Monday, September 15, 2008

Are You REALLY Prepared?

I'm not going to bore you with more 'i can't believe i can't send peanut butter to school with my kid!' stories this week. Oh, and if you leave a snarky comment about peanut allergic kids on this site, you bet your sweet bippy I'm going to pull it. Go ahead and try me.

Ahem.

So with the recent news of Hurricane Ike, I got to thinking about earthquakes. Yup, around here we get earthqaukes now and then. And you don't get notice like you do with a hurricane. The earth starts shaking and that's it.

So you prepare, much like you prepare for a peanut allergy. You have plans in place and supplies at the ready just in case you are hit with a disaster (which you hope NEVER comes). Earthquakes come on fast and are frightening and you're helpless!

We have a big container in our backyard filled with supplies, like water, radios, batteries, etc. just in case the big one strikes. Given the recent hurricane, Mark and I went out back and looked in our kit to make sure things were current. It had been quite some time since we checked it. Here are some things we discovered:
  • Items were missing. Seems like the gardener (the only other person who has access to our backyard) or one of his guys helped themselves to a maglite, radio, and tools. Glad I fired him last week. Note to self: buy lock for kit.
  • Diapers. Um, B has been potty trained for over a year. We can nix those.
  • Formula. Again, B's been eating solids for quite some time. Powdered milk and our meals should be fine.
  • Some of the food we packed (those freeze dried meals from REI) contained peanuts. Ack! I'll be buying more food for our kit and I'm thankful that these meals have allergen warnings on them - we can't just buy granola bars for obvious reasons.
But you know what WASN'T in there? You guessed it - B's medication (epi and benadryl). I'm so glad we checked! I'll be filling a prescription this week but I'm concerned about leaving the epi out in the elements for an extended period of time. Granted it will be in a big container, surrounded by other items that could insulate it. But I'm definitely ordering another epi-pen holder and probably an insulated lunch box to put the epipen holder in. I need to have these in our kit, so I'll take my chances that it stays ok in there. What else can I do?

So the next week will see me updating our supplies (there are plenty of other items we need to pack in our kit besides what I mentioned). If you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters (like earthquakes or floods or hurricanes), check out the Red Cross site for checklists to prepare your home, office, and school (and make a donation if you can to help the victims of Ike). Don't forget a kit for your car as well if you travel far for work. Oh, and remember that many of the premade kits that are sold for emergencies contain energy bars that may contain allergens like peanut butter, milk, and wheat.

Are you prepared? If you have a kit, what are your must have items?

5 comments:

Angela: mom2girlsgirlsgirls: said...

Great advice. My kits ride the roller-coaster of preparedness: complete for a while, then incomplete with primarily expired contents or pilfered (usually by me) contents. Thanks for the reminder.

John Fontain said...

Nicholas Pawlowski, an allergist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, says casual nut contact (i.e., non-consumption) won't kill anyone.

Gab said...

Thanks for your comment, John. Not sure what it has to do with this post, as I didn't say anything about casual contact causing death, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

In response to your comment though: the contact isn't necessarily the cause. People worry about contact due to kids touching pb and then their mouths, thereby causing a reaction by ingestion (that could potentially be fatal).

Pez said...

I have severely let our emergency supplies dwindle. I pilfered a few things for camping then my dh packed all of the camping gear away in the garage attic.

My goal for the next few weeks is to rebuild the kit and keep it in a safe place. I like the idea of keeping it in a garden shed like you are doing. Now, I just need to buy a shed... ;)

Also, I would not feel comfortable keeping epi pens out there. We have enough around the house that I am sure we would be able to access if we needed to (we keep some in the kitchen and others in my purse and the kids' backpacks).

Mary said...

Ike came by Cincinnati and we were out of power for a week. It was inconvenient but we did all right. We store Mountain House (freeze-dried meals http://www.mountainhouse.com/index.cfm ) and Heater Meals (like and MRE but tastier http://www.heatermeals.com/) in our kits. You may have to ask if they are peanut-free from your vendor but I haven't found any that have peanuts. Even the Heater Meals that have peanuts as a side item have it packaged separately; we get just the entrees instead of the meal with snacks option anyway.

My biggest advice would be to make sure you also have a camp stove and utensils with which to cook and eat. You can't count on others to clean or throw away their knife after they've made a PB&J sandwich.