Emergency preparedness
From: Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah (welcomeolympus.net)
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2012 11:59:43 -0700 (PDT)
Here in the Pacific Northwest we are blessedly free from hurricanes and tornadoes. We do need to be prepared for earthquake, tsunami, and the occasional winter storm (which we are not well equipped for, as they are infrequent).

I am the "neighborhood rep" for our cohousing community, in the local regional emergency preparedness network. We have a stash of tools, radio, first aid supplies, and a few tents and a cookstove. We figure our one-story rastra-block common house is fairly likely to stay up in a quake, and will de facto become a magnet for the wider neighborhood. With that in mind, we also have a stash of wind-up flashlights, clipboards, markers, and such so we can dispatch folks to go check on neighbors. We have not stockpiled food other than the considerable amount normally in our common house and our homes. Ditto on water. We have a well we use for our gardens, with an auxiliary hand pump, and that water may be available to us in an emergency. We have a Big Berkey gravity-feed filter to make drinking water.

We had each household diagram and describe where their home's emergency shut-off switches are for gas, water, electric. (Our houses are all different.) We then had groups of neighbors -- 3-4 houses -- physically go look at where these were in that group of homes, and another group look for the common house shut offs. The papers are in a binder at the Common House. We need to do this again, as it's been some years and not everyone knows anymore.

Another binder in the common house is emergency contact info. Bluntly, if everyone in your household is dead or can't communicate, who do we call? Family, friends, medical info.

In another arena, we are now discussing investing in an AED, heart- starting machine, to have at the common house in the event that someone there or nearby has a sudden cardiac arrest. We have a number of public events there.

And finally, there is the long term potential crisis of post-petroleum/ economic disaster. A good reference book, with practical info, is When There is no Doctor. (Not to be confused with WHERE There is no Doctor, an entirely different book, aimed at 3rd World type villages.) The "When...." book is about skills to develop to help get through austere times or worse. It emphasizes skills, vs stuff. Like get physically fit, learn first aid, etc. A very good book.

Presently, our Emergency Preparedness committee has dwindled to just me. Maybe this will be a time people will get motivated again?

Maraiah Lynn Nadeau
RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA

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