Headlamps & Hatchets: A Look at Hurricane Preparedness

One of Justin’s (many) great qualities is his preparedness. Whether you are going on vacation, out for a hike, on a boat ride, or to a cookout, Justin is going to have a bag full of gear and should disaster strike, he will be ready to face it head-on.

Last August, the East Coast was hit by Hurricane Irene. Justin was scheduled to work the same day that Irene was expected to hit our area and he was nervous that Brody and I wouldn’t be able to handle ourselves if the mess really hit the fan around here. Part of me was a little offended at his lack of faith, but the other part of me felt that it was a valid concern since Brody and I are both known alarmists. If Justin is gone for the night, we both just sit there, feeding off of each others fear, toeing the line between sanity and panic, convinced that someone is lurking in the dark just waiting for the right moment to burst in and give us the final nudge we need to Heart Attack City.

So having never really experienced a hurricane before, it was really tough to say how we would fare. For all we knew, B and I as a team in a hurricane could go one of two ways:

1) We would be the clowns that you see on the news trying to paddle a boat down the highway – not to get anywhere, just for fun, or
2) We would sit in the basement and weep openly with our ears covered by our paws and hands, respectively, while the rest of the population went on with their lives since the hurricane missed us.

Before he left for work on the day of the hurricane, Justin presented me with an emergency backpack that he had put together. The contents were varied and, in some cases, surprising:

-A general survival kit
-A Ziploc bag with cash and my passport
-2 liters of water
-Some protein bars
-Brody’s adoption and vet paperwork
-A toy, some food, and a bag of treats for Brody
-A shock blanket
-A compass
-A headlamp
-Matches
-A glow stick
-A hatchet

To say that I felt prepared would be an understatement. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the survival backpack also left me feeling a little uneasy. I had visions of Brody and I wandering a vast expanse of downed trees and power lines, me sporting the headlamp and wielding the hatchet, Brody carrying the glow stick in his mouth to add a little pizzazz to an otherwise glum situation because he’s cool like that. I felt that if the hurricane really hit and we were forced to brave the great outdoors, that people would look to us for guidance because we had that sweet backpack, and I just didn’t know if Brody and I were ready to lead a population to a new and safer world, you know?

Luckily, aside from a few downed trees and a day-long power outage, our area escaped the hurricane relatively unscathed. The headlamp proved to be worth its weight in gold when I had to walk Brody since he still refuses to be potty trained and the shock blanket almost had to be broken out after a limb fell from a tree in the neighbor’s yard, took down a power line, and sent a shower of sparks flying that we could see through our window. The hatchet went unused but we both felt safer knowing that it was there.

Today we find ourselves in a similar situation as Hurricane Sandy roars up the East Coast. Justin is home this year and you can bet your bottom dollar that we have a bag of gear sitting by the door. As much as we laughed about the Emergency Backpack of 2011 (and believe me, we laughed), it really is a good idea to have all of your essentials, including any pet paperwork, ready to go in case you have to make a quick getaway. The last thing that I want to be doing while Sandy is knocking at the door is tearing around the house looking for Brody’s rabies vaccination, especially since his general behavior would lead everyone to believe that the document was a fake anyways.

To all of the fellow East Coasters: batten down those hatches and stay safe!

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2 thoughts on “Headlamps & Hatchets: A Look at Hurricane Preparedness

  1. Brody could take a page from the ski rescue dogs and be ready with a thermos of hot chocolate in case the shock blanket is insufficient (or you get parched while trekking through the storm’s aftermath). At least that way he’d be pulling his own weight.

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