Katrina: Why Preparedness Matters

On Monday, August 29th, 2005, at 6:10 am local time, Hurricane Katrina made landfall for the second time, hitting New Orleans dead center.  The first levee breached at 8:14 am.  By 9:00 am, there was 6-8 feet of water in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Many were evacuated to the Superdome.  Conditions there were rough to say the least.

By Thursday, September 1, food and water were scarce.

Finally, on Saturday, September 3, the Superdome was evacuated.

It took almost a week before many New Orleans residents could reach semi-permanent shelter.

How long are you prepared to wait?

Most survival experts suggest a 72-hour emergency kit with sufficient supplies for you and your family.  Most of these woefully underestimate the time till rescue for major disasters.  Not only that, but their idea of survival rations will leave you both hungry and thirsty.  One of the leading suppliers of quality survival kits includes about 50 ounces of water in their deluxe kit for one.  That sounds more accurate for a 24-48 hour kit to me.  To be healthy, a 180 pound person under optimal conditions and no exercise should drink 90 ounces daily.  A 120 pound person, also under optimal conditions should consume 60 ounces daily.  You get 16.9 ounces a day with this kit. (To be fair, it is one of the best on the market right now, too.)

You can survive a a long time on less than optimal food but water is essential.

If you can spare the weight, pack as much water as you can.  Brian at C4I for Humanity suggests you try and pack at least 3 full liters minimum per person in your kit.  This more than doubles the amount in this high end survival bag. It still isn’t enough but it is a start.

While most survival kits are geared to wilderness survival, it might be a good time to consider evacuation kits.  If you are evacuated, you might get a roof over your head, some basic food and water etc. but you will definitely not be able to forage and signaling for help is pointless.  A crank powered radio and a deck of playing cards will do you better. So will a good book. A small travel chess board can be a life saver.  If you have small children, consider games and toys and coloring books. If you are on any prescription medications make sure you take them with you if you need to evacuate.  It is essential that you take them in their original containers, too, as that way you are less likely to be harassed by police and more likely to be able to get refills from relief doctors.

Surviving well under an evacuation isn’t hard.  All you need is patience and a good bug out bag.  More on bug out bags later.

About Brian Chabot

The founder of C4I for Humanity and creator of this web site.

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