Do You Have a Disaster Kit?

I didn’t.  Never really thought emergency preparedness until it came up in a discussion group of media, entertainment and technology executives I’m involved with here in Los Angeles.  And as an expecting father I became particularly interested in this topic (and others).  An irrational and emotional response?  Maybe.

But keep in mind I live in Santa Monica in the greater Los Angeles area, the epicenter for speculation and concern regarding “The Big One” earthquake that will originate on the San Andreas Fault someday.  In fact, the USGS has a downright scary simulation of the 7.8 Big One that originates on the fault line and fans out to the coast and right up my driveway.  To give you perspective, a 7.8 earthquake involves ground movement of 3ft laterally and “shaking” at 1ft/second.  Crazy.

The email discussion thread started out rational enough among the group – if you want to be prepared for a natural disaster, there is lot’s of guidance out there on what to include in your home or auto kits, sources for purchasing supplies, recommendations on what to do when a disaster hits and there’s no road or phone access, etc.

As is typical among this intellectual group, a few of which are experts in statistical modeling for natural disasters, another an entrepreneur that sells disaster kits, a debate ensued that left most folks in 3 distinct camps:

1) Emergency preparedness is based on irrational exuberance, that statistically speaking and from a cost/benefit standpoint, is a waste of time and money, even if you live in Southern California, Southeast Asia, Japan or Florida where adverse natural events tend to occur.  Add up the cost for every human to have a “kit”, then factor in the economic benefit of lives saved and if the number is negative, it is irrational.

2) Basic survival kits for home, auto and “on the go” are no-brainers.  These include food, water, first aid and other survival gear along with a “family plan” of where to meet should roads and phones be inaccessible.

3) “Extreme” (my word) Emergency Preparedness which advocates for all of the items in #2 in addition to retaining firearms in the home and auto in anticipation of possible riots, theft and personal attack by those who were not prepared.  In some cases, underground bunkers are installed and stocked with supplies.

After taking in all the data, I fall squarely in the camp of #2, based primarily on where I live.  I’ve just ordered basic kits for home and auto, but personally I’m not a big fan of having a firearm in the house, just my personal preference.  Renee and I are working out a simple “meet up” plan should we not be able to use our cell phones or our cars.  We’re talking a hundred bucks and a few minutes of time all in here.

Seems like a reasonable cost/benefit to me.

Do you have a disaster kit or plan?  What’s in it?

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