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Ready for the big one?

Readyfreddy_bagYes, today is the 100th annivesary of the great 1906 quake and fires. If you live in San Francisco and didn’t know this, you’ve had your head wrapped in duct tape with bananas stuck in your ears and buried under 20 feet of sand. Yet despite all the hype — the newspaper stories, the television shows, the art exhibits, the parades — how many of you actually have an earthquake kit? Hmm, I thought so.

This may not be a hedonistic topic, but living well means being prepared to live well even when the chips are down. If Katrina taught us anything, it’s that in case of emergency, you’re pretty much on your own, so you better prepare. Ready Freddy sells a handy kit with some 100 items packaged in categorical bundles — light/power/communications, tools/supplies/food/water, protection, first aid and personal — all in a fetching orange backpack. Not cheap at $150, but it pretty much takes care of everything at once. Our local Red Cross branch at 85 Second Street also sells, one-, two- and four-person kits as well as combo kits for larger groupings.

we have a deluxe kit by the front door, and own individual kits to keep in the office. But the kits alone will not get you through. Remember to pack a few extra necessities:

  • Water. Most kits come with some, but you’ll want more. We keep a spare flat of water bottles handy.
  • Change of clothing. Pack a weekender bag with a change of clothing, a few extra pairs of underwear and socks, whatever you want to be comfortable.
  • Booze. I’m serious. If ever you’re gonna need a drink, this would be the time. If not booze, pack whatever your drug of choice is. I of course mean chocolate. Or whatever.
  • Ammunition. I’m certainly no gun-toting NRA wingnut, but you have to be realistic. Chaos brings out the best and the worst in people, and you know damn well few people will be well prepared when the quake hits. Pack whatever it takes to protect yourself and your loved ones.

At least as importantly, have a plan. Know where to meet your spouse/partner/kids/friends, and have a migration plan. There’s no guarantee cell phones will work, so you will probably not be able to reach each other.

All this won’t make the big quake suck any less, but it could mean the difference between life and death. Don’t procrastinate.