The Business of Adulting: Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

As my son has gotten older, I have become less anxious about things happening to him and more confident in his ability to handle himself around, say, outlets, roadways, bath water, and cats.

However, over the past several months, I have had some recurring thoughts and concerns:

What if there’s a nuclear disaster and cell phones aren’t working and I can’t reach my family to figure out where we can all meet?

What if there’s a natural disaster and we’re stranded without any emergency supplies?

What if I have a heart attack at home while I’m caring for my 2-year-old son and he’s left to fend for himself until my husband gets off work? 

What if there’s a fire in my house and my son doesn’t know what to do or how to get out?

What if my son gets lost and doesn’t know how to identify himself or his parents so he can be reunited with us?

Can I move to Canada and become best friends with Justin Trudeau?

Can I please become Prime Minister for a Day and build an office fort with JT?

In all seriousness, I worry on the reg about these kinds of things. I also worry about wills and life insurance, but thankfully Brenda covered those things here. I don’t really think there’s going to be a zombie apocalypse, but that’s indicative of the root of the problem — I also don’t really think those other things are going to happen. You know how some teenagers think they’re invincible? That’s how I feel as an adult in regard to these issues. But that’s not realistic and it’s not going to help me or my family IF any of these scenarios occur. As the saying goes, “It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.” Having a plan or being prepared for something that may or may not happen never hurt anyone, but being unprepared could have dire consequences. 

So, here is a small, non-exhaustive list of things you can do to prepare for some of life’s zombie apocalypses:

What if there’s a nuclear disaster and cell phones aren’t working and I can’t reach my family to figure out where we can all meet?

Well, assuming you haven’t been abducted a la Fallout 4, your best bet is to STAY INSIDE and put as much mass and distance between you and the blast site. If your children are at school and your spouse is at work when a nuclear blast occurs, you need to leave them where they are. Why? Because exposing yourself to radioactive fallout could be dangerous or potentially fatal, and because other people who are scared and scrambling in their vehicles to get somewhere else are likely going to prevent you from reaching your destination anyway. Your children will be safer inside their schools and your spouse will be safer inside his/her work building. According to Ready.gov, radioactive fallout drops to about 1% of its initial radiation levels after two weeks. I’m not suggesting you wait two weeks to reconnect with your family. But waiting as long as possible before venturing outside is going to be the safest option for both you and your family.

Aside from this, you need to have an emergency plan and emergency supplies in place. Your whole family needs to be involved in establishing and understanding this plan. This plan needs to be practiced regularly so that even in the face of chaos, your family members have a common goal they are working toward. These tips apply to the next question, as well.

What if there’s a natural disaster and we’re stranded without any emergency supplies?

It would take me days to list out emergency planning tips or essential emergency supplies, so I won’t do that here. Instead, I will list some basic supplies here and then I will point you in the direction of a couple of beneficial resources.

  1. Have as much water on hand as possible, or at least one gallon of water for each person to use daily for at least a few days, if not a few weeks. Your body will suffer from water deprivation far before it will suffer from food deprivation. So, go to Aldi and buy 24-packs of water for $2.00 and just store it away. There is no such thing as having too much water on hand, so store as much as you are able!
  2. Have enough non-perishable and dry foods on hand for a few days, if not a few weeks. This would include things like oats, flour, rice, beans, canned goods, boxed milk, jerky, and pasta. Be sure to have formula on hand for babies, and food/water for pets.
  3. Have an emergency radio available so you can receive updates.
  4. Have a bug-out bag.
  5. Have a first aid kit and any prescription or OTC medications taken regularly by your family members.
  6. Have tools, a pocket knife, matches, batteries, flashlights, LED headlamps, garbage bags, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, portable phone chargers and/or extra cell phone batteries, and local maps. Consider buying solar-powered phone chargers, so that when you can go outside again you have a way to charge your phone if the electricity is out.
  7. Have identifying documents (IDs, licenses, passports, birth certificates), cash, credit cards, traveler’s checks, insurance information, and wills on hand.

Check out these links to learn how to: Build a Basic Emergency Kit, Build an Extensive Emergency Disaster Kit, and Make an Emergency Plan.

What if I have a heart attack at home while I’m caring for my 2-year-old son and he’s left to fend for himself until my husband gets off work? 

This is a recurring nightmare of mine: I fall off of a ladder and knock myself unconscious, or I have a heart attack, and my precious 2-year-old son is either a) stranded in his bed/bedroom (he’s still in a crib and we have the safety door knob cover on the inside of his door) or b) he is running free in the house, which means he can open the garage door and run outside into the road. Obviously, this is a concern because I’m primarily a SAHM who is the only person caring for my son throughout the day, my 2-year-old son has no idea how to use my cell phone to call his daddy or 911, and he doesn’t know what it looks like when someone is unconscious or dead. And because medical alert systems can be very expensive (and difficult for a 2-year-old to use appropriately), my husband and I have come up with the only feasible plan. That is to say, we act like jealous lovers throughout the day. We text every hour or two to “check in,” and the rule is that if I haven’t responded within an hour or less, he tries to call me. If I don’t answer, he texts and calls again. If I still don’t answer, he either a) comes home to check on me or b) calls 911. This is by no means a full-proof plan. I like to take naps sometimes and ignore my phone. Sometimes I set my phone down on purpose *gasp* so I don’t feel like I’m tethered to it by an invisible umbilical cord. Thankfully, we haven’t had any mishaps (yet). And I feel much less anxious. But I am so, so looking forward to the day I can teach my son how to make emergency calls on my phone. Why isn’t there an app for that?!

What if there’s a fire in my house and my son doesn’t know what to do or how to get out?

This is especially scary to me for a couple of reasons: our house is old and has short, narrow windows way up high on the wall (so that you have to have a ladder to climb up and get out of the window), and my son’s room is two stories off of the ground. Here are the four best tips I know about:

  1. Educate your children about fire safety.
  2. Test all of your smoke detectors regularly.
  3. Get a fire escape ladder if you have a house with more than one story or if you have windows high above the ground.
  4. Create a family escape plan and practice fire drills.

What if my son gets lost and doesn’t know how to identify himself or his parents so he can be reunited with us?

This could happen to anyone, anywhere: a crowded mall, a parade, a birthday party, or shopping at the grocery store. There are some things you can prepare for ahead of time, and there are some things your children just need to know.

  1. Teach your children their full names, their birth dates, and their addresses.
  2. Teach your children their parents’ full names, their birth dates, and their phone numbers.
  3. Teach your children their siblings’ and nearby relatives’ full names and an emergency contact’s name and phone number.
  4. If you know you are going to be in a crowded place (like a mall, parade, or Disney), write your contact information on the inside of your child’s arm (full name and phone number) and seal it with liquid bandage.
  5. If you know you are going to be in a crowded place, choose an easy-to-find location where everyone can meet if someone becomes separated from the group. 

Whew. Okay. I know I said this was going to be a small, non-exhaustive list and you’re just over there thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is so long, this is so much information, and I am so overwhelmed and frozen by fear.” And you’re not alone. It took me almost 2.5 years to sit down and think all of this through. And there’s still so much I haven’t even thought about. But having a plan helps, I promise. Once you have a plan, you can build on it and fine-tune it and make it work for your family. NOT having a plan and NOT educating yourself and your children are the scary parts. I’ve made it easy for you — you just have to fill in the blanks.

To make up for how overwhelming all of this may seem, I’m just going to leave this here.

You’re welcome.

How do you and your families prepare for life’s zombie apocalypses and what tips do you have for other mamas and families out there? Do all the sharing, because we need all the information!

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One Response to The Business of Adulting: Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

  1. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth August 31, 2017 at 7:52 am #

    When kids come to the fire station with us, the best thing my husband tells and shows them is this: he puts on all his gear and his mask and looks terrifying to a kid. Then he tells them if they ever see someone dressed like that, they shouldn’t run because that person is coming to help. I had never thought about that; adults are used to fireman and masks, but young kids wouldn’t know that they are safe. So visit local fire stations and ask any questions–most of them are very cool people trying to work ahead to make their jobs easier!

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