The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Are You Prepared? Is Birmingham losing ground?

Remember: This is National Public Health Week. And I have been promising something about disaster preparedness. Well here goes.

Disaster can happen at any moment. We can be forewarned, or it can occur without warning. We each need to have an Emergency Supply Kit. This is recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and brought to you by the UAB School of Public Health, at which I am a student.

Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit

Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.

Food, at least a three day supply of non-perishable food.

Battery powered or hand crank radio and a battery powered NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.

Flashlight and extra batteries.

First Aid Kit.

Whistle to signal for help.

Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

Can opener for food.

Local Maps.

To this I would add:

Pet Food for at least three days.

Chewing gum.

Paper towels.

A disaster can be a hurricane, for which you might think you are prepared, but they don't always behave as predicted. A tornado or storm that disrupts your utilities, for which you might have just a few minutes warning. A terrorist attack, for which there would be no warning. A fire...grab the kit as you are leaving. A blizzard that disrupts power, not likely, but remember 1993?

For more information visit:
Alabama Department of Public Health

Alabama Homeland Security

American Red Cross

Department of Homeland Security

Birmingham, The Shrinking City

Today’s Birmingham News reports that the Birmingham areas population growth is trailing other cities in the south, and we rank 27th among the Southeast’s 30 largest metro areas. Don Bogie, director of the Center for Demographic Research at Auburn Montgomery, said these census numbers represent a weakness in the Birmingham economy. It’s not always the economy, you know. There is the issue of image, and Birmingham just showed the nation of relocating businesses and employees that this is not where they want to be by refusing to pass the resolution of inclusiveness (see “Birmingham Falls Flat on its Face”). Maybe it is the economy, indirectly. If people are leaving to a more inclusive area (and don’t say they don’t. I get emails from such people every time I publish something about it), they are taking their skills and earning their high wages in other places. That affects the economy. If businesses decide not to locate in our city because they want their employees to feel safe and to have a voice in the city, then that affects the economy. Birmingham had better wake up, or they will continue to move down the scale in this category and many others.

Local film artist Alex Traywick has an episode of Stranger Things TV viewable online at It last about 13 minutes, and is titled “Discontent.” Scroll down to Episode 2A by that title and enjoy. Don’t play it in front of your kids, the f word is used in part of the dialogue. Haven’t heard of Stranger Things TV? Well, if you like your world the way it is, stop now. Stranger Things is about ordinary people stumbling into the secret worlds of the demons, aliens, shamans, and angels. The stories expose the bizarre and the extraordinary things happening all around us, everyday. Good job, Alex.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding preparedness, maybe it's the 1/16 chromosomes we share. Over a year ago, I started just such a pantry, and it's an ongoing rotation, but it's at least up to a 3-month stock of essentials in the event of an emergency. One such post on this can be found here, but I've written a number of them - can best be found by putting "preparedness" in the search box.

I was galvanized by an increasing awareness of avian influenza but that doesn't matter - there are all kinds of emergencies, and preparing is preparing.

One odd thing was some of the commenters: one in particular simply kept saying over and over, well, what do you do when it all runs out? And I kept saying to him (he on the New Madrid Fault) - I'll have survived on my own 3 months longer than you will. But it never registered. He was locked into the expectation that the government would take care of us all. After Katrina, which occurred a few months before all this exchange, it seems odd that anyone could imagine that the government "will take care of us all", at least for this current one.

So yes, be prepared. Even if it's only to have flashlights handy, but if you're inclined to do more, then do as you grandparents did and keep a several-week, or better, a several-month stock on hand. It can't hurt, as you'll use everything in rotation, and it could mean all the difference in the world.

Further, it liberates you to some extent, and allows you more freedom to help others in the event of a long term emergency. You're not standing in line all the time desperately trying to get food, for instance.