How to prepare for an emergency

Emergency autumn leaves
Don’t worry about what might happen. Look at the pretty leaves.

My husband will tell you I suck at emergencies. If by “suck” he means I stand around doing nothing until someone else steps in and fixes the problem, he’s right.

The incident with the water main

One day I got it into my head to mow the paddock above the house. I discussed the idea with my husband, and our conversation went something like this.

Him: Make sure you don’t mow the hose.

Me: I won’t. I know where it is.

Him: Really don’t mow it, because you do things like that.

Me: I said I won’t.

The hose had once lain on the ground in full view, but since then two feet of grass had happened, and now it was as well concealed as an ant in an anthill.

I marched forth with my mower and ranks of grass fell before our might. We were invincible.

I was mid-conquer battling a virgin clump when I remembered the hose. I backed up, and in front of the mower a massive fountain of water shot into the air.

Emergency: massive fountain
It was this big.

Oops.

Yes, it was a high pressure water mains pipe I’d mowed. Don’t ask me what it was doing sitting in the paddock. I want to say irrigation.

As my husband tells it, I came inside soaking wet, covered in mud and grass, and said, “Don’t get mad…”

He wasn’t keen to take this sage advice.

This was just one demonstration that when the unexpected happens I’m a champion at standing around being useless. Fortunately I have a husband to call the plumber.

The new plan

I consider myself a fairly smart person, and it occurs to me that next time an emergency happens I can be better prepared.

If you’re expecting a disaster, you want to stock up on the right equipment, which I’ve talked about before, but you also need a game plan. I need to think about possible calamities, and come up with a plan for what I would do if each occurred.

Then in an emergency there’s no new thinking involved. Clever right?

Emergency 1: Zombie apocalypse

I have to address the elephant in the room first. True, no one can really be prepared for the zombie apocalypse, but a bit of forethought could go a long way.

In a zombie apocalypse you have one immediate priority: avoid being bitten.

Zombies don’t have sophisticated technology, so it’s just their teeth you need to protect against. I reckon this would stop them:

Chain mail
Any zombie that can bite through this deserves to eat me.

So my first move in the zombie apocalypse is to don my chain mail. Admittedly, this would work better if I had chain mail, but it’s on my birthday list, so fingers crossed.

A chain mail coif would make decent neck protection. Failing that, a motorbike helmet with a visor. I don’t have one of these either, but I figure in the chaos of the apocalypse I’ll have no trouble stealing one.

One I’m safe inside my steel shirt, I’ll have plenty of time to plan my next move. Apocalypse conquered.

Emergency 2: Velociraptor on the loose

This could be problematic, because it’s been quite some time since I brushed up on my Jurassic Park.

I am sure velociraptors can’t fly, I’m pretty sure they can’t climb as well as I can, and they’re bigger than me (I think–I’m a bit hazy on this one).

Thus my first move when the velociraptors escape is to grab my laptop and go somewhere high and precarious, preferably through a small trapdoor.

Once safely there I will sit down and watch Jurassic Park, being sure to take notes on the salient points.

The movie will calm my nerves and get me in a rational frame of mind, as well as filling my head with what I’m sure is entirely accurate velociraptor lore. I will thus be perfected equipped to handle the emergency.

Emergency 3: Snakes on the plane

Whenever I fly, the plane filling with psychopathically murderous deadly poisonous snakes is my biggest concern. Next time I fly, I’ll be equipped with an exact plan of what to do when this happens.

The priorities in this situation are twofold. First, keep the pilot alive long enough to land the plane. Second, stay alive until the plane lands.

Luckily, snakes lack opposable thumbs and have limited manual dexterity.

Assuming the snakes don’t materialise in the cockpit, keeping the pilot alive is simply a matter of checking the cockpit door is closed and informing him or her not to open it until rescue crews have removed the snake threat.

I believe a statement to the effect of, “Don’t come out. The plane is full of deadly poisonous psychopathic snakes,” would suffice.

If she has half a brain, she’ll understand the importance of landing the plane and getting help.

Snake emergency
Don’t tease the snakes.

In terms of staying alive myself, sitting in my seat with my feet on the floor is the worst position to be in, because everyone knows snakes use the space under the seats as a highway.

A toilet (lavatory, you Americans) should be fairly safe, but I have a better plan: climb in one of the overhead bins and close the door. It might be cramped, but the snakes aren’t going to get me there.

Oh, I’m supposed to try to keep everyone else alive too? Gee, you ask a lot. Well, there are more overhead lockers, and I might be willing to share mine if you smell nice and don’t kick.

Snakes on a plane solved.

Emergency 4: Attack of the killer bees

Killer bees are made out to be much more serious than they really are.

Clearly the first step is to get inside and close the doors and windows. I don’t care how deadly killer bees are. They’re not breaking through the glass.

The important thing I need to remember is the fireplace. I don’t know for certain bees can get down the chimney and into the living room, but I don’t know they can’t.

My solution is cling film. Wrap it around the fireplace until every possible bee entry point is covered.

Killer bees conquered. I just have remember not to light the fire.

What are your plans for emergencies?

By the way, this is my fiftieth blog post. I never imagined I’d make it this far.

 

Join one of my mailing lists for reminders to come and read my new posts, emergencies sold separately. Plus you’ll be the first to hear when I release new stories.

Peaceful pond
No emergencies here.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

26 thoughts on “How to prepare for an emergency”

  1. Congrats on your fiftieth blog! I plan ahead by having three separate, full sets of keys. I know that I will leave one pair in my other bag, and one in the ignition, so I always have number three in my purse. I have yet to misplace all three sets. If that ever happens, I will retire from adulthood and move in with someone’s parents. As for the zombie apocalypse, my paper towel holder is made of iron, so they will never see it coming.

    1. Thank you – they’ve gone really quickly.

      Three sets of keys is a great idea. Fumbling to unlock your car and dropping the keys under it is one of the big risks in the apocalypse. And I’m betting you have those electronic unlocking thingies on your key rings, so you can unlock the car while you’re sprinting towards it. So much safer!

      I like the idea of hitting zombies with a paper towel holder. So convenient, and afterwards you can use the paper towels to clean up the mess. πŸ™‚

  2. Congrats on 50 blog posts. πŸ™‚
    In answer to your hypothetical scenarios:
    1. Zombie apocalypse: I think kevlar would be lighter and work a bit better than chainmail. But I’d still need a sword. I plan to decapitate any zombie that comes within a swinging radius.
    2. Velociraptors: I’m sure I sure a documentary that said they are much smaller than depicted in jurassic park, more like the size of a turkey. That’s comforting. I figure I’d get somewhere isolated and high and pick them off one at a time for a velociraptor roast.
    3. Snakes on a plane: This is a tricky one. I’m not sure you’d be safe in the luggage bins, but the cockpit idea sounds good. That and a big pillowcase because that’s what all the snake handlers capture them in, isn’t it?
    4.I feel the bees are the most problematic on your list. There are little gaps in my house I’m sure they could get through, so something like a thick plastic to block off all entrances might do the trick. But then I’d be stuck inside the house. A flamethrower in a confined space isn’t a good idea either. Maybe like the zombie apocalypse, I could don a modified beekeeper suit made of kevlar to venture outside, with my flamethrower. Somehow I think I’d still miss them all. Otherwise, underwater living sounds good.
    Right, now I have my list, I better go shopping πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚

      I think you’re right about kevlar being better and more practical than chain mail, but it’s missing chain mail’s coolness, and since there’s a good chance I’m going to die in this the coolness factor is rather important. I’m with you on the sword, though. Or failing that a machete.

      I don’t know, I think the documentary might be misinformed. Everyone knows Jurassic Park is accurate in its science and the best source of velociraptor knowledge. Btw, have you ever been chased by a turkey? They’re evil despite their size.

      Pillowcases for snakes are a must. Why didn’t I think of that?

      You’re thinking much more long term than me regarding the bees, but in that case I totally agree. A flamethrower with the added option of living in a dome under the ocean.

      Have fun shopping!

  3. Oooh, it’s the Palace of the Fine Arts. All kinds of emergencies waiting to happen, there. California, and all those lovely earthquakes. I’ve been there. (Repeatedly. My favorite museum from when I was a kid is just behind it.) That neighborhood is largely fill land, so it’s probably going to have very high casualties in a major earthquake. It’s adjacent to a district that will be covered in five feet of broken glass. Did I mention that I still have to know exactly where my shoes are before I can sleep?

    1. But it’s so pretty! We have the whole earthquake thing here, too. They are a total bummer.

      Knowing where your shoes are when you sleep just seems like good sense, but sadly I’m too lazy and optimistic to get around to it most of the time.

  4. πŸ˜€ This is awesome. Scratch the lavatory for the snakes, though. The first people to die in the movie were in the bathroom. The snakes will come up through the sink, the trash bin, or the toilet. And maybe the vent, if there’s one of those in there. I’m definitely going for an overhead bin or a closet! They have closet things on airplanes, right?

    My personal favorite apocalyptic scenario: Robots: In this case, I pledge allegiance to the mainframe and betray anyone who tries to escape so they will trust me and not use me as a battery.

    Congratulations on post number 50!!

    1. Haha, I was wondering if anyone had seen the movie. (I only watched it because a writing book I read kept talking about it, honest.) So true. Lavatories look like a good idea, but they’re death traps. Closets seem like a good alternative to overhead bins.

      I haven’t seen (read?) Robots, but your strategy makes sense. If a computer-mainframe-super-god tells you to do something, you do it.

      Thanks!

  5. “Make sure you don’t mow the hose.”

    I’m always afraid I’m going to do this when I mow the lawn.

    And killer bees? Yikes! *blllrrgghh* *shudder* *cringe* *rub my back and my head like I feel something crawling on it* <—that's pretty much my game plan.

    1. Take it from someone who’s done it – you don’t want to mow the hose. Especially if the hose is a high pressure water main. It was *really* expensive to fix.

      To be quite honest, that would probably be my first reaction to killer bees too, but I like to think I’d have the presence of mind to get inside and close everything up.. πŸ™‚

  6. Well I guess we need to be prepared about anything because you never know! πŸ˜‰ Btw this is truth your funny snake story, remind me that a week ago here in California was pretty warm weather, I mean did some days very hot, and we went for a late evening easy hike and just when I was enjoying the beautiful and refreshing breeze, I turn my face and just there on the side of the trail was a rattle snake (@[email protected]) well we decided to turn around better not take any risk so we went to another way and trail, there after walking to the end at last we had an encounter with another rattle snake (@[email protected]) I guess that day was a snake day! Luckly we saw them first but they were still letargic and sleepy! The early hot weather awake them…it is always good to be prepared for the unexpected! πŸ˜‰

    1. Ooh, scary! At least they were sleepy rattlesnakes, and not psychopathically murderous ones. I came across a rattlesnake once when I was hiking in California. I wasn’t prepared at all, and it rather freaked me out. πŸ™‚

  7. Happy 50th!

    I read a book in which the hero escaped zombie bites by wearing his wetsuit – he also welded his speargun throughout the story, which seemed like a reasonable idea, as long as you stab with it rather than shooting it. I guess it depends how much chewing the zombies can put up with, and how thick the wetsuit is – but I have a reasonable one in the closet, so I’m covered on that one. It seems like it might get a bit hot running for your life in it, though.

    1. I saw “Happy 50th” and I was like, Omg, have I just slept through more than a decade?

      A wetsuit is an interesting idea. I’d try that if it was all I had, but I wouldn’t want to be the one experimenting to see if it worked. Was the book any good? If it was good, maybe the author did his research and we can trust the wetsuit idea.

  8. Whee, congratulations on your 50th post!

    Your preparations make a lot of sense, watching Jurassic Park is a great idea when there are dinosaurs running loose. It’s important to remain calm in a crisis. πŸ˜€ Thanks for reminding me that I need to watch Snakes on the Plane! It’s been on my list for years, I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten to it.

    My plans for emergencies…hmm, does “playing dead” count as an emergency plan? In a zombie apocalypse I think I could also play undead pretty well.

    1. Thanks!

      Haha, Snakes on a Plane is hilariously awful. You should totally watch it. πŸ™‚

      I think the value in playing dead/undead in a zombie apocalypse would depend on whether zombies are big on the sense of smell. If they are, you might have to rub zombie juice on yourself to fool them, and that sounds jolly unpleasant.

  9. I use to be really afraid of killer bees when I was a kid. I also thought I was allergic to bees, thus was afraid of bees in general, but KILLER bees sounded even more terrifying. I’m glad you included them in your list of disasters to be prepared for. I feel a whole lot better knowing all I need to do is stock up on cling wrap to be safe from them πŸ˜€

    1. I’m glad I could put your mind at ease. That’s the wonderful thing about the internet – we get to share all our useful knowledge with the people it will benefit. πŸ˜‰

  10. You have great plans for all of the aforementioned disasters. The trouble with disasters, though, is that just when you think you’ve planned for everything it turns out to be something you’d never thought of. Like a reversal of the magnetic poles. Scientists say it happens regularly on a geologic scale and that if it did happen all of our electronic systems would fail (what? no smart phones?). Or what about an attack of alien, sentient slime, like The Blob? All bets are off then, I suppose…

    1. This is exactly why we need to plan! We think of likely disasters such as attack of The Blob, and come up with strategies for them.

      Reversal of the magnetic poles: 1) Don’t be on a plane. 2) Don’t be in a car. 3) Don’t be near cars, or cities, or people. 4) Have hard copies of the books you want to read. I think that covers the important points.

      The Blob: I haven’t seen/read the Blob, so that would probably be the first step. Finding high ground and getting hold of a fire hose might be step 2.

      See? Together we can do this! πŸ™‚

  11. I note “Sharknado” isn’t on the list.

    Or “Killer tyres called Robert that can blow people up with the power of thought.”

    Or “Sand that comes alive and eats you.”

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