The day before Hurricane Ike was predicted to reach Houston, I was talking to co-workers on what to expect, as this was going to be our first hurricane. We had recently moved to Houston due to a job transfer. Several people described the horrors they experienced trying to leave the city for Hurricane Rita, about getting stuck in freeways that turned into parking lots, so most people were staying put. I left work early thinking I would stop by the grocery store to pick up water and toilet paper. When I got to the market around noon, the place was packed with wall-to-wall shoppers; you could not even move the shopping cart. I searched for water and found the shelves were bare. Checked for toilet paper and managed to snag the last 12-pack. Getting gas was also an ordeal, with lines snaking for a block. This got me thinking I don’t want to experience this madness again.
A few weeks ago, I happened to notice my husband reading a book called One Second After by William R. Forstchen. He got pretty engrossed in the book and finished it quickly. He then told me the book was about how a family survived after an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that takes down the country’s power grid and the chaos that people had to go through. While I normally do not read the same type of books as he does, I got curious about it. I picked up the book and became involved in the story. I started relating to the characters and worrying about their fates. Most of all, I started to think, what would I do if the same situation were to occur right here, right now.
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who wants to read the book, so I will not go into a detailed description. Just to give a small idea of the book’s premise, the characters wake up one day and find that an EMP has brought down the electric grid, and anything electrical would not work. Cars with any typed of electrical system stop running, planes fell out of the sky, cells phones and computers stopped working and there was no means of communication. The reactions by the characters portrayed in the book are quite realistic; their actions were where something I can see myself doing if something like that were to happen.
Now I would be the last person who would want a disaster like this to happen, in fact, the whole idea terrified me. I like my comforts and conveniences, and would be sad if they were to go. But the alternative of burying my head in the sand and not pay attention to what is going on in the world would be a mistake. Instead of being afraid of not being able to cope during an emergency, I started to think about ways to prepare instead. My husband and I had a discussion about what we can do. As it turns out, he was also thinking the same thing: how would we prepare our home and family, should a disaster occur and disrupt our way of life.
We started reading about emergency preparedness on the internet. There is so much to learn, so many supplies to buy; it can be overwhelming. We have limited funds, as we are trying to pay off debt and live within our means. We also realized there is only so much we can do to become self-sufficient while living in a small apartment. But there are SOME things we CAN do, and I am not doing to waste any more time worrying. We will do what we can in the space and resources that we have. This is how our journey started.