I was going to write about the 401(k) today, but I thought I’d better go with something else because I have been writing about the stock market too often lately. Earlier this week Mrs. RB40 went to a seminar on disaster preparedness and she proceeded to tell me that we are woefully unprepared. Yes… I know that… It’s quite bad really. Portland is along the Cascadia subduction zone and we are due for a big 9.0 earthquake any day now. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but we do have a good chance of getting hit with the large earthquake over the next 50 years.
Unprepared for the worst
Why aren’t we prepared? It is just so much trouble to get prepared for something that might never come. We are all so busy with our day to day lives and there is no time left to prepare for a natural disaster. Just thinking about it already gave me a headache. We live in a small condo in a tower so as soon as the electricity cuts out, we will be in serious trouble.
- No water (electric pump)
- No heat
- No stove
- No elevator. Lugging relief supplies up 10 flights of stairs will not be fun at all.
- Food will start spoiling
- Electric garage door stuck shut (?)
- Only one grocery store in walk able area and it will probably be looted very quickly
- A lot of nuts in the downtown area
That’s just a few things off the top of my head. I’m sure we would encounter a lot more problems in a real disaster. It’s just easier to put off disaster preparedness for later. We also don’t have much space in our condo for a disaster kit. That’s why I want to replace our hot water heater with a tankless water heater. Then I can put a kit where the hot water tank is. If we build a kit now, it would have to sit in a corner in our bedroom. Anyway, here is what you would need in a 72-hour kit.
The first thing you need is a plan. Where would you meet after a disaster? For us, it’s at home. Now that I’m not working anymore, we are mostly around our home. Mrs. RB40 can walk home and she’d be here within the hour. If something was wrong with our building, our meeting place would be a local park nearby.
Ready.gov suggests 1 gallon per person per day so we would need about 10 gallons. Mrs. RB40’s class suggested Datrex 4.2oz water pouches. That’s a pretty good idea because it’s good for 5 years and you won’t lose all your water if a large container is punctured. If that hot water tank is still around, we would have plenty of drinking water for a few days. Emergency filters and household chlorine bleach are backup solutions.
Here is a quiz. How much bleach should you add to a gallon of water to make it safe to drink? Who the heck knows? I looked it up and you need 5 to 10 drops per half gallon. I guess we could go down to the river and get some water and use bleach to clean it up, but that’s really going to be a last resort*.
*Note. I just found out that the sewage plant will dump the sewer into the river if something goes wrong. That’s not going to be good.
You need a way to cook food and boil water if your main stove goes out. We have a propane BBQ and a small butane camp stove. I should pick up several canisters of butane for extra fuel. For food, the class suggested Datrex food bars which taste like Elven bread from Lord of the Rings. They must be a sponsor for this class or something. It is good for 5 years though, so it’s easy. I’m pretty sure we have enough food in storage to survive 3 days so I’m not going to worry about this too much. Maybe just add a small box of food bars for back up.
A hands free headlamp is the best option for light source in any situation. It leaves your hands free to dig around or move debris. We have a headlamp and a few flashlights. The class also suggested some snaplights.
This isn’t going to be fun for us. Like I said before, we live in a tower so once the electricity goes out, the toilets stop flushing. The class suggested a collapsible toilet or a 5 gallon bucket with lid. Either way, it’s not going to be pleasant.
- First aid kit
- Personal items such as sunscreen, tooth brush/paste, chapstick, extra glasses, etc…
- Extra batteries, sewing kit, zip lock bags, rope, multi function tool, notebook and pencil, duct tape, cash in small bills, gloves, dust masks, map/compass.
We can grab most of these from home…except right now, they are not all in one place.
OK, this article is starting to run long. Anyway, here is what we need to pickup from Survivor Joe’s. Once we get these items, we would be a lot more prepared for at least 72 hours. This small list should cost less than $100 so it won’t affect our monthly expense too much.
- $9 A few canisters of butane fuel - Gasone Butane Fuel Canister (4pack)
- 2 x $25 Water pouches - Datrex Emergency Survival Water Pouch (Pack of 64), 125ml
- 2 x $15 Food bars – enough for 3 days. Mainstay 2400 Calorie Bars (Pack of 3)
Get out of Dodge
If we survived a big 9.0 earthquake, my first impulse would be to get in the car and drive to my brother’s place in California. It’s a ten hours drive and it should be out of the disaster zone. Gasoline might be an issue though. Then again, California might have its own problems. The freeway also might not be in the best shape with an earthquake that big.
Now that I went over the emergency supply list in more detail, it’s actually not that daunting. The supplies aren’t too expensive and we probably could find an out of the way spot to store them.
How about you? Do you have a disaster kit? How prepared are you for a big disaster?