With the devastating images coming out of Japan following the deadly earthquake and tsunami, it’s a fair question. Would you be ready in case of such a disaster?
Like many people living on the Ring of Fire, we found ourselves faced with the threat of a tsunami last night. We’re on high ground here, so we weren’t in imminent danger from the tsunami, but there were other possibilities. Damage to our harbors would impede the delivery of goods via barge. An interruption of fuel deliveries would mean the island’s electric plants wouldn’t be able to run (no, Hawaii’s energy plan isn’t the greenest). Water supplies could be impacted for people on municipal water services.
Thankfully, the damage on the Big Island was minimal in the grand scheme of things and none of these came to pass. But I did spend some time last night assessing our situation.
- While we do depend on city water, we’ve recently added a 55 gallon water catchment barrel and gutters, so we had a fair amount of water at our disposal. Even so, I filled containers with another 10 gallons just to be safe.
- We have two methods for cooking if our electric stove stops working: a wood fired BBQ and another that works on propane.
- We had plenty of flashlights in working order.
- Our food pantry plus our emergency food would last us for at least a couple of weeks without putting a crimp in our style. Beyond that, we’d be able to survive on some less desirable meals (think beans and more beans) for at least another couple of weeks.
- We have cast iron pots and pans (fine for cooking on open flames) as well as a manual can opener, meaning that we’d be able to actually use the food we have stashed in the emergency kit.
While many folks were making mad dashes to the grocery store to stock up on bottled water and supplies, and waiting in long lines at the gas station, we were pretty comfortable just sticking it out at home, knowing that we’d be okay. That’s not to say that there’s not room for improvement.
- I would really have liked to know that our garden would provide fresh veggies in case of an emergency. We’re not there yet, but we are moving in that direction.
- A little more water on hand would be better for a longer-lasting emergency.
- Our medical supplies are pretty sparse. I need to work on that.
Here is what I was not worried about: toilet paper. I’m always flabbergasted at the run on toilet paper that happens in an emergency. Toilet paper takes up a lot of space and if I’m spending money for disaster preparedness, I’d much rather that money go to good food. In a pinch, telephone books and old newspapers would do the job just fine.
So, what about you? Are you prepared? Would your household sustain your family for a week or so if there was an emergency? What if the emergency lasted even longer?
I highly recommend that you visit Frugal Kiwi to learn how to create a do-it-yourself emergency preparedness kit. Melanie has compiled a comprehensive list of what you’ll need to be ready for an emergency, with an eye on doing it inexpensively. Smart girl.
If you’re trying to figure out how to boost the amount of food you have available for an emergency, go read How to Start a Food Storage Plan on $10 a Week at the kitchn. Good advice there.