Letter Re: Preparedness for Less Than a Worst Case, From an Eastern Urbanite’s Perspective

In response to “Preparedness for Less Than a Worst Case, From an Eastern Urbanite’s Perspective” your response D.C. for improving his family’s preps is reasonable but I think that your advice can be expanded. So I offer the following to my fellow New Yorkers and to other urbanites.

D.C. is right that 99% of the inconveniences we encounter will be of short duration. Preparing for these will put us far ahead of the unprepared. Preparing for a week long event will benefit you no matter how long the event lasts–be that an hour or a month!

In the same way that preparing for a short duration inconvenience will help ease you through the initial stages of any long term event, preparing for TEOTWAWKI automatically prepares you for the lesser events. If you are ready for a two week power outrage, 24 hours without heat is no big deal. If your wife is ready to defend your daughter against rioting looters, then a drunk outside while she can still dial building security and 911 is a threat she can manage.

That said there are a number of “events” that might require evacuation short of TEOTWAWKI.

Getting Out:
Plan a fire evacuation route and rendezvous point. Establish emergency contact procedures so that should your family become separated, you each know where to go and who to contact to link up again. This will serve you well for any event which requires exiting the building.
Speaking of high rise living. City dwellers should pre plan the best route to evacuate their building when the power is out. It might only take an hour to load the SUV with supplies when the elevator works but think about what gets left behind when you are forced to take the stairs in the dark. This is an excellent argument for pre-positioning some supplies in your vehicle and at a remote location like a friend’s house. Perhaps even along the route out of town.
Preplan your evacuation route off the island. What’s the fastest way to get across the nearest bridge? What’s the fastest way if the power is out and traffic signals aren’t working? What’s the fastest route if your life depended on it? Hint: you might consider cutting through parking lots, lawns, and one way streets in both directions if a mushroom cloud is rising.

The week of MREs [that D.C. mentioned] is a great start. Should a short term inconvenience such as Katrina hit “the city” you may need to provide for you family for two weeks or more. Consider stocking up on canned goods and shelf stable grocery items that you normally eat in addition to your MREs. A sudden change to a strictly MRE diet will not be appreciated by a child or your digestive system. So a few days worth of extra jars of peanut butter and boxes of crackers might go a long way. As a side note – do you have a way to prepare your food in your apartment such as a balcony barbecue?

Something you are probably familiar with from your defensive training is the idea of testing your gear. The same holds true for all your gear for the whole family. You could start by setting up the tent inside the apartment. Kids love to break out the tent and sleeping bags when friends sleep over. A tent in the living room is something novel for them that they can enjoy even if it isn’t safe for them to sleep outside in the back yard. Chances are good that it will generate a request for “real camping.” That could open the door to a family camping vacation (when the camp ground showers and toilets are working).
All of these “tests” will open your eyes to opportunities to improve your supplies.

Two final thoughts –
I recommend that everyone stock up on a year’s supply of over the counter medicines. Even if you can’t get antibiotics, flu remedies may come in real handy if there ever is a pandemic type issue. If a contagious disease is on the crowded streets, the last place you want to be is a pharmacy in downtown. The same holds true of the regular flu season too.

And finally, 9/11/2001 could easily have been a nuclear event instead of a [hijacked] airliner event.
Those of us in the east are downwind of most [nuclear] targets in the US . The free online book “Nuclear War Survival Skills” is a must. Print it and read it. Know how and when to take shelter from fallout. You need not have a shelter in a basement. The interior of a high rise building offers excellent protection from low level radiation. But you should plan your actions in advance.
You’re off to a great start! Keep up the good work and keep us posted. – Mr. Yankee