Emergency Preparedness

In case your facebook newsfeed or twitter homepage hasn’t given you this little tidbit of news, there was an earthquake today which was felt across the East Coast.  I specifically felt it in Silver Spring, MD, but I’ve heard Boston, Philly, NYC, NC, and VA were all impacted by the quake, which originated somewhere in Virginia.

I can’t tell you a lot about what to do in an earthquake.  I did not grow up in California, but I think weight-bearing door frames are the safest place to stand?  Apparently FEMA says that if you are indoors when a quake occurs, you should remain indoors.  Thus, the federal government evacuated all federal workers.  Way to go, USA.

I’ve seen a lot of people posting about how scared they were, but honestly here in DC the worst damage I have heard about is that maybe a few bricks fell down off an old roof or there was a shake-up at the National Cathedral.  If a real disaster (a.k.a. zombie apocalypse, etc.) comes your way, here are a few tips for handling the situation with grace and poise:

1.  Take a moment to let everyone know you survived.  Change your voicemail message to “Hi friends and family, yes there was an _________ and yes, I am fine.  My phone has been turned off to conserve battery power and this message will be updated if my situation changes.”  Then, TURN OFF YOUR PHONE.  Seriously, there will not be a phone signal, you don’t need to answer text messages from your random neighbor’s cousin who heard about what might have happened to you, and as long as your parents [now] know you are alive, the rest can wait.  Stop clogging up the lines for people who need help.

2.  Try to have a go bag under the bathroom sink or in a closet by the door.  Yes, just like undercover CIA agents.  In your go bag, have bottled water, sweatshirt, socks and rubber-soled shoes, flashlight with extra batteries, a spare phone charger, a copy of your driver’s license and home insurance policy, a mini first aid kit, and some granola bars.  You may not be home when disaster strikes, and you may not be able to get to your bag even if you are at home, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

3.  Talk to your immediate family about where you will go/what you will do in an emergency.  Then, just do that.  Don’t make any drastic changes about your meet-up.  And if you can’t follow your plan, change your voicemail message to say “Husband, I am at ___.”  And then turn off your phone.  A million people will be calling to “chat” and “check on you,” so your battery will die and then your husband/parents/family will never find you.  Seriously, TURN OFF YOUR PHONE.

4.  If you need it, take charity.  And if you don’t need it, give charity.  If you lost your wallet and have no credit cards, cash, or ID and someone offers you $20 for lunch, just freaking take it.  You need it.  Say thank you, and acknowledge that if in the future you have an extra $20 and see someone with no money, ID, or home, you will give it to them.  And while you are at it, imagine how homeless people must feel every single day.

Love you guys, and glad this was only an after-shock and that we didn’t have any damage.  Hopefully Irene will have just the same impact.



  1. Kristen

    Thank you for this disaster help. It you write like this has happened? hahaha. Oh the tornado. Best friend note: please change your voicemail because your best friend will call you ever 15 minutes to make sure you are ok since the time you were separated after the natural disaster. At one point she or he will just call to hear your voice in your voicemail because shock kicks in and you believe everyone has died even though you saw them. ha.

  2. pinkbriefcase

    Haha YES I seem to recall experiencing some sort of disaster at some point in the evening hours of February 5, 2008. Oh man.

    My favorite part of this comment is “because shock kicks in and you believe everyone has died even though you saw them.” I think that could be the first line of a novel that I could write and it would be a best-seller and I would be rich and then I could buy a huge cabin in the mountains and all my friends would move in and I could make them huge giant breakfasts every day. Because my favorite thing in LIFE is making breakfasts for my friends!

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