18 July 2012

Hurricane season approaches and I'm not ready

Hurricane season officially starts at the beginning of June, but I don't tend to think of it as being a real problem here, so far north of the Carolinas, until we cool off a little in September. So while I feel as though I have a lot of time to spare, I've been taking some time today to look at my pantry cabinet and take stock of my emergency supplies.

And I'm low! What started as a little project to organize my pantry turned out to be a wake-up call that I don't have much at all beyond my minimum 2-week supply of nonperishable or ready-to-eat foods. That is to say, I have a good 2-week supply, but I'd be eating canned beans 3 meals per day toward end of those 2 weeks.

Off to the grocery store, but maybe not until this evening after the heatwave breaks. Among other things, I need to replace some single-serving, ready-to-eat rice packs, which I'll rotate out of storage and eat today and tomorrow since they're about at their best-by date. Single-serving, ready-to-eat, shelf-stable, fully cooked rice. We really do live in the future. I don't even want to know the carbon footprint of this stuff (though the rice is grown in the U.S., the final product is imported from Spain) but it's a brilliant addition to my emergency supplies.

Not that I truly, truly need a 2-week supply of instant or ready-to-eat food. In my section of the urban hellhole I can expect to be first in line for utilities to be restored after a storm. If they fail at all, that is. My water has never gone out; my electric goes out maybe once per year; and the only time my gas has ever gone out was when PGW shut it off deliberately for an infrastructure improvement project a few years ago.

That said, I think the derecho at the end of June put the fear of god into me. When much of West Virginia had no power for a few days, local officials and the Red Cross had to organize "mass feedings" (CNN). Evidently everyone had their power back 12 days later, but a lot of people were completely and totally unprepared for the situation. That's really uncool and I don't ever want to be in that position, unlikely as it would be for me in my location.

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