I had been warned about the Big Earthquake, long before I ever moved to
the bay area. My dad took a business trip here once when I was a kid,
and he was considering moving our whole family here. My mother
mentioned at that time that if he planned for "whole family" to include
her, then we were all staying right where we were in Maryland. And stay
in Maryland we did. My mother was afraid of earthquakes, especially
the Big Earthquake that would sink California into the ocean. Despite
the cryptic prophecies of my mother, California sounded like a
wonderful place, and I swore one day I would go there.
When I moved here, I was told pretty early on that I should make an earthquake kit. Naturally, I blew this suggestion off. I reasoned simply that there was nothing a can of tuna and some band-aids could do if the earth decided to open and swallow me up. IF I managed to survive the earthquake, I had the full-proof plan of looting in the event of a disaster. I was told that this was a form of denial somehow.
Which brings me (and my ADD), to denial. I will admit to living in blissful denial at any given moment. It's my little shell, and it's lovely in here. People who don't have their denial faculties trained properly do not always get how denial works. We can hear, see, and comprehend reality, don't think that we can't. We just think we see above reality. We see around and past reality, and create our own nicer and more fitting reality. We love it! You call it denial, we call it innovative. We're mavericks! And I can't stand using that word now, thank you Sarah Palin.
A couple of weeks ago, after nearly four years of Bay area living, I was finally talked into making an earthquake kit. Scare tactics hadn't worked, they never have with me. What did work was the prospect of helping in a disaster. This made me happy, so I went to a popular store in the South Bay and started looking for supplies off the list I had been given. Being in a store for earthquakes really got my imagination going, and I spent way too much money imagining one scenario after another. It was now an adventure in my mind. Now that I had decided to potentially live through the earthquake, I wanted to do it right! There wasn't too much in there that I didn't think I needed. I was however, disturbed by the shelved meals that included "seafood meadley," "spaghetti with meat sauce," "macaroni and cheese,"--how could these things not need to be refrigerated? Being that I'm not part-astronaut, I wasn't going to roll the dice by eating these entrees, even if it meant survival. I made a mental note to go to CostCo when I left the earthquake store for Dorito's, and cookies.
My mother thought it was so cute that I'd made an earthquake kit, and decided that she wanted one also, though she lives in Maryland around no fault lines. I was trying to support her, until she described her kit to me which had more make-up, clothes, and "things to do if she got bored," then actual survival supplies.
"Ma, what the heck kind of kit is that?" I asked, wondering where I could get legal confirmation that I was adopted.
"What? I need these things, even in an earthquake," she said.
"Mom, you're not going to be in an earthquake. And your survival kit sounds like you're headed to Ocean City," I said, while wondering what my real mother looked like.
That conversation went absolutely no where, as there was no convincing her to remove clothes and creature comforts, for silly little things like matches, batteries, flashlights, or even bottles of water.
At this point, I should probably say something responsible. This is the information that was passed to me regarding disaster survival, as we are all living in very unstable times. Hasn't anyone noticed how crazy the weather is? Hasn't anyone noticed the increase in earthquakes and natural disaster? Even the greatest of us denial-junkies can not ignore what is in plain sight. Here's what I've got:
1) Every City or County Office should have an emergency guide booklet, with reccomendations for supplies specific the needs of your particular area.
2) The basic kit reccomended from my congregation heads is this:
*Three-day supply of nonperishable food and a manual can opener
*Three-day supply of water, (one gallon per person, per day).
*Portable, battery-powered radio or television, and extra batteries.
*Flashlight and extra batteries.
*First aid kit and manual.
*Sanitation and hygiene items (hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, and toilet paper).
*Matches in a waterproof container.
*Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils
*Photocopies of identification and credit cards
*Special needs such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solution, and hearing and batteries.
*Items of infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles and pacifiers.
*Tools, pet supplies, a map of the local area, and other items specific to your unique family needs.
*Extra clothing and blankets.
We were told to keep all disaster supplies together, and pack as if we will not stay in our house, in case we are not able to stay in our houses for some reason. Between hurricanes, earthquakes, and well, whatever else, it doesn't hurt to be prepared. Specific lists are available at www.redcross.org, www.ready.gov, or www.femagov.
Happy hunting, and tell a friend!