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Disaster Preparedness

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Posted on 07-06-2011

Disasters can happen anytime. Several ancient texts are quoted as saying that more disasters are on the way, yet how many of us are prepared for even the next large earthquake? I am a survivor of the 1989 Loma Preita Santa Cruz 6.9 quake. I witness the destruction of much of the Santa Cruz downtown, loss of electricity, and the loss of consumable food items in several days. How prepared are you in the event of a catastrophe?
The average person can use upwards of a 100 gallons of water a day for drinking, cooking, laundry and cleaning and more if you include watering the garden or landscape. In a pinch most can get by on 5-7 gallons of water a day. Now multiply that by the number of people in your house hold by the number of weeks you want to drink water and stay alive. For this amount of water the little 5 gallon containers really aren't enough. You may need to purchase a cistern. Given the magnitude of some of the events lately, Haiti, Japan, Chile etc… it might be smart to have a month's supply of water onsite. So to be safe let's say 50 gallons per person per week, so you would need a cistern with a minimum capacity of say 400 for 2 people, let's make it 490 gallons, that way you have some to share. As far as cisterns go, 490 gallons is on the small side, does not require an engineered pad and fits nicely in a backyard. Larger household may need 1000, or 1500. Big family plus your house is in a fire hazard zone, cut back the brush and go big, say 5,000 gallons.
Transportation
Will given that gas prices will skyrocket and quantity might be regulated, it's time to get friendly with your bike. Just to be on the safe side make sure you have extra tubes and patches on hand and a tire pump would be nice. Time to invest in a rack and some saddle bags don't wait until the last minute, they may be all gone.
Lights Anyone
Candles are a great option but be sure to get a good quality that don't smoke much, otherwise you may find yourself having to paint the interior of your house later. LEDS are best, run forever on just a little wattage but what if the power is out? Solar panels are the first choice. Even if you can't afford to do the whole house a few solar panels and a couple batteries could be enough to light most of a house with led lights, or just go smaller and light just a room.
Food
Will this is an important issue unless you happen to be planning your yearly fast right at the same moment as the disaster. Here is where you need to get real, if the big one comes, wouldn't be nice to have food for a month, just in case (now that's take some planning for us non Mormon types). A refrigerator is essential and so is a freezer. Several ways to your refrigerator going when the power grid is down, and using a generator is the most common. Solar is a nice option and works best with a highly efficient refrigerator. Propane refrigerators are a nice option, and uses the same tanks as you BBQ. Generators are noisy and most importantly use fuel and the larger ones are very thirsty. Plus you need to store multiple gallons of flammable liquid somewhere on your property. The smaller the generator, the lower the fuel consumption and generally the quieter the operation. Figure out how many watts your refrigerator uses and another 100 watts or so for low wattage lights. Heat? Well good time to have a wood burning stove for backup. Cooking? Can do some cooking on the wood stove but best to invest in a BBQ that runs on propane. Keep a couple of extra tanks 5 gallon tanks handy or buy the larger tanks and bolt them to the garage wall. Garage roof collapses?  Keep a chainsaw in an accessible place like a tool shed.
I lived for many years deep in the woods and off the grid using a 1000 watt Honda generator (smallest I could find at that time), a propane refrigerator, 490 water tank, wood stove for heat and propane stove for cooking.  Today I enjoy modern convinces like the rest of us but seriously, now is the time to be prepared for whatever disasters may roll our way. This blog entry had little to do with Chiropractic and natural healing and everything to do with survival. Let's stay alive and thrive in this challenging times.

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