Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thursday Three: Disaster!

Yay! It’s the return of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!
Papa Possum presents us the following:
LET'S GET ON WITH THE GAME! And yes, the questions are actually of a serious nature, quite unlike the setup. Today's questions are about self-reliance.
1. With the recent hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast, it has once again been made obvious that being prepared ahead of time can be the difference between life and death. Do you and your family keep an emergency pack of supplies ready to go at a moment's instant as so many people recommend? What all is in it?
2. If, heaven forbid, anything as destructive as a hurricane or earthquake or fire or flood were to hit your community, and assuming you stayed around or couldn't get out, what are some of the skills you have that you think could be utilized to start the recovery efforts?
3. How safe do you feel in your own community when it comes to disaster preparedness?
SO, there you go. Go off now and fix up your answers and leave them in the comments, or leave a link to your blog. My answers will be up in just a bit.
  1. Well, we don’t have an official “go kit,” but we do keep a fair amount of batteries and whatnot on hand. Our pantry is kept fairly well stocked and I have two first aid kits in the house and a little tiny one in the van. We could hang out here for a few days, but in light of my youngest son’s medical needs in regards to refrigerated medicines and electrically powered devices we would be among the first to evacuate. I can get us packed and ready to go in about 3 ½ hours. I try not to have Max run out of his meds and we usually have at least a few days’ supplies on hand. We would stick the rocket box on top of the van and load the interior of the van with dogs and kids; the fish, I’m sad to say would be on their own. We have a battery powered backup pump and a battery powered automatic feeder, but I can’t bring a 20 gallon tank along we us. The dogs are far more portable and are used to long car trips. I even have a three ring binder for each dog with their complete medical records. If it looked like complete devastation was a possibility there are a few paintings, the family silver, our photos and our computer CPUs that we would stick in my husband’s car. The rest is just stuff. We would then head north to my Mom’s house in VT. She has enough room for us and has an excellent hospital nearby. We should have a generator for the fridge, but we just haven’t gotten around to it.

  1. We do have a chainsaw and my husband knows how to use it. I’m pretty good at figuring out alternative routes to get to places and generally not panicking. This was put to the test in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel (a cat. 2) came to town. We battened down the hatches and rode her out at home. We were without power for three days and the roads were a tangled mess of trees. As I recall Isabel hit us Thursday night and it wasn’t until Friday afternoon that we could access the outside world. I remember going out that afternoon to see if I could find a way out and reach a more populated area (we live in the semi-boonies). I was successful in finding a torturous open route to electrified civilization. This turned to be good knowledge to have. That night Jake somehow cut his scalp in his pitch dark bedroom. I heard him howling in his room and staggered down the hallway to investigate. As I patted the back of his head it felt damp. Further investigation with a flashlight showed it to be blood. With no power and no clean running water (A had filled the tubs with water, but I did not want to use it to clean wounds. We also had a 5 gallon bladder of clean drinking water, but I was loath to use it.) I decided that it was off to the hospital for us. What would normally be a 30 minute drive was a one hour trek through the route I had just charted out earlier. I was glad I had already done a recon during daylight hours. After a brief wait and five stitches later we were sent home. The one bright spot was that we were able to pick up a nice hot breakfast and bring it back home with us.

  1. I feel fairly safe with my community in regards to disaster preparedness. My main complaint is the incompetent snow removal. The county obsesses over the main roads and does not even touch the secondary roads until the snow event is over AND the main roads are all clear. Our road usually gets plowed a day and half after the storm has ended. Just long enough to get a nice thick layer of ice from all the cars driving on the snow. All I want is for them to do one pass with a sander during the storm. It would help a great deal. As for my neighbors it was nice how we all pulled together after Isabel. People would share their generators and cleared driveways and roads so that people could get out. However if we were to have another Isabel blow through here, I’d bug out.

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