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September  29

Sorry, We're Part of the Michael Brown School of Disaster Preparation

Local realtor Roberta Baldwin scares the bejesus out of us in her latest internet newsletter, with a link to a story about what documents every family should have ready in case the big one hits.

The story, found at bankrate.com, asks:

What would you do if you had five minutes to clear out of your house?

Five minutes to grab every crucial financial document before the house crumbles -- property titles, wills, insurance records, Social Security cards -- and you need to do it, even with all the chaos surrounding you.

Property titles? We don't know if we could find our property title (whatever that is) if we had a month to deal with a really slow-moving crabgrass infestation. Add property titles and insurance papers to the list of everything else we're supposed to have ready at all times: Power Bars, gallons of water, extra medications, flashlights.

Meanwhile, here's a list of things that FEMA forgot to have ready before Hurricane Katrina hit.

By the way, what's in your emergency kit? Wedding pictures? Or reading material for when you get stuck on I-80 going to Pennsylvania?

September 29, 2005 in Paranoia Beat | Permalink


I have a lockbox in my house that contains a lot of things like the kids' birth certificates and the like, and a list taped inside a kitchen cabinet of things to grab in order of priority (prescriptions, etc).

I have an emergency kit like the "Urban Bag" described at Jim MacDonald's emergency kits page. That is in the back of my station wagon, along with four bottles of bottled water and a picnic blanket, change of diapers for the baby, and formula and a baby bottle.

The bag came before Katrina; I found out about it while putting together a "bailout bag" for my kayak. I thought it was a good idea, the stuff involved was cheap, in fact I already had a lot of it hanging around my house. I just put it in a bag and put it in the trunk of my car.

This site has pricey but comprehensive prepacked kits. A google search for "emergency preparedness kits" will bring up many sites that sell such gear. Many are strictly from tinfoil hat. Personally I find the stuff they stock makes me think one of two things: Wow, cool! and Holy cow, that's crazy. Sort of like America today.

Posted by: Lisa Williams | Sep 29, 2005 9:12:01 AM

I have a flashlight and, uh ... I'm sure we have like, some crackers and soda.

Posted by: Appletony | Sep 29, 2005 9:18:23 AM

I think this is a good idea. The guyb who conducts our fire prevention program here at work agrees, too. I've been a lazy bum about getting one together, though.

I'd probably include enough bottled water for two weeks, energy bars, peanuts, canned foods (don't forget the can opener!), some warm clothing, soap, toothpaste & toothbrush, first aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries and a gas mask (can't hurt). Plus my cell phone with all my family and friends' numbers.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Sep 29, 2005 10:09:46 AM

I'm not leaving. I've got an 8 round pump action 12ga shotgun to deal with anyone who tries to come in the house.

Posted by: RidgeRanger | Sep 29, 2005 10:17:15 AM

Okay, I'll be the skeptical one here. What kind of an emergency would require us to leave in five minutes? And then to do what--sit in traffic on route 80 for 24 hours? Sounds a bit ridiculous.

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 29, 2005 10:37:20 AM

a massive fire due to some type of explosion-perhaps?-a series of bombings of some type--

Posted by: cstarling | Sep 29, 2005 10:49:07 AM

And realistically how would we all get away? It would be like Saturday afternoon on route 17, times a thousand. The idea that as long as we all have our bags packed and our power bars and documents in order we'll be able to cope with a disaster of this sort is wishful thinking. It would probably be just as effective to put your head between your legs...

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 29, 2005 10:57:07 AM

i agree wallero but you asked-i have the permenant marker mentality-write your social security number on the arm and hope for the best....Shiny happy people holding hands--

Posted by: cstarling | Sep 29, 2005 11:03:01 AM

I want to put a flashlight under my chin and a ski cap on and say "I'm so scared..." right now.

Posted by: Tom | Sep 29, 2005 11:04:38 AM

Head for the Eagle Rock Reservation to "GET TO DE CHOPP-AH!"

Posted by: MyManMisterC | Sep 29, 2005 11:07:22 AM

"If I say it's safe to surf this beach, Captain, it's safe to surf this beach. I'm not afraid to surf this place..."

Hell, I'm heading southeast. If we've got to leave in 5 minutes, you know parkway south will be empty, because everyone's heading to pennsylvania, land of...err.... actual green lawns.

Posted by: Tom | Sep 29, 2005 11:10:44 AM

Oh my. This administration is run by stupid people.

Posted by: lasermike026 | Sep 29, 2005 11:22:54 AM

Now that I think of it, isn't it like a real estate agent to recommend that in an emergency you reach for... your property titles and stock certificates? What weight limit does she recommend for the backpack that's going to carry all these documents? Should we also carry guns and ammo to protect ourselves from those less-fortunate souls who might want rob us of our 100 shares of IBM? Where can I buy a safe with backpack loops? or wheels?

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 29, 2005 11:32:29 AM

All that's missing are the spurs Tom!

Posted by: MyManMisterC | Sep 29, 2005 11:49:46 AM

What's your point?

Posted by: John L | Sep 29, 2005 11:53:16 AM

Who, Flashlight Mike 026?

Posted by: MyManMisterC | Sep 29, 2005 11:54:43 AM

Doc Jay and Eightball are wasted!

Posted by: Tom | Sep 29, 2005 12:19:51 PM

> What kind of an emergency would require us to leave in five minutes?

A hot date?

Posted by: Chris | Sep 29, 2005 12:25:21 PM

If we needed to get out in five minutes, I will prepare ship for ludicrous speed!

Posted by: MyManMisterC | Sep 29, 2005 12:27:51 PM


- Johnny Drama

Posted by: MyManMisterC | Sep 29, 2005 12:32:58 PM

Tho' I agree I'd seek add'l advice when prioritizing items for quick removal, the notion that we've nothing to worry about is far from true.

In the May 9th, 2005 NYT this article appeared:

"It is the deadliest target in a swath of industrial northern New Jersey that terrorism experts call the most dangerous two miles in America: a chemical plant that processes chlorine gas, so close to Manhattan that the Empire State Building seems to rise up behind its storage tanks.
According to federal Environmental Protection Agency records, the plant poses a potentially lethal threat to 12 million people who live within a 14-mile radius"

That's right outside our homes, folks. It's our "San Fran earthquake"; our "New Orleans's hurricane zone". And, of course, not much has been done about the hazard - in fact, our federal gov't is attempting to *lower* funding for 'homeland' security to NJ.

Posted by: waves2ya | Sep 29, 2005 12:33:28 PM

I'm sorry waves, as irresposible as federal govt. has been in terms of homeland security, that peice in the Times was quite possibly the most irresponsible piece of jounralism in the history of news. They did everything except provide blueprints, an employee roster (with soc. security #s) and security timetable. It's one thing to leave a front door wide open, but putting up a giant red glowing arrow on it only makes matters worse.

Posted by: MyManMisterC | Sep 29, 2005 1:02:43 PM

....or perhaps it was a clever trap

Posted by: MyManMisterC | Sep 29, 2005 1:03:48 PM

The good news is that the Baristaville Evacuation Plan calls for hundreds of buses to be made available at a moment's notice to whisk residents, their families, and their pets away to a certified safe haven in upstate NY -- an under-mountain shelter with unlimited water, filtered ventilation, and world-class catering kitchens.

The bad news is that they are DeCamp buses.

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Sep 30, 2005 8:01:55 AM

News - related to this topic (and otherwise buried if not for the Barista's new tool)...


It's a start.

Posted by: waves2ya | Nov 30, 2005 7:08:49 PM

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