By: Revanche

In Case of Emergency …

June 19, 2013

We recently had the fire alarms go off midday when I was hanging out with Doggle and it wasn’t clear if it was just a drill/test or if it was the real thing. Of course the first thing I did was what you’re not supposed to do: went to open the front door without feeling it first to see if there was heat behind it.

In my defense, I knew it was a bit stupid to do at the exact moment of doing it, but I could hear neighbors’ voices very nearby so it was more of a calculated risk than just a stupid impulse.

It wasn’t clear from the babble if anyone knew what on earth was going on but since Doggle and I were already prepping for our walk, we poked out around outside to see if there was any reason to believe there was really an emergency.  All we saw were confused neighbors milling about asking if I spoke their language and chattering to one another.

We meandered until we found a repairman apologizing profusely for the false alarm and lack of advance notice. About 30 times over, because every resident in the crowd interrogating him had to ask the same questions that were asked before:

1. This is a test?
Yes.
2. Why didn’t anyone tell us?
I don’t know but I’m really sorry about the inconvenience and for alarming you.

Poor guy. The false alarm was annoying but it was even more annoying not to be able to ask my legitimate and original question over the clamor.

What have we learned?

  • A lot of our neighbors are panicky and annoying.
  • We aren’t prepared at all for an actual evacuate-now emergency.

I immediately sat down and started a list of emergency packs I should make up in case we ever do have such a calamity. It’s most likely to be an earthquake considering we ARE in the Bay Area, but anything could happen. All of these have to be portable in case only one of us is home at the time. And I pray that one of us IS home if anything happens, I can’t imagine Doggle figuring out how to find us, microchip or not.

  • Doggle, on leash
  • Doggle’s pack (that I wish he could carry for himself) prepacked with: 5 lb bag of food rations, 1 L water bottle, 2 travel bowls, paw gloves in case of bad footing, extra leash, a dog blanket, 1 large and 1 small towel, poop bags.
  • People pack: Water, food bars, (2) changes of clothes, towels, hygiene pack (toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, contact solution, nail clippers), Swiss Army knife, med kit (bandaids, triple antibiotic ointment, gauze, med tape, antibiotic wipes), water purifier, flashlight, extra batteries.
  • Mini Radio?

To pack on the fly/seasonal stuff:

1. Information pack: computers, external hard drives, charger pack, phone charters, passports.
2. Jackets, gloves, hats, extra socks and shoes.

We don’t have everything on hand so these won’t come together right away but most of Doggle’s pack is done.

It feels like I should have stuff that I associate with the wilderness/camping like a shovel, matches/lighter, can opener but maybe that’s overkill?

:: How prepared are you for a disaster? What should I add or remove from my packs?

14 Responses to “In Case of Emergency …”

  1. I like your new site look.

    I actually don’t have an emergency pack.. but I should create one now. 😐

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks! Have had it for a while now but haven’t had any time to poke around any more.
      Yes! I bet yours would be so compact.

  2. KendraD says:

    Don’t forget your birth certificates, marriage license, and social security cards on your information side. Super necessary documents to have if anything goes wrong.

  3. Katie C. says:

    Wow. Reading your list has made me realized how silly my grabs would have been – cat in carrier, laptop, envelope of important documents. Because I always think of emergency as “house burns down,” I didn’t think of it on the natural disaster level. I’ll have to compile a new list!

    • Revanche says:

      Not silly – yours is very much right for a race out the door, house on fire sort of Go Bag. I started with that, then realized: we’d probably have a fire because of an earthquake more than anything else.

  4. Linda says:

    Passport or other government-issued ID, cash, good walking shoes. Perhaps a towel (Douglas Adams was a visionary!). Everything else is superfluous in a true emergency. (Well, at least in my mind.) If the s*it ever really hit the fan here, I think those items and my practical skills are most likely to get me through. For everything else (tornadoes, fires) I think it would be annoying to not have certain personal items, but not an emergency. That’s what the Red Cross is for. Plus, I live in an area where the chance of something catastrophic yet non-human-created happening is quite rare. I haven’t been flooded and it would be a bigggggg stretch for that to happen; tornadoes and earthquakes are very unlikely; hurricanes are impossible. But people rampaging out of control? Much more likely, hence the need for lots of cash or other portable valuables. Did I creep you out? I kind of creeped myself out!

    • Revanche says:

      I have us down for 4 towels: 1 each w/an extra just in case 🙂
      I’m totally planning for something like a zombie apocalypse: total upheaval for a period of time. I don’t think I have enough practical skills like repairing cars or riding motorcycles (which we couldn’t do anyway with Doggle). *shudder* People are my nightmare, for sure! 🙂

  5. Sense says:

    Oh, good for you for thinking this way!! Hardly anyone does. Part of my job/volunteer work involves emergency and disaster prep and education and it is a struggle to get anyone to recognise that they need a plan. Psychology dictates (and studies show) that most people don’t ever think it will ever happen to them, or, if it does, they think that the government/red cross/whoever will immediately “save” them, Even in NYC, which has quite recently been hit with a major hurricane, flooding, extended power outage, earthquake, and, of course, a crazy terrorist attack, only about half of people are prepared for an emergency.

    The rule of thumb is that you have to think as if you are on your OWN, at least for the first three days, after any disaster. We do what we can, but it’s not feasible nor sustainable for the govt and volunteers to mobilise and rescue everyone immediately. You are well ahead of the game if you have just the basics, but having an emergency plan is just as important as having the physical items in a to-go kit. It’s a lot of work but it’s like insurance: once you have it, you feel better, and boy does it make it easier when something bad happens.

    I’d guess that you’re most likely to suffer through an extended power, gas, and/or water failure. Luckily, the things that prep you for that are the same items you’d need in a more dire emergency (do prepare for that big earthquake though! They’re nasty up there!).

    yes to the matches (waterproof) or lighter. I’d add a camp stove and fuel.
    can opener, yes.
    shovel? not necessary…good for zombie apocalypses, though. 🙂

    the Red Cross, CA state gov’t, and FEMA websites have lists and to-do’s for you: http://www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/Pages/Home.aspx
    http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit
    http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family

    Let me know if you have any questions. Sorry so long…you hit a passion of mine!

  6. Do you have a car?

    If the Queen of the Universe deigned to eat dog kibble, I’d have at least two or three days’ worth stored in the trunk, as well as a good-sized container of water, a couple of dog bowls, a leash, and an extra collar. That would be four fewer things to have to grab. I do keep a towel and a doggie water dish in the car (LOL! Linda’s got that right about Douglas Adams! 🙂 ). And a first-aid kit is also something that could live in the trunk.

    • Revanche says:

      I do but our car’s in a garage and I have to be prepared for it not to be reachable. But on the flip side, I should pack emergency packs for each car!

      • Yeah, in the Bay Area that’s a distinct possibility…especially if you live in the Marina. On the other hand, except for a few baggies of dog kibble (which would have to be rotated out once every couple of weeks to keep it from going rancid, and which in theory could attract mice or other rodents), the other stuff — a towel, a first-aid kit, water, and & dog bowl — could come in handy at any time. The towel especially gets a lot of use…it’s great to throw over stuff you’d just as soon not have stolen, and also here in the Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun, I use it to cover the steering wheel when I have to park the car outdoors.

  7. This post just made me realize how unprepared I am for a disaster. I do have my passport and all important documents very close by (in one of those cardboard accordion briefcases), so I would just have to grab. Other than that however, I’m completely unprepared. Because I always automatically think of a fire, one of my biggest fears is that I’ll lose generations and generations of my family photos. I’m alarmed at the fact that I didn’t even think of the basics like emergency cash.

    I’m going to put together an emergency kit this week. Thanks for this post!

  8. Teckelvik says:

    Here are some packs designed by Jim Macdonald, with links to discussion at Making Light. (I seem to recall that you are an SFF fan, so those names might be meaningful to you.)

    http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/emerg_kit.htm

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