How could I get out?

He and I have talked about disaster planning in the past, often when some major disaster happens. Like the San Bruno gas explosion and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. And we both lived through the SF Bay Area earthquake in 1989.

I was serving beer at a pub/sports bar in the East Bay, getting ready for the World Series between the two Bay Area teams.  So we cheered at the first rumbles thinking it was a sign.  Then the TV screens went black and when they came back up we saw pictures of the bridge and freeway collapses.

He was doing garage door service calls in SF at the time, had his last one of the day canceled by the dispatcher, and made it home to his then wife and the two babies she was caring for just as the quake hit.  They lived on a top floor of an apartment building on the Peninsula at the time, and were just able to save their dog and make a harrowing descent down by crumbling staircase during the disaster; when it was all over, they had lost everything.

In case of emergency, break glass

The phrase has become shorthand for us, whether talking about creating wills or just visiting assisted-living facilities.  It conveys the idea of having a plan for any eventuality.  Be prepared as best we can.

We have agreed to set up earthquake kits and store emergency supplies. I have resolved to keep a pair of shoes under my bed (and to try to always wear slippers, although I really am more comfortable in bare feet).  {The importance of this recently became apparent when I broke a glass and couldn’t move without stepping on the shards.}

So when I read the news report about the recently rescued victims of the earthquake/tsunami, I realized that there was more that I should consider about our disaster planning: “The 80-year-old woman’s weak legs kept her from walking…out of the wreckage…”

Hmmm.  Yikes.  

Weak legs

I started searching for emergency preparedness for those with limited mobility.  I was oddly comforted by discovering the existence of emergency evacuation chairs, that there are even brand competitors! 

OK, so I can get downstairs after an earthquake. {I truly believe that our stairs will weather anything; he overbuilds everything for my safety!}

The other thing I’m thinking here is to focus on the strength of my upper arms. If I need to, I will be able to scoot around on my butt.

And the MS Society suggests that, “If you cannot move from your bed without help, store a fire-resistant blanket in your bedside cabinet, along with a washcloth or small towel that you can wet with your drinking water and place over your face as a shield against smoke.”

I will keep looking but now I feel like it would be manageable.  Let’s hope our plans are never tested in the real world.

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