Being prepared when disaster strikes
Have certain supplies on hand at all times and plan for the worst no matter of where you are
They say that good artists borrow and great artists steal. I’m stealing from Jim Cobb.
Cobb has written a shelf full of books on emergency preparedness. Start where you like. I started with Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper’s 52-Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness.
Oddly, there’sre s more clear and useful information in this little paperback than n there is in most urban emergency plans.
Everybody needs an emergency plan. You’ll know why if you live in tornado alley, on any coasts, in Alberta and Saskatchewanwan during recent forest fires and evacuations, aroundound the bog fire in Delta,
B.C., or after thehe recent earthquake in Vancouver. ancouver.
More broadly, there are regular ice storms, power wer outages and exxtreme weather er to contend with h across the coun- try.
It’s remarkkable how poor oor urban emergency gency plans tend to be, although some contain good advice on personal preparedness. I like the firstaid kit checklistsists in Guelph,
Ont., with honourableourable mention to Birmingham,m, U.K., Jacksonville, Fla., and Orlando, Fla. The “go bag” concept involves nvolves what to take and I like the thinkinghinking in St. Catharines, Ont., with honourable mentions for Windsor, Ont.,nt., Milwaukee, Wisc.,
Long Beach, Calif.,alif., Washington, D.C., and Melbourne and Sydney in Australia. St. Catharines and Guelph lph also have advice on a car kit, which is a little diff different k kettlel of f fi fish.h
Cobb doesn’t just want to be able to reach for a few bandages or have some supplies in the car for a trip out of the danger zone. He’s getting ready to survive for a long time by growing food, using solar power, having no sewage system, no medical care, and on and on.
He’s not kidding. The fact that he goes deeper and farther than even the good urban plans I’ve cited is to his credit, and a bit of an embarrassment for urban emergency planners.
Cobb’s idea is to do a little each week to get really prepared. He suggests saving cash and stocking up on water. He tells you what food to buy and how often to replace supplies.
He’s not alone in his thinking. The Surrey, B.C., civic website links to a document providing 26 steps to preparedness. It gives family members various tasks and breaks down what seems like a daunting job into manageable bites. Long Beach has a 21-week plan to achieve much the same. These are all good ideas.
But here are a few things that Cobb ma may be able to call his own. First is when to use your stored d drinking water in the bath: every six months. Also how to rotate food supplies in and out so that you’re not ea eating something that’s five years old with no nutri nutritional value just when you need nutrition duringdurin an emergency. Cobb also advocates for “Get Home Bags.” There was once a r reference on the website of Charlotte, N.C., about how folks might go h home to assemble family membersm before evacuatin evacuating, or how they all migh might meet at work or in the middle. B But I don’t think a anyone has done a anything about this circumstance. Cobb has.
Th The simple idea is that when an emergency is declared o or an evacuation ordered, many o of us – tens of thousands of us in ci cities – may have to get home safely before going anywhere else. We’ll need a bag of supp supplies in case we have to walk, stay warm, keep dr dry, eat, drink and so on. These are different needs than for long stays at home or car trips to safety. So we need su supplies at the office and home, and in the car.
If that Get Home Bag is what you have to take out of town because you can’t get home, you still have something useful that may save your life.
And you will have me to thank, because I stole th the idea from Jim Cobb. -TROYMEDIA
Troy Media columnist Dr. Allan Bonner has consulted on some of the major planning and public policy issues of our time on five continents over 25 years. He loves cities and his next book will be titled Safer Cities. Allan is included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.