Based in the Bay Area, WLK is Mikee and Jo — working parents of two loving and kind kids. They love sharing stories and tips at the intersection of work, life and kids.

Hi, we're the bad cops. (Part 1)

Two days ago, I wrote a comprehensive post about how we should manage toxic dust /smoke from the California Camp Fire and how to help the victims. I religiously spread my post on every channel I knew, including harassing my coworkers, because I wanted people to be aware of their blindspots. I asked my coworker, Ryan, if he thought I was being too crazy. This is what he said,

On behalf of all of us, thanks for being the bad cop.


Well, you ain’t seen bad cop yet.

This seems like a timely post to introduce you to the other half of WLK, my husband, Mikee, Chief safety officer of our household. As a household who has asthmatics and struggled with infertility, Mikee is extremely passionate about protecting the health of our children for the decades to come.

What has been really interesting about watching the last few weeks unfold is how everyone has been scrambling for N95 masks and air purifiers. So much so that Amazon’s top-rated air purifiers are now backordered for weeks. I even hear people give up on masks and say “It won’t arrive in time”. Firstly, this toxic dust is going to be around for weeks if not months, so no, it’s not too late. Secondly, the whole point is to be prepared for any emergency. So buying it now will make it arrive in time for your next emergency. I had a quick pow-wow with Mikee on how we can help friends and family prepare for what might (but hopefully never) happen. We got out our emergency/survival bag and made a list of what we have.

Just to be clear - of course, we’d do our best to share what we have during a emergency, but let’s try our best not to put ourselves in that situation. You don’t have to use my affiliate links, I don’t care! Just make a list and buy them ALL now. Make two backpack sets: one for under your bed (to grab and go) and another for the car.

Preparing your family mentally

Some of us were having a chat about what it would be like to be one of the families escaping Paradise and my boss, Lionel, posed this question: What would you actually say as a parent, trying to flee the fires with little kids? How do you keep them calm? Even thinking about it made me cry. I didn’t want my mind to go there but emergency preparedness is also mental preparation. What would you say? Would you talk about it as an adventure? Would you talk about it now so they can be ready for the future? When they’re old enough to process it, think about the emergency preparedness talk and make sure the family is aligned on the plan. Here’s a kids story book about survival that might also be worth stashing in the car or backpack somewhere.

Light, heat and survival

  1. Large and high-quality backpack to haul and go. If you get an evacuation notice, YOU LEAVE with your family and the backpack if it’s right there.

  2. Safety Whistle: S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Rescue Howler Whistle (2-Count)

  3. Survival blanket (1 for each family member): S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer 90 Percent Heat Reflective Survival Blanket

  4. 3-pack Basic flashlight: Energizer Metal LED 3 AAA Flashlight 250 lumens 3pk w/ batteries

  5. Large LED flashlight: Additional large flashlight to have in addition to the basic one above: Maglite ML300L LED 3-Cell D Flashlight, Black

  6. One of the following headlamps: (Minimum one per family)

    1. Basic Headlamp  (now 50% off at $12): Energizer LED Headlamp with HD+ Vision Optics w/ 3AAA batteries

    2. Advanced headlamp ($49)Energizer LED Headlamp, Vision Ultra Head Lamp Flashlight with 6 Modes and HD Optics 400 lumen

    3. Premium headlamp ($70): Princeton Tec Apex LED Headlamp (550 Lumens, Black)

    4. Extra batteries: Your devices don’t work without them so make sure it’s fully stocked. Don’t buy the cheap batteries, they’ll leak out quickly.

    1. Energizer MAX AA Alkaline batteries 24 pack. Up to 10 year life.  Guaranteed Against leaks for 2 years for fully depleted batteries.

    2. Energizer D Cell Batteries, Max Alkaline D Battery Size, (8 Count)

    3. Energizer AA Batteries, Double A Battery Max Alkaline (24 Count)

  7. Hand-crank NOAA weather radio and 1000 mAh power bank for charging cellphones. This is definitely a MUST-BUY.

  8. N95 respiratory masks (1 for each family member)

    9. Swiss Army standard issue army knife  

Ready-to-go first-aid kit

  1. 298-piece all purpose first-aid kit ($15 from Amazon)

Make your own first-aid kit

  1. We believe in making our own first aid kit so we make sure we are getting the highest quality products.

  2. Any prescription medication your family is on. I actually think it’s a great use to stash expired medication in your emergency kit.

  3. Bandaids: Regular, large & waterproof

  4. Benadryl Ultratabs Antihistamine Allergy Relief with Diphenhydramine HCl 25 mg, 100 ct

  5. Tylenol Extra Strength Acetaminophen 500 Mg 325 Caplets. Caplets allow halving into 250 Mg “regular strength” dosage

  6. Advil Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer Coated Gel Caplet, 200mg Ibuprofen, Temporary Pain Relief (100 Count)

  7. Neosporin + Pain Relief Dual Action Cream, 1 Oz

  8. Cortizone-10 Max Strength Cream, 2 Ounce Box

  9. Curad Alcohol Prep Pads

  10. PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer and Sanitizing Wipe Kit: contains 2x wipe canister, 2x 8 oz bottle, 6x 1 oz bottle, 2x jelly wrap carrier


  1. Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle 32 oz

  2. Water Purification Solution


  1. Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

  2. Family and emergency contact information

  3. Extra cash

  4. Map of the area, free from AAA (Your cellphone might go down)

  5. Family photo (I know… 😭😭😭)

At home

  1. The food requirements you are looking for are: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home). These do not go in the backpack.

  2. Per person: 2x of Mountain House Just in Case...Classic Bucket (freeze dried food, 12 meals: 1 person for 3.5 days, up to 30 yr shelf life, add water to pouch & ready in 10 min)

  3. A good stash of canned food for 2-week supply at home. To make sure you don’t end up with expired food in your garage, every year, donate all your canned food supply to the local shelters. Head out with the family and re-stock on your canned food. Now, you have a healthy rhythm for replacing your food supply. (Thanks, Larry!)

    Water: 1 gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)


Lessons from The Walking Dead

Lessons from The Walking Dead

You may think some of this is overkill. And maybe it is, but if it never becomes useful to you, I guarantee it will be useful to someone else in times like the zombie apocalypse where money becomes useless. In The Walking Dead, the number one survival thing you learn is how important resources are.

“If I had known the world was ending, I would’ve brought better books.” — Dale

I hate you, Peloton

I hate you, Peloton

Managing toxic dust and smoke for asthmatics

Managing toxic dust and smoke for asthmatics