Disasters – Natural and Man Made. Are you prepared?

18 Jun

water main break  When you live in the city sometimes you get a bit complacent. After a winter of frozen pipes all over the city at homes and businesses we were all aware of that being a possibility. But are we ever really ready for things like that to happen?

Last night we were woken up by pounding at our front door – it’s like when the phone rings late at night, can’t be good news. Was neighbours informing us of a geyser on our front boulevard. And since we are at the top of a hill it was pouring downstream like a river. First thing was to phone 311 of course, they didn’t take it too seriously til they realized they could hear the water rushing over the phone. They said they’d send someone out – I figured this counts as an emergency as because of the slope we would soon be flooding basements all over.

As it usually is in these cases everyone wandered down the street to figure out what’s going on – speaking to other neighbours who reported it I found out they were all told 24 hours before the city would come…. With water gushing out like this, there’s no way we could wait that long. Thankfully they took the call seriously and came within 30 minutes – turned the water off, put up a small barricade near the hole and that’s it.

We just went back to bed, thankful that there was no water in our basement. And glad that water had just been on sale so we have a few flats. I also started to fill the tub right away, it was nasty brown water with stuff floating in it – but figure it’s good enough to flush the toilet, since we have no idea when the water will be back on.

water2  Woke up this morning to this hole….this isn’t the hole the water was coming out of. It’s a few feet from the original hole – there’s also smaller holes in our actual yard where water must have built up and shot out of. Once again, thankful no water in basement of course!

The city came and covered our whole boulevard with plywood…hoping this is not a long term “solution” as it’s quite dangerous and with holes opening up like that it becomes a big safety issue.

It really makes you think though – how prepared are you for these types of situations? This is a minor one of course, all we are lacking is water and that can easily be bought or filling up jugs at a friends house.

But like the people with frozen pipes in the winter, what do you do when you go without for a long time? Or if there’s a worse scenario like a tornado, a flood, a fire, or like recently a madman on the loose? How long are you ready to go without basic services? How long can you survive with just what’s in your house?

It’s a great idea to have a kit ready – we have snacks and water ready for the basement in case of a tornado. A first aid kit is a must too – you never know. And water, lots and lots of water. We have small bottles of drinking water, but in a real emergency those wouldn’t go far for bathing or doing dishes.

In case of power outages propane is a big one to have – you can cook so much on the bbq, including just boiling water for all the basics.

And of course with medications, inhalers, epipens etc. it’s always great to have extras just in case. Packing a go bag is always a great idea – something you can just run out the door with. Extra money, family staples, any documents you’d need. Camping gear ready to go and easily accessible is a great one too! And making sure you’re insured for the many possibilities is a great idea too – knowing what you are covered for can really be a time and money saver in an emergency situation.

Thankfully these situations don’t happen often (knock on wood) and for me it’s a very minor inconvenience today. But it really makes you think of what if it was worse, and how can I better prepare for these types of situations? Sometimes just a little bit of prep work in advance can really save you a lot in the long run too.

What do you have organized for natural disasters etc? Does your family have a plan, and things set aside just in case?

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