convergent continental boundary area called the Cascadia Subduction Zone, meaning that two plates are coming together. The Juan de Fuca Plate is moving northeast into (and under) the North American plate at a rate of about 1-2 inches per year. The results are often earth shattering. Eh, sorry. 

I’m sure you’re probably aware by now that, given my druthers, I’d have enough stuff on hand to rival those Y2K Idaho survivalists with their 2,000 rolls of toilet paper and their 50 cases of baked beans. 

Unfortunately for my hoarding tendencies, I find myself married to a minimalist whose idea of an awesome house contains a bed, a table, and a couch. And that’s it. What can I say, Chris is a champion recycler/thrower-awayer/Goodwill donate-r. 

So when it comes to earthquake preparedness, we compromise. I won’t take over the entire basement with my survival items in exchange for a kit that is probably heftier than is strictly required for a 3 person/1 dog household. 

Every year we haul out the boxes, check the cans, and replace the water. We also added a few things this time around to account for the new family member: diapers, wipes, a snuggie [sleep sack], and formula. 

 A few things to notice in the very top picture:
  1. That little red sack contains the very most basic and important essentials [paperwork, food, first aid kit, water, a warm coat, flash light, and a raincoat]. It’s something I could grab if there wasn’t time to cart off the entire kit. 
  2. Don’t forget the non-human members of your family. We have Bailey’s kennel stored with the kit. Most Red-Cross shelters won’t accept pets unless they are in an approved/certified container. Which is why we saw a lot of abandoned animals during Hurricane Katrina. I’m being selective here: only Bailey will be invited to the shelter; the chickens are going to have to go it alone in the wilds of Seattle. 
  3. Make sure you have enough water for everyone. The Red Cross recommends 1 gallon of water per person, per day, with a minimum of three days supply. And don’t forget your pets, either. Not counting Benjamin (who currently doesn’t drink water), that’s nine gallons of water. Which is a lot. 

The contents of the little red sack: first aid, flash light, food, water, warm coat, rain jacket, crank radio, whistle, mask
Also, don’t forget about person-specific requirements. For me that means a spare set of glasses and contacts. 
What you don’t see is that Chris has a kit at work and, most importantly, an agreed-upon route home from his office. Seattle’s geography requires a bit of creativity.  In the event that the bridges are down, he’s going to have to swim the channel near the University Bridge before hopping on the Burke Gilman Trail. Something to think about, especially for Peeps that commute across the floating bridges everyday. If your child is in day care or at school, think about which parent will retrieve them and how they’ll make it home.

Also, an emergency car kit is also good idea. Check out the one I have in the prius

In Seattle, a good pair of shoes, work gloves, and raincoat are essential.




One of the most important things you can do is get your paperwork together. [medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, phone numbers to call, etc].

Also, assign a meeting place if you can’t make it to your home (because it’s destroyed or the area is not accessible). 

There you have it, Peeps! Good luck with your earthquake hoarding. :)

xxoo
Sonja

Following is the Red Cross recommended items for your kit:



At a minimum, have the basic supplies listed below. Keep supplies in an easy to carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.
  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
  • Food—non perishable, easy to prepare items (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7 day supply) and medical items
  • Multi purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

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