We live in earthquake country. Unlike tornado or hurricane country, we can go decades… entire lifetimes, even…, with nary a disaster to trip us up. I’ve lived here since 1990 and have not felt more than a few minor shakes. But if I’d moved out here one year earlier, I would have felt the impact of Loma Prieta and lived through the aftermath of fires and loss of electricity, gas or water.
As bad as Loma Prieta was though, most of the longer-term effects were limited to San Francisco and the peninsula. Well, except for the Bay Bridge. Oakland got to deal with that. But day-to-day life picked back up fairly quickly for most people.
But we never know when or where the next big quake will hit, or how bad it will be. We may homeless in a matter of minutes. So it behooves us to be prepared, even if we go our whole lives without needing to dig into the emergency supplies.
Ah, but allow me to point out that it’s not a good idea to just pack a disaster kit and then ignore it until needed. Especially if there’s food in there. And there should be plenty of food. And it’s best if you make sure water, rats, or other nasties haven’t made their way inside. Replace the batteries once in a while. And rotate that food.
Here’s a picture of our kit:
Yeah, all four of those cans contain stuff to see us through a couple of weeks without services of any kind. Propane, water, paper towels, a cook stove, a few dishes, extra toothbrushes… my husband is an engineer – trust me, we’re prepared.
We have a rule that we will rotate the food every six months.
Hey! You can get off the floor now, it wasn’t that funny.
Yes, my Outlook calendar pops up every six months to tell me it’s time. I manage to ignore it for at least a year. Usually two years. Then I start getting worried about the state of things and eventually go out there to fight off the spiders and bring in the food. This is part of it:
Did you notice it’s my worst nightmare - canned food? At least it’s not MREs, right? This may be one reason I put off the rotation. You know how I hate to waste food. So the rule is that when we rotate the old food out, we have to eat it.
Trust me, I do everything I can to make it palatable. The big can of yams was easy – I pureed the contents and froze it in small packets to add to pancakes. Then I took four cans of tuna, two cans of peas, and two cans of carrots, and let the contents drain in a colander.
Oh goody – gray-green peas. Yum.
I made a white sauce flavored with leeks and fennel, and combined it all together to make a base for tuna casserole. This is all for future meals. I split it into servings for the freezer. This way, I don’t have to eat all of it at once. I can thaw one out and add pasta or maybe a pie crust or biscuits and there’s dinner.
I used the canned salmon and spinach to make salmon patties for last night’s dinner, along with one can of baked beans. The spinach (canned spinach is the nastiest stuff ever invented) made the patties turn a sick green, but they tasted okay. Kind of looks like a hamburger patty, doesn’t it?
There’s more to use up, but for now, there is new food in the emergency supplies (this time I did not buy spinach) and I’ve set my calendar to notify me in six months that it’s time to again rotate them.
I’ll probably ignore it. Just for a year or so.