Preparing for earthquakes and other emergencies

I’ve been thinking a lot about emergency preparation lately.  This started last week when our power was out for 3 hours.  We had no water (we live on a well, and the well pump doesn’t work without power), and our house was rapidly cooling off with a temperature of 12 degrees outside.  Our wood pile is frozen solid, but we do have “emergency” fake logs in boxes next to the wood stove, so we were able to keep the main part of the house warm.

We also have a ton of flashlights and candles, so we were able to see.  We put some in the kitchen, living room, dining room, and bathroom so the main living areas had enough light to keep us from tripping and falling.  We usually have a store of water (three 5-gallon containers), but at this particular time we were out.  Fortunately it was a pretty localized power outage, and our neighbors down the road had power and were able to fill up some 6-gallon jugs for us.  Thanks Craig & Sylvia!

And of course there’s been this Japan earthquake.  Living in Alaska, where the Good Friday earthquake hit Anchorage back in 1964 and we live with small tremors on a regular basis, I’m no stranger to earthquakes.  I know that the earthquake which devastated Japan could just as easily hit Alaska and caused severe damage.

It’s imperative that you are prepared in case disaster strikes.  Always have spare food on hand.  I prefer foods like dry rice, beans, and grains that are inexpensive and don’t spoil, and they are easy to make into meals.  There are also kits you can purchase that contain emergency foods, but these can be rather expensive.  Most of them do last for 5-10 years or more, so it can be a good investment.  Another rather unconventional idea for emergency food is to keep some high-quality human grade dog food around the house.  The upside to dog food as emergency food is you won’t eat it unless it’s an emergency, and it will keep you alive when you need it (this is great to carry in your car as well…unlike a stash of granola bars or other foods, you’re not likely to snack on it!)

You also need to have water.  As I mentioned, we usually keep three 5-gallon containers.  The rule of thumb is to have 1 gallon of water per person per day.  We like to have a little more, since we have cats and dogs that also need water.

Flashlights, candles, and other forms of light are good to have on hand.  We like the wind-up flashlights so you don’t have to worry about the batteries going dead.  LED flashlights and headlamps are also good to have around, since they have a fairly long battery life. First Aid Kit

A good first aid kit is also something you should always have on hand.  We have one in each car and one in the house.  If you have children (or are clumsy like I am sometimes) you’ll find this comes in handy even if there isn’t a natural disaster.

Here is a great link to a site with information on emergency preparation, recommended items to keep in your emergency kit, and an emergency kit checklist:  ak-prepared.com

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