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Ask Slashdot: How Prepared Are You For a Major Emergency? 562

The northern US has been buried under snow several times this winter, and flooding has struck quite a few places in the southwest. Those pale, though, beside the recent disasters in Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan, and the seemingly inevitable arrival of a serious earthquake on the West Coast of the US. All of which has me thinking about my (meager) preparedness for a major disaster. Despite plans to stock up in case of a major storm or other emergency, right now I'd be down mostly to canned beans, sardines and Nutella. How prepared are you to do deal with a disaster affecting your region? Is your data safe? What about your family? Do you have escape, regrouping, or survival plans in the event of an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, industrial accident, or whatever hazards are most relevant where you live? It would be helpful if in comments you disclose your region and environment (urban? rural? exurbs?) and the emergencies you consider worth preparing for, as well as talking about any steps you've taken or plan to take.
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Ask Slashdot: How Prepared Are You For a Major Emergency?

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  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:34PM (#35542808)

    talking about data how safe are the data centers / cables that link them? How long does the on site fuel last? (with out refill?) even if they have refill plans that fuel may get pulled and sent to other places that need it and the data center may have no say in that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JimToo ( 1304315 )
      Even if the diesel is available the traffic snarls up bad. If the data centre is inside a region badly hit the officials will close the area to everyone for their "safety" even if the building is safe. Our IT support continued to work because it was in another city. The building in Chch our office was in had the MSB (a diesel was there too I think) in the basement, which flooded. No doubt that is where the rebuilt MSB (main switchboard) will go. And god, it takes so long for anything to progress.
  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:36PM (#35542830)

    Mod me troll. I don't care.

    I've got a M1 rifle, a 12 gauge pump and a Colt Python as personal weapons.

    That and a backpack full of gear I can live out of and a 4x4 that's already been up the Rubicon trail many times.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
      Yep. I've got a .30-06 and a 16guage SxS for hunting, and a 9mm Sig for personal protection. I think I'd do ok in an emergency situation.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        <sarcasm>Yeah guns are really important, just look at all the japanese right now, without their guns they are really screwed.
        I see them respectfully/calmly queing for food and water, it would be much easier if they were all just shooting each other.</sarcasm>

        dumb fucks... :-/

        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
          You don't have to queue up for food when you can go out and kill your own. I've seen deer, fox, rabbits, squirrels, and even a coyote or 2 around my house. Any of that roasted up sounds a lot better than whatever canned shit you'd get from relief workers.
          • Re:Are you armed? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:40PM (#35543306) Homepage

            Ever cleaned game? Wildlife around urban areas tend to be freaking nasty. Mangy, diseased, bony... Not a lot of deer around my city. Not a lot of wild boar either. So you may end up eating rats and bugs. Make sure that you don't puncture the rat intestine and spill rat feces all over that delectable rat meat when you're cleaning that rat. And rats, though they may grow to be large, are still rats and not much more meat than a single drumstick.

            Say all you want about a can of pork and beans or tuna, but I'd much rather eat that than a squirrel. And yes, I've eaten rabbit, deer, wild hog, and snake before... I've never eaten rat though.

          • Re:Are you armed? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:08PM (#35543514)

            In a situation where radiation is a factor, and could be concentrated by the food chain, queueing up sounds better and better. Let's assume you are a decent marksman and the disaster you are dealing with hasn't hit during really cold weather when everything lairs up as much as possible, and you know enough to spot Tularaemia in rabbits and so on. We'll also assume you have some non-meat food sources too and won't get a protein overdose related psychosis.Those assumptions mean you know more than many legendary mountain men, let alone many modern hunters.Do you really know radiation well enough to make the smart decisions there too?

      • Guns? Hunting?
        The US is a pretty large country. I'd just move to the opposite coast. If California was hit by a tsunami, I'd dump as much stuff in my trunk as possible, and move to the East. Or vice-versa. Or maybe the middle part where the farmers have tons of food, and lots of generosity.

        With such a large area, there's plenty of other places to move to, which are unaffected by the tragedy.

        • Re:Are you armed? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by penix1 ( 722987 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:25PM (#35543216) Homepage

          If you are waiting until the tragedy happens to be getting out of dodge, then you are a victim waiting to happen. Ever see a full scale evacuation of an urbanized area? Gridlock is an outcome of panicked people trying to leave an area. Good luck with that strategy.

          I work emergency management and can tell you from personal experience, the US will be rode hard and put away wet if a catastrophic incident happens today. We don't have the financial capabilities to deal with it and the "something for nothing" crowd we got for politicians these days will cut it even further.

          • To expand on this (and living in Christchurch through the earthquakes), it took my wife 6 hours to drive home from work on the 22nd Feb when the last one hit. It's usually a 40 min drive in rush hour traffic.

            Gridlock doesn't just happen if there is an evacuation. For the next several weeks going anywhere in the car took easily 3 times as long as expected simply because of the state of the roads and the increased need to travel to survive. Hell, it's been a month and we still don't have working sewers.

      • Re:Are you armed? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jpedlow ( 1154099 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:33PM (#35543272)
        Its sort of funny, really. When friends say "when the zombies come i'm coming to your place" or "when the earthquake comes, I'm coming to your place" etc etc...not just a few, but all of them. :\

        2 Lifted Trucks (well, one's an xj cherokee but it's mostly plate steel nowdays) - Check

        Generators, Gas pumps - Check

        Guns - Check (M1, M1A, AR15 (magpul bling and an acog), and an STI Edge in 40sw)

        But something i'm really most proud of is my server, If human society stopped existing, I've got a backup of books, wikipedia (text only), obligatory media backups etc etc on a 10tb array in a seismic rack [2tb wd blacks and a 3ware 9550 in raid 6 fyi]. And that's relieving to know, that if a guy like me has atleast SOME of humanity's knowledge on backup, there's bound to be hundreds more just like me if the worst DOES happen.

        Sorry, Rant off. TL;DR -- I just like being a little prepared, everything else are my hobbies anyway. 4x4'ing, camping and shooting.

        • by Fjandr ( 66656 )

          It's sad that there's so much hate on /.

          Since you have admitted to possessing firearms, a good percentage of the population has written you off as a dangerous kook who should be watched for signs of gearing up to snap and go on a homicidal rampage. It's like they can't believe a sane, well-adjusted person can actually pragmatically look at a firearm and decide there are many situations a private citizen could potentially find themselves in where such a tool would be useful or essential.

          What's really astound

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If I was surrounded by Americans I would want to be armed too.

      • If I were surrounded by N. Americans, S. Americans, Europeans, Asians, Australians or Africans I would definitely be armed. The Antarcticans are the only ones with a remotely peaceful history.

        History, learn it.

    • Re:Are you armed? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ynot_82 ( 1023749 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:48PM (#35542918)

      Bit of a silly response, don't you think?

      OP talks about preparing for a natural disaster
      What you going to do, shoot the water as it swirls round your feet

      • by JohnRoss1968 ( 574825 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:53PM (#35542956)

        Why not or are you some kind of save the water freak.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        Bit of a silly response, don't you think?

        OP talks about preparing for a natural disaster What you going to do, shoot the water as it swirls round your feet

        While people are lining up outside relief tents to get their MREs or Spam, we can be out hunting deer, turkey, dove, quail, etc. While you're eating rehydrated bread, we can be dining on some roast duck or deer tenderloin steak. You think during a flood you'll be able to drive down to the local McDonald's and order up a burger?

        • Re:Are you armed? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:18PM (#35543154) Journal

          How many ducks and deer do you think there *are*? If there was an actual disaster, the deer, duck, quail, and lizard populations would plummet as a teaming horde of well-armed people suddenly ravage the landscape.

          We moved to an agricultural society so that we wouldn't have to try to eke out our existence on the little tidbits provided by nature. Wanna prepare? Fine. But don't think for a minute that there will be lots of game waiting for your bullets.

          Guns are for self-defense.

          • Re:Are you armed? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:45PM (#35543348) Homepage

            obligatory xkcd [] that points out the basic problem: It works for 1 guy, it doesn't work for everybody.

          • Re:Are you armed? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Nikkos ( 544004 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:58PM (#35543448)
            There are millions actually, most states are experiencing overpop problems. Not to mention the domesticated animals (cows, chickens) roving around the countryside. And since their food supplies will be less affected than ours, the wildlife will likely be better off than the humans are.

            And there really wouldn't be a horde of people would there? On the scale of event you seem to be talking about, the city-dwellers likely wouldn't make it out of the concrete jungle, and they wouldn't know where to start in terms of hunting strategy, food prep and storage. The only people who think hunting is "easy" are people who haven't done it. Guns are tools used for more than just self-defense.
          • I'll Tell You (Score:4, Informative)

            by waldoj ( 8229 ) < minus author> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:05PM (#35543498) Homepage Journal

            How many ducks and deer do you think there *are*? If there was an actual disaster, the deer, duck, quail, and lizard populations would plummet as a teaming horde of well-armed people suddenly ravage the landscape.

            Cornell University Cooperative Extension []: "Today there are over 20 million deer in the United States and numbers are rising. [...] Densitites may exceed 40 deer per square mile in some rural areas, and over 100 deer/square mile have been documented near many eastern metropolitan areas. [...] As long as adequate food resources are available, deer populations can double in size every 2-3 years. Eventually some form of population management is needed to control herd growth and maintain deer numbers within the social carrying capacity."

            There are plenty of deer.

            • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:19PM (#35543608) Homepage Journal

              Thank god there have always been humans with guns around to control the deer population, or there'd be infinity deers by now.

            • Re:I'll Tell You (Score:4, Insightful)

              by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:26PM (#35543648) Homepage

              There are 300 million people in the US. How long do you think 20 million deer will feed them? Of course, short of an incredibly major disaster, all 300 million of them won't simultaneously be needing the deer, but by the same token not all 20 million deer are going to available to the subset who do. "Oh, but my area has a low population density!" Great, that just means that statistically you're even more likely to get competition. Most like a much larger percentage of your neighbors have guns and no how to hunt.

        • Bit of a silly response, don't you think?

          OP talks about preparing for a natural disaster What you going to do, shoot the water as it swirls round your feet

          While people are lining up outside relief tents to get their MREs or Spam, we can be out hunting deer, turkey, dove, quail, etc. While you're eating rehydrated bread, we can be dining on some roast duck or deer tenderloin steak. You think during a flood you'll be able to drive down to the local McDonald's and order up a burger?

          While you're out, could you gun down a 140-count box of Pampers for me, please? Size 4, but 5 will do in a pinch.You can have some peanut butter . . .

      • by Nikkos ( 544004 )
        Considering there was looting, rape, and murder in Haiti as well as numerous reports of looting and other issues in New Zealand, maybe it's not so silly.

        Sometimes it's not the disaster you have to prepare for, it's the aftermath.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The snowflakes are coming!!! SHOOT TO KILL!!!

    • Re:Are you armed? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:11PM (#35543110) Journal
      It's not troll, it's paranoid. What sort of disaster are you expecting wherein you would need those kinds of weapons? There aren't many realistic scenarios of that type.
    • by Zedrick ( 764028 )
      You forgot to say where you live, but if you need weapons I'm guessing you're in Somalia or some other 3rd world country filled with aggressive lunatics.
    • by dargaud ( 518470 )

      Mod me troll. I don't care.

      I've got a M1 rifle, a 12 gauge pump and a Colt Python as personal weapons.

      That and a backpack full of gear I can live out of and a 4x4 that's already been up the Rubicon trail many times.

      Pretty typical answer... Just talked with someone who was in Japan last week and in the US during a major storm couple years ago (Virginia I think, with long power outage and plenty of damage). She said the people behaved very differently, in the US everybody elbowing each others to get anything and everything from the stores as fast as possible. Very orderly in jp in comparison.

  • Squid! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrQuacker ( 1938262 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:37PM (#35542838)
    I just checked my cupboards to see what I have.

    There are about a dozen cans of squid, that I have no idea where they came from.

  • OK, so I'm living on the outskirts of an Eastern European city but I've still made some preparations:

    Backups of all data held off-site
    Fully charged laptop battery always available (I rotate them)
    Passport and all essential documents all kept in one safe place
    Working torch where I can find it
    Box of tinned food and 25 Liters of water in the basement along with a torch and tent
    Cellphone always kept charged and a spare SIM in case our local carrier goes titsup

    Five minutes warning of the big one and I can be out

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    The biggest problems we seem to run into where I live seem to be the occasional short power outage and the very occasional big blizzard. I've been thinking of putting a LP/Natural Gas backup generator in, they're reasonably priced and it'd be nice if we ever see another huge outage like we did a few years back. Other than that I try to keep a week or so worth of food in the house in the winter time in case we get snowed in. There's a grocery store within walking distance though, so I could always pop 'round
  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:41PM (#35542870)
    Got some food that will last a while. My house has a creek that runs behind it and plenty of wood, so we can start a fire and boil water. When the food we have runs out, I have a hunting rifle with almost a full box of ammo, a shotgun with plenty of bird shot, and a handgun(more of use against unwelcome bipedal creatures than for hunting), so I can kill plenty of critters for food. And this is suburban Atlanta. Really, in an emergency situation, I could care less about data and all that. My biggest concern is feeding and protecting my family. It's pointless to make sure your pictures and tax records survive an emergency if you don't.
    • Of course during a nuke event, you wouldn't want to be shooting at anything that's been eating from the surrounding areas. Those MREs and canned foods will probably do you more good then.
  • by swm ( 171547 ) * <> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:41PM (#35542872) Homepage

    Jump kits (Go bags)
    You put 'em by the door for when you have to rock'n'roll. []

    • by Nutria ( 679911 )
      • plastic "totes" (especially the rectangular stackable ones),
      • Canned food (Hungry Man soups are quite effective and tasty, but a bit salty),
      • cutlery/utensils,
      • gallon jugs of chlorine bleach,
      • 5 gallon carboys of water,
      • jerrycans of gasoline,
      • important papers/photographs/etc,
      • external backup of HDD.

      When Katrina was still in the southern Gulf, I knew that it was going to hit N.O., and so we started preparing. At the last practical minute we headed north.

      Gas stove and water heater are also darned useful if you

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Be wary of Backpack Fever []

      Much better to shelter in place and be prepared to live where you are. The notion of fleeing to the hills is common, but foolish.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:44PM (#35542886) Homepage Journal

    The best preparations are knowledge and experience.

    Learn to camp. Join the Boy Scouts or similar when growing up. Learn to fish. Learn to hunt. Go on hikes. Take a first aid course.

    Learn to be calm in the face of a completely unfamiliar situation.

    You can't really plan for an unexpected event, but you can train yourself to react rationally in unfamiliar circumstances. Having a tendency to improvise a solution will get you much further in an emergency than any preparation for a specific circumstance.

  • I do believe my cat would make a fine hat for warmth and I have plenty of nutritious (if fishy) wet and dry food available. Fortunately, just about the only thing I face would be a burly earthquake and hordes of dumbshit Seattleites panicking if the last 3-4 inches of snow we had is any indication.

  • Have someplace to go (Score:3, Interesting)

    by heptapod ( 243146 ) <> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:49PM (#35542924) Journal

    Bug out bags are nice but having a place to wait out a dangerous situation is ideal. BOBs aren't a panacea to surviving a disaster.
    Backpack Fever [] addresses this concern and encourages people to be realistic before grabbing their SKS and going innawoods.

  • I'm well prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

  • Some initial disclosure: My hobbies are hunting and mountaineering. Both of my parents are also retired Army.

    I have a pretty well prepared plan actually.

    We have two weeks of food and water which I check regularly, and being a hunter I have about 500 rounds of dry sealed hunting grade ammunition stored (locked) in the survival bag. I've also had several forms of bush survival classes and I'm extremely familiar with what is safe to eat and natural remedies for various issues. I also have several forms of lo

    • FYI you can make a decent air filter out of toilet paper rolls.

      You plug the center holes well then draw the air through them lengthwise, in series. Make a bellows out of boxes, duct tape and plastic sheeting.

      Always make sure you have plenty of duct tape on hand.

      Avoid fire fights with other reasonably prepared people. I'd hate to have to shoot you (or vice versa.) Manners will be important.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Nowhere in your diatribe did you mention helping anyone in need. You are one sick fuck.
  • Dominos (Score:5, Funny)

    by pspahn ( 1175617 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @01:53PM (#35542954)

    The only thing we probably have to seriously worry about, is the disaster after the disaster.

    If there is some cataclysmic quake/tsunami on the West Coast, I can imagine plenty of people showing up here shortly afterwards. We are not prepared to deal with a mass influx of Californians.

    I guess my survival pack would include:

    • "Native" bumper sticker
    • Fake signs pointing the way to the farmer's market.
    • Public transit pass.
    • Chainsaw (for firewood, of course)
    • A pair of those sunglasses that have lenses the size of grapefruits so I don't stick out.
  • I am in the fortunate position of owning my own house, and the unfortunate position of having a low income that may be interrupted.

    I have around 3 months stock of 'normal' food, partially in a very large freezer.
    I have maybe another 6 months of 'meh - pancakes again' type food.
    I do have a generator, but I've chosen to keep a surplus of 6 months electricity paid with my electricity supplier.

    Natural disasters are fortunately rare in Scotland.
    This year I'm insulating the house, from its largely uninsulated pri

  • Neil Strauss, the guy who wrote the book "The Game", also wrote a survival book of sorts for the modern age []. There's an outline in there somewhere that describes how you should be prepared to GTFO if your country is screwed (either politically or environmentally). You'll need a second passport, some wildlife skills and a way to run your business on auto-pilot for passive income. It's an interesting read, but not a manual for us geeks.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:03PM (#35543046) Journal
    I work in Manhattan. Realistically, if a major disaster (as opposed to a localized one like 9/11, or a major inconvenience like the various blackouts) hits while I'm there, I'm gonna die. Either immediately from the floodwaters, buildings falling down in the earthquake, overpressure/heat/gamma radiation from the nuclear blast, etc, or from delayed effects like fallout or a later collapse, or from starvation or disease or murder as the largely isolated island (assuming all tunnels impassible and all bridges destroyed) turns to cannibalism.
  • Let's see, I live here [] in a town in the middle of a forest, inland, supplied by industrial rail (for the mine and forest industry), road, and a small passenger/freight airport. The town is on a hill, so there's no risk for flooding - and the ferro-magnetic mountains and rivers surrounding the area tend to absorb most of the lightning strikes. Heavy snowing might be a risk, but there's a large fleet of snow-clearing vehicles that can be brought out at any time. There are no mining activities that could pose
  • My wife and I talked about emergency preparedness the other day. She wanted to buy a kit from Costco, and I pointed out that with a little creativity we already have a lot of what we need.

    Water: first off, our R.O. unit has a 2 gallon tank. Each of our toilets has 1.6 gallons in the tank. We have a propane BBQ and at least one tank of propane on hand so we could start boiling water the stored water runs out. If the muni water system isn't delivering anything at all, there's a creek nearby. And we have

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Being that I live in Canada, and we occasionally get weather here that knocks out power to a few hundred thousand people occasionally. For 2-3 months at a time, most of what you have won't let you survive as long as you think. Back during the last major ice storm up northern ontario/quebec way there were parts of both provinces without hydro(which means no water among other stuff), for nearly 4 months. No real way to get around, military drop offs, etc. Which means that we were lucky.

      A ceramic style wat

  • Blatant karma whoring here...

    Make a Family Disaster Plan, from the National Severe Storms Laboratory: []

    Note: plans described by this site cannot help you mediate disasters in your professional and personal lives.

  • No (Score:5, Informative)

    by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:12PM (#35543116) Homepage Journal

    I am not prepared.

  • Moderately Prepared (Score:5, Interesting)

    by waldoj ( 8229 ) < minus author> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:23PM (#35543198) Homepage Journal

    My wife and I like to stay fairly well prepared.

    First, our home. We live in a very rural area, on the side of a treed mountain. We built our home last year, and it's passive solar, sited to take maximum advantage of the sun, built very tightly (LEED gold-ish, but we didn't bother to get certified). We maintain the forest, have large piles of wood in rotation being seasoned, and keep a large stockpile of planked wood on hand (milled from the trees on our land). Our neighbors have cows, goats, and sheep, from which they produce milk and meat—handy to have When The Shit Comes Down®. (I use that phrase facetiously—it's a generic term that my wife and I use to refer to anything that may or may not happen in our lifetimes that would disrupt supply chains, limit movement, or otherwise require short or long-term independence.) We paid a few thousand bucks to have an enormous propane tank buried next to our house, in which we maintain a two-year supply of propane. Soon enough we'll have a propane generator, a few solar panels, and a small windmill, which should allow us to maintain ~1.5 kWh of power during about half of the day, but make it possible to peak to 5 kWh when demand requires (until the propane runs out, and then we top out at 1.5 kWh).

    Second, food and water. We always keep about ten pounds of oats, twenty pounds of flour, ten pounds of sugar, ten pounds of rice, and ten pounds of dried beans on hand. We always have 20 gallons of fresh drinking water stored, 55 gallons of rainwater, and we maintain a spring. Also, we have a stream. We have a small flock of chickens, a horse, and we're about to get ducks. Six months out of the year we have what's either a large garden or a small farm, and we put up a lot of food in the fall. Not enough to get us through a winter, but we do alright, and feel confident that we could ramp up production significantly, if need be. We save our seed, so the notion of increasing the size of our garden by tenfold with four months of lead time (seasonally depending, of course) isn't totally unreasonable.

    Third, medical. We've got potassium iodide on hand (there's a nuclear power plant ~35 miles from us), a dose of Tamiflu for each of us, two very complete medical kits, moderate training in first aid (with more coming soon—see below), and we generally maintain a three-month supply of our medications.

    Fourth, general supplies. We have an oil lamp (and, of course, lamp oil), a bunch of candles, several fire extinguishers, a NOAA radio, a hand-cranked AM/FM/shortwave radio, matches, lighters, a flotilla of batteries of all sorts, headlamps, and flashlights. We keep a couple of canisters of propane on hand (rotated through annually, thanks to grilling season) and have a propane heater that can heat our entire house for a couple of days with one of those plugged in.

    Fifth, evacuation preparedness. We keep a 72-hour pack by the front door, ready to go, with a couple of hundred bucks in cash, a few days food, tinned water, flashlights, blankets, tarps, matches, fire starters, and so on. We've got sleeping bags and internal frame packs on hand for each of us. The idea is to make sure that if sheltering in place isn't safe, that we can leave without delay.

    Finally, a flotilla of books (not all of which we've read, I admit) on wilderness medicine. This Tuesday we're starting an eight-week Community Emergency Response Team training course (held just once a week). This is available in most areas—google around to see if you can take it in your area. That's where you can learn to be helpful in an emergency, rather than somebody who needs help—learn to use a chainsaw, direct traffic, suture a wound, lead a panicked group of people to safety, etc. Recommended highly.

    I've come to relish when we lose power in good weather. It's a chance to test out our plans. There are a lot of basic aspects to preparedness that would just never cross your mind until you actually need to carry out that plan. You know how, without power, you keep flipping light switches every time you walk into a room, or thinking "well, I'll just google that...*DOH*"? The same applies to all kinds of things, like having candles...but no matches. :)

  • by Dartz-IRL ( 1640117 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @02:52PM (#35543400)

    I live in Ireland. We don't have major national emergencies. Just irritations.

    Barring a meteorite, nothing bad will ever happen here. Nothing bad ever happens here. No hurricanes. No earthquakes. No volcanoes. No tornadoes. No wars. No terrorism(not anymore anyway). Small floods that only annoy at worst. Most peaceful and safe country on the planet. So why prepare for an emergency that isn't going to happen?

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:19PM (#35543606) Homepage Journal

    When the world is melting down around you that should be the least of your concerns. Food, water, shelter, etc is a bit more important.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:29PM (#35543672)

    When in danger,
    or in doubt,
    run in circles,
    scream and shout.

    -- Xavier Onassis, Director of Emergency Preparedness

  • Rural Canada (Score:4, Informative)

    by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @03:38PM (#35543734)

    I've found the best emergency preparedness is being on good terms with the neighbors. If you know everyone within an hour's walking distance you tend to benefit from a larger skill set than what you have on your own. One guy's a hunter/trapper, I have access to a pile of radio equipment, the nice old lady about a mile down is a hardcore homesteader (I think she only buys milk), so we're all set up to help each other out.

  • Here is my list (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @04:30PM (#35544046)

    40 cu ft Pantry full of food
    5 gal jug filled with dried beans
    5 gal jug filled with rice
    8000 sqft backyard garden (mostly root crops this time of year)
    5 x 5 gal jug filled with drinking water
    half a cord of Firewood + ax and bow saw for collecting more
    Several sacks of charcoal
    Spare tank of propane
    Box of candles
    Large first aid kit
    Iodine tablets
    Fire extinguisher
    Deep cycle battery + trickle charger + inverter
    Large toolbox full of tools
    Rechargable flashlights in every bathroom
    A fireproof safe, bolted to a concrete floor, containing:
    Original copies of important documents
    Several USB drives with backups
    Cash, other valuables
    AR-15 assault rifle + 500 rounds of ammo + cleaning kit

    cellphone (the lcd screen can be used as a flashlight)
    fine tip sharpie pen
    on keychain:
    4GB USB thumb drive
    mini leatherman (scissors, knife, tweezers, screwdriver)
    screw top tube containing:
    needle+thread, safety pins, waterproof matches,
    asprin, antibiotic pills

    trunk of car:
    Jumper cables
    First aid kit
    Breakfast bars
    plastic bags
    duct tape
    epoxy glue
    needles / thread
    parachute cord
    $200 in twenty dollar bills

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.