Monday, August 11, 2014

Always Be Prepared!

Nearly 6" of rain fell on parts of the Metro Detroit area this afternoon, causing multiple freeway closures and prompting a flood (pun intended) of reports of waterlogged basements on social media.

Flooding in Woodhaven, MI. Courtesy Miranda Seal.
After several weeks of absolutely no rain, it was made up for in spades all over southeastern Michigan with a torrential downpour that lasted several hours. While us out here in the rural cornfields of Lenawee County had plenty of thirsty plants to quickly soak it up, friends and family living back in my suburban hometown near Detroit did not have the same luck. Reports of completely gutted basements are coming in from friends and family all over the downriver area. State Police were strongly urging motorists to stay off the highways, stranding some folks at their workplaces. It sounds like utter chaos! (EDIT: 11:55P Two local Hospitals, Oakwood and Wyandotte, have closed their Emergency Rooms due to flooding as well!)

Which brings me to my topic, Emergency Preparedness. With the rise in popularity of the overzealous "Doomsday Preppers" show and conspiracy theory websites, comes a certain amount of potentially dangerous backlash. That is, the thought that only "crazies" waiting on a a ridiculously improbably catastrophe of epic proportion "hoard supplies". While throwing out the baby with the bathwater, some folks set themselves up for personal crisis should a localized event like a natural disaster occur.

There are an untold number of "preparedness" websites out there boasting that their (insanely overpriced) products will get you through hell or high water, but really, a good place to start planning is the good old American Red Cross. They suggest a 72 hour mobile evacuation kit for each member of the family, as well as a 2 week supply of food on-hand in the case you are home bound, and give a detailed list of items to have on hand. There are individual instructions and suggestions for specific events such as hurricanes, blizzards, and other area specific natural activity. It's very important to know what potential problems may arise in your own local area. Obviously, blizzards aren't a concern in San Francisco, but earthquakes certainly are!

As for ourselves, for example, we know that in our immediate area we may be snowed in at any time during the winter due to drifting. So, we tailored our Emergency Kit to include warming items such as a kerosene heater with several containers of fuel, extra blankets, socks, hats, mittens and hand warmers in case of power outage during blizzard conditions. We also extend our food and water storage to 30 days over the winter months. We have to be especially vigilant with our water supply, as we've not yet installed a manual pump for our well. This includes extra bags of feed and hay bales for the animals.  Our animals use roughly 4-6 gallons of drinking water a day alone! Don't forget your pets and livestock!

It is imperative to be ready to care for yourself and your family in the case of an unexpected event, as we've seen in recent years in the aftermaths of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. My grandma (who I learned my gardening, cooking, and food preservation skills from), lived through the Great Depression and has held onto their WWII ration cards all these years. She has often spoken of making due with what you have, and the importance of self-sufficiency. Some advice is truly timeless...