First, we’re all safe. The tornadoes completely missed Gadsden, although several nearby communities weren’t so lucky. And elsewhere in the state? Well, you’ve seen the news reports, I’m sure. Tuscaloosa is more or less wiped off the map, as is Cullman. So many fatalities, so much destruction….we were incredibly lucky. We never even lost power.
Second, after spending several uncomfortable hours in the basement Wednesday night, all by myself except for the animals (because spouse was in lockdown at the mall), I became aware of how inadequately we have prepared in the event we were struck by a tornado or some other disaster, natural or otherwise. As in, we have made NO preparation. None whatsoever.
Okay, we have a cellar. And a few candles. And a flashlight. It’s a Maglite, so it’s a good flashlight. But there’s only one.
Spouse tends to discount and minimize threats, while I tend to overreact. Sometimes he’s right: the duct tape and plastic sheeting for the windows recommendation several years ago was a bit silly. On tornadoes, though, and considering where we live? I think he’s a bit too cocksure about our chances if we suffered a direct hit. And so yesterday I started putting together our disaster kit.
Having been through a first aid and CPR course as well as a disaster-preparedness class courtesy of the US Government, I have some general idea of what we need. The detailed list I got in that class has disappeared, but FEMA also provides a list on its Ready.gov website. Yesterday I bought the first aid kit and three more flashlights: another Maglite, an Energizer crank flashlight, and another Energizer combo crank/solar powered flashlight. The crank flashlights have cords or belt clips so we can attach them to our clothing. I also bought two cases of bottled water. I ordered a combo weather/AM/FM radio and an emergency backpack kit with food, blankets, and other goodies in a convenient grab-and-go package.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll get the basement organized…there’s already a big plastic shelf down there. And a work table. We also have four camp chairs. I need to move the animal crates from the garage to the basement and get two more plastic bins to store extra pet food. Extra harnesses and leashes too. And more batteries. A wrench and other tools. Maps. An extra stepladder.
So many little things one doesn’t realize are necessities until one needs them, which all by itself is the reason to plan ahead.