A series of problems, ranging from severe weather (from droughts to floods to hurricanes) and environmental degradation to government shut-downs and sequestrations (for a more thorough discussion, see this post) to nuclear or biological and chemical incidents, we are made more aware of the wisdom of resilience and short-term preparations.
(1) Disaster kit. The main short-term recommendation is to prepare an emergency kit both for surviving on your own for at least 72 hours and for possible quick evacuation. See U.S. government recommendations and their printable list for a 72-hour kit. Notice that these recommendations are based on the idea that disaster relief will arrive within 72 hours. Also, see this site for other ideas and lists and checkout their printable summary.
Consider getting a generator to keep freezers and refrigerators up and running, for charging phones, and other needs. A generator can be connected to power your home through the use of a professionally installed transfer switch (also, see this article). A significantly less expensive option is getting a power inverter and using your car as a short-term generator for things like keeping your fridge cold enough that food doesn’t spoil or running a circulating hot water heating system (as described in this article; also, see this article). An inverter may not be sufficient, however, for running a forced air furnace. [Thank you, JB, for this information on inverters]
Batteries are another high value item. Buy these supplies BEFORE a disaster makes them unavailable (listen to a 3-min, humorous audio post about someone who doesn’t listen to warnings and this post on the dark side of optimism).
Bio-chemical and/or nuclear accident preparation. See this site for a start. Also, FEMA’s guide to a nuclear incident and the Nuclear Attack Planning Base. EPA and Homeland Security guide, title “Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation First Edition (2009)”. Most hazardous area from fallout is 10-20 miles from ground zero.
(2) Prep cars for emergencies (see this site).
(3) Longer term resilience measures. For related discussions related to longer term resilience (> 72 hours), see these posts on water, filtering pond/lake/river water, food, financial resilience, and a Community Supported Sustainable Lake House (CASSL). For a discussion of more dramatic consequences of an non-resilient culture, see this post on societal collapse and its more pleasant cousin posts on life design, solutions, and life models that maximize sustainable well-being, including this post on an intentional community in Portugal and this interview with an experienced community participant.
Storms and Climate Change? You rarely hear the words “climate change” in traditional broadcasts on weather (very rarely was discussion of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Eastern Coast on 10/29/12, and climate change), but there are people making intelligent connections: see Democracy Now and this article from the Washington Post…and, as of 11/1/12, BusinessWeek’s cover story, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid“, and, interestingly, a European reinsurance company whose focus on insurance claims led them to generate a report emphasizing severe weather events (press release here). Bottom line: it’s difficult to attribute any given storm to climate change, but human contributions to a warming climate are likely responsible for an increase in the severity of weather events.
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