Hurricane Survival Tips and Tools

Is it not already too late if one waits until one is thirsty to begin digging a well?

--Chinese Proverb

Hurricane Survival Tips

1.    An Axe and Life Preservers: Stash an axe and life preservers in the upper story, or attic, of your home. Remember, most of the drowning victims of Hurricane Katrina were people who stayed in their homes and found themselves trapped by rising waters with no place to go. Many drowned in their attics, unable to break through the roof to the outside. A few bucks spent on these items ahead of time could save your life!
2.    Water is Critical: Water is absolutely essential for human survival; it plays a part in all of the body’s biochemical reactions. You may not believe it, but most of us could survive for several weeks without food, yet a single day without water in extreme heat can kill a person. Water requirements vary depending on activity level and temperature. The absolute minimum for survival, with little or no activity and cool conditions, is about one quart of drinking water per day, and  two quarts of water per day will usually sustain moderate activity at an acceptable level of comfort under moderate conditions (you will feel somewhat dehydrated). More than 1 quart of water every hour can be required to perform heavy physical labor under extremely hot conditions.
3.    Fill your Bathtub and Tape Off Your Toilets: After a major hurricane hits, the public water system may be polluted, or entirely shut down...

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72-Hour “Grab-and-Run” Survival Kits

I beleive that every household should have one of these kits on hand! These short-term emergency kits should be readily accessible and cover the basic daily needs of your family for a period of at least 3 days. Please note that 3 days is a minimal time period (in Kobe Japan, it was 9 days before many survivors received food and water) and that you should have at least a 2-week supply of food stored in or around your home. You may purchase ready-made, 72-hour kits from various survival supply outlets, or you can put together your own. Large families should probably divide up the stores between several easily grabbed small backpacks or plastic containers. One advantage to building your own kits is that you get to choose foods that you like. Remember that all foods have some kind of shelf life. Rotate stores, and use them or lose them. Bug-infested, rancid, or rotten food doesn’t do anyone any good. Consider placing all of the following items in your 72-hour survival kit:
•    Portable radio, preferably one that works with dead or no batteries, such as by a hand crank or combination powered with solar cells (available through survival and surplus outlets).
•    First aid kit with first aid and survival handbooks (this book covers both).
•    Water, water purification chemicals, and /or purifying filter. Enough to provide 1 gallon per person per day (see Chapter 5). Retort (foil) pouches can handle freezing in a car trunk, but most other water containers can’t handle freezing without the potential for bursting. Three gallons per person is heavy (24 lb), so I strongly suggest that you include a water filter and water treatment chemicals. I suggest pump-type backcountry filters...

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Preparedness Checklist / Family Survival Plan

Every family should have a preparedness plan. Here is a checklist to help get you started on formulating your family preparedness plan:

o    Place 72-hour emergency survival kits in your cars and convenient “grab kits” in your home.
o    Determine a local meeting place with a large open area, such as a park or school, where your household can gather if you are separated and do not have access to your home during emergencies.
o    Make sure that all capable members of your family know how and where to shut off the water, gas, and electricity for your home in the event of an emergency...

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First Aid Kit

Every person/family should have a comprehensive first aid kit. Each car should have a kit and your house should have one too. Most preparedness/survival suppliers stock an assortment of first aid kits, from simple to field surgical quality. Here are suggestions for a modest first aid kit:
•    2 Ace bandages
•    1 box of adhesive bandages (at least 12 Band-Aids) of varying sizes, with at least two 2" or larger square bandages
•    6 butterfly bandages
•    1 large roll of 2" cloth adhesive tape (may be torn or cut to smaller widths). Great for taping blistered heels or hands...

Disinfecting Your Water

You may not believe it, but most of us could live at least a month without food, but a single day wihout water in hot weather, and you will be in serious trouble! Contrary to popular opinion, clear sparkling water is often unsafe for drinking. Even spring water may not be safe. Deep-water springs from gravel or sand sources are usually safe, but may be contaminated by runoff from agricultural fertilizers, septic systems, sewer lines, and so on. Springs emerging from rock crevices can be exit points for underground streams carrying pollutants from far-off sources. When unsure about the source of your water, it is safest to boil, chemically treat, or filter the water through a certified water filter.
Boiling all your daily drinking water is time and energy consuming. Most chemical treatments leave an aftertaste and should be used with care to ensure the proper concentration and contact time for the temperature of application. Chemical treatments, except possibly for the new Aquamira products, do not provide guaranteed protection from Cryptosporidium cysts (common in surface water contaminated by farm animals), which have been found to survive a 24-hour soak in undiluted household bleach! Portable filters can process surface water into potable water, but may not purify as well as their labels lead you to believe. The safest method for portable, fast, reliable water disinfection is a combination of chemical treatment and filtration. Recommended methods for sterilizing and disinfecting water are summarized as follows...

Valuable Links to Hurricane Related Web Sites