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Are You Ready?

Along with many of you, the people of Japan have been on my mind and in my prayers.

I've been thinking about the unimaginable things that people there are facing right now. I've watched the videos; I've seen the before and after images; I've listened to the stories that move me to tears. There really are no words.

I've been thinking about how much I loved Japan the two times I visited - once in high school with my Dad and once for a scrapbooking event a few years back. It's one of my favorite places I've traveled to and I hope to visit again.

I've also been thinking about our own disaster readiness (or lack of readiness) here at home. What we would do, in our own family, if there was an earthquake? We're not in a tsunami danger zone here (we're an hour from the coast), but we're definitely in an area they say is simply waiting for the "Big One."

I decided we need to take action. We need a family disaster kit/plan/etc. We've got a few things in our garage, but definitely not enough, and we don't have a plan.

I'm starting with the Red Cross website. I downloaded the Be Red Cross Ready (PDF) and will be getting together our plan and kits over the next couple of weeks. Here's another site to check out: www.72hours.org.

Many of you live in areas of the country and world that face natural disasters more frequently. Regardless of where you live, do you have a disaster plan in place? Do you have supplies on hand? Do your kids know what to do?

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74 thoughts

  1. zewa says…
    03/16/2011

    Thank you Ali for posting the link to the Red Cross and 72hours. I think we all need to make time in our busy schedules to discuss these things and make commitments with our loved ones. One can never be prepared for these types of emergencies I believe, but some of the measures are definitely useful.

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  2. Paula in Australia says…
    03/16/2011

    Hi Ali I am sure you are psychic! This is so timely at the moment for me here in Australia too. I have really been struggling this week with the horrible start to this year. My husband's family were caught in the floods that killed 25 people in Toowoomba/Brisbane (thankfully none of his family). My family were then in the middle of the Cyclone Yasi that hit in North Queensland (it hit their hometown on the coast) and then the news of the Christchurch earthquake and now Japan. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been effected by these disasters and it is a very timely reminder to us all about our own readiness. Thanks for your foresight and ability to get this information out to those of us who need it. Peace and Love from my home to yours xxxx

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  3. Michelle says…
    03/16/2011

    After reading this I googled my home town plus "disaster preparedness" and found quite a bit of information on local resources - including a city run training program on how to help yourself and others during a crisis.

    May none of us ever needed it.

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  4. Rachael says…
    03/16/2011

    Hi Ali, I just wanted to add that those with pets may also find this resource helpful:

    http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. ShellyP says…
      03/16/2011

      Rachael,
      Thank you so much for posting this link, so many people forget to think of the pets in times of disaster. We have 4 dogs that share a home with us, and I plan on using the info from this site to be ready just in case. Thanks a bunch!

  5. Marsaille says…
    03/16/2011

    My brother (who was in the military) swears by this guy who is Special Forces. Of course, his approach is for a different kind of disaster, but all info is valuable. I can think of how his bug out bag would be helpful if you are in an area that doesn't have a dome to temporarily hide in.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-kwB0g-1cU

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  6. janie says…
    03/16/2011

    Thanks for the info .... I live in the mid-west and we are finally digging out of all the snow .... I just pray that snow is the worse of our disasters.
    These web-sites will certainly be a start to a plan because you never know what could happen.
    Thx again

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  7. dawn says…
    03/16/2011

    Ali and everyone else, thank you so much for helping and pointing us in the right direction to help our families and others. This is a huge and devasting event that has happened. Cannot imagine what they are going thru but we can reach out to help each other and be ready for anything that may come our way. Sending prayers and hope and strength for all the people in Japan at this time to get thru this ordeal. Thank you Ali for sharing this with us and look forward to your future kits/plans on this.

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  8. MargieH says…
    03/16/2011

    Hi, Ali! It's been awhile but I do lurk on your blog :)

    Thank you for your kind words about Japan - I will pass them on to my Jpn scrapbooking friends (the ones I know are safe). My entire family live in Tokyo and they are safe...so far.

    I love that you are posting about a disaster plan - we have a partial one and need to complete it. Although we live in the Midwest and we do not have TSUNAMI, we do have reactors and tornadoes plus we do have an occasional earthquake. But these do not matter either as fires, floods and power outages are also a mini-diseaster too.

    Again, thank you for thinking of Japan and her people! xo
    MargieH in Chicago

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. sue says…
    03/16/2011

    My husband and I have watched with horror all the things happening in Japan. Our son and his family live in Florida, Hurricane Country, and they always update their emergency kits this time of year. I guess it's time we get our own 'kit' in order. Living int he midwest we don't think of earthquakes often but we do live near a fault line so it is possible. We also are exposed to tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Thanks.

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  10. Linda Trace says…
    03/16/2011

    what a great post, I think it's really important to think about these things AHEAD of time. In Australia we're more prone to bushfires than anything, but so many people don't even do the basic things they should to prevent a tragedy.

    I have friends in Japan and lived there so my heart is aching terribly for them. I'm praying every minute that they are all ok and their families are safe too.

    Another important thing to remember is to explain to our children what to do. With all that is on the news (pictures, videos of homes ruined, people crying, etc etc), they will no doubt ask us what do we do if it happens to us? It's important to explain it to them I think. Tell them teh 'plan of action' and it will help them to know you've thought about it, that there's a plan and they will feel much safer than if we just gloss over it.

    thanks again for such an important post Ali.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Catherine says…
    03/16/2011

    You just summed up how I bet most of us are feeling. I work at a newspaper have gone through hundreds of photos for our coverage-devastating. The images of the displaced babies and kids get me the worst.
    For preparedness, people may want to look into local emergency alerts to signup for. A lot of towns have alerts for major emergencies that will notify you via email, cell phones, office phones, etc.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Dorothy F says…
    03/16/2011

    Thanks, Ali. Living in a hurricane (Florida) area and on the coast, I know I am not anywhere as planned as I should be. Thanks for the sites, I will get going now too.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Karen says…
    03/16/2011

    I live in an area where blizzards and ice storms are the worst disasters we've ever had. Nonetheless, we are NOT prepared for anything worse should it arrive, so these links are very helpful. I need to get a plan and a kit together. Thanks.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Juju says…
    03/16/2011

    Ali, you've done a great public service--at least for those of us who read your blog--by posting about individual and family disaster preparedness. I feel SO strongly about this, having lived through two major hurricanes.

    Though we depend on government assistance, during the time immediately following a disaster, there's only so much government agencies can do, and it may take a long time for them to get to people located very remotely. So we have to be ready to do what we can for ourselves.

    My husband and I have learned the hard way, so we now have an evacuation plan, and every spring, we refresh our hurricane supplies (drinking water, canned goods, dog supplies, gas grill, generator in good order, plywood for windows, etc.)

    One good way to build up your disaster kit is to focus each week on something you need and make sure you've got that need covered (planned, in stock, in good operating order, whatever). But to my mind, the FIRST thing to do is to make sure you have an evac or meeting plan--where would you go if you had to leave your home unexpectedly? How would you get there? Where would you plan to meet with your family members in the event that a disaster finds you scattered?

    This stuff is no fun to think about, but you may find that you rest better once you've got it covered.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Melissa says…
    03/16/2011

    Ali, our home was destroyed by a hurricane in 2004. Our town was without power for 2.5 weeks. We lived in a FEMA-provided trailer on our front yard for several months while my husband and his friends rebuilt our home in an effort to save money. I'd be happy to share what I learned.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      03/16/2011

      I'd love to read what you learned Melissa.

  16. Julie L. says…
    03/16/2011

    As someone who has been directly impacted by a tornado in Iowa, a hurricane in Louisiana, and now wildfires in Colorado I thank you for posting this. I've yet to find a part of the world that is immune to natural disasters, although I would strongly consider moving there given my luck if that place existed. As others have said I think having a plan of what you would do is key. Often times communication is difficult after a disaster and having the comfort of your family can make all the difference when the rest of your life has been destroyed. I wish the people of Japan peace and comfort as they put their lives back together.

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  17. Sue TR says…
    03/16/2011

    Great post Ali,
    I don't think anyone is NOT thinking about Japan these days...horrible, I took the kids and their friends out for lunch for their 1/2 day yesterday and we couldn't even get away from it there...news on the tv's in the bar area. Have been trying to shield them from the images but there have been a lot of questions (they and their friend are 9 and his sister is 6) and it's a good entre to discussing What Would We Do? We live a few miles outside of Boston so we have 'Noreasters and snow and supposedly, we sit on a major fault line.

    We have always had water stocks...last year we had a major water line rupture so couldn't use our water to drink/cook for 2 or 3 days...big wakeup call for a lot of people. Flashlights, batteries, oil lamps and charcoal grills for cooking and we always have a lot of food in the cupboards.

    Thank you for the reminder to get the rest of the plan together...You can't rely on anyone but yourselves if something horrible happens. I (and I'm sure every other mom) have nightmares about a disaster while my kids are at school, hubby is at work in boston and I can't get to anybody!

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  18. Sue TR says…
    03/16/2011

    and I just thought of a few other things....
    -Crank radio (thought this was silly until the power went out and I wanted to listen to the news, and yes, they really do work!)
    -Fully charged cell phone...I try to charge it every night so it's ready. Am looking into getting a solar charger for it so can charge it on the go!
    -Gas tank never below 1/3 or so...I try and fill-up every monday, even if it's topping off...especially important in winter as you never know if you will get stuck somewhere.
    -Hand sanitizer in case you can't wash with water.

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  19. Kirsten J says…
    03/16/2011

    When I worked at Nordstrom I was on the safety board. Sat in on some disturbing meetings about preparedness, and for years after those meetings, I had a well-stocked "kit" in the bottom of my pantry. I rotated water there regularly, freshened batteries....and then after 2 or 3 years and no earthquake, I cleaned out the pantry and let it go. Then we had that Nisqually quake, which barely rattled us, and I never reconsidered it, we moved to a brand new house which the builder assured us could withstand a big earthquake. But just the other day, I decided even though it might be a bit of an expense and hassle to get a kit together, I decided it would be a form of cheap insurance. It's not about if your house falls down, it's about having water and a few essentials. So....I have a goal to clean out the pantry and make space in the garage soon.

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  20. Barb @ getupandplay says…
    03/16/2011

    I spent yesterday morning refreshing our 72 hour kits. I agree it's overwhelming, but I just picked something to start on and went for it. If I just keep plugging away, it will all get done. For me, my first priorities are the 72 hour kits, our water supply, having digital copies of our essential documents, and creating a family emergency plan.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Deb Pereira says…
    03/16/2011

    Thanks for the links...I've been thinking about this alot lately as I'm sure so many others are. It was helpful to have the information at hand. I've printed the info and will begin our preparations.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. o-girl says…
    03/16/2011

    Excellent post, Ali. Thanks for the links. 'Are you ready?' is a question I believe we've all been asking ourselves but thank you for the gentle reminder to take action if we are not ready. We have extra water on hand but nothing like a 72 hr kit.

    Along with getting ready, my daughter & I have decided to take the money that would've been spent on preparing dinner for a few days for our family of 4 and donating that to the Red Cross. We'll eat ramen or rice for a few nights. It's not a big deal when you think of the volumes of people in Japan who are going without. I've seen a couple of news reports of some Japanese people in the streets, offering the little food they have to the reporters. I've been moved by the gentle graciousness of these people.

    Thanks again for the links & post. All the best to you & your family.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Deborah Tisch says…
    03/16/2011

    Ali,

    Thanks for sharing such important information about disaster preparedness. My co-workers and I were talking about this very thing this morning. Putting a plan in place is on my agenda as well.

    I want to share a prayer that came to me that lifts up hope for all who are suffering from this.

    Here is the link: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/PlXXp/~3/vCc2q1HBblE/lift-up-hope.html

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  24. Lisa says…
    03/16/2011

    Thanks for sharing this...makes it easy to find.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Janet White says…
    03/16/2011

    Absolutely we have a plan here, my husband and I have prepared to live as independently as possible over the past couple of years. We live in the mountains of Colorado and all we have left really to add is a deep well hand pump so we can still get water if electricity is out for a long time. We've built a working pantry with enough to last us at least a month and for some items up to a couple of years. The disaster in Japan has us fine tuning and sharing our info on how we do this with friends who finally don't see us as crazy.

    Our neighbor is taking it a bit further and is going off the grid as much as possible - installing solar and such. She's also basically an herbalist and has a wealth of knowledge from her grandmother on how to do things the 'old' way - how to get your cattle through a drought, how to preserve eggs, how to create your outhouse, and such.

    She and I have started a website with this type of info and more - and we're getting experts on there such as a master gardener from Virginia and her solar guru will hopefully join us this week. Basically we take the view that all of us can figure it out together better than separately.

    http://seekingabundance.net is the site.

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