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!
With that in mind, I’m reposting my own contribution to the subject of staying warm, originally titled “How To Survive Living In A New England Igloo”.
For my larger readership?
( And I’m usung this format so I can copy it over to my FR post
Hurricane Preparedness ( and general “bad times” links )
without reformatting it- Via Insty:
IN LIGHT OF YESTERDAYS POST ON POWER SYSTEM / CELLPHONE VULNERABILITY,
I should also link back to earlier posts on low-budget disaster preparation
and on generators.
And remember, with any kind of generator or backup heat system its good to have a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector.
THEG notes: Amazon can overnight ship a lot of things including some generators.
Don’t forget inverters:
I keep a 2KW in my car, an 800 Watt in my truck. MaryAnn has a 400W in her car and a 750W at home. Keep the battery topped up.
More disaster prep via Insty:
96 HOURS TO THE STONE AGE: How Our Connected Lives Crumble When The Power Goes Out.
A few points. First, you dont necessarily lose wi-fi and Internet when the power goes out if youve got a backup source of power for your cable/dsl modem and router. I use a big honking UPS
thats enough to keep those two low-consumption items going for days. An inverter is another possibility. Also, have some flashlights
and plenty of spare batteries. One of those LED room lamps
might be nice, too.
Second, whats this about being one of the rare people who owns a battery-powered radio? Everybody should have a hand-cranked / battery/solar radio for emergencies.
Third, running out of gas? If you own a gas station, you should really have a generator so you can keep at least one pump going in emergencies. (This is likely to pay off financially, and in long-term goodwill, too.) Also, for those who dont own gas stations, its a good idea to keep your car tank at least half-full.
Fourth, running out of cash because ATMs dont work? Keep a couple of hundred bucks around in small bills. (And some change, too).
And you should have extra blankets, and maybe an alternate source of heat,
this time of year. Plus more warm clothes, and some wool socks put away against long-term chill.
Aside from the quibbles above, heres the key point in the piece: This is a serious threat, and we need to take it seriously. s Ive thought about our reliance on pervasive connectivity over the last year, Ive spoken with C-level executives from both the tech side and the utility side. They get it. But they have businesses to run, customers to serve, business targets to achieve to keep their jobs. It is critical to recognize that the pace of our reliance on pervasive connectivity via our wireless devices is rapidly outstripping our ability to deal with the absence of those services. We need to recognize the extent that our wireless infrastructure is increasingly core to our personal, family, and societal existence. For now, it is a fragile core.
Yes, it is. It needs to be toughened up.
Posted at 10:02 pm by Glenn Reynolds
DAN RIEHL: So thats a derecho.
“Three days was enough, though. I had pretty much what I needed to get by, or you could get it by then. This was not a catastrophic event, as some homes, public buildings and stores of all stripes within driving distance were spared. Had this been truly catastrophic, say like an EMP attack? Im fairly convinced the whole thing would have started to come apart pretty fast. You could tell by how many people reacted. . . .
An event like this does focus you, somehow gives you a certain perspective its easy to lose sight of day-to-day. It also reinforced an old Clint Eastwood line from Magnum Force, believe it, or not: a mans got to know his limitations.
Strange, perhaps. But I guess it was a teachable moment, or held a few of them, in some ways. Im simply not altogether sure what else, if anything, I learned for now. I guess over time, maybe Ill find out. It was an interesting three days.
Maybe gratitude has something to do with it. It almost sounds silly, now. But if youre sitting there suffering somehow, large or small and trust me, people were and still are from this . The minute it all came back on, when you heard and felt that air conditioning kick on and you knew you could take a hot shower, again or just go to the refrigerator for a cold drink, or something you wanted to eat? Strange as it may sound to you, theres a gratitude, a beauty in that moment you can only hope to never forget. Imagine that? Hmm. What can I say? It was an experience. Leave it at that.”
Heres a post on low-budget disaster preparation,
and some bug-out bag recommendations.
Also, stuff to keep in your car or SUV.
And you might want to check out Bill Quicks disaster-preparedness forum.
ADVICE ON HURRICANE PREPARATION.
Also, Hurricane Irene: Some Lessons Learned.
And: List: Hurricane Preparation.
A useful tip from one of those hurricane links above?
You need a copy of a utility bill with your name & address on it to get back home if you are forced out- your DL will not pass. I discovered not all the copies of mine had all that info. Several had Emily’s name ( Damn it... ) so when I found the right ones I placed a copy in both gloveboxes.
Two kilowatts for $100... Amazon...
Good to see you posting, backhoe.
Kartographer, here’s an old thread you might want to ping the list to, given what appears to be about to happen to the NE. backhoe was one of the original FR preppers.
It appears I won't have to evacuate my sometimes boss-lady...
( I guess we're "seeing each other," too. God Almighty, I never dreamed I have to do this man-woman stuff all over again at my age- but? It's kind of fun, hassles & all. )
...& her cats off the Island this time. But I'm standing by... just in case.