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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There seems to be more than enough interest in preparedness to merit a stand-alone thread. While gear-wise there is some overlap with camping, there are preparedness-specific items worth discussing. As well as strategies, information resources and the wide range of situations worth preparing for.

The first instance I recall of being conscious of preparedness centered on a series of ice storms coupled with temps in the teens in 1994 that strained the northeast power grid to the extent that rolling blackouts were instituted in Washington. For a few days. At a time when my place was all-electric and I had company (who brought the flu with them, which I soon caught).

I was fortunate insofar as I had stocked up on food for my guest and the previous year I had started acquiring camping gear because I was just starting to seek out dog-friendly vacations.

I had a couple sleeping bags, candle lanterns, a campstove (which we didn't use), a battery-powered radio. That experience caused me to crank up the gear acquisition with an eye toward preparedness and not just camping. At the time, my focus was primarily on power outages. We didn't have another one of any significant duration, in my zip code, until 2008.

But I have taken comfort in being prepared. And have become more prepared.

So who else here has been mindful of preparedness? And what steps have you taken to be prepared for the situations that are most likely to occur in your area?

Or the catastrophes of nightmares.


 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)

Shelter is preparedness priority #1.

This discussion has a particular relevance to the forum, I think, because Honda Elements are a great piece of survival gear.

A sturdy shelter that locks, can carry a few peops and if called upon can carry within, on top and on the hitch, a lot of gear.

The AWD-4WD version is quite capable in snow, while getting respectable mpg for such a capable vehicle.

I chuckle at some survivalist forums where there is frequently great emphasis on 4x4 vehicles that can traverse rivers and the Moab but get horrendous gas mileage which in certain scenarios involving evacuation could be extremely inconvenient when gas stations are running out.

So whether an earthquake hits and your home is not safe for occupation or for any other reason you need shelter, the Element is a good start.

It's widely said in wilderness survival that in the event of an emergency, such as being lost or injured, your first priority must be shelter.

You can go 3 weeks without food. You can go 3 days without water (unless you're in the desert). But you should count on going only 3 hours without shelter.


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Water is survival item #2

This is a tough one. Whether "sheltering-in" or evacuating or lost in the wilderness, pretty soon you've got to have water.

Three days you can comfortably survive without, by most estimations I've seen.

One gallon of water weighs eight pounds.

Drinking, cooking and hygiene to the degree and kind we are accustomed, require a lot of water.

I have no idea how much water Gidget and I consume every day. But I know if the water taps went dry in the next minute, I have a gallon of iced tea in the fridge, a couple quarts of water in Gidget's water bowls and 40 gallons of water in each hot water tank.

And not a drop in the Reliance Aqua-tainer 7-gallon jugs I recently bought for storage. Full of water, each of those jugs would weigh 56 pounds.

That project is still on the to-do list rather than the done inventory.

I also have some water filtration and sterilization gear and Micro-pur purification tablets.

Contemplate how much water you consume and how in the heck you'd replace it if the water were shut off.

It is daunting.


 

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We need to get water. But we have the rest of the basics, camping gear, etc. I even have a propane tent heater. Three tents. I worry more about things like meds, at $200 a month can't really stock up. Although since everyone will be crazy, I guess it wouldn't matter all that much....

Lots of cereal. Growing up on welfare and then being the 19 year old on welfare living in a trailer, a realllly small trailer, I've come to sppreciate and get excited about things like having more than one box of cereal on hand. Having our water turned off last week really brought the need to stock up home.

Yeah, the Hummer Moab thing. I'm pretty sure I won't be in the desert or rocky mountainius region or need to get to either place. In fact, if there's any disaster that means I have to go live in the middle of the desert, I'm inlcined to opt out.

I have read How to Survive a Zombie Attack and that little book of everything that can go wrong. So I'm confident that zombies cannot swim, although the walk on the bottom and sucking out snakebite poison is a stupid idea.

I need water, batteries, hmmm...

Uh, you don't know something the rest of us don't, do ya?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Like a moth to a flame, I knew Jojo would be along soon....

Am looking forward to your hurricane preparedness information. Post-Ike, it's not theoretical for you.

Jojo -- are you all affected by the Texas flooding that's going on now?

I'm just back from camping so am catching up on news. It looks pretty serious in some places. Georgia, too, I gather.





 

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I think this is a worthy thread.

Of course for our homes most of us have stashed survival stuff, but for the E I have:
1. Extra sleeping bag.
2. First aid kits, (one for humans and one for the dogs)
3. Extra light bulbs etc.....
4. Extra dry human food and dog food, which I rotate out.
5. Fat wood for starting fires.
6. Newspaper
7. Maps
8. Candles
9. Flashlights
10. Cleaning wipes for human or dogs
11. sweater
12. tools, ties downs etc.
13. Hammock, hooks etc
14. water
I'm purchasing a hand crank radio. When I studied them I discovered the better ones last longer on fewer cranks.

Prob forgot something here but....

jurn
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I need water, batteries, hmmm...

Uh, you don't know something the rest of us don't, do ya?
Despite DC's status as an enemy target, my preparedness is geared more toward natural disasters and power grid failure.

Urban preparedness comes down to two fundamental actions: shelter-in or evacuate.

In either case, you have to focus on the big three: shelter, water, food.

And that's how I organize my thoughts on the subject of preparedness.

On the subject of evacuation, since 9/11 I do not let my gas tank drop below half and strive to keep it above 3/4. I top it off at least once a week.

I think the most plausible scenario for DC which might allow the option of evacuating is the detonation of a dirty bomb or a hurricane (the federal government was closed for a day in 1989, in anticipation that Hurricane Hugo may come up the Chesapeake Bay).

In that case, Gidget and I would be going camping. Immediately.

;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I worry more about things like meds, at $200 a month can't really stock up.
That's an excellent point. I tend to neglect it because I'm not presently reliant on any.

If you have a couple weeks worth you're good for garden-variety emergencies in which help will eventually be on the way and the entire country is not incapacitated, but not for the Armageddon scenarios.

I'm not preparing for Armageddon.

My prep for that would focus on cyanide.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Of course for our homes most of us have stashed survival stuff, but for the E I have:
Impressive list, Jurneez. My car preparedness is mostly First Aid, fire extinguisher, strobe emergency light, flashlight, tp, jacket, hat, shoes, extra glasses, knife, a cup for Gidget to drink from. I've recently begun carrying a case of bottled water.

This recent drama below is something to consider. One woman's catastrophe.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/20989589/detail.html

Mountain Miracle: Woman Survives 5 Days Following Crash

Severely Injured Granby Woman Crawls Down Hillside For Help

CENTRAL CITY, Colo. -- Authorities said Cynthia Hoover was heading home on the Central City Parkway the evening of Sept. 10, when a herd of deer crossed the road. Hoover swerved to miss the deer and her car went off the parkway, rolling down a steep hillside and landing on its top.

Hoover sustained broken ribs, broken vertebrate and a punctured lung in the crash.

Her Volkswagen Passat landed in a spot, about 350 feet off the parkway, where it couldn't be seen from the road

Hoover waited for help but it never came.

Hoover's severe injuries allowed her only to crawl and she used a golf club from the car to try and reach the highway....




 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
You're temptng me to change my avatar to Alfred E. Neuman: What Me Worry.
Maybe I'll never need more than Geico Road Service.

And most people don't carry extra dog leashes when they walk their dog. But I do, and last weekend a friend and I were walking our dogs and found one that had run away from home. I carry an extra leash because several years ago I crossed paths with a series of stray dogs, here and on vacation in Hawaii, and a slip-lead would have been handy.

So I'll continue to carry the extra leash, just in case. And after finding (and placing in permanent homes) two kittens in the past two weeks, I'm now keeping a few cans of kitten food at home. And I'm not a cat person.

That's my nature. Prepared. Starting with financial preparedness. That's been interesting this past year.

:)
 

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One thing I can't recommend enough is getting your certification for first aid and cpr. I just recently completed my certification which also included infants and children.

I work at a private university and this year we have increased our emergency preparedness ten fold. This is partly due to a certain presidential library that will be built here in the next few years - I'm sure everyone can determine what university and president I'm talking about.:rolleyes: We have multiple emergency tests which include lock down procedures (cannot leave the building until we're given the all clear). I have had to think about what to have at my desk and plan how to handle a situation where we could potentially be locked down for days. The really biggie for me is having to have a list of other available and willing persons that can pick up my son at his daycare should I not be able to get to him. How I need to be able to contact those persons and what they need to have available to them to care for him. Has been a bit overwhelming to think about.
 

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Out here in CA, I've noticed a bigger push to have people prepared for natural disasters (earthquake and wildfires). Places like Home Depot and kmart have 'emergency preparedness kits' for sale in high traffic areas. They look like first aid kits with basic 'survival' stuff like emergency blankets. We have all our camping gear and lots of emergency water jugs, but I worry about not having any fresh water nearby. When we lived in San Francisco we lived a just few miles from a freshwater lake, but here its maybe 30 miles to the nearest fresh water (the Pacific doesnt work with our water purification tablets :rolleyes:)
 

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I also carry an extra leash for the same reason HC does. I have an emergency hammer that breaks auto glass with a belt cutter. I have this whole drowning in my car thing, never mind I live nowhere that would happen, but still.

After that poor woman in the news i had to go make sure it was still there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Gear is only part of the survival-preparedness equation.

This book is a must-read. It's a number of accounts of people who've found themselves in dire survival situations. One of the revelations is that younger children are more likely to do the smart thing in a situation where they're lost. Their instinct is to hunker down and stay put. That makes it easier to find them, usually. Older kids tend to overthink -- as adults are prone to -- and in their quest to get un-lost are more likely to get more lost.

Especially boys, of course. (OK, I'm embellishing a bit there) ;-)



More insight into how different people react under duress is contained in this riveting book on people in the Twin Towers on 9/11. 102 minutes from the first plane hitting to the collapse of the final tower (north). No one can know how they'd react in such a situation but it's useful, I would think, to have studied survival situations. Perhaps you'd then at least stop and analyze your behavior and consider that there might be a better course of action. On 9/11, as the news came that the Pentagon had been hit, my immediate instinct was that they weren't done with DC and that was a very grim realization because of where I was at the time. I remember my hands, my lower arms really, at one point started shaking in a way they never had before, or since. 6-10 inches of oscillation. And then I got a grip. Interesting in hindsight to me, at no time on that day did I have the urge to evacuate the city. My instinct was to be home and on the sidewalk talking to my neighbors and passerby (pedestrians and drivers who were streaming out of the city for a few hours). These blocks became on that day and in the weeks ahead, a tight-knit community. I considered going across the river to visit friends but decided not to because of reports that the bridges were being closed. Very vivid memories, no doubt always will be.

 

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Living in Tampa all my life, the constant 'threat' of hurricane-related catastrophe has always loomed large. What most people have to plan for is pretty much ingrained upon us as 'standard equipment'.

We camp. A lot. People who camp have all sorts of gear that 'regular folk' consider survivalist by nature. So I won't bother re-hashing what most everyone knows is pretty standard gear.

I have, of course, the AWD E, and can load enough gear into it for a fairly long camp-type evacuation in short order. We keep split-lid 'totes' in the attic with camping gear loaded based on the type of trip:

One tote has what we call pack-camping gear, all lightweight, minimalist camping gear, and all we'd add to that would be our internal frame packs, sleeping bags, and clothes. In fact, those packs have our quick-dry camp clothing and hiking gear already in them. Our two-man, three-season Kelty tent is in my pack, as well. There's also my Ruger P85, with hi-cap mags.

We have two totes with what we call '3-day plus gear', which has a larger camp stove, and a larger, 5-man tent. We typically use that with 'old-school' Coleman flannel-lined sleeping bags, plus clothing. A little less high-tech, but very comfy.

We have a third stage, four totes, for what we call our 'week-plus' gear, with my canvas G.I. Issue tent, the Weber Q, and more 'permanent' gear. We take our inflatable platform air mattress with that gear, plus my Xantrex power pack/compressor. At that point, I usually also pack my Remington 850, converted with fold-down stock and 18.5" LEO barrel, which holds 7 shells. I've got a shell holder on the stock that holds another six. That's for the zombies.

Since we've never actually been evacuated in the 42 years I've been alive, we tend to use that stuff mostly for recreation, but it's there just in case.

For home-based disasters:

5000 gallons of chlorinated, sanitized water (some folks call this a swimming pool). It's fiberglass, so it requires far less chemical treatment than concrete pools, and all we do is let the water stand in a pitcher for a day. The dog drinks it ever single day, and she's okay. There's also the water heater, and in a pinch, a bathtub to store fresh water in.

As typical Americans, one look through our pantry will confirm that we have enough canned and dry food to go about two weeks without worrying, although we might have to eat combinations of stuff that might seem odd, like sardines and green beans, but we always keep a couple cases of Power Bars and granola bars on hand, too.

Being Florida, in winter, the citrus trees in the back yard yield a pretty good bounty, as well.

We buy meat at BJ's, so there would be one hell of a BBQ at our house if we lost power, and everyone's invited. I keep three 20 gallon propane tanks, at least two are full all of the time.

I pretty much use NiMH batteries for everything, so we have loads of batteries. I've found that my Makita Li-Ion tools are excellent to keep charged, as the sawzall, with an 'Ugly' blade, can pretty much fell a tree almost as fast as a chain saw, and it's cleaner and quieter. The drill comes in handy if we have to install plywood (we keep pre-cut pieces to cover the windows and doors; it's a Florida thing), and the flashlight is bright and easy to aim.

We do keep candles, but usually, we only light them if we're just hanging around listening to weather on the radio.

There's the 5kw Yanmar Diesel portable generator in the garage, with my custom exhaust connection that goes through the garage wall. Other than A/C, it pretty much handles any load we can give it, and sips fuel. It has a built-in 5 gallon tank, and I keep 15 gallons in cans, in the workshed out back.

I have two 100ft extension cords, with a standing agreement to help the two next-door neighbors keep their fridges going in return for their assistance with anything we might need.

Which is important to mention. Knowing your neighbors, and pitching in to help each other, is never in any preparation manual I've seen, but it's priceless. In times of emergency, there is safety in numbers.

Plus, you can drink all of their beer and play monopoly by candlelight when the power goes out and you're too lazy to run the generator.

In contrast to Camper Chick's comment about large 4x4's that go anywhere, I present ours:

I have a '94 GMC K2500 Suburban, lifted 8", with 37x12.5x15 tires, on-board air, ARB lockers, HID's mounted on the safari rack, 12,5K lb winch, 3KW inverter and dual deep-cycle Optimas, and it's a diesel, so it gets around 20mpg highway (not much less than the E), but more importantly, it holds 42 gallons of fuel. I have a receiver-mounted cargo rack that holds two G.I.-style fuel cans, for an extra 15 gallons. That rack also holds my water containers, for the same amount of liquid refreshment, as well.

Simple math tells me I can get from Tampa to Atlanta without filling up. Probably a lot further if I keep an eye on my speed. (I just hope I don't have to pee.)

I challenge anyone to try that with their E.

Of course, if we 'really' had to leave town, we'd take both, and the Suburban would tow our small trailer with coolers and totes. The dog rides with me, the cat rides with the wife.

Let's all hope none of us ever has to come to use any of this gear, though.
 

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Oh, my nomination for a great survival book:

How to Stay Alive in The Woods, by Bradford Angiers.

Written by a survival trainer for the RCMP (that's Mounties for you Canadian-challenged folks), in 1956, but re-printed a few times. It's a great read.

I especially like the chapter (yes, a whole chapter) which discusses the morality and ethics, not to mention the nutritional value of human meat.

The wife bought this for me in '01, and I've cover-to-covered it several times, and it's full of highlighter marks. This one has the cool, football-style pebbled rubber cover, in O.D. Green with orange letters.
 
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