Emergency Preparedness Needs: Background information when reading Let's Call It a Doomsday

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Let's Call It a Doomsday

by Katie Henry

Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie  Henry X
Let's Call It a Doomsday by Katie  Henry
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2019, 400 pages

    Aug 2020, 416 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Catherine M Andronik
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About this Book

Emergency Preparedness Needs

This article relates to Let's Call It a Doomsday

Print Review

The Limitless Mark 1 Pro Survival Kit tin, black with skull designEllis Kimball in Let's Call It a Doomsday is ready for the apocalypse, whatever form it takes. Would you be prepared? Most of the population of the United States lives in a place where some kind of natural disaster is possible, be it tornado, hurricane, flood, drought, blizzard or earthquake. As soon as the radio or television stations announce an impending event, people race to the nearest market and clear the shelves of water, batteries and nonperishable food items like canned goods. But a small percentage of people do not need to participate in this rush; they already have a stash of what they will need to survive for days, even weeks, without electricity or running water. Ellis takes her preparation seriously, accumulating things like sleeping bags, space blankets and survival supplies, and she also carries a small packet of necessities in the event the apocalypse happens too suddenly to get home. What do people need to be prepared in the event of a catastrophic emergency?

Ellis describes her portable emergency kit as being about the size of an Altoids tin—which is exactly how the Limitless Equipment Mark 1 Survival Kit describes itself. Priced at $25, there's some bang for the buck in that little metal container (which doubles as a cookpot): a whistle, firestarter, LED light and lightsticks, compass, paraffin-core Firecord (a strong and versatile cable with an ignitable center) wire saw, waterproof paper, pencil, copper wire, sewing kit including safety pins, scalpel, Ranger bands (heavy-duty rubber bands), water carrier and filter kit, first aid kit, fishing kit, tinder extender, tinfoil and a tampon for either hygiene, or for some extra tinder fluff. With some seriously sharp instruments in there, Ellis certainly is fortunate her school's administration hasn't searched her innocuous little candy tin!

Ellis's pocket-sized preparedness kit will help her survive if the apocalypse catches her away from home. But if she can get to a place where stockpiling is possible, there is much more a good survivalist should have on hand. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides a brochure covering preparedness for every imaginable disaster, including bioterrorism and an influenza pandemic; several pages are devoted to an "all-hazards supply kit checklist." The CDC recommends one gallon of water per day per person—with a three-day supply available in case of evacuation, and a two-week supply in the home. Nonperishable food (canned goods, cereal, pasta, etc.), enough to last for the same time period, is also on the list. Battery-operated or crank radios are still available in this digital age; stock up on batteries. The suggested medical supplies and all-purpose tools are more extensive than those in the pocket pack—and don't forget your prescription medications. Bleach makes the list—it can function as a water purifier. Because electricity is generally disrupted during emergencies, extra changes of clothes and sleeping bags should be on hand.

The Kimball family is Mormon, and one of the tenets of Mormonism (as Ellis reminds her mother) is preparedness. An online publication by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints discusses being prepared for a variety of emergencies, both on an individual and community level. The recommended physical items mirror the CDC's—but the time frame is much longer; for instance, they recommend three months worth of nonperishable food. The document even includes information on foods that can remain edible for thirty years or more (such as rice and sugar) and how to best store them, along with instructions on how to purify drinking water with bleach. Ellis's obsession with being prepared to survive the apocalypse just takes her religion's views to the extreme.

So, how ready will you be the next time the local newscasters interrupt regular programming to announce the next hurricane/tornado/blizzard/apocalypse? In addition to stocking up on supplies, you may wish to consider looking into the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, which educates volunteers about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

MARK 1 Pro Survival Kit, courtesy of Limitless

Filed under Cultural Curiosities

This "beyond the book article" relates to Let's Call It a Doomsday. It originally ran in September 2019 and has been updated for the August 2020 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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