Thursday, October 05, 2017

Disaster Preparation - The Two Basic Needs

Watching the mess in Puerto Rico unfold after the disasters in Texas and Florida, there is the need to once again emphasize that there are two major survival necessities around which everything else pales in comparison. These are the two basic needs that will make survival possible in a post hurricane tropical or sub-tropical environment:
  1. Water
  2. Food
Marines ready water for delivery on Puerto Rico.
U.S. Navy Photo by MC3 Jacob A. Goff
Yep, if you are stuck in an area where a hurricane is headed (whether by choice or otherwise), or if you live in an earthquake zone,  you need to plan on getting your own water and food for several days (I say 7 to 10, but 14 or 21 might be better).

You do not want to be one of those who plan on an immediate government or NGO rescue.

The logistics flow takes time to gear up, to find safe routes to where you are and to do its form of triage to allocate resources to the most devestated areas. Especially in an area with potentially disrupted transportation infrastructure (really - like a single highway on bridges running down to Key West - or an island 1000 miles off the U.S. coast like Pierto Rico - or say, Guam, which is almost 4,000 miles west of Hawaii which is itself 2500 miles from California - or New Orleans, which after Katrina really had only 1 bridge for access), you need to think that help might be some time in getting to you.

Ships need to be loaded with emergency supplies and equipment and then sail to get to islands. At 20
Food rations be loaded for deliver on Puerto Rico. U.S. Navy
Photo by MC3 Jacob A. Goff
knots, 1000 miles takes 50 hours of steady steaming by ship. That alone is 2 days and the loadout may take another day or 2 and the ship may have to wait for the storm that just hit you to clear before they can get to you. So that "3 day" minimum suggestion of food and water is long gone before any ship from outside can get to you. There may also be delays in getting port to open to receive the cargo and then delays in getting roads clear enough to transport the cargo to where it can be distributed.

Helicopters? They can get to place where the roads are gone, but they have limitations on range, lift capacity and need fuel and maintenance. Pilots need rest. While the Navy, Coast Guard, Marines and Army have lots of helicopters, getting them to the scene and supporting their operations is also a logistical challenge. In addition, the services use those helicopters to carry out their national security duties, so there are linits on the numbers that can be sent to a disaster area. Same goes for the Navy ships capable of supporting such operations - they are in high demand and short supply.

All of which is to say - if you are in a place where a disaster is likely (including California with its earthquake potential), plan on being without assistance for some period of time.

At a minimum, have some means of catching and purifying drinking water. A good list of emergency water purification is found at 5 Ways to Purify Water:

  1. Boil it;
  2. Chlorinate it;
  3. Use purification tablets;
  4. Distill it;
  5. Filter it
Got no fire/chlorine/tablets?

You can distill even sea water into safe drinking water using scrap materials:

The key here is to be proactive.

If you planned ahead for disaster, then you should have chlorine bleach, tablets or water filters and containers and so forth, including means of catching rain water or transporting water from other sources.

What about food? In a perfect world, you've put aside emergency food stocks. Or you've decided that for a few weeks you and yours can tough it out with emergency ration bars like these from SOS Products:

Looking for an affordable and long-lasting disaster preparedness food? Stock up your emergency supplies with SOS food bars. With a five-year shelf life and an affordable cost, these wafers are the perfect emergency food rations.

This particular pack comes with nine food bars totaling 3600 calories. All nine taste like a coconut cookie and are delicious!

The SOS emergency food ration bar is US Coast Guard approved and is able to stand up to hot and cold temperatures. As such, they’re one of the best disaster foods on the market. Buy enough for the whole family today. You’ll be glad you did when disaster strikes.
For about $6 you get a 3-day supply for 1 person or $42 for a 21-day supply. If you have a family of 4 that's $168 for a 21-day supply.

Note that the SOS Bars are only one example of many similar products.

Now it may be that after several weeks of any emergency ration you will be tired of the taste, but consider the alternative.

It may be possible to live on other food that you already have or can gather. However, in the event of a disaster you will be competing with many other people for non-perishable food.

Yes, these lessons need to be repeated after evrey disaster.

By the way, have you got a bicycle? Preferably a sturdy one? Best emergency transport when there's no gas . . .

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Yes all the hurricanes are reminding us to rethink our emergency plans and supplies. Good post, thanks