Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Around Town: It pays, and costs, to be earthquake ready these days

Back in the day, we always prepared for earthquakes. We were prepared because we had little kids.

We had a trash container full of kids’ jackets, food and blankets. We had bleach bottles, washed 100 times, and filled with water. We had a first aid kit and a wrench to turn off the gas main.

We had flashlights all over the place.

We felt prepared.

A few years later, I checked out the earthquake kit. The jackets were five sizes too small. The flashlight batteries were kaput, and the first aid kit looked a little dated.

For the next few years, we assumed that our large stock of personal Girl Scout and Boy Scout camping gear would suffice.

The other day, my husband, Len, noticed that the camping gear was gone.

“Didn’t we have a tent?” he asked.

“We lent it to someone,” I replied.

The garage seems strangely empty. It's all gone. The canteens. The little aluminum water cups that hook onto your belt. The iodine tablets.

Even the bleach.

“Next time you go to Costco, we need more bleach,” I said hopefully.

Perhaps it is time to revisit the dreaded Earthquake Kit.

My first stop was the Sport Chalet camping department, which normally stocks several types of fully equipped earthquake kits. Alas! The shelves were bare!

“They’ve been going like hotcakes” said salesman Chuck. “If you come into the store and prepay, we’ll ship one to you free of charge.”

I went home and turned on the computer.

Costco carries a 72-Hour Family Emergency Kit, First Aid & Essential Supplies for 4 People for only $74.99. There was a small notation on the screen — “the estimated delivery time will be approximately 7-10 business days from the time of order.”

Just like Sport Chalet?

Even more intriguing was this item: “Emergency Preparedness 7-Day Gourmet Instant Meal Kit Enough Nutrients For One Adult for 7 Days, Freeze Dried.” For only $94.99, “These foods are all natural and retain over 98% of the nutritional content, 100% of the fiber and have an extendable shelf life.”

Maybe I’m in the wrong business, I said to the dog, Miss Audrey Hepburn.

I aimed the browser at Amazon. There were dozens of emergency kits, all in stock and expensive.

For example, the “deluxe” two-person “Earthquake, Hurricane, Fire, Evacuations, Auto, Home and Family” kit for $99.95!

The Quakehold! Grab-n-Go Emergency Kit, 2-Person 3-Day Back Pack for $45.06!

And the emergency whistle for $5.59.

Miss Hepburn will like the whistle.

Parenthetically, one of the auction items at this year’s 6th Annual Torres Memorial Golf Classic is a fully stocked auto emergency and first aid kit, courtesy of FIA Insurance. See www.andrewtorres.org. A few seats at the dinner are still available for non-golfers. Call me at (626) 792-3175 for more information.

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