Not Really Prepared for a True Emergency

Talking about natural disasters in Illinois means broaching a wide range of subjects. Just a few years ago, we had two ice storms, a flood and a minor earthquake in a period of months.

Add to that this is a tornado alley within tornado alley and it becomes a safe bet that most people have at least a rudimentary disaster preparedness kit. I fall into that category. I have a rudimentary kit, but not the disaster preparedness plan I should have. Like many people, I’ve become just a little too complacent.

See, I have all the components of an emergency kit. I know where there are extra copies of my vital papers. I have first aid gear for my family and my cat, extra kitty litter and cat food, and a list of local hotels that are pet friendly, just in case we can’t stay at home.

But I’m not really disaster ready.

First off, I lack plastic sheeting. Seems like a silly thing to buy if you don’t need it, so I just don’t have any. Of course, in the event of a radiological threat like what happened in Japan or a biohazard, I’ll need it. I really should put it on the shopping list.

Second, my disaster gear is spread through the house. Oh, I know it should be all together in a plastic bin under my bed, but it’s not. Partially, that’s because there is no under my bed. When we replaced our mattress last year, we moved up to a king-sized mattress and it didn’t fit on my bed frame. So the box springs sits directly on the floor.

I could put the bin, with my hard-soled shoes, leather gloves and hard hat under the vanity, but that’s just not attractive. So the first aid supplies, are in their own special bin in the bathroom. There are flashlights in under the nightstands because since the May 8, 2009, derecho, our power goes out at the first drop of rain.

But the extra batteries, the lantern and the emergency candles are in the utility room, along with the tool box. There is bottled water in the car and in our storage unit, which is also where we keep the grill, some spare canned goods, meals ready to eat, and extra charcoal.

There is no gas line on the property and I know where both the breaker box and the electric inlet to the apartment and to the attached storage facility are.

But I still haven’t purchased the shotgun we need for home defense in the event of widespread disaster. And we really should increase the amount of bottled water we have stored.

In short, we’re prepared for the usual type of southern Illinois disasters – short-term, lasting a day or so, but definitely less than a week. In the event of a major disaster, I would be like most of the country, trying to find the nearest grocery store that could take my debit card.