[For reasons that should be fairly obvious to most of country (i.e. Hurricane Sandy), I’m going to bump this up. It’s probably too late to buy a lot of this stuff now, but maybe you can find and gather it or barter with the community.]
Last weekend San Francisco encountered a huge storm. Prior to that, the news buzzed about how it was the worst storm in more than two years. It was difficult for me to take news of 6-9 inches of rain seriously. I grew up in Boston where there’s often a foot of snow at a time. While that storm did not impact me, the threat of an earthquake always looms in San Francisco. We know we need to be ready – both at home and at work – in the case of an emergency.
If you want to succeed at any venture, the first step is to have a plan. Here are some steps we are taking to be prepared:
- Buy an Emergency Kit – We went out and purchased this one . It has everything that the American Red Cross suggests for two people to live for three days. If you want to really safe, you might want to consider this deluxe version.
- Buy an Emergency Radio – We haven’t pulled the trigger on purchasing a radio yet, but we will soon. I have my eye on this radio. I love that it can be powered simply by cranking a handle. As far as features go, it is weather resistant, can charge a variety of cell phones, has a powerful flashlight, an AM/FM/NOAA/VHF radio, and an emergency siren. If you are on a budget, you might want to consider this radio instead.
- Buy a Multi-tool – This can be either a Swiss Army knife or a Leatherman-type tool. For less than $10, plus shipping, I like this cheap version” of a Leatherman tool. Like anything else, there’s a deluxe version. This one is currently around $65 and seems extremely well-made with many features.
- Buy Extra Miscellaneous Items – My kit didn’t include a way to start a fire; waterproof matches or a lighter should work. I will also look to add the following: paper and pencils, resealable sandwich bags, duct tape, super glue, a sewing kit, and a small compass.
- Prepare Important Documents and Irreplaceable Items – If you have to evacuate your home in a hurry you’ll want to gather a birth certificates, social security cards, house and car deeds, and passports. I would look to have a portable hard drive with any documents that you need.
- Upload Important Data to the Internet – We will not grab our wedding album – or any pictures in our home for that matter. By having all our pictures uploaded to the Internet, we can retrieve them when the emergency is over. It can’t hurt to scan copies of all the documents mentioned above and upload them as well.
- Have Emergency Cash Available – If there’s a true natural disaster, you might find that your credit card and check book aren’t accepted. A couple of hundred dollars could go a very long way.
Now that I have a plan, it’s simply a matter of execution. Putting all the above supplies together should take only 2-3 hours and less than $200. I have only one problem. Where do we store the final kit? Do we store it in our home and hope that in an earthquake, there is time to grab it and go? Or should we store it in one of our cars? In the later case, we can immediately get out with just our car keys and not have to worry about something collapsing on our heads.
Is there anything that my emergency plan is missing? Where would you store your emergency kit?