Well, I'm sitting right here in Christchurch, not five kilometres from the ruins of the city centre, and I have something I'd like you all to do for me. Namely, make sure you are prepared for such an event happening to you.
Yes, I'm talking about emergency supplies: the same message you've been getting from that bloke on the TV for some years now. A while back, I put together some emergency supplies, hoping I'd never have to use them - and for a year or two, I didn't. But in the past week, I was very glad that I'd made the effort.
You can go all-out and put together a pre-packed kit that is ready to go in case of emergency evacuation, (just remember you'll have to regularly check and replace the contents so the food items don't expire) but even if you just make sure you have supplies somewhere in the house, it's a whole lot better than nothing.
I'm deviating from the usual theme of my blog in that this entry is entirely unrelated to any Edmonds recipe. But, keeping in mind the practical nature of the Edmonds book, I thought to myself, "If the Edmonds book had a page listing emergency survival items, what would be on it?" and came up with the list below. Most of it is the standard stuff, with a few other items I have found useful. It's based on a scenario in which you have no power, no water, no sewage, and no ability to pop down to the shops. How well would you get by?
LIST OF SURVIVAL ITEMS
- Torches - plus spare batteries. I also have a small solar-powered one which is great. Head torches are good for reading in the evening.
- Candles and matches (not suitable post-earthquake because of aftershocks, but fine for other power outages if you're careful).
- Milk - you can get long-life, but it only keeps for a few months. I made do with milk powder in my Milo, or condensed milk in a tube is also a good option.
- Snack food e.g muesli bars or trail mix can give an added energy boost without the need for cooking.
- If you're packing all this food into that 'get up and go' evacuation kit, don't forget a can opener and some kind of pot to cook in.
- You need to have some means of receiving Civil Defence information and similar. Get a small radio and have plenty of batteries to power it. This is one thing I did not have before the quake; luckily I was able to borrow Mum and Dad's, or I would have had no idea what was going on. I'll be buying my own as soon as possible.
- If phone lines are operational, you want to be able to use them. Have at least one analog phone in your house that does not require electricity to work.
- Have a car charger for your mobile phone. There's no other way to charge it if you don't have power at home.
- A bucket - you want one with a lid so you can keep the smell in and the flies out.
- A spade to dig a hole for emptying your bucket.
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitiser
These are the things that helped me get by, though bear in mind I was only without power and water for four days; you might have to make do for longer. This list is of course geared to my needs as a single person, but have a think about your own situation and the things you might need. If you have a baby in the house, for example, you'll need a heap of things that aren't on my list.
If you already have supplies of this sort, then well done. See if there's anything on my list you don't have, and suggest anything you think I should add. If you haven't, then please take a look at my list and put a few things together. It's not as difficult as you think, and it might just make all the difference sometime down the track.