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    Duct tape remembered

    Dean links to this post by Mike Hendrix at Cold Fury, in which he flays leftist bloggers for pooh-poohing Tom Ridge’s warnings about disaster preparedness. I agree with Dean that it’s good to remember that this is not an exhaustive survey of the opinions of liberal bloggers, and, having clicked through to some of the posts myself, I think that the point several of them were intended to make was that Ridge’s warnings were vague and directionless. That doesn’t mean the posts in question were well argued, only that they weren’t all dismissing the idea of disaster preparedness itself. The points Hendrix makes are good overall, though.

    The comments are as interesting to read as the post itself, BTW. This one is from a woman who sounds exactly like the people I was talking about yesterday:

    We lived on an island regularly visited by typhoons and we kept three days of water and nonperishable foodstuffs on hand. It was not easy, and it took me time to build up our disaster kit–and then we moved to an area where snowstorms were the problem and we had to do it again but different (I’ve been without power or water for one week because of a blizzard). Again, it was harder than most people here seem to imagine, but it was doable. Cans of beans, a bottle of bleach, ramen noodles (these make a great snack when they are uncooked–like chips), raisins, peanut butter, rice, boxes of instant mashed potatoes, vegetables you dehydrate yourself (in the oven or on a screen in the sun if you need to) and bottles of water you fill are not that expensive when carefully purchased on sale over time. And the thing about a hurricane is you have some advance notice, so you can start filling up water containers before it knocks out your water supply. Since we always figure it’s our duty to help others, we lay in enough extra supplies to share, too. On an airman’s salary.

    Plain, old-fashioned resourcefulness. As she says, when your income is very low, you need to plan very carefully, but you look out for rock-bottom sale prices when they’re advertised, you lay in just one or two items at a time, and you figure that someone else is probably going to end up more screwed than you are, so you’ll need to lend a hand.

    I’m sorry I keep harping on this–as I mentioned a few days ago, my own earthquake kit was getting kind of slipshod, so Atsushi and I got everything back in order over the weekend. I myself am not a paragon. But the idea of simply not being ready is one that I can’t fathom.

    Added at lunch: You know how I just said I was sorry for harping on this? Well, I lied.

    If I hear or read one more person’s gassing that the sheer magnitude of the damage from Hurricane Katrine means that only the federal government could handle it, I am going to go postal. Situations like this are exactly when you need all those little nuances of on-the-spot knowledge that only locals know: Harrison Street is backed up, so let’s try the back way over Keystone Avenue…What? The 7-Eleven’s closed? The 7-Eleven doesn’t close! But okay…There’s a 24-hour mini-mart at the gas station a mile up. Let’s try there. Washington doesn’t know whether evacuating your city will take 48 or 72 hours, where the best places to go to alert the homeless are, or which churches and civic groups can be relied upon to help get things set up at shelters when they arrive. The federal government can descend on an area with a lot of expensive equipment and trained personnel, but they have to learn their way around by feeling things out or asking questions.

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