Over at the invaluable Making Light, Teresa reminds us that TODAY--every today--is a good day to be prepared for disasters, natural and otherwise. I couldn't post my comments--too many links, but please go over there and take note (as always, the comments are particularly good), and then come back over here.
I was talking with a Brit I know who has lived here in the Bay Area--was here for the 89 quake--and his comment was, "What makes Americans Americans is the self-reliance".
You may wish to join or organize a Community Emergency Response Team. These CERT groups have become more prevalent in California because of our enormous earthquake risk, but they do exist in New York (more about NYC CERT) and many other areas, such as Detroit
Most of my disaster-preparedness thinking has to do with earthquake or honkin' big fire that "seeds" into my neighborhood. It happened 2 summers ago. Evacuation is less likely so I organize for me to stay put and ride out what is going to happen.
FEMA runs CERT trainings:
The purpose of this section of the FEMA Web site is to provide information which will help you to establish and maintain an effective CERT program, and to allow you to network with people throughout the United States and its territories regarding CERT activities.
The deal is, the emergency is going to happen when you are not prepared and not in place.
I got involved in our local CERT because it dawned on me (1) most of the residents on my road were elderly--was I going to dash away and leave them to their fate? and (2) what if the BIG one struck, and I wasn't home but my daughter was?
More ideas to add to the many excellent at Making Light:
1. Store water in your freezer (if you have one)--doesn't go bad, and makes the freezer more efficient, plus helps if your emergency is a power outage
2. Do try to have about 3-5 days worth of food for your dependents, anyway, of stuff that is palatable, nutritious, and doesn't require water to prepare. Rotate twice yearly by donating to a homeless shelter and buying new for yourself. (while I feed my cats dry food daily, the emergency supply is canned.)
3. If you use a car: the no-emptier-than-half-gas-tank habit. I blow that one all the time, but just a reminder. A car survival kit in a backpack (include shoes and sox!) is a good idea.
4. Solar powered radios have become quite good--I use the one in my car kit all the time, good solar-powered radio
5. Solar powered lights of all kinds have become quite good. I am particularly fond of the long (80') string of LEDs. Frontgate is selling them as Christmas lights for $99.00. I fouond thm through Skymall Solar Christmas Light Strings or tinyurl to Solar Christmas Light Strings
5. Uhhm, I don't mean to get all personal here, but if you sleep in attire you would not like to be seen in, maybe keeping something more modest by the bed, in addition to the shoes AND SOCKS, would be a good idea.
6. My personal favorite for chafing in delicate areas is A&D ointment, but Desitin (or a house brand) has zinc oxide and is therefore ALSO a good sunscreen.
7. One thing we have discovered from some of our CERT drills is you can never have too many big markers--for leaving notes on doors, for marking "this house searched" etc etc etc.
8. Socks & u-trou. Lots of socks that are clean and fit. If you are going shank's mare, clean socks are your friend. Dirty u-trou are demoralizing.
9. (for a home-based kit, and car too): Bleach. Bleach is your friend. It makes skanky water safe to drink. It will make your toileting facilities less of disease sink.
10. Stuff I keep in the Earthquake Shed or the freezer (rubbermaid shed I got at a demolition site) in addition to food and tents and what not: a big roll of plastic sheeting, I think it is 10 mil.; a roll of polyester fleece (insulating when wet) lots o' batteries of all kinds, a roll of butcher paper for notes; a couple of trenching shovels (give-aways at a demo site); a couple of boxes of matches in wax; a bunch of cloth towels sealed one of those vacuum extractor thingies; a couple of toilet seats (demo site freebie); two big soup kettles (gimmies from our local restaurant cause they got a new chef who bought new); a couple of "mass feeding recipe" pages laminated; some kind of "how to do everything" book (I don't remember which one, it was one of my Dad's); and various hanks of what we call OSHA rope out here. I'm pretty sure there's more stuff in there, I haven't completely inventoried in over a year as I was out of town for our last drill.
We in the San Francisco Bay Area are guaranteed a catastrophic quake....sometime. It is only sensible to be prepared.