Affordable preparations start with what’s on-hand

By Campbell McClusky

We have all heard about experienced – not to mention amateur – climbers stranded or lost simply for want of a compass or cell phone. Let us here on this semi-detached peninsula not be found wanting.

Not wanting for a can opener, at least one flashlight and extra batteries, bottles of water and even a 48-hour boxed food supply (ask Google for the nearest source) plus assorted utensils, emergency blankets, hygiene items, a reminder list of phone numbers of neighbors, relatives or friends to notify or from whom to seek assistance and, of course, at least one jar with a candle and some matches.

Sleeping bags, which many of us have, as well as assorted camping gear, could be kept at hand. Think how long some people have been blocked on highways trying to keep warm until accidents or snow or rock slides could be cleared; tuck in some reading material too.

We may be out on the road when bridges fall, roads crack or are blocked by earth slides from heavy rains or an earthquake. Newscasts remind us of the kinds of unforeseen conditions that many have had to face. Even those of us who have cell phones with built in compasses may want to add a pocket compass to our list of supplies.

The list goes on for the ambitious preparers among us: there are such things as freeze-dried camping meals, small fire extinguishers, sturdy boots and first aid items such as moleskin, antibiotic ointment, athletic tape, headlamps, hatchets, camp stoves and water filters, all of which can be kept in the family car for trips or simply at hand in our garages.

Preparedness does not have to mean major expenditures, but rather simply checking around the house for items that we already have.

Remember, we are not alone. While checking to see how our preparations might help our neighbors, we may be surprised to learn that some of our neighbors are ahead of us and might have tips that could save us time, money and effort.

Finally, at all times, inform ourselves about the range of community emergency resources available, from the fire department to the clinic and to possible emergency shelters such as the community center and the church. We might find ourselves dependent upon such resources.

The efficacy of community resources may depend, in part, on how prepared we become and how well we look after each other. It is all about neighbors helping neighbors.

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