Last week, I came across a remarkable site called Listening to Katrina. It’s both a description of one family’s experience fleeing Hurricane Katrina and one man’s take on emergency preparedness.

I tore through the pages on his site in about two days, and immediately started taking his ideas to heart. To her great credit, Mrs. Melobi didn’t give me the stink-eye when I brought up the topic – indeed, she embraced it fully, even being the first to jump out the bedroom window as a test of our fire escape plan!

The great thing about the author’s ideas is that he is both a “survival enthusiast” and a pragmatic, regular guy. This gives his ideas a solid grounding in reality, which is different than many other writings about survival, which emphasize the Zombie Apocalypse sort of scenario, rather than the more prosaic Electrical-Fire-Burns-Your-House-Down scenario. He uses a lifeboat analogy to make this point:

Sit with me a moment in this lifeboat. There are a number of people here. Smart people. People with skills. People with forethought. Men and women of a Serious Nature. We ask our simple question, “So…what’s the plan?”, and they respond without skipping a beat. “We’re going to SURVIVE! We’ve got lots of SUPPLIES, and we can FISH and HUNT, and we know all the right things to do to LIVE in this LIFEBOAT! We KNOW how to distill SEA WATER, and we can DRINK our own URINE until the still is up and RUNNING!”

[snip] While I enjoy a nice warm glass of urine as much as the next guy, I really want to be in a different lifeboat. I don’t know about you, but I want to be in a lifeboat that is seaworthy, yes, but light and fast. I want to get back to dry land, cold beer, juicy steak, warm blankets, and hot pie as soon as possible. Drifting the open ocean with a bunch of people – no matter how skilled or prepared they are – is not my idea of life.

Indeed. If nothing else, thinking about disaster planning got me to clean out the file cabinet, and seeing the Mrs. crawl out the window was pretty humorous.

I plan to write more about my take on this guy’s ideas – his stuff is obviously pitched at a southern audience, living in the hurricane zone, and so doesn’t take into account the considerations of northern life. For now, though, I think everyone should read at least the first few pages of his stuff – it’s a real eye opener.