Thursday, November 05, 2015

Thursday Thirteen

Thirty years ago today, my area was inundated with 6.1 inches of rain, which caused what is known as the Flood of 1985. Ten people died.

So here is a list of 13 things you should have in an emergency preparedness kit.

Everyone should have a grab-and-go duffle bag full of things they may need for an overnight emergency, if nothing else. (Check its contents periodically to keep things updated.) But many things you should also keep in your home.

1. Water. You should have a least a gallon per person per day. This is not realistic for a grab-and-go bag, so place a few bottles of water in that.

2. Food. Canned food with tops that don't require a can opener or refrigeration are good ideas, such as crackers, etc. For the grab-and-go, place a few peanut butter crackers or other nabs in there.

3. Medication. If you take any medicine, you should always try to keep that refilled and on hand. Stick a few pills in your grab-and-go bag (you may need to tell your physician what you're doing in order to get a few extra pills in your prescription).

4. A change of clothes. These should be something hardy, like jeans, and maybe good walking shoes.

5. Rain gear and/or lightweight jacket.

6. A first aid kit (bandages, stuff for cuts and beestings, something for upset stomachs, aspirin, etc.)

7. An extra pair of glasses if you need them to see.

8. A blanket or sleeping bag.

9. Credit cards and cash. I suspect cash is the better way to go; without electricity the credit cards won't do you any good.

10. A full tank of gas in the car. I never let my car gas tank go below 1/2 full. If the power is out for days, the pumps won't work. You may also want to keep gas in a can somewhere, so long as you're safe about it.

11. Batteries and battery-powered flashlight.

12. Portable battery-powered radio. (They make a solar portable combination flashlight/radio/cellphone charger these days. Good to have.)

13. Any other personal items you may need, particularly for elderly folks, infants, or disabled people.

Another thing you may consider is a generator. They make whole-house generators today that will kick in and keep the refrigerator running. Even a small generator can be useful.

You never know when an emergency will happen. The grab-and-go bag could be useful if, say, you get a call in the night that a relative is sick. You could take the duffle with you and at least you'd have a change of clothes and your medication.

You can see a 1/2 hour documentary of the flood on youtube at this link.

The flood of 1985 is one of those things you don't forget. My husband of two years was a firefighter and on duty. He and his fellow firefighters saved many lives that day.

I spent hours trying to get home from Roanoke (going from one flooded road to another in a desperate attempt to get on the interstate) only to find I could not reach my house because of mudslides and flooding. After finally finding a way home, I found the basement had four feet of water in it even though there was no creek or anything nearby; it was all run-off from the rain water.

This was the era of no cell phones so I had no way of knowing if my husband was okay; nor did he know if I made it home from the city. The phones weren't working, though he finally got through to my in-laws later in the day. I remember his first words to me: Thank God you're okay! 

My father-in-law was the fire chief of the local fire department; they were running rescue calls as well. I spent the night with my in-laws, who were not experiencing the basement flooding that I was.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes - the weather is unpredictable. Try to be prepared!


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 419th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. Good advice. I really need to get my act together and do this. My hubby is on a feeding tube so I really should have that prepared. I am saving your email to go by. Thanks...

  2. I stay pretty prepared except for the gas in the car one. I think I moved to VA in 85 but don't remember the flood. It was April.

  3. Here's what we have for an emergency. A whole house generator. That's it. I was so tired of no water and no heat or A/C. And giant jugs of water.

    We are at the top of a hill and have propane, so I think we are (mostly) good to go. Don't bring the whole neighborhood, but we can put you up in an emergency! I HAVE thought about getting some of that emergency food that keeps forever, but I think a few cans to make soup should hold us over.

    That should get us through power outages and flooding. For fire, we run like bunnies after scooping up the pets on the way out the door. Then we call your husband and move into YOUR house! :-)

  4. We had lots of flooding problems when I lived in Wisconsin. Here it's mostly just the folks who have their houses too close to the river.

    A go bag is a really, really good idea, but in all my life I've never really needed one, so I suspect it would just get absorbed. I do have water and other emergency supplies in the basement. On my wish list is a Katadyn filter.

  5. A good list to keep in mind not only for areas experiencing severe flooding right now, but with winter weather moving in. My T13

  6. This is such a good idea, especially with so many odd weather patterns in the last few years.

  7. Thanks for sharing the video link. I've heard people talk about the flood of '85 but I had no idea of the scope of devastation!


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