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How long could you last in an emergency?

We are entering our 4th week of decluttering and I hope it is going well? I am still waiting for your pictures!

For those whose kids are at school, things should have started settling into a routine of sorts by now and you are ready to move on to this week’s task.

How many of us have an emergency preparedness kit? I don’t mean a first aid kit, I mean a kit that will help you in the event of load shedding, floods (when the drought is over) or even flash floods from the Johannesburg afternoon storms and, as witnessed last year, the flooding in Cape Town. We have also seen the devastation which the fires have brought and which are currently still raging in the Cape and, of course, South Africa’s favourite past time, service delivery strikes.

Cape Town Fires kept emergency service working overtime
The recent fire on the mountain in Cape Town, emergency services struggled to contain it.

Who remembers people all going into panic mode when the ANC government came into power? People were stocking up like it was the end of the world and, then again to a lesser extent, when Mr Mandela died, all in preparation for a civil war that T.G. hasn’t happened.

Stocked pantry
Stocking up on non-perishables, in case of emergency

This post is not meant to be an alarmist post.  It is simply for us to be aware of what can happen and how to minimize its impact on our lives.

A while ago we had a strike which saw the shelves in the grocery stores empty of merchandise. How did you manage with that? Do you have enough tinned goods to last you for at least 3 days? For those with babies on formula, do you have an emergency tin? I remember after I stopped breastfeeding, running out more than once and having to send my husband to the garage store to buy a tin at double the price.

What about when the water is cut off so the municipality can do repairs? Sometimes you are notified and can fill jugs and bottles, or the bath with water for washing, but do you have bottled water for when you don’t get the notice, or the plumber can’t get out to repair your leaking or damaged pipes?  What about all the road works for the Rea Vaya transport system? They’ve hit the water pipes before now and they are probably going do it again.

Flooded roads
Johannesburg’s Double Decker M1 highway under water, not even emergency vehicles could get through

When I worked in Kempton Park at the Nursing college where I taught, if it rained the roads flooded as there was very poor drainage.  I remember coming to work one rainy night and having to walk from the parking lot to the hospital. The water was knee deep and we all had to hand our uniforms in to the laundry to dry and walked around in scrubs! In the Sandton area of Johannesburg, Sunninghill and Witkoppen, roads flood on a regular basis when it rains and the famous double decker highway is often under water. Flash flooding occurs when there is a sudden heavy rainfall. If it is near a small river, the river can suddenly overflow when it happens in cities and suburbs; it is due to the fact that the hard road surface doesn’t allow the water to run off, this combined with poor drainage, leads to flooding.

Roads under water
Every time the heavy rains fall the road floods, even emergency vehicles struggle to get through

Fires are another hazard which we don’t think of much! The Cape has just experienced some major fires, which is unfortunate but very common; it is dry and windy in summer, so the beautiful mountains are at risk, especially from careless campers and picnickers. Fires are most common around December in South Africa.  It is hot so we braai (Barbecue) and then there are those that insist on fireworks for New Years. Jewish homes have the festival of lights, where we light candles every night for 8 nights and Christmas trees get fairy lights that have been packed away from the previous year. Did you check the wiring before putting them up? Jewish people also light candles every Friday night to welcome the Sabbath.

The eight branched menorah we use to celebrate chanukah
The eight branched menorah we use to celebrate chanukah.

I cook with a gas stove.  If you do, do you have a fire extinguisher nearby and when was the last time you checked the expiry date? Who knows how to use the fire extinguisher in your house? If there is (heaven forbid) a fire, do you have an escape plan?

It is time to think about what you will need in an emergency for the safety of your whole family!

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