Monthly Archives: November 2017

Your Disaster Response Is Limited By Your Imagination

By: Tom Chatham

I touched on this in a previous article. You need to imagine the many forms a disaster will take and have a plan to cope with the changing situation.

I am sure there were many people in the areas affected by the recent hurricanes that had prepared for such an occurrence only to find they were still lacking in some form. It is good to have several months of supplies on hand to deal with a crisis but how many of these people had to evacuate due to flood waters and leave the bulk of these supplies behind? I often wonder how many ended up in evacuation sites anyway and how many had a plan and were able to load up their supplies and get to an alternate safe location.

It is difficult to know how any disaster will play out but your response to it is only limited to how much imagination you put into planning for it. I’m often accused of having crazy ideas but those ideas provide me with a data base to draw on in times of crisis. It is often hard to think straight when disaster approaches and time is short and it is in those moments that you must rely on what you already know.

For instance, following the unprecedented flooding in the gulf states I wondered what I would do if I suddenly found my home surrounded by rising flood waters. I live on a small hill which is one of the highest places in the area. Any flooding would cut off vehicle evacuation long before water reached the house. I concluded my only options would be to sink or float.

I keep a number of empty drums around to store animal feed in that are water tight. After some thought I concluded I could strap some of these drums under one of the sheds in the back yard and load it with supplies and other items I did not want to lose. I calculated the displacement of these drums and arrived at a total weight I could expect to float. Is the idea crazy? Sure it is but it would also work. I seriously doubt I would ever have to resort to something like that but there is a plan to deal with it should it occur in the future.

This is the type of imagination you need to put into planning disasters so you are never caught in a situation with no course of action to get out of it. You may not have drums around to use but if you live in a flood plain and think you may want a boat, how about this. Buy a pontoon boat and put a light enclosure on it basically turning it into a small houseboat. You could use it for storage, a work shop or man cave during normal times. It will float, you can pull it down the highway on a trailer and it can serve as a camper if you have to evacuate. Add a few solar panels, a battery pack and a small wood stove and you could ride out just about anything.

You are only limited by your imagination and preps do not have to cost a lot if you use that imagination to think up cheap options to accomplish the same goals. The drums I use only cost me ten dollars each and have many uses around the house especially for prepping projects. If you cannot afford buckets of long term storage food from venders you can make your own with plastic buckets and dry pack items from the supermarket. There are many things like oatmeal, rice, dry beans, potato flakes, cornmeal, ramen noodles, hot chocolate, macaroni or spaghetti that you can use as a starter to build a food supply around, Most of these things are relatively cheap and store for a long time and a little can go a long way.

Just as a mental exercise I worked out a basic field ration to use if I had to travel on foot for a few days at a time. From some of the things I normally store I could use two servings of oatmeal, a package of ramen noodles, four servings of rice, a can of Vienna sausage, a 12oz. can of pork &beans and a packet of hot chocolate. This ration would provide me with over 2,000 calories per day and only requires hot water to prepare most of the items. This list of items would cost me just over two dollars which is not bad for a full days ration. Using this type of methodology, it is easy to come up with a ration tailored to your taste for very little cost.

If you feel there are disasters in your future it will put you way ahead of the curve to imagine those scenarios now and develop a plan to deal with them even if only on paper. The more you plan the more you will feel the need to take the next step and acquire supplies. It is only through this type of self education that you will learn how vulnerable you really are. Those that reject the idea of facing their fears are the ones that routinely find themselves unable to care for themselves following an event and wait for the government to come to their rescue.

Every day it becomes more obvious to those that prepare that there will surely come a time when some crisis will render normal disaster response impotent and everyone will be thrust back onto their own resources. Things are only impossible until they happen. That is a lesson many people are taught over and over again and fail to learn.

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