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Are you ready yet?

Me, three weeks ago:

I’ll expect that disaster survival kits were hauled out and checked across the country this past weekend. We certainly checked out ours, and yes there are a few bits and pieces we could add to it.

But human nature being what it is, as the earthquake recedes from memory, our impetus to add those things will fade away.

Did it fade away for you? A bunch of people noted here or on Facebook their intent to get on top of the disaster survival kit sitch. More would have read it and nodded agreement. Well, time’s up. Have you followed through? Cal and I are almost there – we still need a new torch, because our current one is pretty weedy. Oh, and a transistor radio. Everything else we needed to do got done. And here’s a secret: we did it all either on the first day, or right now on the last day, of that three week period.

Because, fundamentally, we suck at following through. The go-to psyc theory for intended action is the Theory of Planned Behaviour, which says that what we intend to do comes from our attitudes, the social norms around us, and the amount of control we have; and what we actually do mostly follows what we intend to do. That mostly is the tricky bit, unsurprisingly. The gap between intent and behaviour gets pretty big.

In my own thesis work (zing!) I found two other important parts of the puzzle that fill in that intent-behaviour gap: effort, and frame of mind. Effort is the get-up-off-the-couch factor, and we tend to underestimate it. Frame-of-mind is bigger – it’s about how we’re doing when we get the opportunity to act. Good mood, bad mood, etc, but also – and crucially – just plain remembering.

So, a bunch of people stated their intent. Did effort and frame of mind get in your way, or did you follow through? Tell me, I’m curious. If the latter, this is a reminder right here. Christchurch is still getting aftershocks. Wellington is still vulnerable. Lots of places have their dangers and they could hit any time.

Get it done.

Edited to add: Jenni has taken up this idea and is pushing it forward, nudging her friends to get their own kits sorted and promising to chase them up in three weeks. Great work Jenni!

{ 18 } Comments

  1. Emma | September 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I started but have not yet finished. I do now have more pain relief, a fancy torch, wipes and other assorted important things for first aid. But my big fail is water. Mostly because we don’t really drink soft drink and when we do I forget to save the bottles and I never buy water at the supermarket so I don’t think about it. That’s the hardest one for me.

  2. morgue | September 28, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Remembering is sometimes tricky. Giving yourself reminders isn’t always easy either. A note clipped to your shopping bag? A cellphone alarm set to go off on your next likely bottle-gathering expedition?

    Great work on the other stuff!

  3. Jack | September 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Anyone got a good source for wind-up torch and radio?

  4. Jenni | September 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    I looked at our water supplies and we had enough for one day. Since then we have purchased two big bottles of spring water and I’ve started filling juice and soft drink bottles as they come empty and leaving them in different places around the house. I bought some hand sanitiser for the first aid kit and we stocked up on canned food over the weekend. (Although how long the fruit salad will last is tricky, Lee loves it too much!)

    We have a little wood burner BBQ which we could use on the balcony if we needed to, but Lee pointed out we don’t have that much fuel for it. We have a torch, but no spare batteries for it. For a radio we have the car, which isn’t perfect planning but…eh.

    I was thinking about bandages and stuff but I have heaps of fabric and old T shirts around the house that could do for those, I don’t really see the point in purchasing.

    So…yeah, I feel pretty good actually. There’s always more you could do, but we’re definitely more prepared than we were three weeks ago.

    This comment got epic. Thanks Morgue!

  5. morgue | September 28, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Jack: that’s a good idea. In the UK Cal and I knew a guy who made radios and distributed them to Africa – long lost contact with him now.

    There’s some wind-up torches here:
    http://www.torches.co.nz/
    But they are maybe a bit spendy?

  6. morgue | September 28, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Jenni: nice work!

  7. Karen | September 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Ummmmm this weekend when kids are at their dad’s? We have plenty of food, candles, torches and spare batteries, gas burner but no spare canister, first aid stuff is scattered and incomplete… and no radio and not enough water. I probably need to find a place to put it all together, but worry about having gas and matches etc down wher kids can get them… also torches are a great toy which means batteries run down fast!

  8. Jon | September 29, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I did get an extar can opener specifically to put with my emergency kit. And I replaced the water. And I moved it to a more accesable place.

    I do still need repalcement torch batteries though. I will try and remember next time I’m at the supermarket.

  9. morgue | September 29, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Karen: good stuff. This weekend see how much of that you can cross off!

    Jon: nice work. Replacement batteries are a pain, I only remembered ours the day I made this post (because I knew it was time to make this post). Stick a note somewhere to remind yourself maybe?

  10. Jack | September 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Top tip: keep spare water in at least two places. That way, if one cache is inaccessible in the apocalypse, you’re not totally screwed.

  11. Finn | September 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Jack – Maruia at http://www.nznature.co.nz sell radios that are solar & dynamo-powered for $40, one of which is currently in my emergency kit. They also have a solar/dynamo radio that acts as a cell phone charger, but it’s out of stock.

    I’m in Chch. I keep refilling water bottles (have about 10L), and have some in the car as well as in the house; also candles, matches, torches, two bottles hand sanitiser, radio, and food for me and the dog. I actually stocked up on those boil-in-the bag Indian vegetable things as being doable in an emergency – no portable stove, but I have a gas bottle and hob.

    Before the earthquake I didn’t have water or hand sanitiser – 4 days of boiling water for everything helped me reprioritise. Still need to find a low-tech phone, tho’.

  12. Finn | September 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Arrgh. The solar/dynamo thing is a *torch* and radio, which makes more sense for actually answering your appeal.

  13. Svend | September 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I am having trouble sourcing a gas burner — I’ve looked about four times, in three or four different places, and I see the cannisters but not the burner. I don’t really want to buy a barbecue specifically for the purpose.

    We have some water, canned food, an emergency kit, torch, wind-radio… but could get some hand sanitzer, more water, and back-up kits for each of the cars, plus the bag of clothes et al. that can be grabbed.

    I’ve asked my brother about military ration packs, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. 🙂

  14. Marie | September 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Yep, onto it. I think it depends what you intend, as to what you assemble. I’ve been putting together a “grab and run” bag, because I’ve got water, food, first aid stuff, torches etc here, but if I have to get out in a hurry, well that’s what the bag is for. I’ve put a 2l milk container of water in it, and a small container of janola in case further water supplies are dodgy, and have still to get a radio. Many years ago I gave Anna one of those solar/windup ones from Maruia, and they take it camping with them and love it, so will get one for myself. Thanks Morg, yep it’s the actual “getting up off the couch” that’s the hard bit. And then the decision! What do I need? Where do I get it? so while I’m reclining on the couch, making a list is a most useful occupation!

  15. Stephen Judd | September 30, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I’m stuck on the gas stove part too. I’ve been looking, but I haven’t found anything I like the look of yet.

  16. Janet | September 30, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Man, I feel like I was already mega-prepared now. We already had 100L of water, which we’re currently going through the process of refreshing. We also have two dynamo torches, one with a radio (got my dad to get them, should check where he got them and let y’all know…) The only thing I think we don’t have ourselves (that was listed in the WCC emergency planning booklet list) is a gas burner, but have had a conversation with our neighbour about where his is, where the gas bottles are, and whose house we’ll all be congregating at to make dinners. So I’m gonna give myself a big gold star now. Yay!

  17. Janet | September 30, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    The people 2 doors up on the other side also have a gas burner, so if one is buried, our little group of houses can use the other.

    Maybe disaster planning is a good reason to get to know the neighbours better too?

  18. Stephanie | September 30, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I got a little primus stove from a tramping shop (one of the one’s near the library) and a wind up radio from Khatmandu. This was a while ago, though – is possible they’ve sold out what with all the current awareness and that.