So, there was this earthquake in Ottawa yesterday. It was totally scary even though nothing actually happened. Well, my partner did appear on national news as someone “fleeing” a building, so that’s exciting.

But the earthquake got me thinking a little about disaster preparedness. It’s funny–you can read all you want about how you should get prepared for possible disasters, but until something vaguely scary actually happens to you, it’s hard to think it can.

Two things I realized we don’t have, and really should, are a simple phone that plugs into the wall, and a wind-up or battery operated radio. Our only phone is a cordless phone that is useless if base isn’t plugged in. And a radio is just basic for getting information during an emergency.

My cell phone didn’t work yesterday, and neither did my internet. I’ve got two kids and I couldn’t communicate with my partner who works only 9 blocks away. I’m not saying it was horrifying or anything, but it sure makes you think about what it would be like if things were even marginally worse.

As I’ve discovered over this year of blogging, possibly the most important factor of frugality is planning ahead. I would go out on a limb and say that that might be one of the most important life skills period. Planning ahead saves money. But yesterday taught me that planning for emergencies could save more than money. It could save us a lot of stress, worry and panic.

What are your emergency preparedness strategies?


5 thoughts on “Earthquake!!

  1. We experienced the after shocks here in Rochester. I missed it and so did my kids. Can I ask how is phone that plugs into the wall going to be any better than your current phone so long as its base is plugged into the wall?
    Perhaps you want to look into a solar phone charger for a cell phone?
    Glad everyone is all right.

    1. Ah! Good question. I should definitely be more specific. By “plugs directly into the wall” I actually meant “plugs directly into the phone line” and doesn’t need a power supply. You know–old style phones. So that way, when the power goes out, but the phone lines are intact, we could still use the phone. Of course, that wouldn’t make a milligram of difference if the phone lines were out too!

  2. Unfortunately, if you use Rogers or a similar service, even if the phone lines are intact and you have an old phone that doesn’t require power, you still can’t make a call if your Rogers box isn’t plugged in.

    At least it’s better than just relying on cell phones. Whenever there is an emergency or big event in the city, it’s impossible get through as there are too many calls for the cell phone towers to handle. Just trying to find someone by cellphone after the fireworks on Canada Day is difficult.

    The one lesson I learned from yesterday is that while I know the fire escape route and the fire drill very well, I have no idea where to go and what to do in the event of a different emergency. Milling around just outside a large office tower can’t be a good idea if there’s a really big earthquake, can it?

  3. We had the same wake-up call after the ice storm.

    1. The kids know that in a huge disaster, the Red Cross will help us all reconnect.

    2. In a smaller disaster, everyone goes home or phones home immediately. This is what happened yesterday. The teens were home alone. My husband called them within minutes. Since he was only three blocks away, he would have come home if there had been no answer. I biked home, regaled in the hilarity of everyone’s thrill and checked the gas, water, foundations and chimney.

    Preparing ahead:

    3. Cooking Food: In the ice storm, we used the camp stove, but realized we had no convenience foods. (The effect of always making stuff from scratch.) So, now we have our own convenience foods in the freezer — those frozen lunches you make for your husband, for example. There is fuel for the camp stove and always a second tank for the BBQ, even in winter.

    Water: If we know a huge storm is coming, we will fill pots with water and sometimes, the bathtub. I did this the night before the ice storm and boy was I glad! The water supply was down for quite a while. We used to have 2 huge bottles of water in the basement, but we don’t do that now. I am thinking it might be an idea to fill our camp water container every week and then water the flowers with it to keep it fresh.

    Drugs: We try to keep a back-up supply of inhalers and other critical medication.

    4. Candles: I love candles. I love Ikea candles. I also have hurricane glass containers for candles as this is safer.

    5. Radio: We have two radios that have back-up batteries in them, but my husband kept taking one outside to listen to the news in the morning. So, for father’s day, the kids gave him a wind-up solar radio that also has a flashlight on it.

    6. Flashlights: When the ice storm hit, the kids were little. I knew the lights were going to go out, so I gave them each a flashlight (Fisher Price) and told them to keep them right beside them. They didn’t. The lights went out. They screamed, alone in the basement. Ever since then, the youngest has found a flashlight at the beginning of any storm, including high winds. In fact, she has one that is on a rope like a necklace.

    7. The ability to have fun without electricity. Don’t laugh, there are people out there who can’t!! Board games, cards, guitar, piano… or better yet… just conversation.

  4. We wrote a post for Kids in the Capital about emergency predarness. Now I just have to make a plan. Like where we would meet the husband if we couldn’t go home. And we need to have cash in the house just in case.

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