The world is changing, literally. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent so I’ve had to find ways to support myself if ever nature would suddenly wreak havoc of its elements upon my doorstep.
One would think that living in a city would provide greater comfort if a natural disaster would strike. I think that such a thought would stem out of the security of being surrounded by more people. Perhaps there could be an element of truth there, as I’ve discovered that people do tend to become more helpful towards each other when a natural disaster strikes, but I’ve also observed that many people take advantage of vulnerability, not even caring for their own lives. I have also learned that people panic with unpredictable outcomes.
In my area, earthquakes, floods and high winds are becoming increasingly common; and I live in a city.
Before making any type of preparation, I first analyzed my environment. This was crucial for me to do in order to find secure areas, in case my dwelling would be impossible to live in. It was imperative for me to take into consideration the severity of the disaster, and how I could survive through any degree of onslaught a natural disaster would bring. I had to factor in everything that I would possibly need to survive nature unleashing its worse.
During high winds and storms, power lines go down. Could I live without electricity? At first I had purchased some camping gear, such as a small propane stove. I soon realized that during winter, hands frozen and fumbling in the dark, the propane stove would have become more hazardous to my health. Everything works fine when we’re not under duress, when our minds are sharp and clear, but the reality is different when experiencing events we’re not accustomed to. It’s not like we’re trained soldiers that have prepared ourselves to combat the elements on a daily basis. It’s not that easy to suddenly be thrown into a state of chaos, when we’re so use to more comfortable conditions.
After realizing what I could possibly be pitted against, I began making an assessment of the things I felt that I would need and prepared myself.
The essentials: food, water and rest
High winds and cyclonic activity, as well as earthquakes, do knock down power lines. I wouldn’t be able to live without electricity. In a city, during a power outage, one can hear a pin drop. I decided to purchase a small 3000 watt Honda generator, because these generators are known to be very quiet. I wouldn’t be disturbing my neighbors. I built myself an outside spacious ground-deck last year, not just to sunbathe on it but to use it in time of a natural emergency. It’s sequestered with bushes all around, naturally hidden from view. Complimenting the ground-deck, I also made myself a large ventilated special-customized box, enough to fit the generator in with a combination lock, a large exhaust vent and plenty of room for the 14 gauge wires to pass through the open mailbox slot in my front door, leading into the kitchen to hook up only necessary appliances, such as the fridge, microwave and small heater (for wintertime).
For the generator, I calculated how much gasoline I would need to last me for the first week. I have containers filled with gasoline ready, and stored in a cool place annexed to my home, outside and under lock and key. If I don’t need the petroleum after 3 months, I use it. I then re-stock. As an added measure, I add ‘Stabil’ to the gas which is a solution that can be added to gas to keep it active longer, and which can be purchased in any automotive store.
I always make certain to keep stocked on microwavable plates and bowls. They’re more pliant and handy than dishes that could become shattered in case of an earthquake. They can easily be disposed of after, without the fuss of having to wash dishes, especially if there’s no water to wash the dishes to start with.
I like to keep un-perishable ’emergency food’ stocked. Water is essential. I bought myself three very large water gallon jugs, filled with mineral water, with air-tight seal caps. If the water is not needed within three months, I drink it. I then return to refill it for free at my local grocery store.
In case disaster is so severe that I can’t use my bed, I have two ways in which I can sleep: one portable folding cot bed, easy to carry; or I can sleep in the back of my car with my camper’s sleeping bag.
If the house would be impossible to live in, I can pack everything in the car, and use it as a temporary shelter.
We never know when a natural disaster will strike during the course of a day. If at night, I certainly wouldn’t want to run outside in my sleeping wear. I packed clothes in a large back-pack, just for this. I included items for my personal hygiene.
In another duffle bag, I included a large medical kit, along with water-proof flashlights, pocket radio and fresh batteries (I keep regular maintenance with the batteries).
The environment and planned out safety zones
Fortunately, I live on a mountain, next to a bigger mountain. I became acquainted with the mountain to understand where to go in case of a very severe disaster. I would rather have trees surrounding me, than fallen debris from buildings. I would rather be on top of the mountain and to see what’s going on around me, than to be caught up in city chaos. Driving to the peak of the mountain for me, would not be that difficult. If I have no vehicle then back-packing wouldn’t be that difficult either.
Needless to mention, in a time of emergency, it’s important to travel lightly.
My pet cat is my companion. She has a pet taxi to be kept in for security reasons, and grabbing her large bag of food would not be forgotten. Pets are not negative distractions. They help soothe nerves, and during a natural disaster I wouldn’t be able to afford to become overly stressed.
It became important for me to understand if I could physically maintain going through a disaster. Striving to keep healthy goes a long way. By doing a regime of regular exercising, I come to understand what I’m able to support or not. This would help in better coping if I were suddenly affected by a natural disaster.