Wednesday, September 21, 2005

In Case of Emergency . . . . .

There's a full page ad in the Washington Blade this week titled: "In Case of Emergency." It seems to be a recurring theme these last couple of days.

My sister was in town last week for some defense acquisition boon-doggle and we got together for dinner. The conversation slowly made it's way to 9-11. My sister and her husband were both working up the street from me in Rosslyn. Then the word of the attacks came, she called down to him and said, "We're going home now." That's the way she is. She takes charge and moves out. They hit the streets before the traffic got too bad, picked up the au pair and my nephew at gymboree or something and made it home. I, on the other hand, just stayed at work. I had only been on the job for a couple of weeks, so running back to my condo in Arlington didn't seem to make sense. That afternoon as I "worked" (seriously, who was really working then?) I watched the stream of people, thousands of them, walk across the TR bridge, past Rosslyn and on to 66. The city just emptied out and people were making their way as best they could.

Katrina was the big reality check for emergency preparations. Like most people living in the shadow of the White House, I pretty much assume that I'm a goner if there's a real terrorist attack. Hell, the government won't even re-route chlorine tankers to reduce the risk to DC. But in the off chance I survive the first minute. I'm kind of screwed. Let's face it, between the federal government and the district government (I'm not sure which is the pot and which one's the kettle), I'm pretty much on my own. Emergency evacuation plans? Emergency shelters? If there's a city wide (or better yet regional plan), I'm not aware of it. So there's a down check for "provide for the common defense" and "promote the general welfare." And I'm fairly certain at that point the "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" will not be a top priority for the government at that point.

Emergency preparedness hasn't been a priority in this country for a while and I'll admit that I bought into the mix of delusion and denial. I live a "just in time" type life style. Sure I've got some food in the house. But not enough to last me more than a day or two. Surely Whole Foods will be open, right? Bottled water. Um, no, not really. Damn, and with no electicity the vodka will get warm. Ugh. First aid kit? I'm sure it's here somewhere.

So I started getting serious. The bottle water, storing some food, a new first aid kit, face masks. Joe, in an excellent series reflecting on 9/11, mentions keeping cash around. Yeah, the credit card is good, but if there's no electricity, cash will be key. And Jimbo and I have the same escape route: via bike on the C&O Canal. I don't have a tent or sleeping bag yet, but I will soon. Jimbo mentions grabbing your passport, ID, etc and putting them in a plastic bag. The one thing I will add is to put a scanned copy of essential documents (deeds, licenses, adoption papers) as well as any financial info (like a Quicken back up) on a USB thumb drive that you can slip into your pocket as you get the hell out of dodge.

So that's my plan. If you haven't been thinking about an emergency plan, you should. Your life may depend on it.


At 2:12 PM, Blogger d.K. said...

I stocked up on some water (about 3 gallons ;)) about a year ago - I don't remember what the pre-Katrina event was that prompted it, but sake right back into blissful denial shortly thereafter. The cash thing never occurred to me, but seems the best idea yet. Especially in this country - even if I don't have anything prepared, with some cash, I can probably get the stuff, if/when the need arises...


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