On May 29, my phone freaked out and told me something vague and ominous: CIVIL EMERGENCY, PREPARE FOR ACTION. “Finally,” I thought. First, I consulted my ears. I listened for signs of chaos, like breaking glass or screams of terror/confusion/agony. Nothing. My next step was to demand answers from my phone. Thankfully I still had access to text and social media, and I quickly found that Salem had poisoned water, and that Corvallis and Albany were safe.
What I didn’t do was call 911, but many of you did. I’d like to remind you all that “I’m scared and confused, but nobody is hurt or dying” is never a good reason to call 911. If you want information, a radio is your best bet. Granted, that vague emergency alert was seemingly designed to cause panic, but emergency lines need to remain open for life-threatening situations. Even then, in the event of an actual widespread disaster, there’s a good chance that emergency services will not be there for you. It can’t hurt to prepare to fend for yourself.
In Case of Actual Emergency, Be Prepared
The Benton County website provides an extensive list of ways to personally prepare for a disaster. A disaster preparedness kit is paramount if we want to hunker down when sh*t hits the fan. Non-poison water is number one on the list. They suggest that you have ten days of water for every person that you don’t want to become dead. Two liters per person per day equals 5.28 gallons per person total. Math.
You already know that food is the next thing. They suggest canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, and high energy stuff like peanut butter or jerky. Meals ready-to-eat and freeze dried foods are also a great addition. In dire situations, comfort foods like cookies or other snacks can be an important part of your survival stash. Hopelessness can be a formidable enemy, and a tasty treat may be able to keep your people going. Don’t forget food for your pets! You don’t want to have to eat little Max or Bella if and when the going gets tough.
A first aid kit around the house is a no-brainer, even for the non-paranoid. Benton County suggests an extensive list of first aid materials. Bandages, disinfectant, needle and thread, scissors and tweezers, and anti-diarrhea meds are some of the highlights. There’s also a variety of tools that might be needed in such a situation. A battery-operated or hand-crank radio, flashlight, candles, extra batteries, duct tape, maps, compass, and a fire extinguisher should be part of your supplies.
Denied access to running water and Netflix for more than a week, I’m fairly certain most of you will devolve into desperate, cannibalistic maniacs. Maybe I’m wrong, but I keep a 12 gauge, pump-action shotgun just in case I need to protect me and mine, or shoot and eat a goose. The latter sounds way better, but if you follow my lead, please get some training, don’t keep it loaded, and PLEASE make sure there is no way that a child could access it.
To be fully prepared for a serious catastrophe, this article doesn’t even come close. There are different contingencies for each possible disaster, and many more items that one should keep to be ready. We’ve included some resources down below and suggest consulting them. Just remember: if it goes down, we need to remain a community, and should do our best to get each other through it. The best way to survive is together.
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By Jay Sharpe