Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Relative Value

Last night, I was waiting for my spouse to get home from a very late meeting, and as I sat there, knitting away on what turns out to be ten rows of to-be-frogged lace (groans all 'round), I picked up a little booklet called "Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country." It's sponsored by a lot of different agencies, and basically is designed to scare you silly. Well, not really, but the facts alone are scary enough.

1. We live in one of the highest shake zones in the Bay Area.
2. We don't have quake insurance.
3. We can't afford quake insurance.
4. There probably won't be much help coming from our local or state agencies in the days after a big one.
5. the last "big one" wasn't The Big One.
6. My house isn't ready.

I sat there, trying to breathe and think calm thoughts, and images of my children, sleeping peacefully in their beds floated into my brain. The two middle Things were snug together, blonde heads close, and the baby was a lump under her blankets. Thing 1 was upstairs with the cats cuddled up against her.

One of the reasons I've never bought household earthquake kits is the expense -- you can easily drop up to a thousand dollars, depending on how you house and supply them. And really, we don't have spare money.

However, the stunning inconsistency of thinking I would pay any price for my childrens' safety and yet not procuring and filling some large trash cans with water, flashlights, first aid supplies, food, etc. shook me. Besides, if our house falls down and then burns to the ground, an extra thousand dollars of credit card debt is going to pale in comparison.

We're still not completely ready -- or even as ready as we can be. But a trip to Home Depot this morning moved us farther down that road. Spouseman has been putting up shear walls in the basement, and after I get our kits filled, I'm going to start thinking about grab bags.

How quickly could you get your irreplaceables together in the event of an emergency? Got pictures of all of your household goods, stored in another place, for insurance purposes? Backup photo storage? Family meeting place? Do you have a day plan, an hour plan, and a five-minute plan? Do you consider yarn and handknits part of your grab-to-go plan?


Jacquie said...

We live on a fault line, and we really need to be a lot more prepared than we are. Thank you for bringing this important issue up and well done for getting your house in order

Elspeth said...

I totally agree. Last week a few tremors kept me awake for a few hours, thinking of what I would do if it were "the big one". Living through the Loma Prieta was scary enough. And those premade earthquake kits aren't cheap.

amy said...

thanks for the reminder - we do not have a good fire plan. We also don't have a basement, which is not great in a tornado area.

allisonmariecat said...

When my husband was out of town earlier this year, we had a tornado scare, and I realized we had no plan! With the sirens going and the weather guy on tv yelling "It's headed this way" and then going to static, I shoved the cats in their carrier and grabbed my purse and laptop to head down to the apartment basement.

I think it's hard to think too much about what might happen, and that probably keeps us from preparing as much as we need to. Good for you for taking steps to get ready.

Lara said...

Well, thanks for scaring me right before Christmas! lol. J/K.

I don't live in an earthquake area, but we do have tornadoes, and a plan for that.

Charity said...

It's amazing how each area has it's own disaster possibilities. We don't worry about earthquakes here, but a major blizzard and losing power is a scary and very possible thing. And it is so very easy to put off preparations for things like this, by just ignoring the possibilites, and pretending they only happen to other people.

And, yes, I definitely have yarn in my plan!

Anonymous said...

Did you really have to share this?? I prefer my little "la-la-la-can't-hear-you-earthquake" bubble, thank you very much! And I was here in the Bay Area in '89 and just north of Northridge in whatever year that was ('93?).

We were in Costco recently and they were selling a BIG (5 or 10 gallon) bucket of emergency food. The ladies were there preparing samples and everything. I laughed at the time but maybe that is the easiest way to get it all done at once. It was vegetarian fare enough for 4 people for a bunch of days. I seem to recall $150 or something like that. Hmmm. I'll have to revisit that. They also have an emergency kit backpack with enough to keep 4 for 3 days with water, food, first aid, blankets, and stuff that I saw on the website.

OK, OK, I'm off to make a list to alleviate some of this stress!


K said...

Well - we don't live in a quake zone (Maryland) and we are not in a Tornado Alley kind of place, nor are we significantly at risk for hurricanes. We live on a ridge sheltered between two taller ridges, so are protected from wind and too high for flooding. But we took well #2 off the electric and converted it to a manual pump well (good for the pecs!) and we have a good amount of dried food stashed. And we have handguns and have trained ourselves to use them (disasters bring out predators). So is that a downer? or is it just practical? I don't have any yarn in my grab&go kit, but ya know, I think I will add some.