Saturday, March 12, 2011

Whoa... Counting my Blessings and Praying for Others

It's hard to worry too much about kitchens, interesting food, and other comparative trivialities as people face the devastation and, at the least, total life disruption they have in Japan today, and will have to deal with for months to come.  It is heart-wrenching, as well as pretty scary for those of us who also live in the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and always have the threat of potentially damaging and life-threatening quakes hanging over our heads.  
(Raw footage of the Japan earthquake and tsunami via Yahoo News)                                                                                                                                              
It's impossible to plan for something that could hit out of the blue like the earthquake did in the spring-like afternoon in Japan...Will we all be at home, or, my biggest fear, will we be spread far and wide with some of our kids home alone?                                                                      
I can lay in a supply of water and canned goods, but can't plan for every eventuality.  --Where do we even store such things where they can be guaranteed to survive an earthquake, or to situated so we'll be able to access them?  What will a cupboard full of food and water at home do for us if we're in the car somewhere?  Lots of questions, and lots of fear, to be honest, if I think about it very long.                                                                                                                                                                                           
I admit it...I am NOT prepared in any of the best ways possible.  I need to fix this immediately.  We have a little bit of bottled water, but not enough to sustain the family for days.  We have very little prepared food that can just be opened and eaten if we have no electricity or have to turn off the propane to the stove.  We don't have a set phone number out of the area, in which we're all ready to call as a check-in point, as the experts suggest.  Even our first aid kit is getting a little low on supplies.                                                                                                                         
Praying for the people of Japan and other areas affected by the tsunami, and urging us all to take this opportunity to make sure we have our emergency supplies and plans in order:
How To Prepare for an Emergency by
Emergency Planning and Checklists - FEMA: Are You Ready?                                                                       
If you have a good system in place, please share.  Give us a link, or email me photos, and I will post them.                                                                                                                                                                                         
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."      Psalm 46:1-3   


  1. I've had those same thoughts over the last two days. I can put a box of emergency food and water together, but where do I put it in my 36-year-old, pre-earthquake standards home? Given that most days the four of us are scattered about from 5:45 a.m. until about 6 p.m., my biggest fear is that an earthquake would happen and I would have no clue as to the safety of the rest of my family. I don't do uncertainty well. This was established yesterday as I was watching live streaming of the Tsunami surges on our coast when they announced there was an avalanche on our local mountain...on the ski slopes my DH was skiing on at that moment. The two hours it took him to return my texts were not pretty.

    We don't have an established out-of-area contact number, but I can take care of that immediately and will have the kids program the numbers in their phones tomorrow.

    I'm left very saddened over the loss in Japan. While it is certainly a country most prepared for earthquakes, it is far more difficult to prepare for a Tsunami with little notice.


  2. Oh, Mandie, I can't imagine what you must've gone through in those 2 hours!!

    The photos in Japan seem so unreal. So sad for those people, and so very scary to think of that type of scene here.

    I can't remember the specifics of choosing an 'out of area' phone number. My oldest lives states away, but has the cell number she had here at home, so I don't know if that one would work? And it seems our phones are always running out of battery, so I suppose there is something we should get to recharge them in emergencies.

    I've got to give up my frightened ostrich imitation and do some kind of preparedness. Thought if I put it in writing, I might actually follow through.

  3. When something like that happens, our fate truly is in God's hands. Like you say, we can make whatever preparations, but there is no telling if they would survive. I like to think that in such a crisis, people would help one another. It is really horrible what is happening in Japan--what to speak of all the other natural tragedies taking place recently. And then there are the uprisings in the Middle East. We are so fortunate and our suffering is so small.

    MAndie--so glad everyone is okay!

    On another note, I just stopped by because I need to buy my baby a gym on Amazon...

  4. A good friend's wife is from Japan. I called to make sure her family was ok, but she hasn't heard. It's just devastating - the news coverage, and now the possibility of a nuclear plant meltdown. I don't know if you can ever really prepare for disaster.

  5. So hard not to know. I hope your friend's family gets in contact with her soon.

    Devadeva, you are right on all counts. Still, I want to know I've done what I can...and I haven't....yet. And, THANK YOU! Now that you and Lax have monetized, we can all support each other.

  6. A very helpful comment was emailed in by JC, who can't seem to get her computer and my blog to talk to each other! Here it is:

    I just saw that I'd missed a post. Earthquakes don't usually faze me too
    badly, and I have some supplies, but I'm also in an area where I can walk
    to anything, including friends and family. I do keep a packaged emergency
    kit in my car, as well as water, though I think I should get a new kit in
    case anything in there has gone off.

    The super scary part for me is the power plants. I was in Austria when
    Chernobyl melted down. They didn't tell anyone!

    The best advice I've ever seen is to bury a tightly sealing plastic
    garbage can in your yard, away from buildings and anything else that might
    make it inaccessible, and put emergency supplies in that (your family
    might need two). This includes things like shoes, socks and blankets,
    maybe jackets for where you live. I think they make those out of the
    silvery stuff they make the emergency blankets out of. The shoes can just
    be coolie slippers--anything with a strong sole--but a size large so that
    heavy wool socks can fit. Also, of course, water, first aid and rations,
    crank radio, perhaps a pop-up tent for shelter, and fire making tools plus
    a good sized pot.

    The barrel is much more practical for an earthquake than anything inside
    the house. The stuff inside helps if one can't get out, there are supply
    problems, etc., so having a lot of water on hand is essential, but if your
    house goes, so do the supplies. The folks at the USGS always say an
    earthquake safe building is one where all the people can get out, not one
    that isn't red tagged. Being able to camp in the garden, at least short
    term, is a good thing when things are a mess.

    Having said that, I will say that after the Northridge quake (1994, 6.7
    with highest recorded ground acceleration), I was able to drive to my
    business by mid-morning. There was a huge amount of damage in Santa
    Monica, but as I was checking on online (there was phone service in S.M.
    and I had a laptop for power), there was a front-loader out front scooping
    up the bricks from the street. It's not likely to get much more powerful
    here because the ground is made of gloop rather than rock. Liquefaction
    is a possibility, but according to people who understand better than I do,
    unlikely. Just watch. Next time there's a big quake I'll be at the
    dentist or something (10th floor). Ugh. Do find out what kind of geology
    you have, both at your home and in your area. It'll tell you a lot about
    what will happen in a quake.

    I was about to offer you my number for an out of state call-in, but
    realized that it's best to have a number that's listed. If someone loses
    a phone, or whatever, and doesn't know the number by heart, a name is
    easier to remember, and as soon as that person has phone or internet
    access, they can look it up.


  7. I posted for JC too soon! Here is an addition:

    When I said "if one can't get out" in the
    fourth paragraph, I meant if the streets are blocked, not a problem with
    the house. And in the next paragraph, I meant to say "check in online"
    not "check online" as in browse. One shouldn't use the phones or 'net
    much during an emergency. Check in, then stay off, so that emergency
    services can use the bandwidth.


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