It’s nearing the end of the year and the days are shorter and colder. As I reminisce about the past, November was usually a slow month. Not much is going on, except Thanksgiving. While in school, we were taught that Thanksgiving was an event in which the early settlers gave thanks to the Native Americans for helping them survive the hardships and showing them how to endure the inclement weather. As you grow up, the meaning of Thanksgiving changes. I’m sure the Pilgrims were thankful to the Native Americans but how does Thanksgiving influence me? Thanksgiving is the time families get together and give thanks for the meal that is being offered to us. With our families around us, there is no better time to give thanks. You give thanks to your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters. You give thanks to your children and grandchildren. You give thanks to your parents and grandparents for helping to establishing a positive environment in this country for it to flourish so you can prosper to your greatest potential. Even in these political times, we should be thankful that we live in the US.
It’s been 30 years since we had the 1989 earthquake. It was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurring near Loma Prieta Mountain in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the San Andreas Fault. Loma Prieta Peak is located between Mount Umunhum and Santa Cruz. Do you remember what you were doing when it occurred? Although, 3,757 were injured and 63 people died, it could have been so much worse. They say the World Series between the Giants and the A’s saved thousands of people. Just think if it weren’t for the World Series causing people to rush home to watch the World Series, more people may have been trapped in the collapsed Cypress Freeway. Instead, many Bay Area baseball fans were home in front of their TV’s at 5:04 PM as the earthquake struck. It was horrifying to see structures burning or collapsed and many Bay Area roadways destroyed.
This brings me to this topic. Are you ready if the “Big One” hits? My house always has extra bottled water and food in the pantry. Are you ready if you lose electricity and gas? The PG&E power outage that occurred recently really opened my eyes. There were warnings from PG&E that the power was being shut off due to windstorms that may cause shorts in the power lines producing wild fires as in years past. When we generally lose power, it’s only for a few hours which is an inconvenience, but what if you lose power for days or weeks? We lost power for 1.5 days and then it becomes an ordeal. You can’t see in the dark without a flashlight or lantern. Electric stoves will be useless. Garage doors will require manual opening or closing. Once the battery in your cell phone dies, you have no communication. You won’t have a TV or computer to keep you amused. All your perishable foods in the refrigerator and freezer may go bad. These are just some of the dilemmas you will face. Here is a list of items to put into your “Go bag.”
- Basic electronics
Pack extra phone charger in case you’re fortunate enough to have electricity, and a charged portable battery pack in case you’re not. Also stash a long-lasting LED flashlight. Pack a small hand-cranked or battery-operated AM/FM radio (with extra batteries).
- Personal needs
While getting ready for a typical day, list every toiletry you use, then buy a travel-size version of each. Pack backup eyeglasses, as well as a first-aid kit, baby wipes and a multipurpose tool with a knife and can opener.
Pack a few days’ worth. Include layers you can add or remove, plus lightweight rain gear and waterproof boots.
- Your meds
Pack at least three days’ worth of each of your prescriptions, which should last until you can get to a pharmacy that’s open. If you need larger items, such as an oxygen tank, make sure you have a portable version.
- The perfect bag
Think small and portable. A backpack is ideal, but a lightweight suitcase with wheels will also do. Just remember, you may literally be running with it.
Fill a zip-top waterproof bag with photocopies of your birth certificate; driver’s license; Social Security and Medicare cards; power of attorney and will; any marriage, adoption or naturalization certificates; proof of address; insurance, medical and immunization records; and information about your credit and ATM cards.
- Food and drink
Bottled water is essential. Granola or energy bars are great because they are small and filling and they come in a variety of flavors.
In addition to enough money for a few days, include small bills and a roll of quarters. If you need to buy something out of a vending machine, you don’t want to start asking equally desperate strangers for change.
Be vigilant and alert at all times and stay safe.