Do you have an Emergency Preparedness Kit? I do not.
Now, you might think this is a new thought in my mind based on the recent devastating earthquake activity along the western Pacific rim. But it's not. Emergency Preparedness is something that has been in my mind for a very very long time. I know I should have water and food and plastic sheeting and rope stashed away in my garage. I don't. I know that we should keep shoes suitable for walking over debris in our storm closet and spare clothes in a plastic bag and emergency medication. I don't.
(Ok, fine. I keep the shoes in the closet. I am not allowing my children to walk for blocks over broken glass and splintered wood in bare feet. We have a lot of tornados here. Usually at night. Having to walk through broken glass and splintered wood isn't remotely beyond possibility.)
A few days ago a reporter commented on how well-trained Japanese children are for a vast variety of types of natural disasters, beginning at a very young age. It made me think of the types of disaster training I received as a child. And the types I didn't.
I spent my junior and senior high school years in North Dakota during the early- to mid-80's. It was the height of the Cold War and, while it seems almost unbelievable now, nuclear tensions were high. The running joke was that if North Dakota were to secede from the Union, we would be the largest nuclear superpower in the world. We had a big target on our backs that said, "Russians: shoot here." And we knew it. Because we were reminded all the time.
The other running joke was, "Well, it's a good thing we live 150 miles from Grand Forks AFB. That's totally in the blast zone. We'll die instantly. Those poor bastards in the Twin Cities are screwed." Neato. That is so what you want to be thinking when you're 14. And by the way, we knew where the blast zone and the primary radiation zone and the secondary radiation zone and the tertiary radiation zone was, because they told us in school. With graphics and charts. And statistics and stuff. Double-neato.
No "duck and cover" for us. We were "You'll have less than two minutes. Hope that you're not gonna know what hit you."
Why do I mention this? Not sure. Other than I’m amazed at how things have changed in the past thirty years. I'm definitely amazed at our ability now to bring such vivid and instantaneous pictures of horrifying destruction into our homes. And I've come to the conclusion that natural disasters are heart-breaking beyond belief, but there's something steadying in knowing that they are beyond our control and that having to tell 14-year-olds they should hope to get incinerated is not. Now, if I could just think of a way to control the uncontrollable....
I'm still not putting food and water in my garage. I'll probably be sorry some day.
What's in your kit?