Wired: The Best Emergency Gear is Other People

It’s nice to see people come to the realization that community is pretty important when a disaster hits. Seeing it in a major, mainstream publication is good, too. This article comes from Wired magazine. It’s pretty brief and the “houses we would pillage” comment is a little worrisome, though hopefully they at least mean unoccupied, but the message of working with the people around you is there.

The Best Emergency Gear Is Other People

All this stuff is great, but who’s going to chop through your floor when you’re trapped in the basement?Photograph: Getty Images

September is Emergency Preparedness Month. I don’t find many National Days to be very useful (I’m still not sure what to do about “Meow Like a Pirate Day”), but for those of us who live in disaster-prone areas, like the hurricane-strewn Gulf Coast or the tornado plains of the Midwest, September is a good reminder to make sure that your emergency gear is up to date.

In my particular part of the country, “our” disaster is the inevitable Pacific Northwest earthquake. I live in a tiny corner of Portland, Oregon, a city that will be affected by any quakes on the Cascadia subduction zone. When The New Yorker‘s in-depth investigation was published in 2015, it kicked off a days-long group text among my neighbors that was only mildly panicked in tone.

About my neighbors on that group text: We all live within four blocks of each other, in wood-framed houses in varying states of renovation or disrepair. Some of us have backyard gardens and chickens; we all have partners, small children, and dogs. Without my neighbors, I’m not sure I would’ve even prepared for an earthquake at all.

I first got a hint that I might need to get my butt in gear when I received a plaintive note: “When the earthquake happens, will someone check on us to make sure we’re not stuck on the second story of our house?” someone asked.

“We’ll make your house the meeting point,” another responded.

“Do we need to get stuff?” I asked, checking the online list. “Water? A toilet?”

“We have water filters and sterilizers,” my husband said to me, since he was receiving but pointedly not participating in the group text. “You know we can just walk down to the river and fill buckets, right?”

It took a few more back-and-forths about which houses we would pillage and when, but it didn’t take me long to realize that the most important resource to have on hand wasn’t my neighbors’ stuff; it was my neighbors themselves.

My Emergency Kit…

Click here to read the rest of the story at Wired.

National Preparedness Month, Week 3, 2017

Don’t forget to do a neighbor check! Always check with each other in case of emergency. September is National Preparedness Month. Learn more at www.ready.gov/September.

Related:

Check Your Neighbours (pdf)

Neighborhood Preparedness (pdf)

Five Steps to Neighborhood Preparedness (pdf)

Prepare Your Neighborhood

OK-HELP Signs