Sunday, September 30, 2018

Four degrees of preparation

I won a first aid kit through my community's emergency preparedness Facebook page the other day. It's been a good resource for getting to know my neighbors, and I'm glad to know they're thinking about caring for one another in the event of a disaster. With my abundance of leashes, kennels, carriers, and crates, and with the nearest animal shelter 27 miles away, I've volunteered to be my neighborhood's companion animal assembly station in the event of a disaster on a scale that separates people from pets. 

Survivalists and preppers have been the brunt of more than a few jokes in my lifetime, and there is something almost pathetic about someone who invests more life energy in building a nuclear bunker than in connecting with today's society. Preppers are often stereotyped as anti-government, right-wing radicals or commune-dwelling, free love hippies, but since Y2K and especially since 9/11, it seems that being prepared for at least a couple of weeks of societal disruption is now viewed as mainstream common sense. Workplaces are doing it, families are doing it, and in some places, communities are doing it together. 

 I've been thinking lately about four kinds of preparedness for either socioeconomic disruption or a natural disaster. While I'd like to think that society is on a trajectory for course-correction and increased health, I look the income disparity, environmental degradation, and political madness rampant today and I realize it's not a bad idea to prepare for alternatives. Additionally, living as I do on a restless subduction zone, being prepared for an earthquake is just good thinking.

Here are the four ways in which I'm creating more resilience for my family and neighbors:

1: Thriving Now. That means I'm paying down debt, living within my means, loving my work, caring for my health, and cultivating joy and sustainability in my daily activities so that I'm not living on the edge of material or emotional survival to begin with. 

2: Preparing for Emergency.  I want to feel secure about my family's immediate, essential needs. That means storing water, emergency rations, first aid kids, a go-bag, an emergency radio, flashlights, etc. For my hungry animal family, that also means storing plenty of kibble. 

3: Building Community.  Surviving together will be a life skill in the event of a major disaster. Thriving together is the icing on the cake of community life today. Knowing who's in my neighborhood, and what their skills, resources, and special needs are, is a good idea with or without disaster. I'm glad to have Community Emergency Response Teams mobilizing in my neighborhood and I'm planning to be involved. I'm also building community by supporting small businesses, keeping my banking as local as possible, and buying my food through a CSA from organic farmers in my watershed. 

4: Building Skills. I think one way to move forward is to move back—to gain DIY skills for building, mending, and growing, and self-sufficient communities. Despite my relatively shaded lot and limited time, I'm planning to plant a small vegetable garden and a few fruit trees as a step toward greater food independence.

The nice thing about all of this is that it doesn't have the slightest negative impact on life: living within my means, storing life essentials, knowing and supporting my neighbors, and having the skills to meet my own basic needs are just great, life-enhancing activities whether or not life as I know it is disrupted in my lifetime.

Prep away! 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Marnie, good! Here in NorCal disaster preparedness is a way of life as you can imagine! With the guidance of the Red Cross, most everyone in our HOA community participated in a dress rehearsal fake disaster a couple of years ago. It was educational, helpful, and the barbecue after was fun too.

    If you have CERT training nearby, it’s another valuable free asset and a worthwhile government program, that is unless the FEMA budget for it has been cut :(.

    The RC provided education about disaster preparedness, lost pet record keeping (Marnie :)), first aid, triage, preparedness kits, etc. I thought I knew a lot and was sufficiently ready, but nope. We are now and it feels good.
    Fun Fact: ATMs won’t work so remember to stash cash.


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