As you are certainly aware, a huge earthquake and resultant tsunami have wrecked tragic loss of life and property in Northeast Japan. Here on the other side of the Pacific we watch, horrified by the replayed scenes of mud and water crushing towns and farms. We hope that loved ones are found and homes and businesses are rebuilt quickly.
We should also stand in admiration of the Japanese. Without minimizing this tragedy in any way, it could have been much, much worse. The strict building codes, earthquake bunkers, tsunami floodgates and nationwide disaster preparedness drills that the Japanese government invests in probably saved tens of thousands of lives.
If there is a lesson to be learned it is that we cannot prevent tragedy, but we can try to minimize its shock through our own planning and fore-action.
|Image by UlteriorEpicure. Used under Creative Common License.|
In our own lives, we can take responsibility with an emergency medical kit and stores of food and fresh water supplies. We can make sure we know our neighbors and have our contact information on us when we go out. We can keep gas in the tank and an extra blanket and a spare tire and flares in the trunk.
This weekend, to honor the preparedness of the Japanese and both the loss they have suffered and the loss they have prevented, I will be inventorying my own emergency supplies and determining what I need to re-stock or replace. Will you join me?
Here’s a few good resources to get you started:
- Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days is one of my favorite books on food storage and preservation. While not explicitly a disaster preparedness book, it talks extensively about food security during difficult times. Highly recommended.
- Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens is a more straight-up emergency preparedness manual. It is a fast, optimistic read for beginners from the perspective of a woman who wants to ensure her family can handle anything from a power outage to an extended layoff. While it is not comprehensive, I think it’s a great starting place.
- Ready America’s Basic Emergency Supply Kit recommendations.
- FEMA’s Are You Ready? manual to disaster preparedness. A .pdf mini-book on the whole host of bad things that might befall you and what to do if they do. It’s broken down into linked sections so you can view the topics most appropriate to your area.