The material presented on this page is intended to start you thinking about what you can do today that might someday save your life. If nothing else, our "Tip o' da Week" might just make your life a bit easier when a disaster strikes. We do not present topics that cost a lot of money (like structure reinforcement.) These are "do it yourself" projects and are relatively inexpensive.
Introducing the Hatsuden Nabe
About this tip's submitter, Jo Anne Gray:
Jo Anne says, "I am currently secretary for our Gig Harbor-Key Peninsulas' Emergency Preparedness Committee. I like to call it the "72 hour club". As a former Girl Scout I have always liked to Be Prepared for anything. My private study began about 10 years ago. I am currently attending Train-the-Trainer classes for the CERT program sponsored by FEMA and our Pierce County DEM and fire districts. Community Emergency Response Team is designed to train citizen volunteers to be a real help in an emergency."
You may not be able to get home right away, after an earthquake at least. Part of your family plan should be a discussion of what everyone will do depending on where they are at the time. By the way, make it a policy to drive on the top half of your gas tank.
Most have a policy of if you are safe where you are and the roads are impassable, stay where you are and use your emergency supplies and we'll know that's what you will be doing and not panic when you don't fly Love-bug-like over the Narrows Bridge.
What will you need for three days if you are stuck on the freeway--or even on a bridge?
You need enough of ALL THIS STUFF to equip or feed the number of people who are likely to be with you at the time. If you will have the dog with you, you'd best stash some dog food and count the dog as a person in your water needs.
The 2400 or 3600 calorie energy bars provide nutrition as well as energy. They have a long shelf life and can handle heat and cold in the car. You could make 3600 calories last for three days. You probably won't have room but you can get MRE's (meals ready-to-eat) at emergency suppliers, the camping supply or army surplus. They come as complete meals with entree, fruit or dessert, crackers, beverage mix, utensils and napkin. Or try the new nutrition drinks. You can do great things with Vienna sausages, Deviled ham and crackers or canned brown bread, can opener' granola bars, boxes of juice.
That's the thing you can't live without. Best are the water packets with the 5 year shelf-life. They fit into small spaces and adapt to the space you have. I stash 2-liter bottles of it under the seats in my van; put 2 or 3 in a plastic bag so they don't roll around and secure with a small bungee cord. One-liter bottles fit in the storage compartments on the sides in the back. In a compact passenger car you can get a couple of 2-liters in the tire compartment. Then the flexible packs are best for stuffing around and into the spare tire.
Actually, it can be quite compact if you're careful and use your nooks and crannies well. Remember this is Emergency stuff; it doesn't have to be handy.
Look for compartments: pop up the back seat in your sedan if it isn't part of the trunk, use your spare tire compartment to the max, string hammocks at the top of the trunk space where you don't use it. I had a problem with my husband removing any sport bag of supplies I put in his trunk to make room for luggage or someone else's golf clubs. It's better to break things up and put them where they won't be in the way and hence, removed.
Store things individually: jackknife and matches in the main ashtray, compass and extra batteries in another ashtray, soft gloves and hats in the flexible saddle bags on the back of many front seats, space blankets or bags in the map compartment in the doors. Put socks on your water bottles, cram individual soft things in between stuff in your cubby holes. For comfort, you can lay a blanket out flat in your trunk inside a flat garbage bag or in the back of your van, perhaps covered by a piece of carpet to keep it clean and in place.
I've considered making a hanging bag of stuff to feed into an empty space behind/below another small ashtray. Hang hammocks of things under your seats with bungees or cord tied to the springs so they won't be kicked out.
Consider these supplies a base for your home supplies. If you are home, your car is likely to be also. It can be a source if you must escape your home. Consider a hide-a-key to get into it if you can't grab your bag; stash a house key in the car to get back in your house in the same event. Remember, you are on your own for probably at least the first 72 hours. The Red Cross will not have coffee and donuts at the next corner and the National Guard will not bring you water.
Be responsible for yourself and your family.
Don't be scared; Be Prepared.
--Jo Anne Gray
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