I went to Starbucks this morning for my morning crack. It's not really coffee, because coffee is just a beverage. This is a necessity -- if I don't drink at least one cup I start Jonesing really bad.
I should get help.
As I waited for my cup o' crack I was offered a sample of Starbucks' instant coffee. They don't call it instant; it's supposed to be a finely ground version of the company's real beans, ready to dissolve instantly in water.
Yeah, that would be instant coffee.
Anyway, the barista whipped me up a sample with nothing more than hot water and a single serving packet of not-really-instant-instant-coffee. The packet reminded me of those drink powders that transform your bottle of water into fruit punch or passion guava cocktail.
I tried the instantly brewed non-instant coffee. It tasted like instant coffee. Better than the instant coffee our parents thought was so cutting edge, but still just instant coffee.
The barista waited for my reaction.
She really wanted me to like it. Indeed, she announced that her own cup of java came from a single-serving packet this morning. I think she was disappointed I didn't love it.
I told her this could live in my earthquake kit (that being the only serious disaster my area ever has to worry about). She shrugged her disapproval and that was that.
Only, I lied. I suppose this could live in my evacuation kit or my backpack if I go hiking. If I get deployed to another hurricane, these instant packets would be worth taking. But, if we're talking about disaster preparedness at home, it's a mistake to separate emergency supply food from regular food.
If my area goes through a little shake and shout, I'll either be able to stay right where I am or I'll have to evacuate. If I have to get out, some easily transported stuff will come in handy. I'll have to throw the evacuation kit in the car with the kids and head to somewhere else. Probably to my parents' place. They live in the middle of nowhere -- no buildings to fall on them. I'll take a little premium instant with me because I've tasted my parents' coffee and well, I prefer the new instant.
On the other hand, staying home will give me a chance to make my own coffee with my own coffee press and the same grounds I use any other day. All I have to do is heat up the water.
That's the crux of good emergency preparedness -- use what you have until it's gone. Stock the garage with water and canned food. Buy dry goods that don't go bad quickly, then use it. Rotate through the food you will use in a pinch. Who wants to eat -- or drink -- disgusting military rations simply because the roads are shut down for a few days?
Too often, I think the idea of planning for an emergency is separated from daily living. It's compartmentalized into a ready-made "kit" in the closet until triggered by an event. Emergency preparedness needs to be more fluid than that. It's a mindset more than anything; Plan for disasters by planning how to handle a rough situation with the available tools. If you need something you don't have, go get it now rather than waiting until it's too late. That's preparing for an emergency.
I have coffee. When I get low, I'll buy more. When the giant sinkhole blocks access to the grocery store, I'll drink what I have until the bridge is built. If I run out...
...well, maybe I'll pick up a few single-serving packets after all.
- Disaster Supplies
- Making an Evacuation Kit
- How to Survive without Preparation
- Emergency Water Supply
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