Sandpanther (sandpanther) wrote,

Preparing For Disasters

One of the cool things about where I'm working is that, as a break from a busy, stressful day, I can have conversations regarding fresne's zombie apocalypse preparedness plan -- which revealed to me that my own zombie apocalypse preparedness plan is pretty inadequate. Mostly non-existent, really.)

On the less cool side, having smoke come poring from my furnace exchange at 8 AM Saturday morning has shown me that my planning for more common disasters is not so good either. Given I do prepare disaster preparedness/business continuity plans as well as doing failure analysis and prevention as part of my job, I present my post-mortem:

1) 911 is your friend, it's true. But even so, look up the numbers for local fire and police, as well as the water, electrical, and gas utilities and write them down on a card that always lives next to the phone. Yes, they're on the internet. However, having those things looked up when things are calm and boring saves lots of fuss when under stress. Also, there are times when the internet isn't available.

2) Make a list of what to grab when on the way out of the house. When you're trying to flee the house to escape billows of toxic smoke is not the time to be remembering keys, wallet, laptop, backups, etc. Something will be missed.

3) Related to #2, figure out where you're going to put the stuff you grab while heading out the door. The middle of the street where the emergency crews are trying to get in is not a good plan. Talking to your neighbors in advance about tucking stuff into their back yard might save a lot of hassle, as well as protecting valuables from damage in the fuss.

4) Fire extinguisher: Get it, know it, learn it, love it. Do it before you want it, because needing it and not having it sucks.

5) Know where all the places to turn stuff off are. Circuit breakers, gas cut offs, furnace cut offs, water valves. Writing this information down on the piece of paper with the list of what to grab when on your way out of the house is probably not a bad idea. When there's an emergency going on trying to remember things that you don't access a lot may not go as well as you'd hope.

As with anything, do all the thinking beforehand. No matter how calm under pressure you are, something will likely get missed in the heat of the moment.

As an aside, based on Jan's experiences dealing with her house burning down, I'm starting to think that it's worthwhile to scan all tax documents as well as all bills and burning the scans to a backup disk kept somewhere easy and obvious to grab on the way out the door might not be a bad idea. Some disasters allow for time to grab a big box of paperwork, but some don't. Also, putting the paperwork backups with something you're going to grab on the way out anyway leaves one less thing to worry about on the way out.

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