Living in an earthquake-prone part of the country, those of us here in California have come to terms with a certain state of disaster-readiness in our lives. My local community has designated November as “Disaster Preparedness Month” and it’s caused me to reexamine our readiness from many different aspects. While we can’t truly be “prepared” for natural disasters, as witnessed by the havoc wreaked on the East Coast in the past few weeks, it reinforces our need to try to think ahead in whatever way we are able. In general, we tend to think of being “ready” in terms of food, water, flashlights, etc. One area that we may not have thought through, though, is our preparedness in terms of clothing. Here are a few easy-to-implement suggestions:
- A friend who survived the Northridge quake some years ago shared his “aHa” moment. When the shaking stopped, as he was scrambling to get out of bed, he realized his floor was covered in broken glass and his shoes were in the closet. Since that time, he always keeps a pair of shoes under his bedfor easy retrieval. It’s a small thing, but very practical and easy to implement.
- Set aside one set of clothing per person in the household, packed in a medium-sized duffel. Ideally it will be of durable fabric and consist of layers, such as long-sleeved thermal undershirt, short-sleeved tee-shirt,rugged pants, jacket, rain poncho, hat, gloves and sturdy shoes. You may have to do more walking than you are used to, in uneven terrain, so good walking shoes could be very important. Don’t forget underwear and socks. You may need to wear this clothing for several days, so think in terms of comfort and durability.
- While a blanket and/or sleeping bag isn’t technically clothing, it is an item that can certainly function as an extreme outer layer of protection from the elements. Make sure you have several for your family.
What else would you need to be able to survive for a few weeks if needed? The beauty of the “clothing survival kit” is that there are no expiration dates to worry about. Do it now!