What would you do if there were a natural disaster and you lost power, water, gas, and couldn’t leave your home and medical care couldn’t reach you? How would you react? How would your family react? What preparations can you make now to better prepare for later?
For Tiger’s midterm, we did an earthquake simulation. We practiced what we would do if an earthquake hit- where would we go during the quake, what would we do after, and what do you do when the utilities that we love and take for granted were gone.
Although it was only 18 hours, we learned a few things. There are some things we were prepared for and others that we can do to be better prepared.
First- what do you do when the earthquake hits!? Initially, my children stood in the hall next to the picture frames looking at me and grinning that the simulation was starting. I asked them what they would do if it were real. Then they got under the table…
Review having a meeting spot- we have one but our children forgot about it. They all grouped up in a room but I wasn’t there and they weren’t with me at the meeting spot.
There will be a mess and having a safe way to contain the baby is important. We had downed cans and broken glass (simulated by rice on the floor) to keep the baby out of. Before we did any cleaning up, we set up a baby-safe area right away.
Eating dinner in the dark is kind of fun. But having enough light is important. We only had 6 tea lights going. We should have had the larger candle holder that puts the light higher to reflect.
Having a box with all our picnic supplies available was REALLY nice. Without water, dinner cleanup is a pain so paper products was nice. Obviously in a real emergency these would get used up, but for the first 72 hours having them will make life so much easier.
I don’t mind being without power for a few hours or even 24 hours, but not having running water is not fun. We drained water off our water heater to use, but we didn’t want to use it up because if the situation were real, how far would 40 gallons go? We wanted to practice conserving water and finding water. Below are some pictures of us getting creative- since we had no water and it was raining, we put buckets outside to collect rain water.
Lesson learned: Fill up water barrels, obtain rain barrels, make sure to have an adequate utensil easily accessible to open the water heater faucet and turn it off properly to access the water. Additionally, we need to set up our water filter buckets. I used to think I was fine- I do own a water distiller (which sadly has been broken for a bit) but I would be out of luck without some sort of power… I then bought a ceramic gravity fed filter.
I love my butane stove! I wish I had 2. Cooking for a family of 7 on 1 burner takes time. Some things need a griddle and I can’t do that with 1. If I had 2 I could put them side by side and create a space for a griddle. Also, I would be able to cook in both the top and bottom of my thermal cooker at the same time if I had 2 stoves. This would extend the amount of cooking I could do with the butane cans.
Being without amenities can be unsettling to children who don’t understand what is going on. Strawberry kept asking me to turn on the lights. She also asked when our practice would be over. She did not like the lack of lights or water. In a real situation, it would have been nice to have some sort of toy to give her to help occupy her while we were cleaning up and trying to get dinner started and to help her not feel stressed.
The morning after the simulation began, we finished packing up food and some extra supplies in a kit- a roll of blue tape and permanent marker made it into our box as well as scissors. I need to buy a lighter to add as well. I also added some paper bowls and plastic spoons and baggies to get us through at least one meal without having to get into the picnic box. Also, I added some chocolate chip bunny crackers- a treat to brighten an emergency. The food we included was 8 cans of veggie soup, some fruit squeeze sauces, 2 cups of chia seeds, a can of freeze dried peaches, rice milk in aseptic packing, Lara bars, and bunny crackers. We also have flashlights, a radio, batteries, sponges, diaper wipes, trash bags, and a few other odds and ends.
We had most of the items we would have needed, but not all of them were easily accessible.. For example, B determined that for the simulation, Tiger would have a broken foot. I couldn’t find the crutches anywhere because B had put them up higher than I could reach or see.