It goes without saying that today is a somber day. No matter your connection to the events of eight years ago – whether you’re like Sherry and tearfully witnessed the towers falling firsthand or like me watching on TV, praying for family that worked in both NYC and DC – this date probably still shakes you. And while we were both fortunate that all of our loved ones escaped harm, our thoughts and prayers go out to those whose didn’t.
We’ve decided to use this date not only to reflect, but also to plan for the future. I’ve had emergency preparedness on the brain recently due to a project at work, through which I’ve learned that I’m actually in the minority. Most of us don’t stop to think about what we can do around our house to prepare for an emergency – whatever that disaster may be. And as much as I’ve been thinking about it at work, I figured it was time to see exactly how much I had put into practice at home. So here’s our own Emergency Supply Kit audit.
You can find the suggested Emergency Supply Kit list that we used to evaluate our preparedness on MakeAPlan.org. The first thing on the list is water - three gallons per person to be exact. We’re good here, I thought. We snagged a big case of bottled waters at least two years ago for this very purpose and stored it out-of-reach in the kitchen specifically for instances when we’re without clean water for a day or two. We’ve broken into a couple of times, but our supply is still pretty good. We’ll give ourselves a B+.
After water naturally comes food. Again, a three day supply of non-perishables is suggested. We’re lucky if we have a three day supply of non-perishable food within a day or two of our latest grocery trip, so we could stand to stock up on our canned food supply. But at least we’ve got a manual can-opener! I’d say that earns us a C.
We do get an A+ when it comes to five days of pet food. We’re always sure to have a full canister of Burger’s kibble – mainly because the pet store that sells his food isn’t in our neighborhood so we always stock up when we go. And since Burger is a light eater (he’s 8lbs after all), five days worth of food doesn’t take up very much space.
I was ready to give us an A+ in the battery-powered radio category, until I realized that the batteries in our guest room’s plug-in-with-battery-back-up radio are totally dead (and we’ve been relying on the cord). Did our grade just plummet to an F?
Nope! Because I realized that our shower radio is battery operated. Woo hoo!
We even have a few back-up batteries tucked away in a kitchen drawer. I’d say that gets us right back up into grade A territory on the radio front.
Though I’ll have to give us a B- on the flashlight front. While we’ve got a flashlight handy, we have absolutely zero back-up batteries for it.
And while we’re also tempted to give ourselves a big round of applause for having a fire extinguisher and a real life first aid kit around the house, we must confess that it’s technically a Pet First Aid Kit. But it actually has pretty much all of the stuff we humans might need (just on the small side) so let’s call that one a B-.
Overall I’d say we get somewhere around a B for our home’s basic Emergency Supply Kit. Where do you guy stack up? Have you done any emergency planning or supply kit gathering? Got any other be-prepared tips to pass along? You can find out more from the official government folk at Ready.gov or MakeAPlan.org- and feel free to pass along anything else you learn on the subject. Oh and while we wish that all of you are ready for any emergency, here’s hoping that none of us find ourselves actually experiencing one anytime soon.
PS: If you’re in the Washington DC area, check out Capitalert.gov. It’s the project I’ve been working on at the office and it’s a way to get free emergency alerts sent to you via text message or email by your local government.