Saturday, March 12, 2011

Be Prepared

I am hesitant to write about being prepared for an emergency, since often when people do that they are presumed to be crazy bunker-building doomsdayers. Don't worry I'm not crazy, I just feel an enormous responsibility to be prepared to take care of my children during an emergency situation. If it were still just Chris and I, we wouldn't bother to buy so much as an extra bottle of water-if something happened, then we'd deal with it. But now that we have two children depending on us, I cannot begin to imagine the stress of wondering how we are going to get them clean water, food and medicine. A number of events could cause these problems, and it is not unrealistic to think we will encounter one of them at some point in our life. Just a few months ago we had a snow storm here in the south severe enough to shut down everything in our area for almost a week. And the grocery stores were sold out of bread before the storm even started, milk, meat and other items after. I called the store later in the week to make sure the shipment had come in before making the trek out for nothing. It hadn't arrived, so I skipped our weekly shopping trip and it hardly affected us at all. But for others who have a week's worth of food or less, I'm sure there was relief when the roads finally unfroze and the shelves were restocked.

The people of Japan are dealing with this situation at this very moment. The stores are out of food, the restaurants are closed and no one has any idea when more shipments will come in. The tragedy continues for the people lucky enough to survive the earthquake, tsunami and flooding.

So what does being prepared look like? That depends on the size and needs of your family. We need diapers, but not formula or baby food. We have well water, so we don't have to worry about problems with city water, but if we lose electricity then we also lose the use of our well. We don't live within walking distance to a single store, and only have a few neighbors, so I feel an extra responsibility to be prepared. We think nothing of having car insurance, health insurance and life insurance so it makes sense that being prepared is just another form of having insurance for the hopefully not but just in case.

Here are some questions to ask yourself: If you couldn't leave your house for two weeks, what would you need? What if you didn't have power? Would any family members need a prescription medicine? Do you have another method of cooking if your electricity goes out? Could you handle a minor medical emergency with both knowledge and supplies? Even something as simple as bringing down a child's fever? Do you have any pets to consider? Could anyone else (family, friends, elderly neighbors, etc.) need your help? What if you're out and not at home? What if your family is in separate places? What if you can't reach people by phone? What if you have to evacuate?

Best question of all: What harm does it do to be prepared just in case?

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