Skip to comments.Hurricane Preparedness ( and general "bad times" links )
Posted on 10/23/2005 2:50:03 PM PDT by backhoe
Tossed in is some general disaster information. Credit given when I can find or remember it.
The Survivalist & Y2K hounds weren't so wrong, after all...
Survival starts at the household level -Here is one Survivalist site which I've found fascinatingly useful...(Simple Survival)
Emergency Preparedness (year's supply of food, 72 hour kit)
( Our own UtahGirl- hattip! )
I hope everyone reading your post is paying attention. Losing electricity means no water, no refrigerated food, canned food disappearing from stores twice as fast as a result, no gasoline, because pumps can't bring it up out of the ground, and because there's no gasoline, no deliveries of food or medicine or other necessary supplies.
From what I've seen in the aftermath of these two hurricanes. most Americans simply are not set up to survive without electricity, and this worries me, because our electrical grid is wide open to a terrorist attack.
If we can't defend a 1000 mile border with Mexico, how can we possibly defend ten thousand miles of transmission lines? Any group of idiots with a crate of hand grenades can do to the country at large exactly what we see happening in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and it seems to me that survival in the absence of electricity falls into four main categories.
1. Water. You can survive for 3 minutes without oxygen, three days without water, and three weeks without food. You need a dead minimum of 1 gallon of water, per person, per day. This will only meet survival needs if no water is used for flushing toilets or for bathing. The average person may not drink a full gallon everyday, but by the time you factor in cooking and cleaning needs, one gallon per person is cutting the supply very thin.
Water storage takes up a lot of space, and it can be a fragile resource. Most containers of store bought water will break down over time and leak, they are designed to, so that they will biodegrade. Two liter soda bottles seem to hold up for much longer. So do water jugs purchased for camping. A family of four will need a minimum of 40 gallons to survive ten days. That is eight 5 gallon camping jugs or 80 two liter pop bottles full.
Far better is a sustainable supply. With the proper preparation, a creek or lake will keep you and your family alive for a long time. You need to be able to filter out particulate matter and you need to be able to kill germs and bacteria to use this water, especially since the chances are that others will be using these sources for waste disposal in the event of an emergency.
Water filters for backpackers can be purchased for around $50 to $100, but without filter replacements, they are limited to 100 to 200 gallons before they clog up.
A large scale filter can be constructed from a pair of large tupperware containers or buckets, some playground sand, and some fist sized rocks or driveway gravel. Cut half inch holes in the bottom of the smaller container and fill it two inches with gravel. Fill it another four inches with playground sand. Place about two inches of gravel in the bottom of the larger container, and then place the smaller container inside the larger one. Unfiltered water goes into the inner container, and filtered water is drawn off from the outer container. Be careful not to contaminate the outer container when pouring unfiltered water into the inner one.
This will remove mud, sand and grit, but it will not purify the water. Purification can be accomplished with ordinary Clorox bleach, 5.5 percent sodium hypochlorite solution, no perfumes or softeners. Use 8 drops of bleach per gallon of clean water, or up to 16 drops of bleach per gallon for water from suspect sources. The colder the water, the longer it will take the bleach to kill the bugs. Let the bleach do it's thing at least half an hour, I prefer to let it stand overight before using it. This will allow you nearly unlimited reserves of water without consuming fuel for boiling.
2. Food. Canned or boxed food, anything that does not require refrigeration, will disappear from stores overnight or sooner in the event of an emergency. You cannot wait until disaster strikes to stock up. You need breakfast, lunch and dinner for each person to function in the long term without electricity or outside aid. Foods requiring only boiled water require less water for cooking and cleanup.
Oatmeal or cream of wheat will suffice for breakfast. Canned fruit can improve the taste and nutrition value. Sugar may be required for flavor. Powdered fruit juice mixes can be served cold. A mix of powdered fruit juices and powdered gatorade will serve multiple purposes in warmer climates. Tea or coffee will improve the morale of adults.
Peanut butter, jam and crackers can serve as a basis for lunch. Powdered soups may supplement. Discount stores sell ramen noodle soups with vegetables by the case for less than 2 dollars. Beef jerky, peanuts, and M&M's can provide a change of pace. Canned tomatoes and elbow macaroni make a tasty hot dish. A little bit of onion or garlic seasoning go a long way to providing variety and improving flavor.
Dinner options are limited. Canned chicken or fish is most readily available. Bulk can be achieved with canned vegatables, canned fruits, and rice/macaroni. Foil pouches of hamburger do not require refrigeration and taste ok for tacos or spaghetti sauce. Spam and armor treet do not require refrigeration. Canned beef stew, beef hash, and spoaghetti/lasagne products can be purchased by the case from discount houses. Canned ham is readily available. One can of vegetable and another of fruit will keep from lunchtime to dinnertime, allowing for less waste and more balanced servings.
Liquor can serve as trading stock, and in some cases, fuel. A surplus of spices can serve as trading stock.
Don't forget the can opener, manual type, and a backup, plus a couple of P-38 style emergency backups.
3. Sanitation and human waste disposal. If water is readily available and sanitary sewers are functional, unfiltered water can be used to flush toilets. Dedicated containers make this process easier. Be sure to differentiate between containers used for filtered and unfiltered water and do not mix them up, or flushing requirements will skyrocket.
If sanitary sewers are not functional or water for flushing is in short supply, solid human waste should be deposited in 5 gallon buckets and burned in 30 or 55 gallon steel containers. Some fuel (kerosine works well) will be necessary to get the fire started. Burning containers need ventilation holes punched around the bottom rim for good combustion. Note wind direction before burning waste. A standard toilet seat will fit onto a 5 gallon bucket for better balance. Provisions for privacy will do a lot for morale. Don't forget to stockpile toilet paper.
A solar shower can be purchased for less than $10 at discount houses. In an emergency one can be constructed from a black garbage bag, but it will not function as well or as fast as one designed for the purpose, nor will it serve as a sprinkler head. In cold or cool climates, the ground or the hood of a vehicle will act as a heat sink and speed heat loss and prolong warm-up times. Insulation under the shower bag will counter this effect. On cloudy days, or whenever warming does not happen fast enough, take what you can get from the sun and enhance it with water warmed on the stove. This water does not have to be filtered, but it should not be swallowed or used to brush teeth if it hasn't been purified.
One adult can shower with as little as 1 gallon of water, although 1.5 gallons is a more realistic estimate.
Don't forget soap and shampoo. Clothes can be washed in a tub, sink or other container, using the friction method. Don't forget a suitable detergent. Dishwasher soap and automatic laundry detergents are poor substitutes for the manual variants. Clorox will act as a good disinfectant.
4. First aid. The major injuries you can expect after a disaster are cuts and broken bones. You need a way to stop bleeding, to clean and disinfect wounds, and to dress them so as to avoid infection later on. You can never have too many four by fours, 4" square gauze pads. You can never have too much duct tape. A well made dressing does not require surgical tape, since the tape does not touch open or abraded skin.
Duct tape and splints will stabilize broken bones. Be sure to pad splints if they will be used for an extended period, or ulceration will occur.
In an absolute emergency salt water will kill germs, and a ziplock bag with a pinhole will serve as an irrigation aid. Better yet is to stock up in advance on commercial disinfectant ointments. Rubbing alcohol and/or hydrogen peroxide are inexpensive in quantity but suffer some of the same drawbacks as salt water. Rubber tourniquets are worth their weight in gold, for a lot more than medical emergencies.
In addition to being ready for cuts and broken bones, a well tuned first aid kit will contain apsirin, antacid tablets, and antihistamines. Cough drops are a plus. Heavier pain medications may be useful if you have a prescription. Surgical masks, disposable rubber gloves and scissors are very useful to have.
If you purchase a surgical suite, or include needle and thread in your kit, be sure to include a weighty medical reference text along with it. Emergency appendectomies look good on TV. Your mileage may vary.
These are the four basic considerations in a situation where electrical service is interrupted for an indeterminate time, water, food, sanitation, and medical emergencies.
Heat or cold temperatures will require forethought and some sacrifice. Layers provide better insulation that one thick coat. Artificial fabrics next to the skin will wick away perspiration and greatly improve your survival chances in cold weather. Cotton holds moisture and kills people in cold environments through hypothermia.
In hot environments you need steady water intake to survive 4 hours of sweating. If you feel thirsty, you have waited too long. After four hours of heavy perspiration, you will need to address electrolyte balance. Powdered gatorade will deal with this, as will other sources of potassium such as bananas. Ordinary salt might not hurt, but it won't help as much as gatorade. One quart of gatorade will allow an adult male to perspire heavily for 8 hours without significant effect. Dinner and breakfast can be used to replete electrolytes after the workday is finished, preserving and extending gatorade stockpiles. An ordinary headband, handkerchief, or ballcap will keep sweat out of your eyes while working, and will go a long way towards improving your effort and its beneficial effect.
Emergency lighting is necessary, but not always advisable. LED headlamps provide hands-free emergency light for working, and preserve battery life up to 100 hours. Flashlights require a hand to hold them and use batteries much faster. Whale oil lamps can soot damage a dwelling very quickly if not properly adjusted, but will last longer than candles and will provide more light. Most oil lamps are cheaply constructed, get familiar with their inner workings before you need to depend on them. A small needlenose pilers and small screwdriver are essential for servicing these lamps. Oil for lamps can spontaneausly combust, discard wicks and rags outside, away from flammable materials after use. Any combustion consumes oxygen. Proper ventilation is a must.
Displaying light after sunset will call attention to your dwelling and may invite unwanted attention. Changing to a sunrise to sunset schedule will preserve resources and enhance security.
Security is a matter of personal choice, especially involving firearms. The uninitiated will be best served with a 12 gauge shotgun, which requires minimal practice to serve as an effective deterrent. During an emergency is a bad time to learn muzzle and trigger discipline, not to mention markmanship. An assortment of #5 or #7 birdshot, double ought buckshot, and deer slugs will allow you to double the utility for both defense and for small game hunting. Weapons should always be kept immaculately clean and should always be considered to be loaded.
That's enough for now, it covers the basics and doesn't add more detail than is necessary. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time before large segments of the American population are subjected to moderate or prolonged periods without electricity. We will either be ready for it, or we will not. The choice to prepare ourselves rests with each of us as individuals.
a fill bath tub
b fill all large pots
c several dozen cleaned plastic milk carton / change quarterly
Battery operated radio
Battery operated flashlights (1 per person + 1)
Week worth of batteries for above
Fill propane for gas grill
Fill all cars
Sterno cans and fondue pot for cooking
Matches, lighter, lighter fluid
Several rolls of 6 mil plastic sheets 10 x 100
5 boxes of 20 each, large garbage sacks
4 pair heavy work gloves
Axe, hatchet, shovel nails, heavy duty staples, staple gun, hammers, saws, chain saw
6 bread baking pans (to make block ice)
4 large ice chests
Hand operated can opener and bottle opener
1 month of all medicine, gauze, band aids, tape, alcohol, OTC headache, antiseptic
Heavy duty knives, 100 each plastic forks, spoons, knives, paper towels, paper plates Toilet Paper!
Soup, Vienna sausage, peanut butter, crackers, chili, bread, several small jelly, mustard, spam, apples, dried fruit, hard candy,
Stove top coffee pot, 10 lbs coffee, sugar, salt, pepper, tea bags
2 12 ga shot guns 2 boxes of 00; 1 of slugs; bird shot
Can't recall the SN of the FReeper who penned the above- apologies!
Bookmarked! Thanks Backhoe! Excellent work! I live way outta town in the Iowa countryside, so we're used to going for days without the amenities, never hurts to be MORE prepared though :)
I'll be around, but have to retrieve the Lovely Miss Emily from the boondocks at some time soon.
Thank You so much for providing this info.
Thanks for looking- it's appreciated.
... boy scout ping...
Thanks for those pings, neighbor... and regarding your tagline, take a look at mine:
I bookmarked this. I wonder what happens to inner city apartment dwellers who don't have the room to store all this stuff?
This might be mentioned on the links, but diaper wipes are indespensible. I used to fill up 2 liter soda bottles with water for camping trips many years ago, for a block ice substitute. Just pop them in the freezer for a couple of days before the trip.
Don't forget pet food. Storing an adequate amount of water has always seemed like a problem. It takes up so much space, and trying to remember to rotate the stock can be a pain.
Thank you for posting this! I don't think we have to worry about a hurricane, but we've had earthquakes frequently in the last few months, and in June or July, I think we had a small twister roll through. East facing, west facing doors, and all the windows trying to bust loose....? Lasted less than a minute. We need to get off our rears and get prepared, after we move.
Bookmarked and ping
Here's the website:
I bought one of these after September 11 when we were all concerned about the safety of our water supply.
Thanks for those tips, they're good ones.
Remembering food for any animals is easy to overlook- I've done it myself in the past.
One little-remembered source of clean water is your water heater- the water is flat ( shake it in a bottle to re-aerate it ), and may have minerals in the bottom of the tank when you first start draining it
( the hose barb at the base, behind the access panel- be sure to kill the power, just in case, and do not restore it until you get the tank refilled, later )
but it's potable.
Another overlooked source of water is every toilet tank ( not the bowl, mind you! ) which has about 5 gallons in it. If you're paranoid or fastidious, water purification tablets can be used to treat it, but it's perfectly sanitary, despite how it sounds!
You'd be surprised how much room you can come up with if you try.
Store water containers under beds, can goods in closets, etc.
Another good way to store water is in a waterbed. There is a problem with some waterbed chemicals, however.
I only have 1 20 gauge shotgun am I doomed?
I bought one of these after September 11 when we were all concerned about the safety of our water supply.
Thanks for looking.
Not at all- I routinely recommend a 20, or less often, a 16 gauge if that's what you are comfortable with.
The list you are probably referring to was copied from an unknown FReeper- I do recommend each person have a shotgun, a sidearm, and if possible, a rifle. Preferrably of common calibres/gauges. In other words, if you have a 20 gauge, it is less of a logistical problem if everyone else in your "unit" uses it, too.
I feel quite comfortable with my 20 and a 40 by my side. No rifles though.
It's not really needed that much in a home setting- slugs will give your shotgun a reach of about a hundred yards, and that should be enough.
No, you are ok, but I'd lay in extra shells. I have 10 boxes of 12 ga shells here and three more in the back of my Bronco.
Don't you have a handgun? You should.
I have a Glock 17 with six 17 round mags, plus a Kimber Gold Match 45 auto with several Wilson Combat 7 round magazines.