Mom is a liberal Democrat (I love her anyway), and works for Montgomery County. Earlier this week she attended a county training session on emergency preparedness, part of which was dedicated to a discussion of the possible effects of an avian flu epidemic. She mentioned how in the training it was recommended that people should have a supply of food and water on hand, in case they're shut in for an extended period.
What surprised me is that she isn't blowing this off. Mom and Dad (overall I'd rate him as a moderate Republican, except in a few areas where he's far right) are now looking at laying in some supplies. She has a list provided by the trainer. Of course, it doesn't include firearms for defense in the event of social breakdown or run of the mill crime, but thanks to Dad, that ain't an issue. ;-)
That a liberal Dem -- i.e., the type of person who by definition looks to the goobermint for help in times of need -- would take the responsibility to look out for herself in a disaster is refreshing, to put it mildly. One thing that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina taught us is that you don't want to have to be dependent upon someone else in the event of a disaster.
It's still too early to know whether avian flu will become a real threat or a complete non-issue like the swine flu of the 1970s or the non-aftermath of Y2K, but there are plenty of other reasons to have a store of supplies on hand so you can weather an interruption of normal society, e.g.,
- Less severe but still serious weather
- Winter storms
- Power failures like the Blackout of 2003
- Toxic waste spills
There are a ton of online resources available to help you get started with survival preps. AvianFlu.gov is a good place to start. Also check out your state and local emergency management agencies, who often have checklists available on their websites.