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An interesting question was raised about what would one do if all their survival supplies were destroyed in a disaster situation. For example during Katrina, water infiltrated low areas causing many supplies unfit, as in the case of food, water and shelter.

First off, I can say excellent question and this is one step in the preparedness level of thought. If you are thinking of “worse case scenarios” like these, you are one step closer as well as being more prepared to survive.

My thought process is to semi-predict things that are going to happen BEFORE they happen, or at least prepare for them in regards to your particular scenario. For instance, I think of the most likely scenarios surrounding me in a 100 mile radius. I’ll list the possible threats in my area and how I tend to prepare for them.

1. Active Nuclear Reactor that is approx 60 miles from point a to point b to my retreat. (Radiation Fallout)
2. Military base with chemical weapons. Less than 40 miles (Chemical Attack)
3. High tornado prone area. (Tornado)
4. Local lake’s dam is 6 miles from my retreat. (Flood)
5. 60 miles West of me, the entire ground would be a sinkhole if there was a major Earthquake. (Earthquake)

This list is my first immediate “threats” to me and my family. I’ll tackle each one of them with “what will you do” scenarios.

1. Active Reactor: Since I’m 60 miles “upwind” from this reactor, I have been more active in reading what types of incidents have been happening to this facility. Local news in the area or anything that might pose as a threat (blasting, earthquake activity etc) are ways that you can keep on top of things. Also, a 14 day supply of anti radiation KI pills (Potassium Iodide) is whats in my bug out bag. Gas masks with up to date filters, and chem/bio suits as well have a place in my arsenal. Learning about HAM radios would be beneficial for me in the long run so that I could easily work any police/fire/emergency radio to keep up to date on the current situation if something happened. Keeping a handheld police/fire/emergency scanner on hand at all times should be another factor to consider.

2. Military base with chemical weapons: This has always been a concern of course. Some jack rabbit could accidentlly or purposely cause a leak in the facility. Again, chem/bio suits, gas masks, rubber chem gloves, plastic bags, and of course tons of duct tape. A emergency radio or shortwave radio with extra batteries should be part of my bug out bag. Some folks say that a regular gas mask from a surplus store ($11) would do the trick, but for my life, I think the $250 with “new, tested, and not expired filters” is worth my life. Of course I'll save for that one, but a $11 one is better than nothing right now.

3. Tornado prone area: First I’m making sure the trees that are surrounding my resort are not tall enough to fall onto my house. I have a designated area of my house that is in the middle of the structure and on ground level to provide a safe room in case a tornado is heading our way. In that structure, I need to make sure that nothing will fall on me in case parts of my house falls in. Also, I need to keep in that specific area a radio that can transmit as well as receive, some emergency water and 3 days of food, a flashlight and a small medical kit. Before something like this happens, get a NOAA approved weather band alert system and make sure that it has extra backup batteries in case the power goes out and make sure you program it to your local area. Most newer models already pick up your local area and put in the codes, but make sure. Leave it on at all times and regardless of what the weather looks like outside, listen to the reports. If you build a new house or retreat, make sure to focus your money on the structure of the house, and not so much the color or the tile patterns. Instead of 2×4?s, use 2×6?s, instead of vinyl siding, get a stronger mason/brick layer to support the walls.

4. Local lake’s dam is 6 miles from my retreat: Buy a boat or canoe. I’m not talking about a fish/ski boat, I’m talking about a regular dingy or inflatable one. If the area floods, you’ll have access to channel through the flooded area. If you are limited on space as well as money, then the inflatable one would do the trick. Make sure you keep this in a higher portion of your house if you live on two stories, or even the attic. If a flood happens, then you can gain access to the upper levels of your house. Also, keep fluorescent spray paint (about 4 cans) in your attic in case you have to write on your roof (HELP, SOS, X ) if you are stranded. Food as well as water (purification tablets or bottled water) in your attic would be helpful. Matches, Mylar emergency blankets can be place as well in the attic with your other survival gear. If you do get a dingy, make sure to have it in an area that you can tie it down with a extremely long rope in case the flood happens quick, it will still be in place and float. Be sure to have a weekly check to make sure that rain water is not accumulating in it as well. Or you can turn it upside down and tie out enough sealed 2 liter bottles or milk jugs that it will float during a flood. Be sure to test this out in a shallow pond/lake with the milk jug method BEFORE a real flood happens so you know how many will “float your boat”. Again, an emergency radio that is left on all the time is an asset to help prepare for this type of disaster.

5. 60 miles West of me, the entire ground would be a sinkhole if there was a major Earthquake: No prediction for this, but if it happens there are ways to prepare for it. I would make sure that anything that is on walls, mantels, on top of high places in your house are not so “top heavy” that will knock you in the head if an Earthquake happened. Get good, not cheap, mounting hangers to hang things like pictures and such. Keep enough food and water stored for three days. Some damns will burst if the earthquake is strong enough, so prepare for a flood as well (See reference #4). Major gas and water lines could possibly erupt, so know where your shut off valve are located and practice BEFORE this happens on turning them off, or have physical instructions wrote down next to the valve. Make any repairs now to masonry cracks, or plumbing fixtures. Install flexible hoses for your plumbing and gas instead of straight fixed tubes. As always, keep your emergency radio tuned in to listen to the latest activity.

Although its very unlikely but highly possible that any of these disasters could happen, you should always prepare to know how to handle them. From what I have heard, a lot of people do not like the way FEMA is handling things, but you should always take in as much information as provided from large groups of professionals (Not everyone is THAT bad!) and conclude with your own ideas, styles, methods, and judgement. Practice the scenarios and know where the family meeting place and safe area is located. Drill your family while sitting down at dinner time asking them questions of the “What if….” type. If they fail or don’t know, take them and show them instead of watching your football game. As always, use common sense and take the advice of a professional in anything that you do.

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Excellent post! I have been thinking about these things and it can be very overwhelming. I actually made a spreadsheet on different types of disasters that could occur in this area to help me determine what the priorities were to be prepared for.

An Air Force base is 20 miles west
Major chemical labs: one is 20 miles west and one is 40 miles north
We are in a medium to high risk earthquake zone.
We are at the far end of the ash fallout zone if Yellowstone blows.

One of my greatest fears is being at work when the SHTF. Even a small earthquake, will cause an enormous rock slide on my route home. There are not many ways to get here from there. My husband is disabled and cannot do much physically. So the best he can do is get his BOB and go.
I also just learned that there are numerous deep caverns that lay under the town I live in. Danger of sink holes.
It looks like most of my dangers include chemicals.That, I am not yet prepared for.
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