Magazine | June 11, 2018, Issue

Disaster Preparedness

Donald Trump speaks to supporters on election night, November 9, 2016. (Reuters photo: Mike Segar)

Washington, D.C., Media EditionTM

Please use this guide to prepare your home and your family for unexpected events in the coming year. Unexpected natural disasters can strike at any time, and often the key to surviving the event is careful planning beforehand. As you know, members of the media are a different breed altogether and need a tailored set of disaster-preparedness protocols.

Remember: A safe home is a prepared home!

Assemble the family (and anyone else you may have living on the premises) and walk them through the following scenarios. Make sure everyone in the house knows what his or her special responsibility is.

Category 3 (or higher) hurricane:

These events can create torrents of water, flooding basements and weakening building foundations. In addition, flying glass can be a serious danger. Prepare for the event and the aftermath by making sure to have fiber-based duct tape on hand to strengthen window panes before the storm approaches. Have fresh water stored and available. Plan and store provisions for 72 hours without water, power, or working ATMs. Keep a checklist handy, and refresh your supplies on a regular basis.

Likelihood of event: 7/10


Special Counsel Robert Mueller concludes his investigation and announces no indictments:

Power failures across the District — mostly due to frantic hot-take filings and panicked Google searches as the entire pundit population of the District of Columbia — estimated at somewhere between 900,000 and 1.2 million people — prepares for a tidal wave of television appearances. The surface temperature will rise ten to 20 degrees during the initial blast of rage, and it’s possible that some essential services will be delayed due to television-news watching. Expect that MSNBC will remain off the air. Prepare your home and family for this event by maintaining adequate supplies of kerosene, bandages, and a full propane-fueled electric-power generator.

Likelihood of event: 6/10


Earthquake or seismic event, 3.5 and above on the Richter scale:

Widespread physical and infrastructure damage, will result in water and power outages. Water and water-purification tablets will be crucial. Keep a certain amount of cash on hand — experts recommend no less than $200 — as most ATMs will be malfunctioning. Stay indoors, and check for gas leaks.

Likelihood of event: 2/10


Republicans maintain their majority in the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms:

The psychological devastation of such an event would cause widespread depression, confusion, and roving bands of media personalities’ searching the District for an explanation. Expect a breakdown of several weeks’ duration, during which time all news media will be morose and petulant, eventually coming to accept the continuation of the Republican majority. Metro services will suffer as ridership declines in the aftermath of the event (waves of journalists will be too depressed and lethargic to come to work). Stay hydrated and keep your family members within earshot and direct visibility. Maintain adequate supplies of canned food and bottled water as the city braces itself for continued Republican rule. If you or any family members are in the news media, have enough Lomotil — a powerful antidiarrheal medication — for several weeks of use.

Likelihood of event: 8/10


Snow emergency:

If the District experiences two to four inches of snow in a two-hour timeframe, expect near-universal panic throughout the region, except from freelance journalists, for whom most weather emergencies mean an automatic two- or three-day extension of any existing deadlines.

Likelihood of event: 7/10


Trump reelected, 2020:

This event would be closer to the impact and effect of an electromagnetic-pulse bomb. Buildings and infrastructure would be unharmed, but the shock and anger would create virtual “fireballs” of destruction across the District. The initial blast would be followed in subsequent days by successive waves of bafflement and depression as residents of the District — whether in the media business or in the federal work force — grapple with the unknown and unexpected consequences of such an event. To prepare: Lay in sufficient supplies of Wellbutrin and Prozac for the depression and anti-anxiety/
anti-psychotic medications such as Klonopin. Also: It may be useful to have a working and well-maintained firearm ready and in a safe space. It will not be pretty. Duration of the crisis: Experts estimate a continuous wave of anxiety and depression. Mass-media suicides highly likely. Keep children and elderly away from infected journalists. This is what experts call a “total devastation” event. It is impossible to predict how long the crisis might last, and where — if anywhere — families should be prepared to evacuate.

Likelihood of event: going up every day.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

Barack Obama signed a contract with Netflix. Now he’ll be working for the media instead of the other way around.

Going Postal

The president is displeased with Amazon, which seems odd; it’s like reading “George H. W. Bush was spitting mad at Sears.”

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