“I hear forecasters are saying this could be a busy year for hurricanes,” I said. “News is making quite a deal about it. Is your cousin in Florida ready if hurricanes head that way?” I asked Duane.
Duane was intent on flipping hamburgers on the gas grill in his yard. “It’s Diane’s cousin, and she always complains about the hype they get down there when there’s even a remote chance of a hurricane.”
“Well, the National Weather Service and other authorities are just trying to protect themselves, I suppose.”
“Yeah,” said duane. “I guess being prepared is always the best policy, but I sometimes wonder how much stock to put in the far range predictions that come out in the middle of winter.”
Smoke wafted up from the grill, blowing wonderful smells my way. “I keep seeing stories about states where officials are telling people to be ready for anything. You know, storms and such, which could knock out power, or do worse things. I mean, when the governments themselves are admitting they can’t do it all for people, we’d better listen.”
“Yeah,” Duane said, “I know that’s what Survival Sam has been saying, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” I said. “He’d say to have a plan, be prepared, and pay attention to what’s going on. Everybody should have basic preparedness supplies on hand for survival, no matter what the situation.”
“Yeah, we got a few lessons when we went camping for the first time a few weeks back. Seems like we forgot some things we should have had. We still had a lot of fun, but it was instructive, too. I’m just glad it wasn’t anything more serious than a camping trip. It was good practice.”
“It’s funny,” I said, “I used to hear government recommending everybody should have a three day supply of things to get by, but it seems like after Katrina, and with all the flooding and fires already this year, they’re saying to be ready to get by for a week or so. Be ready to move out, if necessary.”
“Yeah, Diane’s cousin says they have to think ahead and try to avoid crowded highways when they evacuate before a hurricane comes.” He focused his attention on the grill again. “Looks like this first batch is about done.”
“I’ve never been through a hurricane before, but I’d guess you’d have to be packed as if you were going on vacation. You know, take your medications with you. Probably important documents, too. Then there are pets to think about, too.”
The storm door closed as Diane came toward the grill with a plate in hand. The sunshine heightened the color contrast of her white top and dark brown curls.
“Great timing, honey,” Duane said. “I was just saying these are about done. Hey, what’s your cousin’s name down in Florida?”
“Janine.” Duane scooped burgers onto the plate. “She complains every year about the hurricanes, but she’s always well prepared.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Things like making sure she knows how to shut off gas and utilities. She’s got a little notebook with emergency numbers and contact information for friends to stay with if she has to evacuate. She’s got a bugout bag with supplies at the ready. She’s really on top of things. Thankfully, she doesn’t have any kids to worry about, so she doesn’t have to wonder what would happen or where they’d be when school’s in session, in case there’s a hurricane in September.”
“Sounds great,” I said.
“Yeah, she’s not the kind to sit around and twiddle her thumbs,” Duane said. “She’s not the type to sit around and moan about not finding what she needs at the grocery store at the last minute.”
“And she thinks of others, too,” Diane said. “She’s pretty involved at church and tries to help encourage others to be ready, too. You know, there are some disabled and elderly people who need a little extra attention, and she doesn’t want to see them neglected.”
“What does she put in her hurricane survival kit?” I asked.
“Oh, let me see.” Diane had just started to turn back toward the house when my question stopped her. “I think Janine has a first aid kit with some basic supplies, for one thing. Naturally, she’s got a radio and fresh batteries. She has flashlights and light sticks. No candles. She doesn’t want to take the chance of setting fire accidentally at home.”
“That’s thoughtful,” I said.
“Yeah, she’s pretty sharp,” Duane said, arranging several hot dogs on the grill.
“I’ll take these burgers in,” Diane said as she left us. “I’ll send Jenny out for the hot dogs in a few minutes,” she called back over her shoulder.
“We were down there a few years ago,” duane said, “ and Janine was proud of having a survival stash set by. She had at least three days’ worth of nonperishable food, in case electricity went out, and she didn’t have a refrigerator or electric stove. She even had a manual can opener in her kit.”
“How about water?”
“Oh, yeah, containers for the usual gallon per day,” Duane said. “She had some extra clothes and of those emergency blankets, too. You know, the ones that come in a little packet, but are pretty good sized when unfolded. Believe it or not, she even had some duct tape and a small tool kit. If I remember, she even had some emergency cash set aside. She was really ready.”
“And this lady’s single?”
Duane nodded. “Never been married. She’d make a heck of a prize for some lucky guy, but it just hasn’t happened.”
“Sounds like she’ll survive longer than the men in the area with all her preparations,” I said.
“Hey, you’ve got places on your blog for people to buy survival kits for hurricanes, don’t you?” Duane asked.
“Sure. The Survival Kits & Essential Supplies page in the Prep Mart has companies who offer kits that are good for any kind of disaster, and they’ve put in anything anybody would need for at least 72 hours. Plus, they’ve got plenty of extra supplies for replenishing those kits, too. There are kits for individuals or families, even businesses and schools.”
“So, somebody just clicks on a company’s logo to start shopping, right?”
“Simple as that,” I said.