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OT: Disaster Preparedness


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#1 MavRic

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 11:11 AM

I want to start of saying i'm not a doomsday kind of guy and i don't actually think the end is near or anything like that. However last year i spent 2 time a week withouth power and this has made me want to be better prepared for these kind and other kinds of disasters.

I consider this forum typically to be a group of common sense people so i welcome any comments / suggestions to the plan. For the first step some comments on the goals would be usufull.

I now have a generator that i can plug into the house and run almost anything, but i'm starting to look at food, etc.

To start of with i think i need to determine my goals and the type of emergency i want to be prepared for:
  • Extended power outages
  • Natural or other disaster forcing me out of my home
  • Some level of civil unrest
Basically i have decided i want to be self sufficient for approximately 1 to 2 weeks depending on the practicality of things. I live in Connecticut and the 3 mile island nuclear plant is sufficient close that a major incident could affect me. For this and other reasons (e.g. very much extended power outages, civil unrest, etc) i want to be able to reach about halfway across the country in a self sufficient way.

My family consist of myself, my wife and a 2 year old.

I dont want to spend excessive amount of money and don't really want things to get wasted, so i'm hoping that some of the stuff i need for emergency preparedness will double as camping gear, etc.

My vehicle is a Honda Pilot so it had a good bit of space and can take a roof load. I'm considering getting one of these hitch mounted platforms for extra transport capability. I don't want a trailer since it would limit flexibility. I am going to assume that if i'm forced to leave the house i will be with my car from there on onwards. If not i think planning becomes all a bit too difficult.

If i am forced to leave the house for whatever reason I'm going to operate on the assumption i will not be returning and must build a life elsewhere.

Here is what i have on my list so far, # indicated items I already own:
  • Power / Fuel / Utilties category
    • # Generator
    • # Fuel for generator (takes regular fuel so can double as car fuel) - 4 * 5 gallon tanks - generator is too big to take with me if I have to leave the house. I think i can carry these tanks on the roof of the car if needed when traveling. Can't have them inside due to fumes. If the car fuel tank is full this gives me a range of about 600 miles.
    • Portable fuel siphon. If things really get out of control at least i can steal some gas from other cars found along the route
    • Crowbar / tools to force gas tank covers open. :)
    • Portable water purification system (in case we need to leave the house). Suggestions? So far i've found www.katadyn.com
    • # Refillable containers with potable water. 4 * 1 gallon
    • 2 rechargeble (from wall or car charger) Flashlights
    • # Camping lantern (chargeble from 12v or 120v volt)
    • # 12v > 120V AC inverter for powering 120V devices off the car or other 12v sources.
    • # Extension cord
    • # Road Atlas for the USA
    • GPS
    • # Axe
    • Long Saw for downing trees (for fire wood but also to clear clear that may be blocking the roads)
    • Strong rope / chain to pull away stuff blocking the road.
    • Grate for cooking over campfire
    • # Tent
    • # Sleeping bags + Quen size Air mattess (fits in the car)
    • # Extra blankets
    • # Small backpack
    • Larger backpack
    • # Garden hose. probably usefull to get water from places, wash things if we find a working faucet, etc.
  • Health/ cooking category
    • # Propane Camping stove
    • Extra Propane canisters ( 3 total)
    • # Camping pots / pans set
    • Re-usable cups and plates
    • Resealable containers / ziplocks
    • Trash bags
    • Handwash laundry detergent
    • Purell / handsoap
    • Dish soap
    • Paper towels (couple of rolls)
    • Toilet paper (several rolls)
  • Food
    • 2 weeks worth of food, 2 meals a day, hot meal every other day.
    • Canned food with long shelf life that we woudl eat anyway so when the shelf life is up we just eat it and replace instead of throw away.
    • Power bars (compact, good shelf life and high energy)
    • To be completed
  • Clothing
    • 4-5 sets of clothing (can wear a few days and then handwash)
    • To be completed
  • Baby specific stuff
    • daipers
    • toys
    • To be completed
  • Other
    • Tarp to cover a camping area
    • Smaller tarp to cover a car roof load + bungee cords/straps to secure a roof load.
    • Rope ( to put up tarp, clothesline, etc)
    • # Notepad / pens
    • Small Weapon + Ammo (with triggerlock) for self defence.
    • Binoculars
    • Fixaflat
    • # General tools
    • Waterproof container with imporant paperwork (passports, birth certificates, etc)
    • Cash ( keep $1000 cash in small bills )
    • Portable harddrive with family pictures, documents, etc.
    • # Laptop
I figured most of the smaller stuff should be packed into totes (like rubbermaid totes) to keep things organized but also be able to move things into the car (when leaving the house) quickly, or from car roof to inside, or from back to front seats.

If forced out of the house during bad weather conditions I could take these bins from the back of the car and put them in the front seats, lay down the seats and have a sleeping space in the car. If it's not enough space some totes could sit outside of the car. Ideally all can stay in the car to prevent theft.

#2 Waynedb

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 04:58 PM

I live in earthquake country so I have lots of food and water stored, I bought some real long term storage food from Costco(20 years) that may last longer than I do. I have 3 people in my house and I figure I need at least 60 gallons of drinking water if the worst happens.
I live real close to the San Andreas fault line, we could have up to about an 8.0 quake and we are due.

The roads could be ruined if we get the big one out here and it is recommened that you plan for up to 3 weeks without help. I have a generator but I think I am going to put Solar Panels on my Shed for longer term electric needs, if my house falls down I will live in the shed if I have to.

#3 Work2Play

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:50 PM

You can take a lot of tips from Camping, Military Preparedness, and Mormons.

Mormons are taught to keep enough food around to be prepared for a long time, and also to rotate through it - so many of them have big 5-gallon buckets of rice; canned food, etc. Also, military rations really aren't that bad to eat and are designed to be compact and light weight.

Stocking up for a 2-week backpacking trip should get you everything you need to survive, with some protection against crazies - and it doesn't have to take up a lot of space. From there, everything else is for added comfort or for other specific goals, like trying to get to a specific place, or things like that.

I've often thought that people with bottled water service will be the best off if something happens - nothing better than always having a week's water supply in constant rotation; wouldn't take much to have a few more bottles than you need in the rotation to know you never get below a 2-week supply.

One person I know has one of those hard cases that goes on top of your SUV - it's hoisted in the garage, ready to be lowered onto the vehicle any time. It's stocked with his "get out of dodge" supplies. At the front of his garage is 30 gallons of fuel with Stabil added; even his bricks of ammunition are ready for quick loading into the vehicle.

There's a lot of people who expect something bad to happen before long - it's just hard to know which one to be prepared for, and how far to go in this preparation.

#4 Digger

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:51 PM

I am just south of you on Long Island and thinking the same things lately. We are due for a Hurricane soon as well. I have been building stock over time of supplies. They came in handy last summer when that storm came through and killed power for a week as did with you probably.

You may want to look at the BioLite camp stove. Its very small and burns sticks etc. It can boil water pretty fast they claim and it can recharge a cell phone or flashlight from burning sticks. I might buy one next month.

Disposable rain ponchos
First Aid Kit (you probably just left it off the list and have it)
Insect Repellant
Dust masks
Battery Powered Fan
Waterproof Matches
Disposable Gloves
Baby Wipes (for everyone)
Allergy and Stomach Meds. Benydrl can also help someone sleep at night when they are stressed by what happened




Extra's when budget permits

GMRS Radios for communications should you need to seperate and phones are down. May want a ham radio license as well and then maybe get Wouxun walkie talkies ($129 each) double as Ham and GMRS as well as FM Radio Receiver. Police Scanner might help you know whats going on locally as well.
Battery Powered AM/FM Weather Radio
Battery Powered DVD Player for your little one

#5 MavRic

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:37 PM

Any particular weapen that can be recommended? I am not a gun fan at all and would not have this in the nightstand. I don't believe in guns as a quick response situation. It would be somewhere safe with trigger lock. If unrest or issues start to occur these wont happen that fast that i can't get a trigger lock off. Trigger lock is also good once in the car. I am looking for something cheap and simple. Do i want a pistol or shotgun of some sort?

I guess i am sort of relying on the roads to stay passable. If not then at least i can campt out at the house for a few weeks before needing outside help.

I did some reading into ghas siphoning. I figured if i really have to get out of doge and have a full tank plus 20 gallons with me i will be ok. But it seems newer cars have antisiphon devices of some sort. Anybody have expeirence with it? I figured once the shit has hit the fan there will be plenty of abandoned cars around to steal gas from, if not i have a crow bar and a gun. lol. I guess if find car that have anti sihpon i can always puncture the tank and drain it...i'll need some supplies to support that operation i suppose.

What got me thinking was the massive power outage in india today/yesterday and the recent nuke plant issue in Japan. Also i was reading about solar flares and how we may be due for a big one as well.

Some that responsed listed water supply. At least in this area there is plenty of lakes, streams, etc i can get water from and filter. I expect that almost anywhere else in the country you can always find some surface water within 2 hours drive. Am I wrong to not be as concerned about water if i have a filtering system with me? Caryring a lot of gallons in the car seems heavy and space consuming.

I do have a first aid kit, just forgot to list it.

I'll add meds and such to the list. And lighters (will probably work a bit better than matches). One of these little butane torches should be pretty cheap and affective i would think. Not sure how waterproof they are, but ziplock goes a long way.

The radios seem expensive, but may be a good idea. Good to have around the house anyway for other situations. Although the wouxam's seem a bit bulky for use at Disney or something. lol. I agree that if power is out cell phone signal will not be that far behind.

Getting into a bit of scope creep here and need to watch the budget. For now at least it's making it onto the list as a maybe. Are we trained by the movies to expect the HAM radios to be the only thing working after a major disaster? Would i be able to listen to police and such as well with that?

Off to go test fit some rubbermaid onto the car rood. lol. Car manual states only minor loads allowed on the roof, but i'm guessing a Honda Pilot can take a pretty descent load on top before it really becomes a problem. Car makers ofcourse worry about the handling at 65 mph and such...i agree but during an emergency i'm not going to limit myself to 60 lbs on the roof...lol.

Thanks for all the inputs so far.

#6 wuench

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:23 PM

Since part of your concerns revolve around a nuclear power plant, perhaps iodine tablets and maybe a Geiger counter or radiation badge?

Edited by wuench, 31 July 2012 - 08:25 PM.


#7 Waynedb

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:34 PM

I have a couple of wind-up Baygen Freeplay radios that run on a wind-up clock drive or solar power, I also have little rechargeable 12 volt power packs that have sealed gel cell batteries. I have food grade disposable gloves to make sure the food supply stays clean.

#8 video321

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:15 AM

Any particular weapen that can be recommended? I am not a gun fan at all and would not have this in the nightstand. I don't believe in guns as a quick response situation. It would be somewhere safe with trigger lock. If unrest or issues start to occur these wont happen that fast that i can't get a trigger lock off. Trigger lock is also good once in the car. I am looking for something cheap and simple. Do i want a pistol or shotgun of some sort?

While not as simple to pack as a small handgun, I'd recommend getting a rifle so you could hunt as well as defend yourself. Bolt or lever action so you don't have to worry about jams. I don't have a lot of experience with rifles, but a .45 Henry packs a punch with a only a small amount of recoil.

#9 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:28 AM

12 gauge pump shotgun with interchangeable barrels (short no choke for self defense, have this already mounted with an additional five pack of shells mounted to the stock, long with choke for hunting birds).

Two pistols (larger than a .22) with holster, additional clips.

Rifle with scope (again for hunting).

Self defense is an important element because in a crisis situation you just may have to defend not only your family, but protect all that stuff you listed in the above posts. ;)

#10 JimS

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 09:06 AM

A .45 Henry? I don't know that much about guns either and nothing about that particular one but have some experience. That seems larger than optimum. And something more common so ammunition is easier to find might be something to think about. I guess most people would have lots of ammo stocked up but a gun without ammo doesn't pack much punch no matter how big it is...

Would be good to have something other family members were comfortable using too if they had to.

#11 video321

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:55 AM

True... it is a large caliber, but it gives you that brute force knock-down power that the wifey could handle. It is by far one of the smoothest rifles I have ever shot. If you want smaller then .223/5.56 would do.

#12 Bal

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:58 AM

Of for the radiation just get the badges and the iodine tablets. Cheap and easy to store. Hang one at the house so you have a way of knowing if your exposed prior to getting out of dodge,

Guns is a tough decision. Protection and hunting are clearly different guns. BraveSirRobbim got it. Look for a shotgun with a long barrel and a short barrel. Pump is more expensive but makes it much easier to use. i would add the rifle. Handguns are useless if you do not practice (same goes for the rifle and shotgun, but they have alternative purposes for hunting at least). So I would skip the handgun or decide to train you and the family on its use.

I would tell you to lose the paper towels...if it is disposable then it cant be reused by definition. Just have some extra towels. If your roughing it your doing laundry daily anyhow. I also recommend storing all cloth/water absorbent inside zip locks. Makes them waterproof. Dry clothes are a godsend when you have been soaked for hours.

Finally...we need to be relevant to the forum sooooo...battery powered motion sensors with built in alarms to post around your camping sight! :D

#13 mrhappy

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 01:58 PM

Full credit is due for thinking before something happens, I know myself I would not get very far if I needed to move ASAP. I think the majority of the UK public are quite lax in disaster preparedness. Whilst not directly relevant this w w w.youtube.com/watch?v=iVqNFZ0JPeY was on the TV a few years ago here and I found it interesting - geared towards fire/air crash but the quote at 48:36 I think is the most important, the time to start thinking about this is not when you are in an emergency.

I would definately consider an AM/FM radio but it may be something to think about a wide band radio scanner that also covered the AM/FM bands. It may be beneficial to be able to listen to your local police/fire/ambulance services to see what is actually happening and whether that changes your plans. Frequency lists are available all over the net, program it to local frequencies.

With your road atlas I would be tempted to draw on some likely routes on perhaps to nearby cities and two routes, any arterial routes are likely to get blocked very quickly in mass evacuation. Perhaps even go so far to recce the routes beforehand looking for likely problems, bridges, rivers etc and mark alternate routes around. Mark on hospitals/shelters if they are not already on, whether they are 24x7 hospitals.

Backup mobile phone, see if perhaps you could have the phone added to any existing contract you have. Keep it in the car with a car charger, regularly test it to make sure it works.

Consider whether by Freedom Of Information or other means you can get hold of your town/city/neighbouring city/whatever emergency plan, I have seen mine and know where the emergency shelters will be set up. That is the closest I will be to being ahead of the game, every second counts.

Other than that I would say you sound you are prepared as you could reasonably be.

Edited by mrhappy, 01 August 2012 - 02:00 PM.





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