When the worst happens
How to prepare for a natural disaster
when you live in an apartment
By Taylor Harrison
RECENTLY, downtown Edmonton became the backdrop for the post-apocalyptic TV series The Last of Us. While the CGI artists on that show may not have had a big job in transforming our fair city into a long-abandoned husk, seeing familiar sights covered with vines and filled with mushroom zombies is still a bit unsettling.
While the possibility is probably nonexistent of fungi rising up and taking revenge for all the times we’ve eaten their brethren, there are plenty of other natural disasters that would make everyday life just a little bit harder, even if you live in a downtown apartment.
So, while it’s unpleasant to think about, even having the most basic of survival plans in place could be critical to living through whatever mother nature throws at you.
With that in mind, here are some helpful tips for surviving a natural disaster. Don’t worry, I’ll throw in some bad jokes so you’ll have something other than fear to groan about.
1 Genius really is 99 per cent preparation: Unless you’ve got some kind of weather-controlling superpowers, there’s little you can do to prevent a natural disaster. But you can be prepared. While emergency kits can be purchased, it’s not very difficult to make your own – and you avoid all the extra junk that the store-bought ones come with. But having all that fancy survival gear is only half the battle. Make sure you have an emergency plan to go along with it, like this one from Get Prepared Canada.
2 Save what really matters: After you’ve finished making sure your needs will be met during a natural disaster, go and do it again – this time for your absolute favourite person, your pet. After all, you’re going to need Mittens or Rex around to offer you all the mental support you aren’t going to be able to get from medical professionals.
3 Don’t pick up that phone: While it seems counter-intuitive, don’t call your parents/friends/dog during a natural disaster. When something this big is happening, everyone else is going to be thinking the exact same thing and those phone lines are going to be jammed worse than the Henday. Instead, text anyone you need to get hold of – that’s going to give you a much better chance of getting through to those you care about, as well as not leaving them wondering if you called them to let them know you’re safe … or if you’re about to be dead.
4 Burn, baby, burn: If the utilities go out, a camp stove could easily be one of the most important pieces of survival gear, especially if you’re renting an apartment where the landlord would frown on you starting a campfire in the living room. You’ll need something to cook food, boil water and, if we’re unlucky enough to be stuck without utilities during winter, heat your place to a livable temperature. Just make sure you open a window while the stove is running. It would be embarrassing to die of carbon monoxide poisoning during a tornado.
5 Know thy enemy: While natural disasters are, to say the least, unpredictable, when preparing for an emergency, it helps to know what you could be expecting. Some of the natural disasters that could happen in Edmonton are severe storms, tornadoes and wildfires. So plan accordingly.
6 Friendship could really be magic: One of humanity’s greatest strengths is our ability to work together, even if we’d rather pretend otherwise. Get to know your neighbours just in case; at the very least, you’ll know where to find someone to play cards with during a blackout.
While natural disasters can seem scary and out of control, the best defence against them is preparedness. Knowing what to expect during one will, at the very least, make it a lot easier to get to sleep if you’ve ever spent far too much time worrying about what could possibly happen in every single worst-case scenario possible.
Well, at least for some of them. No one knows what to do when sharks grow legs and try to eat us.