Dr Bobs Disaster Preparedness Guide

Emergency Preparedness "ready to go" kit

Emergency Preparedness “ready to go” kit

Do I really need to worry about natural disaster preparedness? Won’t the government come to my rescue? Isn’t FEMA tasked with taking care of us during disasters. Is it really likely that anything will happen where I’m at? All are good questions, and all deserve good answers.

Being prepared isn’t about wishful thinking, its not about having a few camping supplies somewhere in the long term storage closet, its not about sitting around waiting for someone else to help you.

This is a live document, is updated regularly so check back often, I’m open to constructive feedback. It used to be one short page originally but it grew to be so big that the blogging software could not handle it any more so I’m now in he process if breaking it up into multiple pages, by topic so be sure to check out all the pages in this category so you can be as well prepared as possible.

By definition, a disaster is an unplanned event for which your normal life, the status quo, has been disrupted, your survival is challenged and the government cannot come to your rescue with a simple call to 911. It could be a simple storm, tornado, blizzard, earthquake, heat wave, wind storm, flood, etc. There could even be a socio-economic collapse, where the government itself is experiencing the disaster.

According to the EM-DAT, the total natural disasters reported each year has been steadily increasing in recent decades, from 78 in 1970 to 348 in 2004.

Scientists: Natural Disasters Becoming More Common

EM-DAT Database The International Database

Regardless of the reason, your survival is threatened and no one can come to your immediate aide. This happens all over the world on a daily basis. It could be a small disaster, such as a car accident on a lonely backwoods road during a blizzard that has stranded all who could help you, because there is no guarantee that you will survive the night in sub-freezing temperatures, you must be prepared to fend for yourself until help arrives or you can get yourself back to society.

Global Natural Disaster Deaths, 1990-2004


(SOURCE: “EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database)


YearDroughtEarthquakeHeatFloodSlidesVolcanoWave/SurgeWild FiresWind StormTotal


Sometimes its a big event that affects many people, such as a major earthquake or a hurricane that attempts to annihilate several coastal states. It doesn’t matter the reason, every person in this country is at risk form something, known or unknown. Events happens and we are responsible for our personal survival in those situations.

James Hubbard, MD, MPH (20 Sept 2013)1 My heart goes out to all affected in the recent flooding here in Colorado. Maybe one of the very few good things that comes out of a disaster like this is all of us are reminded of the constant, real threat of disasters. (Few saw this coming. Not here. Not now. Not at this severity.) Because of all the modes of media we have these days to vicariously experience such disasters real-time, we learn from others’ unfortunate experiences how to go forward with a better plan for the future. Here are a few takeaway lessons. 1. Prepare for the unexpected.

2. Take flash flood warnings seriously.

3. Floodwater is polluted.

4. Always be prepared for an unexpected quick getaway.

5. Have your stored drinking water, nonperishable food, medical supplies, and essential medications in place at all times.

The good news is that you can prepare, you can have a plan and you can survive. Every human has a build in survival imperative, its built into our DNA, however in our modern, complex, society we have become far too accustomed to having others rush to our aide with a simple phone call. We lose sight that ultimately, its up to each of us as an individual to prepare as best we can to ensure our continued survival.

Once we have ensured that we have survived, then we can look around, help those physically closest to us, then as a group we can go find and help each group member’s family.

Priority of Response in an Emergency

  • Am I safe, where I stand (i.e is the roof about to cave in or is the building on fire), if no then evacuate and take whomever you can with you. Dial 911 if government services are needed.
  • If you evacuate then meet at the evacuation location that yo practiced with your family.
  • Check myself, if major medical help is needed dial 911. (Seriously look at yourself, you might be surprised how often people get wounded and when the adrenaline is pumping you won’t notice pain until later, but it might be too late by then.
  • Check those around me. Do they need major medical help? If yes, then dial 911.
  • Start first aid for all who need it.
  • If you belong to a neighborhood CERT TEAM follow your own rules and contact them, let them know that you are applying first aid to family members. If they are able to send someone over to help, the maybe they will, but don’t depend on it.
  • Call your out of area designated emergency contact person and give them your status. Tell them to notify your family and friends according to your prearranged instructions. They will be your central contact point for he duration of the emergency so that your phone is not tied up answer calls.
  • Check with local authorities to see if large scale evacuations are being conducted for your area. If so then load your emergency supplies into your car (in addition to what your car already has pre-loaded in it. Check your fuel level and siphon fuel from your other cars if you are low and can’t get gas at the local station. Call your out of area contact, tell them where you are attempting to get to and when you expect to get there (its possible the roads are clogged but its still good for others to know your travel plans). Do a head count and double check that you have everyone, shut off your house services and leave. Don’t dawdle, if its a storm or earthquake that is threatening you, move quickly.
  • Keep everyone calm, remind the that you have practiced for this so its an expected event. Keep and eye on everyone and be aware of stress or depression. Keep kids entertained.

Who are these groups? Its made up of everyone and anyone around you. Humans work best when we help and support each other. That is when we really shine and what sets us apart.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Its time to go back to the beginning, my beginning, so this story makes sense.

Approximately twenty five years ago, I searched the early Internet for disaster preparedness tips and finding none, I learned HTML and hand wrote my own page. Each year I’d add a bit more information as I learned more about the subject. The one turning point in my life, from being unprepared to being prepared, was being trapped in a burning in New York in 1965.

I was nine years old at the time and the first floor was engulfed in flames, lit by candle that my best friend’s parents had put a little too close to the curtains and accidentally flambéed their apartment. all the adults in the building were in a frenzied panic, running around, screaming but not knowing what to do. It was time to take action, my only thought was to save all these scared people.

Running to the first fire escape, I opened the door and was blasted in he face by a thick, acrid, unbreathable cloud of hellfire smoke. The second stairway was just as bad and nearly knocked me out. Now I understood why the adults were in a panic.

Knowing that panic was more dangerous than the fire (I don’t know how I knew that, but I did) I corralled everyone into my family’s apartment and closed the door. Our apartment faced the back of the building and when I opened the windows we could all breathe and the adults calmed down.

I wish my father was there to hep us but he has been activated by the National Guard the night before and was out on the street quelling street rioters, that had taken to breaking many store windows with rocks and bricks. This was during the infamous blackout in New York City that knocked out power to the NorthEast. The status quo was disturbed and it caused weaker members of our society to panic.

It was an unsettling experience, one I knew we were lucky to survive. At that time, no one had any emergency supplies, no rope ladders to escape with, no water to create makeshift filters and certainly no flashlights or gas masks that could get us through either of the two smoke filled concrete fire escape stairwells.

My preparations began once the fire department had knocked down the horrifyingly blazing inferno, starting with a portable ten transistor radio (they were still rare at the time) and a old carbon battery flashlight that my father had gotten for me.

According to the Red Cross, 51% of Americans have experienced a disaster but only 12% are reasonably prepared to survive disasters.

I’ve stayed prepared ever since, responding to the needs of others in distress, learning survival skills in the field with the Boy Scouts (don’t knock it until you’ve done it for years), becoming a ham radio operator, teaching the  CERT course and generally being an asset to society.

Before we begin with the details of preparedness, its important to focus on mindset. Mindset can make the difference between being comfortable and uncomfortable, between being alive or being dead. Its possible the single most important thing to train yourself upon.

My mindset, or mantra, is “Be Prepared“, which I learned in the Boy Scouts.

Next is perspective. You can live a minute without good air, four days without water (without permanent damage), over twenty days without food. Your dependency on prescription medication can range from simply making you more comfortable to being life threatening, at its extreme. Keep all of this in mind when prioritizing your assumptions and your responses to emergency situations.

If a disaster strikes:

  • Raise your situational awareness
  • Is it safe to stay or do I need to Bug-Out immediately?
  • Is there time to grab the Bug-Out Bag (BOB) or do I need to evacuate quickly as I stand. (Is the building on fire? Toxic fumes?)
  • If you do not need to evacuate immediately, then do a headcount
  • Is everyone accounted for?

Most disaster preparedness and “Bug Out” concepts have been around for centuries. This is not a new topic and is a topic of great debate amongst many people. Here I have added the ideas I have learned from others and added them to my own experience. I was involved in my first serious disaster in 1967 and have maintained awareness ever since then.


  • Disaster: An emergency situation that the government cannot send you help in a timely manner (police, firemen, ambulance). Can be due to severe weather, blizzards, ice storms, earthquakes, hurricane, tsunami, tornado, mudslide, flood, etc. Could be due to war, government collapse, or maybe an accident at a nearby industrial plant that releases toxic chemicals or vapors. There can be any number of reasons but the bottom line is that your normal lifestyle is disturbed and there are no societal resources to help you.
  • Disaster Preparedness: Planning and organizing skills and supplies to help your family survive disasters.
  • Prepper, Doomsday Prepper & Survivalist: Wikipedia – Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreat or an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe. … In popular culture, survivalism has been associated with paramilitary activities. Some survivalists do take active defensive preparations that have military roots and that involve firearms, and this aspect is sometimes emphasized by the mass media.

In iOS 8, Apple introduced their new Health app, the most important feature for us here is Medical ID which is where we can put our emergency medical detained (allergies, special needs, etc.) as well as our preferred medical emergency contact. Emergency room staff are now trained to look for this information in your iPhone and can prove to be a real lifesaver. Its easy to enter your information so please take a minute right now to fill out your crucial information.  Medical ID: How to create in iOS 8

In this guide I am not addressing peppers or survivalists but rather am focusing on practical disaster preparedness for families. Disasters occur often and preparing to survive them is simply logical. I am not preaching the end of society as we know it, but rather and simply saying that we know that the government cannot provide us needed support during unusual occurrences and we need to be able to take care of ourselves until a new norm is established. Recent events with hurricanes such as Hurricane KatrinaHurricane Sandy and Hurricane Ike have demonstrated that the government cannot magically swoop in and save everyone instantly. It just did not happen.

Hurricanes – Learn How To Protect Yourself. emergency.cdc.gov

My goal is to have a place where information for people of all experience levels can have a place to start, and a place to refresh or update their already existing advanced skill set. The information here cannot be customized to make sense to any one person, because we all think differently, so I suggest that you scan through it all and you’ll know when you find gaps in your preparations.

Deck the Halls, Don’t Burn Them by FEMA

Holiday decorations can add to the fun and excitement of the season but they can also increase your risk for a home fire. Follow basic safety guidelines to prevent serious electrical and fire hazards during the festivities. As you deck the halls of your home this season, be fire smart:

  • Keep your tree at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles or heat vents;
  • Do not let your tree (artificial or live) block exits;
  • Check light sets for frayed or damaged wiring before using;
  • Always turn off holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed; and
  • Connect no more than three mini light sets for decorating.
  • If you have a live tree, remember to add water to the tree stand daily.

small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly. Watch this video by the National Fire Protection Association demonstrating how fast a dry Christmas tree burns compared to one that is watered regularly. Don’t let disaster ruin your holiday! Learn the facts about home holiday fires in support of the America’s PrepareAthon! campaign to increase disaster preparedness in your community.

Burning comparison between an unwatered Christmas tree versus a watered tree

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Plan, plan, plan

Its important to have a family plan. What will you do for each scenario. Its not possible to come up with perfect plans, and its impossible to envision every possible disaster scenario. No one could remember all that anyway, even if you could figure it all out. The point is to have some things in place at home, in your cars, at work and school, and have each family member know the plan, and the rendezvous points for each. Its actually a lot simpler than it sounds.

Expecting the unexpected

Unexpected disasters can happen anywhere at any time. I live in California and nearly missed the tornado that hit us a few years ago. It was the only tornado to have ever been known to strike here. Also look at earthquakes in New York City. I am originally from New York City and had the mindset that earthquakes could never strike the city, but they do. There was even one that was string enough to be felt. How long will it be before an earthquake knocks down a skyscraper and traps people inside for the duration? We don’t know and hopefully it will never happen but wouldn’t it be prudent to be prepared, just to be sure? Of course it would, its the only prudent thing to do.

There are many discussions about having a tiered plan, where you carry a few essentials with you at all times, in case you have to immediately evacuate, then the next tier would be a BOB (Bug-out) bag or a GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag and even an INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) gab -Yikes!) typically a backpack with three days essentials in it. Next would be a survival kit that would afford several days to weeks of survival and some folks even have plans for a year’s worth of food and shelter, typically at home.

I can’t tell you which is best for you, its up to you to determine your needs. What I have documented here is essentially an organization of the notes I’ve taken over the past 30 years for my own disaster preparedness. There is plenty more information out there, as well as much more mis-information, so I hope that I got you of to a god start.

Some subjects I did not touch at all because they are far more controversial and difficult to implement than its proponents would have you believe, you may leave comments if you wish to discuss those. I am a former CERT instructor and emergency responder (first responder), my hope is that you and your family will attend a CERT course (they are free and available from local fire departments), it really will make you feel better and give you the confidence that you really can survive well and take care of your family during a disaster. Preparation makes a positive outcome far more likely.

I did not build up my disaster preparedness supplies overnight, and I don’t expect you to do it overnight. Just get your mindset in place, pick up the first few must have items, then build up every month. Smart shoppers will keep their eyes open for coupon sales and buy in bulk (where appropriate).

The primary asset that people talk about is a Bug Out Bag (a BOB is a backpack that is pre-packed with enough supplies to keep you alive for a few days until you reach a safe destination, its a great idea but not all that is need to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances)), but there is so much more to take into account. A bug out bag is not a long term survival tool, its intended for short term support while you head to a safe place, to rendezvous with family/friends, get to a public shelter or simply evacuate a dangerous area.

Be sure to prepare according to your local weather needs, at both temperature extremes. Plan and Check Make family preparedness plans. Home evacuation plans, rendezvous locations, and practice regularly. Check your emergencies at minimum every year (every month would be better) so you can rotate out expired medicines and food and you can restock on any band-aids and anything else that was borrowed and never replenished.

Training Trumps Gear

If you practice and learn skills that can be applied in a disaster situation, you are more likely to survive than just having a bunch of gear.

First step is to contact your local fire department where you live or where you work and take a CERT class. They are free, interesting and will quickly raise your awareness of how you can easily take care of yourself and your family in an emergency situation.

An excellent place to get training is at Prepper Academy, Erich has done a fantastic job in creating videos that are short, super easy to understand and has all the relevant information you need. Please check him out at: PrepperAcademy.com

Rendezvous Points

Have a well known place to meet, just outside your house so you can do a head count and make sure that all of your home’s occupants have been accounted for. Fire in homes is the most common emergency situation the average person encounters, its not zombies or collapse in the government, its fires.

According to the CDC, Fire stats in the U.S. alone are frightening.

Occurrence and Consequences

  • On average in the United States in 2010, someone died in a fire every 169 minutes, and someone was injured every 30 minutes (Karter 2011).
  • About 85% of all U.S. fire deaths in 2009 occurred in homes (Karter 2011).
  • In 2010, fire departments responded to 384,000 home fires in the United States, which claimed the lives of 2,640 people (not including firefighters) and injured another 13,350, not including firefighters (Karter 2011).
  • Most victims of fires die from smoke or toxic gases and not from burns (Hall 2001).
  • Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths (Ahrens 2011).
  • Cooking is the primary cause of residential fires (Ahrens 2011).

Groups at Risk

Groups at increased risk of fire-related injuries and deaths include:

  • Children 4 and under (CDC 2010; Flynn 2010);
  • Older Adults ages 65 and older (CDC 2010; Flynn 2010);
  • African Americans and Native Americans (CDC 2010; Flynn 2010);
  • The poorest Americans (Istre 2001; Flynn 2010);
  • Persons living in rural areas (Ahrens 2003; Flynn 2010);
  • Persons living in manufactured homes or substandard housing (Runyan 1992; Parker 1993).

Risk Factors

  • Over one-third (37%) home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms (Ahrens 2011).
  • Most residential fires occur during the winter months (CDC 1998; Flynn 2010).
  • Alcohol use contributes to an estimated 40% of residential fire deaths (Smith 1999).

Other than car accidents, I don’t know of any other emergency situation or disaster that occurs so often right here in our own country. One person dies of a fire every 169 minutes and 85% of those souls lost to fire did not have a smoke detector in their home, smoke and toxic fumes are the leading killer, smoking is the leading cause of death in fire related incidents and cooking starts more fires than any other factor.

Obviously we all are subject to the leading risk and it can strike anywhere at any time. I’ve personally experienced neighbors accidentally light their homes on fire, more than once, which sent flames in my direction. These incidents reminded me that I needed more than a flashlight by the bed to be ready for an evacuation. It was time to build a Bug Out Bag (BOB).

Before I built my BOB the very first thing I did was to set up a pair of jeans near my bed, with everything in its pockets so in case there is a nighttime emergency I can just grab my jeans and have my house keys, car keys, wallet, money, flashlight, pocket knife, mini CPR mask and a few other critical items. I can choose to take a few seconds to put my jeans on or if its a dire emergency, I can just grab the jeans as I’m running out the door. With the jeans, there is a shirt always hanging on my valet so I can even grab it, if I choose to.

By the front door I have a pair of slip on shoes and a pair of clean socks. I can choose to just run outside or grab them as I’m evacuating or if I have a moment I can choose to put them on before I exit.

Then I realized that if there was broken glass by the bed from the large glass sliding door that might get damaged during an earthquake, so I put a pair of sturdy Chinese slipper (shoes) (not the cheap ones they sell in the tourist shops) between my mattress and box spring. Essentially anything with a sturdy sole that allows you to walk on sharp, broken glass will work. It should be something that can flatten out so they can easily fit between the box spring and mattress.

Tip: Put a fire extinguisher in your kitchen today. Each fire extinguisher comes with a rating on the label, get one that is rated 2A:10BC as a minimum starting point, with a metal a head (plastic head fire extinguishers are cheap and not not rechargeable) and please recharge your fire extinguisher at recommended intervals (this is an inspection procedure that ensures that the extinguisher is still actually working). If there is a pressure gauge on it, look at it regularly and make sure that its not in the red zone, if it is then take it in to be recharged. In our home we have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and by each side of the bed, as well as having one in each car. My wife has already put out two car fires by herself. Its important, do it today. If you are worried that you do not know how or when to use a fire extinguisher the take a CERT course right away. In conjunction with having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, a fire extinguisher and working flashlight can be a life saver.

If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency. emergency.cdc.gov

What Is Right For You?

Every person is an individual, unique, they have specific needs and their family’s need is particular to them. There is no way that one plan can suit everyone, that just is human nature. Thee is no way that one source of information can cover all the needs of all the people, that is just impractical and would require us to have superhuman psychic powers.

Keep in mind that this type of preparedness is similar to being prepared for a camping trip or a mountaineering expedition because you have to pack for your survival, but in many ways there are a lot more details to think about. Camping trips and mountaineering expeditions have a known end and then you go back to your fully stocked home. In a disaster that is not an option, so we must think about more things, in addition to what we would consider in a camp out.

Be reasonable, use the information you find on the internet as a starting point, validate ad verify the appropriateness of each piece of information then seek out sources that can fill in the gaps for you.

Life changes, people change and your preparedness needs change, even if you don’t notice it. Review your plan with your family at least once a year and then make sure that they are up to date on any changes and improvements that you have implemented.

Practice makes perfect. Practice bugging out. Practice meeting at your rendezvous points, practice eating emergency supplies, and practice walking. Skills trumps gear every time and you can’t keep your skills if you don’t practice them. Refresh your First Aid and CPR training every year as well as any other skills specific to your family.

All the items and concepts below are additive, once I mention an item I might not repeat it just so this list does not get any longer than it already is. Think it through.

Before you start thinking about equipment, go put a flashlight and pair of thick soled shoes between the mattress and box spring of your bed where you can reach them easily. We learned through our earthquake experiences that if there is a power failure or an earthquake that sprays broken glass onto the floor, that nothing gives you more comfort than being able to walk safely and see where you are going. That is the first step in preparedness.

The second step is to put a pair of heavy soled shoes (or preferably boots), into your car’s trunk. If you are wearing dress shoes or heels, you will want to change immediately in case of road damage due to earthquake, blizzard, storm tornado, flood, etc.

Tip: If you are not an avid hiker then putting a new pair of boots into an emergency preparedness kit or Bug Out Bag, you must be aware of a potential problem. New boots are stiff and require a gradual break-in process or you could get blisters. I still suggest having a set of boots on standby because you really don’t know what damage to the terrain, or damaged building or simply broken window glass you will have to deal with. In the seventies my father was issued a new pair of combat boots by the U.S. Army (due to some weird administrative decision) and were told to discard their old pair (same weird administrator) but he could not bring himself to throw them in the trash. Instead he gave me his old, well worn boots, we fortunately wore the same exact size, and I was ecstatic that I had a decent pair of boots to face the horrific blizzard that winter. I never experienced any issues and used those boots for many years before donating them to a needy person. What I had realized was that my father had broken in and softened the leather of the boots so they were completely soft for me. Realizing that my, brand new, emergency boots were never broken in, just sitting in the trunk of my car for the past 20 years, wasn’t doing me any favors, so I went to the local surplus store and picked up a pair of used Altama desert combat boots. They were very inexpensive (only $39) in like-new condition, fit like a glove and were already broken in for me. They felt so good that I walked around the store with them on for an hour before I realized that I should put my own shoes back on. Of course once I got home, I slipped my wife’s Steri-Shoe ultraviolet sanitizer into the boots and ran it for a few cycles to get the interior completely sterilized and I replaced the innersole shoe insert. Now I have a pair of perfect fitting, soft boots that feel great at low cost. The upper part of the se boots is so soft that they flop over effortlessly which saves a huge amount of room in the trunk). If there is a disaster situation and you have to use boots that have not been broken in, try putting on a think pair of nylon socks then your usual boot socks over them. This duplicates the WrightSock system and is believed to be very effective at avoiding blisters, which you don’t want to be dealing with in a disaster scenario. Want great boot socks to go with your great boots, but don’t want to blow your budget?  My favorites are Covert Threads™ Sand Military Boot Sock and WigWam Hot Weather BDU Pro for tall boots (like my 8″ G.I. standard boots) or for short boots I go with WigWam Merino Lite Hiker. Both these companies make terrific socks that really deliver performance but don’t break the bank and best of all, both companies make their socks 100% in the USofA.

I put a flashlight in the car where the driver can easily reach it so they can get to the emergency supplies in the trunk easily grab the BOB (bug out bag) or Get-Home-Bag and  get moving quickly. (Don’t forget a can of Inflate-A-Flat in the trunk of your car, and while you are at it, don’t let any of your cars have) less than half a tank of gas at any time. Today’s gas stations can only pump gas when here is electrical power.)

Tip: In each of our packs we have a pair of convertible cargo pants made of sturdy fabric (it feels pretty close to denim) it provides excellent leg protection when walking through rough terrain and also allows you to zip off the lower legs to turn them into a pair of shorts for warm weather. Pick one with large cargo pockets to store emergency supplies in case you have to proceed on foot. An excellent multitasker, I just wish they would make shirts with zip off sleeves. I get mine at Sierra Trading Post at unbeatable prices. I do like military surplus gear because its been specified, tested and accepted by the government so you know its good stuff, however I never ever buy camo clothing, it just makes you a target by various groups, and it makes it seem like you might be well armed so someone could target you to get your stuff. Its not worth it. Sierra Trading Post has a huge selection of civilian clothing from top camping and mountaineering brands that are well proven and at prices that even the surplus stores cant beat.

Convertible cargo pants

Convertible cargo pants

Current Disasters

There are so many people that just don;t have enough focus o the possibility if disasters, it just does not seem real to them. For them, I decided today to list disasters as they happened, or as they came to mind, so that there would be a factual, real world, list of events that they could research for themselves to understand that these events are real, can have severe impact on our lives and that it really is prudent to prepare for them. (Some dates are approximate) Nightmare Storm Paralyzes Atlanta 29 Jan 2014

The Daily Beast: The National Guard has been called in for the winter storm in the metro area of Atlanta that’s left people stranded in their homes, some trapped in their cars overnight and students forced to stay overnight in schools. Helicopters are searching for stranded motorists while Humvees bring food, gas, water, or a ride home to others. Rush-hour traffic combined with a snowstorm led to gridlock and wrecks on highways. Former Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones saved the day for his former teammate Freddie Freeman, by rescuing him on a four-wheeler. The Atlanta Journal Constitution: Gov. Deal, Mayor Reed apologize for mistakes leading to traffic jam but resist ‘blame game’  A paramount concern were the students trapped in schools and buses across the region. At least 2,000 students were still stranded at schools early Tuesday and 95 buses were immobilized, but by 5:30 p.m. they had been returned to their families. Authorities said there has been one weather-related fatality, 1,254 car accidents and 130 injuries. … “I’m not going to get into the blame game, but the crisis that we are going through is across the region,” he said. “If you look at anybody’s street in any community across the entire region, there’s no one doing a better job than we are in the City of Atlanta.”

Explosion leaves 4,000 trapped in freezing cold weather, Canada 25 January 2014 TransCanada Pipeline Explosion Shuts Off Gas For 4,000 Residents In Sub-Zero Temperatures thinkprogress.org A natural gas pipeline operated by TransCanada Corp. exploded and caught fire in the Canadian province of Manitoba on Saturday, shutting off gas supplies for as many as 4,000 residents in sub-zero temperatures.

“We could see these massive 200- to 300-meter high flames just shooting out of the ground and it literally sounded like a jet plane,” resident Paul Rawluk told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Earthquake, Puerto Rico. 13 Jan 2014 Puerto Rico earthquake is largest in US in recent years (+video) Fortunately no fatalities were reported.

Toxic Chemical Spill, West Virginia. Poisons the water supply of 300,000 people. 9 Januray 20142  West Virginia Chemical Spill Aftermath Leaves Residents Struggling   A massive chemical spill at a Freedom Industries storage facility contaminated the Elk River in West Virginia with 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol and forced 300,000 residents of the state to go without potable, usable water.

At a press conference on Monday [20 Jan 2014], West Virginia Gov. Ray Tomblin told residents: “It’s your decision, if you do not feel comfortable drinking or cooking with this water, then use bottled water.” …”The governor said, “I’m not a scientist,” adding that whether the detection limit is 10 parts per billion or 1 part per billion, the concentration involved “is still minuscule.” … “It’s your decision,” Gov. Tomblin told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “If you do not feel comfortable drinking or cooking with this water then use bottled water.”

Its outrageous that the West Virginia governor cannot speak authoritatively on such a massive disaster and does not show compassion and caring for the people he was elected to care for and protect. Its pretty obvious that each citizen has to think of themselves and their families and prepare as best as possible for all foreseeable situations, in order to have the best chance at survival.

The impact of this disaster is not known at the time that I write this but the government is sending in water trucks to help save as many lives as possible. Some folks have already started looking for ways to purify water because their bottled water supply is running out and the government trucks have not reached everyone.

What would I do in this situation?

  • I always have several five gallon bottles of filtered and purified water (that I rotate regularly) on hand at home.
  • If that bottled water supply was about to be depleted, and I could not evacuate, I would examine the threat to see if I could implement a countermeasure.
  • A quick search on the Internet shows that the boiling point of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol is much higher than that of water. That means that if I were to distill the incoming water supply that I could extract water that had no 4-methylcyclohexane methanol in it.
  • I would assemble a makeshift water distiller, if I didn’t already have one on hand and distill the water.
  • Just distilling water cannot guarantee that all toxins have been taken care of, its during these disasters when all risks become more dangerous.
  • The only other filtration system I would trust is Activated Charcoal (this is not coal, or regular charcoal, don’t confuse them).
  • Run the water very slowly through an activated charcoal filter.
  • Run the water two more times through the activated charcoal water filter because there is definitely a threat and I would not want to take any chances.
  • If I only had activated charcoal and the situation was life threatening then I would filter it five or ten times (keep in mind that activated charcoal is not good for everything, no one filter is, so in this case, if any bacteria or cysts or viruses got into the water the activated charcoal might not tae them out).
  • Every situation is different, be prepared, have several different water filters on hand so that you can clean all threats out of your water.

Aussietanks now has a very nice looking product, a collapsable water tank that is made with soft sides. I think that in a disaster, you would erect this in your backyard and connect it to your gutter’s downspout to collect rainwater. This product was specifically designed for areas that suffer from drought and yes the conundrum is that if you don’t get rain you don’t have water but I think that its better to be prepared by having something like this so if it does rain then you can collect water and survive. I’ll post a video of this product after they get it posted online. https://www.aussietanks.com  Drought 2014 Feds declare natural disasters in 11 western, central states because of drought (Star Tribune) 16 Jan 2014 Superstorm Sandy Oct 29 2012 Wikipedia: Hurricane Sandy (unofficially known as “Superstorm Sandy”) was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. Classified as the eighteenth named storm, tenth hurricane and second major hurricane of the year, Sandy was a Category 3 storm at its peak intensity when it made landfall in Cuba.[1] While it was a Category 2 storm off the coast of the Northeastern United States, the storm became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record (as measured by diameter, with winds spanning 1,100 miles (1,800 km)).[2][3] Estimates as of June 2013 assess damage to have been over $68 billion (2013 USD), a total surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina.[4] At least 286 people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries.[5] Volcano Eruption April 2010 Iceland

Wikipedia: 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull were volcanic events at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland which, although relatively small for volcanic eruptions, caused enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe over an initial period of six days in April 2010. Additional localised disruption continued into May 2010. The eruption was declared officially over in October 2010, when snow on the glacier did not melt. From 14–20 April, ash covered large areas of northern Europe when the volcano erupted. About 20 countries closed their airspace to commercial jet traffic and it affected more than 100,000 travelers.

Volcano Mount Pinatubo eruption  June 15, 1991

Wikipedia: The volcano’s Plinian / Ultra-Plinian eruption on June 15, 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in the Alaska Peninsula. Complicating the eruption was the arrival of Typhoon Yunya bringing a lethal mix of ash and rain. Successful predictions at the onset of the climactic eruption led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives, but the surrounding areas were severely damaged by pyroclastic flows, ash deposits, and subsequently, by the lahars caused by rainwaters re-mobilizing earlier volcanic deposits causing extensive destruction to infrastructure and altering the river systems months to years after the eruption.

Super Typhoon Haiyan November 8, 2013

Wikipedia: Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,201 people in that country alone. Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed.[3] As of January, 2014, bodies are still being found.

Previous Disasters

List of disasters in the United States by death toll (Wikipedia)


More detailed information is available on my other pages, please check them all out.

  1. Colorado Flooding []
  2. Almost Forgotten, West Virginia: Your Sunday Morning Conversation []