~~ Ravan's Disaster Prep Recommendations ~~

It is Thursday, 21-Sep-2023 08:07:07 PDT in Silicon Valley, California.

recommendation \Rec`om*men*da"tion\, n. [Cf. F. recommandation.]
1. The act of recommending. 2. That which recommends, or commends to favor;
anything procuring, or tending to procure, a favorable reception, or to secure
acceptance and adoption; as, he brought excellent recommendations.
3. The state of being recommended; esteem. [R.]

Possibilities, Preparedness, and Paganism

Why Worry About Disaster Preparation???

The short answer is: Murphy's Law. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, in the worst possible way at the worst possible time. Katrina was proof of that.

The long answer: do a search on disaster preparation and look at what both the doomsayers and pollyannas are saying.

Isn't Survival Preparation a Christian Fundie thing??

No. The need to prepare for all sorts of disasters has nothing to do with religion. Mother nature is a bitch, and terrorists are perfectly willing to smash infrastructure if they can. Nowdays we have computers, too, and a heavily computerized infrastructure that can be vulnerable to programming oversights and sabotage.

The risks of fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, ice storms, pandemic and man-made disaster are too numerous to describe here. All inhabited areas have at least one of the types of risk, and some have several. Our planet is not a tranquil one, but alive and active. Add in global warning changing weather patterns, and things get interesting.

Gee, it looks bad! What should I do?

  1. Get a grip. The end of the world is not here, Jesus is not having a second coming, nobody is going to ride off on comets, Armageddon is not looming overhead. It's just that the infrastructure in your area might be disrupted for an unknown period of time (not forever) to varying degrees for various causes. Where and when is not known, although some of the countries in the former "Eastern Block" will get hammered if there is a disaster affecting them.
  2. Assess the Murphy factor in your life.
    Where and in what way are you dependant on the local infrastructure?
    Do you have a contingency plan?
    How do you handle emergencies?
  3. Take inventory on what (if any) emergency supplies you have. This is just plain good sense. Mother Nature can be a 14K b***h, and will always catch people with their figurative pants down. See some of the news reports in the last year about floods, fires, ice storms, blizzards, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. if you don't believe me.
  4. Make a plan, and then do it. Plan for one to three months worth of food staples in your cupboards and storage. This has the added benefit of, if you come on "tight" times, you can still eat. It may not be interesting food, but it helps (I know). This is just plain common sense. Big events like Katrina are NOT the only likely emergency around. The emergency might be a simple job loss that buts you on an austerity budget that makes you chose between rent and food. If you have stored food, it's not as nasty a choice, is it?
  5. Make a portable emergency kit or "bug out bag" and keep it in your car. Then if you get stranded, or have any other away from home emergency, you're not without resources. Even those who are on foot can keep a small first aid kit, a multitool, an "emergency blanket" and a bottle of water with them. Get the habit.

You're Saying "Don't Panic, But Do This Panic Stuff"??

<sigh> I'm saying "Be prepared in your life for whatever happens." Yes, this means disaster planning, emergency planning, and personal safety and "survival" awareness. You don't have to be a militia kook with an AK47 to be prepared for life's emergencies. A habit of emergency preparedness will serve you well no matter where you live. If you are prepared, you can help others. In a way it's like carrying jumper cables in your car.

One job I had was as a safety administrator for a company. We had regular "earthquake awareness" and "disaster preparedness" campaigns. Interest in seriously preparing for anything more than a 24 hour power outage was virtually non-existant. Dumb. A major disaster is going to shut a lot of things down for more than 24 hours. Ask anyone who's been hit by one.

The Silver Lining to the "Doomsday" Cloud...

The entire Y2K mess had, IMO, a big silver lining:
  1. It promoted an awareness of how dependant we are on the infrastructure. People who ordinarily wouldn't think about it are looking at reducing their dependance on fossil fueled, grid supplied energy. Conservatives with solar power, composting toilets, and other environmentally friendly ideas.
  2. It also is promoting disaster preparation in people who haven't previously prepared for anything but minor emergencies, if at all. If this saves pain, suffering or someone's life in the future, regardless of Y2K, it has helped. How many people more would have perished in the Katrina mess if Y2K hadn't "raised consciousness" first?
  3. People who are prepared themselves for big problems can often help others with smaller problems. Being prepared for whatever comes along is very empowering and reassuring.

I've several times reached into my food stores to give food to friends who are on the short end of the financial stick. I regularly make sure that my friends have at least some emergency lighting (candles, oil lamps). I sometimes even have a spare campstove lying around.

But What Does It Have To Do With Paganism?

Emergencies DON'T CARE what your religion is. The hard, cold fact is: EVERYONE NEEDS TO PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES! I don't really care what the emergency is, or how long it lasts. Earthquakes, fires, floods, whatever! They are definitely "equal opportunity disasters!"

That's why we have organizations like FEMA, and the Red Cross. They encourage people to be prepared, and then they can help out with the things that individuals can't do. The less "individual" supply bailout that FEMA has to do, the more money is available to put things right again. When FEMA falls down on the job, there is still more that you can do. Yes, our infrastructure is great, and usually quite reliable and stable. But disaster relief people, and insurance claims adjustors, know just how nasty it can be when the infrastructure is disrupted or breaks down.

As pagans, we are more aware than your average Joe just how capricious Mother Nature can be. Preparing for emergencies is part of living with, rather than over, nature.

All Right, What Should I Stock??

That is a matter of personal preference. Ideally, you want to keep it consistent with the stuff you eat everyday (no, McDonalds burgers DON'T store well...) That way, you can eat and replace it as part of your regular shopping. Think of it as having a higher "buy more" threshold on basic goods. That way it doesn't mess up your food budget (BTW, some foods in bulk are cheaper!)

Here are some suggestions:

RiceBeansSplit Peas
Egg NoodlesCanned ChiliBottled Water
RaisinsVitaminsCanned Juice
FlourPancake MixBarley
Canned ChickenBottled Spaghetti SauceMacaroni & Cheese Mix
Cream of Mushroom SoupToilet PaperGarbage Bags
CandlesCanned VeggiesPeanut Butter
Jelly or JamUnopened "miracle whip" bottlesBouillon Cubes
CoffeeMore Bottled WaterChocolate
TeaInstant BeveragesCrackers
SpamCanned FruitHard Candy
Campstove & FuelRain GearBasic Tools
Mylar "Emergency Blankets"First Aid KitPersonal Care Supplies
BatteriesOil LampsCamera & Film
Spices (big containers)Picnic SuppliesCamping Gear
Olive OilMultibean Soup MixPowdered Milk

That's the type of stuff I've stocked for years. If it stacks, stores, and is readily available, we store it. YMMV.

Why do you care?

Because I firmly believe in Murphy's law. And I firmly believe that the devastating effects of emergencies and disasters can be blunted by just a modicum of preparation on everyone's part, regardless of religion or politics. From a bout of unemployment to a massive earthquake, the preparations that I advocate will help a lot in smoothing the way toward the future.


Go to The Disaster Recipe Page to find out some people's recipes for storable food.


Please feel free to e-mail me with questions or comments.

Page built February 15, 1999.

Page last changed/tweaked on 3/22/2007