We spent our 4th of July in a different way than usual. There was no party, no drinking on the deck or relaxing by the pool. Not even any golf. Instead, we took the day to assemble our emergency Go Bags.
Many of you know my parents were five miles from the pre-evacuation areas for the Waldo Canyon fire. Last week, when things were looking dire, I got on the phone to my dad and suggested he pull together all his documents and stuff BEFORE the pre-evac calls came, just so he wouldn't be rushing around trying to gather stuff whilst worrying about the fire sneaking past the lines and sweeping through our little valley. This happens. Often enough that it's time to be prepared. Just in case.
I did some incredibly fun (and scary) research for EDGE OF BLACK on survivalists, AKA preppers. People who have themselves ready if a disaster happens. There's even a television show that popped up this spring about their somewhat extreme lifestyle. People laughed and made fun, but I'm here to tell you - whether it's an electromagnetic pulse that shuts down the power grids, a meteor that hits the earth, nuclear war, or just a tornado, flood, hurricane or fire - some forethought into what you'd do in that situation goes a long way toward making your life easier.
Since we got caught unprepared for the 2010 Nashville flood, we've been seeking to remedy the situation we found ourselves in - no communication, no power and no water for three days will capture your attention quite quickly. We've been slowly accruing the materials we'd need if this ever happens again. Everything's been stashed in a big plastic box in the dining room. The problem is, while we're set if we have an extended power outage, should a tornado sweep through Nashville, as they are wont to do, I'm hardly going to have the time to go to said plastic box and pick out what I need.
Enter the Go Bags of the Apocolypse. (Yes, that's our smart ass way of defusing the fear and tension that goes into the thought that you might need this kind of stuff someday.)
Our Go Bags, or Bug Out Bags, are simply a backpack, filled with everything you can possibly think of - first aid, water filtration, batteries, flashlights, medicine, lighters, radios - anything and everything you'd need to survive a week out of doors in the event of a natural disaster. The out of doors part is important - you never know what might happen to displace you in an emergency.
Our Go Bags also have some really important stuff - family papers and the like. Here's a superb spot to check out for ideas of what you might need. So the next time we have tornado warnings, all I have to do is grab the Go Bags, throw them in the car and head to Randy's office (a gigantic brick building with excellent support - much safer than our little house with no basement.) I don't have to worry if things get messed up, because I have copies of everything with me.
Look at the folks in Colorado who were evacuated and lost their homes in last week's fires, and the folks in the D.C. area who got hit by that freak inland hurricane. Some smart preparations now can save you from days, weeks without power, shelter, personal possessions, everything.
I know this all sounds alarmist. But these kinds of preparations are vital for people who live in areas that have funky weather. Take the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) scenarios out of the picture entirely if it makes you feel better. Just think about how much this would help your family in the event of disaster.
In the course of my research for EDGE, the site I liked the most was SurvivalCache.com. Joel and the crew are rational, competent people who have put together a valuable resource for the average Joe's in the world who don't have military training in survival. They have some incredible lists of important things to think about for your emergency preparedness plan, like this 3 day emergency basic primer: 7 Types of Gear Needed for Your Bug Out Bag. And this guide from Last One Alive is excellent and practical.
Whether it's something precious that you simply can't live without or something vital that you can't live without, I urge you to take a look around at these sites and think about your disaster plan. It will let you sleep easier at night. Trust me.