Thursday, 26 December 2013

Emergency planning

Local flooded farmland
This past year we have lost electricity 3 times, water for a day without notice and have been affected by flooding though, thankfully, we were not flooded ourselves. This has made me realise that I probably ought to do a bit of disaster planning.

The idea has been ticking over in the back of my head for a while but the recent floods have brought it to the fore again. I can remember having power cuts as a child but assumed that the infrastructure nowadays would be more robust, it isn't. It doesn't help that because we live in a small hamlet if there are any large scale problems we will be low down in priority simply because we are only a handful of houses. Electricity cuts we can deal with pretty well, we have torches, candles, a gas cooker, a log burner and a wood supply. They're not so fun after the first day but ultimately make an adventure with my boys.

Losing water was a shock. We didn't realise until gone seven on a Sunday night. Thankfully I had recently been shopping so we had a couple of bottles of fizz around, not ideal but not as bad as it could have been. Water came back on around three the following morning, I know because I was woken by the sound of a running tap somebody had left on! We now have a sealed one gallon mineral water bottle sat in the loft that I bought the next day. Not really enough but would tide us over until the shops opened.

But what if we can't get to the shops? This happened on Christmas Eve for us. Living near a river a large part of the landscape was affected by flooding, this is quite normal and not usually something to be worried about. Only this time at one point all of the local bridges were closed. Trying to find a route for my mother-in-law to get to us was not fun! On the positive side we have not been flooded ourselves and it is unlikely to happen (though not impossible). Another positive is that we were still able to walk to our local town for whilst the main bridle path route was flooded there is a slightly higher footpath that takes us to a trailway (former train line) that is mostly above the flood water. A four mile round trip walking but quite doable.

I've always considered of disaster planning here as being a bit OTT, after all we are not usually subject to earthquakes or other big natural disasters. But I've changed my mind and would like to be more prepared. Whilst I'm not planning on collating bug out bags for us all I think that it has now moved from the realms of being over cautious to a sensible move to have an organised emergencies box packed.

This is something I still need to do a bit of research on but here's my list so far:

Emergency box:
Spare AA and AAA batteries
non-drinkable water collection for loo - pond/waterbutt
Emergency food
Candles & holders
Drinking water
Copies of useful documents

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