I don’t consider myself a doomsday prepper or a conspiracy theorist.
In fact, I recently deleted all my Facebook friends who were posting Boston Marathon bombing conspiracy garbage.
I don’t think the government is “out to get us” either. I actually think it’s too bulky to get out of its own way. Or at least too into itself to worry enough about the people it’s supposed to assist and protect. (Sounds like a lot of people I’ve come across too.)
I don’t really subscribe to too many American extremist beliefs either — only when it comes to health — but in that case, I think it’s a good thing.
So when I told Annmarie that I wanted to start a small preparedness cache in our 600 square foot apartment, she obviously wanted to know what happened to me. Had I been talking to prepper cells at the coffee house in North Berkeley? Had I taken a trip to visit at least one of my friends who feel like at any time the government is plotting against us? Had I hit my head too hard walking to the bathroom one evening?
Nope. None of it.
It Just Started to Make Sense to Me
I never really thought about being prepared for any type of disaster in the past. I grew up in Connecticut. The only “disaster” we had was Hurricane Gloria in 1985. We lost power for 2 days. It was, well, fun. I was young and I got to miss school.
As I grew older and traveled around the country, I realized that there was a heck of a lot of people who were thinking proactively about their own safety in case of a disaster. Many of them, weather disasters. Some of them for religious reasons, namely our Mormon friends. A smaller group for nuclear fallout. And, of course, a few for the zombie apocalypse.
I Never Judged, I Just Listened
What I learned is that even the zombie apocalypsers had some good ideas — even though their intentions are probably a little misguided. But I did give them credit — even if the attack was wrong, at least they’ll be prepared for something more likely — a tornado, flood, hurricane, or earthquake.
So the idea of preparedness sat in the back of my head for a while. Every time I listened to someone talking about storing food, I felt a little tinge — the one that I feel when I know I need to take action but haven’t yet. It happened too often for me to ignore.
Then we moved to Berkeley — which is right on the Hayward Fault. One that is expected to have a 6.9+ earthquake in the next 30 years. In fact, there’s a community-wide drill that they do every year where emergency response is simulated. Pretty serious stuff.
But, even still, this wasn’t enough to get me off to Amazon.com and get a Marine battery charger or some mylar blankets.
What did that was having a baby.
Hudson Changed Everything
Yes, you’ll hear it from every parent. Their child changed their lives. And, yes, we’re the same. Our child changed our lives in so many ways — many ways that I’m not going to cover here. The way he changed me — that is relevant to this article — is that he finally inspired me to make a emergency preparedness plan and take action.
After he was born, a few nights of the week I would lie in bed thinking about what would happen if there was an earthquake and what I’d do to get my family to a safe place. Granted, you might think I’m neurotic, but I think — and hope — most parents think this way. (If not, please get me mental help, LOL!)
I had already bought an escape ladder, since at the time our apartment was on the top (3rd) floor. This put my mind at ease in case there was a fire and we couldn’t get out the front door.
But, I still kept thinking about what would happen if something worse happened. A major earthquake in our immediate area. There would be fire, collapsed buildings, injuries, looters, no food, no banks, no gas and a host of other unpredictables. And if it were to happen, I’d be in a position that many people — of all types generally find themselves in — knowing what they should have done after the fact, but totally screwed because they never prepared for it.
That was unacceptable for me and my new family.
So I Took Action
I financed my own emergency preparedness cache. It actually didn’t take a long time, just some cash. And now I want to tell you about it.
I’ve been struggling how I would gather all of the data I’ve processed to create my cache as well as how to organize all the goodies I have.
So what I’ve decided to do is categorize all my items into three categories. These are:
1. Water / Food / Health
2. Personal Safety
3. Medical / Community
In each category, I’m going to break down what I have, why I have it and where I’m short — at least from my perspective. This analysis will come over the next week.
Why am I Writing About This on a Health Blog?
For one, sometimes it’s fun to switch things up. I’ve been writing or making videos about health for over 7 years. Sometimes, there isn’t much to cover. Over the last year or so, my attention has moved to other cool things and I imagine — as long as you agree — I’m going to share them with you here.
Secondly, I truly think there is a health lesson hidden inside my preparedness.
It’s the total elimination of stress around not being prepared in a region where I really should.
I no longer think about getting prepared or stress about it at night. This equals sleep. I know I have done at least enough and made a solid effort to protect my family. It’s entirely possible that if there is a disaster we might have missed a few things, but that’s much easier to swallow than if we had nothing and needed something very simple for survival.
For instance, a friend was over the other night and she told me one of her biggest fears was being in the bathtub when an earthquake happens. The last semi-noticeable earthquake happened when she was taking a bath — so her fear is for real. She was afraid that she’d somehow be stuck in the bath or in the bathroom and freeze — or at least be uncomfortable until someone could rescue her. I think it’s a legit fear, and one that was destroying her relaxation time. In this case, her stress was interfering with her life.
I had a simple solution. I went back into my storage room and pulled out a mylar blanket — the kind you see at the end of road races that keep people warm on cooler days. I told her to keep it in her bathroom just in case. She took it and thanked me. It was almost instant relief. Now she had some kind of plan — instead of being worried about being naked in the bathtub — trapped and cold — she knew she had something. Will that something be the thing that saves her life in that instance? I don’t know, but it’s a step toward safety and relief that she didn’t have before.
If you take this to a larger scale, then the question can be what do you spend your time worrying about and what can you do about it to end the stress? What can you do to pacify yourself from your thoughts so that you live relatively stress-free?
It may be some heavy stuff, or maybe lighter, but regardless, it doing something about it will definitely ease your mind.
I said above “in a region I should” be prepared. But sometimes the most unprepared take the biggest hit. Keep in mind what’s happened in the last 10 years in New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina), Virginia (5.8 magnitude earthquake in 2011) and the U.S. Atlantic Coast.
The last two Hurricanes in the Northeast U.S. devastated the area. There was also an epic snow storm that put the power out for over a week for some. I have many, many friends who were completely unprepared. Some ran out of food. Some didn’t have water. They all had dead cell phones. Granted, for them it wasn’t life or death, but believe me, it would have been a lot easier for them if they had some of the items that I have here now.
So I look forward to sharing my thoughts on this — as well as getting yours — do you think I’m crazy, prudent or somewhere in between. I know there are a few of you just like me out there lurking around waiting to share your wisdom.
Your question of the day: Do you have any preparedness plan at all? Yes or no?