We live on a small planet. Those of you raised in the instant information age have grown up accepting this as fact. Those of us that are baby boomers and older have come to realize it as we watch in real time when disasters unfold in other parts of the world.
Hurricanes in Louisiana and Haiti, flooding in Austrailia, tsunamis in Hawaii and Japan, war and civil unrest in Afganistan, Libya and Egypt are all right in our living room with us.
The devastation caused by these natural and manmade disasters is appalling and difficult to wrap your brain around. I find myself glued to the TV as though somehow by sharing the trauma I can help alleviate the pain. I can't. I can only watch in horror as cities of people whose lives are not so different than mine are torn apart.
I can do nothing to help them but offer my prayers and make responsible donations to organizations like the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity International.
I can do something for myself.
I have come to realize by watching these events unfold that our home is not prepared to sustain us in the event of long term disaster.
Years ago when the girls lived home and were dependent on us we laughed about our stockpiles. Fred used to tease that I could feed the neighborhood for a week if there was ever a problem.
We don't have that stockpile anymore.
We have become accustomed to 24 hour grocery stores, all night gas stations, and atm machines for banking. These conveniences have made us complacent and I don't like it. If a disaster should strike here I don't want to be waiting to be rescued. I want ot be able to care for myself and my family and the neighbors if necessary until some kind of order can be restored.
Beginning now I will:
Fill the gas tank in the car when it gets down to half. (This will make Fred very happy)
Keep enough durable food and water in the house to sustain us for 2 weeks.
Have a backpack ready to grab and go in the event of evacuation, with a change of clothes, work gloves, power bars, water, flashlight and a radio.
Take the emergency radio out of the camper and put it in the house.
Make sure to keep flashlights with extra batteries, matches and propane.
There is already enough wood for heating or cooking fires.
With very little effort I can gain some peace of mind.
If and when disaster strikes I will not be a helpless bystander.