Boy Scouts use “be prepared” as their motto and it is a good one, along with my personal favorite “prepare for the worst and hope for the best”. But are we really prepared? Recently we had a power outage here at my office and slowly my coworkers and I came to realize how much we rely on power to fuel our daily activities.  Simple things, like having a light in the bathroom and a microwave to heat up your lunch are luxuries we surely do take for granted. We ended up closing early that day because all of our work relies on power of some kind. It makes you think what would happen if it was more than just a simple power outage. Are you prepared for an event that could alter our lives in such a way that we would need to rethink the way we do the things we don’t usually think about doing?

Being a recent coastal transplant from New England to the great state of California I was quickly introduced to a new (to me) phenomenon called earthquakes. Yes, I was foolish enough to think that trading the long, brutal winters of New England that are full of blizzards, hurricanes and ice storms for the endless summer of southern California was a pretty good trade. Earthquakes don’t seem like they would be that bad until you actually feel one. Mother Nature is an unpredictable and powerful force that will eventually pay us back for all of this beautiful weather, I am afraid. One night while meeting at a friend’s house for our monthly Bunco game and deep into the throws of conversations about childbirth and labor, a subject we moms relish in retelling btw. Suddenly the lamp over the table started swaying and the table started shaking along with a sound like a train rumbling through the house! “It’s an earthquake!” someone shouted and I said “What do we do?” Before anyone had a chance to tell me what to do, it was over.  I was surprised to see these native Californians who have been through other earthquakes react so shocked and unrehearsed. That ground shaking experience along with this recent power outage got me thinking, is my family prepared for a disaster? The scary truth is no and I need to change that.

When we first moved to California I noticed at the grocery store they sold “earthquake kits” that consisted of some nonperishable foods and distilled water. I naively thought ha-ha, how cute. But now after actually feeling a tremor, a small one mind you, I quickly changed my tune. While the hazards out there vary regionally one thing is consistent, being prepared is our best defense against the unknown. The information on how to prepare for a disaster is out there. Just searching the web can bring you an information overload on emergency planning videos, survival shopping lists, even how to build your own underground bunker! YouTube has some kid friendly videos that explain to your little ones what to do in an emergency without scaring them. Just search “kids guides to a…earthquake, tornado, hurricane, etc.” Just fill in with your disaster of choice.  The US government has a great website Ready.gov that helps you make an emergency plan, build a survival kit, prepare your kids, pets, schools and business for a disaster based on your local region.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency aka FEMA has a great blog that tells you what is going on weekly with natural disasters, health issues and climate changes that are affecting the nation. The Red Cross is another great resource for preparedness as well as training in CPR, donating blood or volunteering in case you want to become even more involved with this important cause of being prepared.  So do a little research and it could save your life! I off to go buy my earthquake kit so until next time, keep it EZ! Truly, Kristin M