Northern California might not be recognized as the birthplace of rock and roll, but around here people think about it quite a bit, particularly the closer they get to the San Andreas Fault. We’re strongly encouraged to have earthquake/emergency kits in our homes, cars and offices. Heck I practically have one on my bike.
Fortunately there are great resources available for people looking to get their act together – one of my favorites is 72hours.org. For a list-loving organizational geek like me, this site is heaven! Bold icons! Concrete plans! Checklists!!
Every summer I haul out all our kits and refresh them, and in the winter I replace a few things like dry goods that don’t last as long. It’s handy that I’m crazy about lists (just like Mum) because I would be utterly lost without them (unlike Mum). I have a whole document that tells me what should be in all the kits and what needs to be replaced when. This year I made it prettier because I’m frankly much more apt to use the list if I like looking at it. It’s just a Word doc, but it itemizes the supplies needed for our household emergency supplies as well as our Earthquake kit and Auto kit. And it has checklists. And pretty colors.
So the past few weeks have been filled with canned-goods shopping. Woo hoo! The good news is that over the years I wised up enough to make sure that the food in the kits was actually food that we eat regularly. There are even some treats in there that we don’t eat regularly but love – just because my inclination is that if things are bad enough for you to need to eat your earthquake kit food, they’re bad enough for you to need some serious candy. Just a guess.
It actually took me a few rounds to realize that if we never opened a can of carrots or peas for regular use, they really didn’t belong in the kit. And let’s not even get into the year that someone in our house thought it would be a swell idea to just bulk purchase a six pack of green beans and some terrifying jarred wieners for the kit! That certain somebody very cleverly wienered his way out of a thankless job.
In our garage, we keep our earthquake kit pieces all together under a strong workbench. The main parts are the cooler which contains – shockingly – the food, and a large duffel bag which holds all of our go-bags. (The idea behind a go-bag is that each family member has a bag containing a change of clothes, emergency information, a small snack, water, flashlight, etc.) We keep our camping gear right there as well. Tent, sleeping bags, camping box (which is filled with all the plates, cups, pans, and so on).
It is occasionally dispiriting to put so much effort into a product I hope never to use. On the other hand, there is a bit of relief just knowing that if we were to have a big disaster, at least we’d have a few extra supplies to help tide us over.
Plus, every summer I get to eat the emergency candy.