I’ve been awake since 4am, when it felt like someone dropped my house on it’s foundation and then the house seemed to shake back into place for another minute or so afterwards. At first, I thought I was dreaming, but when my oldest dog jumped on top of me and wouldn’t get off, I knew it was an earthquake. And then I lied there staring at the ceiling, thinking, “What if?”
What if that earthquake had been worse? What if we had to leave our home in a hurry? What if disaster struck?
Not to get all doom and gloom on you here — and please note I’ve been up since 4am and may be slightly neurotic — but does it not seem like Mother Nature is particularly cruel lately? From crazy tornadoes whipping across the Southern States in record numbers, to a hurricane that caused unprecedented damage in New York City, to massive earthquakes across the globe, it appears she’s a little pissed.
And I’m just guessing, but I bet not too many of us are prepared. I know I’m not.
Recently I was invited to attend the new exhibit, Nature Unleashed at Ottawa’s Museum of Nature. I took my girls to see it with me and we laughed and giggled a little in the tornado simulator. We stood in awe at some of the artifacts destroyed by tornadoes and hurricanes, and we were awestruck by the damage caused by volcanoes. Then we left and practically skipped to the car, no worse for the wear, because we don’t get it.
And most of us don’t. When we watch nature unleash on far off locales or even not so far off locales, it seems very abstract. I don’t think you can ever really understand what it’s like to live through a natural disaster until you’ve actually had to. You can only imagine the confusion, the panic, the heartbreak, and the sense of hopelessness. But the very worst part of living through a natural disaster is something we can’t truly grasp. Which brings me back around to the fact that I’m not prepared.
I know that in the event of a natural disaster you would not have time to look up what you need in a Emergency Kit and then throw it together. That bag actually needs to be ready….today. So that’s what I’m doing and I urge you to as well. The Canadian Government has a site called GetPrepared.Ca. It’s full of extremely useful information on what to do in the event of an earthquake, tornado, flood, nuclear incident, etc. It helps you prepare an emergency plan and provides ways to get information in the event of an emergency.
What You Need in Your Emergency Kit for the First 72 Hours
- Water – at least 2 litres per day per person
- Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods
- Manual Can Opener
- Crank or battery-powered flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Crank or battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
- First Aid Kit
- Extra Keys (vehicle and home)
- Cash in smaller bills, and change for payphones
- A copy of your emergency plan and contact information
- Special items such as prescription medication, infant formula, and equipment for people with disabilities.
If you want you can also add the following additional emergency supplies:
- Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
- Candles and matches or lighter, place in sturdy containers and do not burn unattended
- Change of clothing and footwear, for each household member
- Sleeping bag or Warm Blanket, for each household member
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet Paper
- Garbage Bags
- Household chlorine bleach or water purifying tablets
- Basic tools – hammers pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, pocket knife
- Small fuel-operated stove and fuel
- Whistle – to attract attention
- Duct Tape
Also, in my kit, I’m going to throw some playing cards, some colouring pencils, papers, candies and a couple of stuffies, to help calm nerves of my little ones. Finally, don’t forget about your furry friends. You can find a full list of what you need for them here.