Today, I'd like to talk about the one emergency everyone knows is coming. No one knows the day. All know, when it does, it will not be good for possibly tens of millions who did not prepare.
"The big one" looms, whether you live in or travel to California or the Pacific Northwest. (Or, if you live around the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the Midwest. 1811-1812 were not good years. Or in 1884 with the Ramapo Seismic Zone in Brooklyn and the Northeast.) How will many survive?
The map below shows that the threat and danger are widespread:
It Was "The BIG One"
They died years ago, but on this day they were very much alive-- preserved on old film footage. The infamous cable car ride of 1906 in San Francisco-- four days before the big earthquake and fires that killed 3,000 and left 400,000 homeless is eerie and mesmerizing all at once.
Some folks try to pretend it won't happen, but not you. You realize chances are good that we'll see the big one soon. Are you prepared? If not, you will find tips below from those that have lived through an earthquake crisis
One wonders, "What became of that fellow in the buggy or that lady crossing the street or that child running with a newspaper? These folks had no idea what would soon change their lives. Those who did survive faced months of hardship and rebuilding. Approximately 25,000 buildings were destroyed and nearly 80% of the city was leveled. Survivors slept in tents, stood in long lines for any food they could find and cooked on streets to avoid starting new building fires.
Water lines were broken. One earthquake survivor said, "I stood right there at the hydrant when the fireman coupled the hose and immediately he uncoupled it and threw the hose back upon the cart and said there's no water."
The night before the 1906 quake, survivor Bill Bon Barton said he, "Kissed my mother good night and she said, 'Be sure you say your prayers before you go to bed.' Little did I know, at that moment, that I would never see my family again."
America Was Watching a Ballgame
In 1989, millions of us watched live pre-game coverage of the World Series. Suddenly, cameras flipped off. After commentators recovered from the initial shaking, the evening news shifted from the big game to the shocking destruction of the Loma Prieta earthquake in and around San Francisco Bay. People scrambled to take an accounting of damage.
One-by-one, a new generation of preppers was born.
Pastor Bob, a You Tuber, described his wake-up call. "I remember looking at that-- and that was the biggest earthquake to hit San Francisco since 1907...and you know what, if that earthquake would have been any bigger, enough to where maybe an overpass or two collapsed, you couldn't get out."
The reality of being trapped in an area with limited supplies suddenly seemed plausible. Pastor Bob thought, "You can be anywhere and something happens and you have to walk home!" Because of the quake, Pastor Bob put together a walkout kit in his truck so that if he were trapped, he'd be able to survive long enough to get home.
SHTF Urban Survival; Caught Away From Home
Pastor Bob's walkout kit includes items that are small enough to carry:
- a few bottles of water (a personal water filter would be better)
- 4-5 portable kits of food
- a good pair of hiking boots
- rain gear
- a roll of painter's plastic for shelter
- a flashlight with extra batteries
- a pump pellet gun to hunt game
- a lighter, fishing line, lures, and hooks
- a multi-purpose tool
- a small sleeping bag
- and a backpack
That Brings Us to 2017 - CA, OR & WA Concerns
Today, a quake has greater potential to affect tens of millions of people in the West. Scientists are concerned that long overdue earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault line or the Cascadia subduction zone could be catastrophic-even with advancements in construction. (And let's not forget about the New Madrid seismic zone in the Midwest and the Ramapo seismic zone in Brooklyn in the Northeast.) It's the crumbling infrastructure that has officials worried. Can aging pipelines and electrical grids withstand long and hard quakes and then after-shocks?
Jeanne Johnson, a Long Beach Peninsula resident, took prepping into her own hands. She sought out Survival Capsule LLC to construct a tsunami survival pod, which she stores in her garage. She figured she probably wouldn't have time to run for the hills if waves of earthquakes triggered tsunamis.
Johnson acknowledges that with the capsule being stored in her garage, "People tell her, 'Oh great, you're under a debris pile.'" But she insists she'll still be alive. "That's a good problem to have." Hopefully, Johnson makes room for food, supplies, and water purification in her capsule, too.
Tips From One of the Last "Big Ones"
We recommend learning from the villagers of Langi, who live off the coast of Sumatra. As soon as the earth shakes for more than a few seconds, children and elderly are gathered and transported to higher ground where evacuation zones exist with food, water, and supplies.
Before a disaster occurs, begin stocking your own storage shelter in higher elevations close to home. Store at least one months' worth of supplies including the following items:
- Medications, prescription list, copies of medical cards, doctors' names and contact information
- Medical consent forms for dependents and copies of personal identification
- First aid kit and handbook
- Non-latex gloves, dust masks
- Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses and cleaning solution
- Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location)
- Sturdy shoes, change of clothes, blanket
- Emergency cash (ATMs require power and might not work)
- Local roadmaps
- List of emergency out-of-area contact phone numbers
- Bottled water or a personal water filter (minimum one gallon a day for each person and pet)
- Dry emergency survival foods
- Flashlight with extra batteries or solar charging
- Toiletries and personal care supplies
- Extra keys for the car, home, office, safe deposit box etc.
- Wrenches or other special tools to turn off gas and water supplies
- Work gloves and protective goggles
- Heavy-duty plastic bags for waste, and to serve as tarps, rain ponchos, etc.
- Duct tape
- Portable or hand-cranked radio with extra batteries
- Charcoal or propane for outdoor cooking and matches if needed
- Cooking utensils and a manual can opener
- Pet food, pet carrier, and restraints
- Comfortable, warm clothing including extra socks
- Detergent and a clothesline
- Blankets and/or sleeping bags, and perhaps a tent
- Copies of vital documents (deeds, insurance, bank accounts etc.)
- Tire repair kit, booster/jumper cables, pump and flares, white distress flag or silver space blanket
- Seasonal supplies: winter (blanket, hat, mittens, shovel, sand, chains, windshield scraper); summer (sunscreen and hat)
We're long overdue in parts of California, Oregon, and Washington for a major quake. And the Midwest and Northeast too.
Besides having bunkers or storage sheds of supplies at higher elevations, prepare a small, to-go bag of items from the above list-- in case you can't reach your stash of long-term supplies. Keep the essentials in a waterproof go bag that's light and can be strapped to your back. A 72-hour emergency food kit will sustain you, too. If you haven't checked your survival kit in a few years, take a moment this weekend to review what you have and replace old items. If you haven't created one, there's no better day than today.
You never know when the next earthquake can strike, folks. The aftermath will not be pretty. Be prepared!
Keith Bansemer, Preparedness Advisor