The short answer is: Murphy's Law. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, in the worst possible way at the worst possible time.
We got lucky - nothing happened! BUT, it did point up a need for people of all walks of life to be prepared for disasters.
*sigh* I'm saying "Be prepared in your life for whatever happens." Yes, this means disaster planning, emergency planning, and personal safety and "survival" awareness. You don't have to be a militia kook with an AK47 to be prepared for life's emergencies. A habit of emergency preparedness will serve you well no matter where you live. If you are prepared, you can help others.
One job I had was as a safety administrator for a company. We had regular "earthquake awareness" and "disaster preparedness" campaigns. Interest in seriously preparing for anything more than a 24 hour power outage was non-existant. Dumb. A major disaster is going to shut a lot of things down for more than 24 hours. Ask anyone who's been hit by one.
The entire Y2K mess had, IMO, a big silver lining: It promoted an awareness of how dependant we are on the infrastructure. It also promoted disaster preparation in people who hadn't previously prepared for anything but minor emergencies, if at all.
People who are prepared themselves for big problems can often help others with smaller problems. I've several times reached into my food stores to give food to friends who are on the short end of the financial stick. I regularly make sure that my friends have at least some emergency lighting (candles, oil lamps). I sometimes even have a spare campstove lying around.
The hard, cold fact is: EVERYONE NEEDS TO PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES! I don't really care what the emergency is, or how long it lasts. Earthquakes, fires, floods, whatever! That's why we have organizations like FEMA, and the Red Cross. They encourage people to be prepared, and then they can help out with the things that individuals can't do. The less "individual" supply bailout that FEMA has to do, the more money is available to put things right again.
Yes, our infrastructure is great, and usually quite reliable and stable. But disaster relief people, and insurance claims adjustors, know just how nasty it can be when the infrastructure is disrupted or breaks down.
That is a matter of personal preference. You want to keep it consistant with the stuff you eat everyday (no, McDonalds burgers DON'T store well...) That way, you can eat and replace it as part of your regular shopping. Think of it as having a higher "buy more" threshold on basic goods. That way it doesn't mess up your food budget (BTW, some foods in bulk are cheaper!) Here are some suggestions:
|Egg Noodles||Canned Chili||Bottled Water|
|Canned Chicken||Bottled Spaghetti Sauce||Macaroni & Cheese Mix|
|Cream of Mushroom Soup||Toilet Paper||Garbage Bags|
|Candles||Canned Veggies||Peanut Butter|
|Jelly or Jam||Unopened "miracle whip" bottles||Bouillon Cubes|
|Coffee||More Bottled Water||Chocolate|
|Campstove & Fuel||Rain Gear||Basic Tools|
|Mylar "Emergency Blankets"||First Aid Kit||Personal Care Supplies|
|Batteries||Oil Lamps||Camera & Film|
|Spices (big containers)||Picnic Supplies||Camping Gear|
That's the type of stuff I've stocked for years. If it stacks, stores, and is readily available, we store it. YMMV.
Because I firmly believe in Murphy's law. And I firmly believe that the devastating effects of emergencies and disasters can be blunted by just a modicum of preparation on everyone's part. From a bout of unemployment to a massive earthquake, the preparations that I advocate will help a lot in smoothing the way toward the future.
Please feel free to e-mail me with questions or comments.
This page was created March 28, 2000. Page last changed/tweaked on 2/10/2003