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#134277 - 05/31/08 04:40 PM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: Russ]
Jeanette_Isabelle Online   content

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
Perhaps it would help if I list what I assume could happen in the order of likelihood:

Major power disruption (happened last year)
Man-made disaster
Earthquake (yes, there are fault lines in Texas)
Hurricane . . . right, not going to happen. When Hurricane Rita hit, all we got was a breeze.

Jeanette Isabelle

Edited by JeanetteIsabelle (06/02/08 03:00 AM)
“Trust me, this is not gonna end well!” — Pleakley, Lilo & Stitch

#134283 - 05/31/08 05:41 PM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: ]
BruceZed Offline

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 317
Loc: Canada
Best Case 3-5 days, worst case 12-15 days. After that either the business will never reopen until it is reconstructed and or the population (and it workers) will have been relocated and /or in Camps. I still plan for 30 days plus just to be on the safe side. Strangely the Canadian Government say 3 days is enough, but I think they are being a little hopeful and or assume that having everybody with three days of food is better than none.
Bruce Zawalsky
Chief Instructor
Boreal Wilderness Institute

#134311 - 05/31/08 09:17 PM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
NeighborBill Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 385
Loc: Oklahoma City
Perhaps it would help if I list of what I assume could happen in the order of likelihood:

One calls this planning--don't overlook drought, or trucker-strike, given your location.

Even oh-so-cheery, "no one's evil" DW finally gave permission for a three month store of food and water (she really doesn't need to know it's more than that), and firearms/ammo.

A former hippy from Mendocino County, People's Republic of Kalifornia gave me permission to buy extra food and weapons. Really.
Member of the toughest, meanest, deadliest, most unrelenting -- and ablest -- form of life in this section of space, a critter that can be killed but can't be tamed. --Robert A. Heinlein

#134463 - 06/02/08 02:33 AM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: ]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX
Me move to Houston and constantly be having to save your butt?

Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

#134494 - 06/02/08 01:13 PM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: ]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
That being said I've always seen private industry save our butts in Florida more than I have any other group.

I think that would also be backed up by the studies on Katrina, like the one reported on here: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourHome/RealKatrinaHeroWalMartStudySays.aspx

And Izzy, as far as leading, you'd taken a step before all others, so you were already in the lead.

As far as the original question, I think it depends on the situation, but I think 3 days is about right for most. When you get into situations that invovle more damage and devastation, I think it could be longer.

Edited by Dan_McI (06/02/08 01:14 PM)

#134538 - 06/02/08 06:40 PM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
cajun_kw Offline

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 62
Loc: Southern California
I vote plan for a week. Clearly for every disaster, the swath of destruciton is critical for asessing the impact. A tornado can take out a city block or a whole town...and everything in between. Out here in California earthquakes can knock down a few or many building ....destroy small bridges ..no bridges or many major arterial freeway connections.
My personal goal is to be prepared for a week ... and then extend and build on that. Sheltering in place I can do that now. But I';m not quite organized enough to get all that stuff into a car in short order (less than an hour) and move it to some undisclosed location when the powers that be tell me to evacuate for a brush fire. Thankfully ...I'm urban enough for that to be less of a threat than other scenarios. But still, one day I want to be able to do pitch all my supplies in my truck and hoof it for greener pastures.
By the way ... its 7.48 gallons per cubic foot...and water weighs about 8 lbs per gallon. Unfortunately, with containers that are durable enough to be handled a lot you'll need more space than one cubic foot for 7.48 gallons. I like 2.5 gal containers 'cuz they are eaier to handle than 5 gal containers...but good ones are pricey....and moving a large amount of water when bugging out is heavy ....bringing adequate water in a bug-out scenario is one of my concerns yet to be fully resolved.

#134563 - 06/02/08 11:33 PM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: ]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
[/quote] Wal-Mart did all of that for the Katrina victims. And here are these "groups" of people who're calling Wal-Mart evil. Sorry, but if every Wal-Mart closed right now the unemployment rate would skyrocket and so would inflation. Shoot...Wal-Mart's an American Success Story.

Big Box Marts are also glorified barracks and quartermaster stations. You can bet they're made so that if a storm hits they can still operate and make income, so they're safe. The Wal-Marts and Targets here in Florida are ALL solar and during the daytime use skylights. Power! You have tons of goods stationed in one area with cooking facilities and storage facilities and tons of space. It's the perfect place to house people after a huge disaster. They've got plenty of bathrooms, too! And if I were a manager of one I would go down to the hardware aisle and get all the PVC pipe I could and make showers that ran off garden hose spigots on the outside of the store and use privacy tents from the camping aisle to enclose them. Sure it'd be cold, but the people would need it.

I'll quote that article...

"A lot of you are going to have to make decisions above your level. Make the best decision that you can with the information that's available to you at the time, and, above all, do the right thing." Wal-Mart CEO.[/quote]

A few points to place things in context:
Wal-Mart is a huge company with profits that exceed the budgets of many small nations. The total amount spent by WalMart in response to Katrina represents what they would spend in just a few prime time commercials. And was all tax deductible. If the quality of charity is based on 'giving until it hurts' Wal-Mart gave the suffering the crumbs from their table and the sweepings from the floor.

And then filmed and advertised the distribution of these crumbs. The direct aid was well coordinated with Wal-Mart ad agencies, filmed and used in commercials that followed. they spent more making and distributing these commercials than they spent on the aid. It was also well documented and packaged to be used as leverage against communities who have resisted Wal-Marts being inflicted on them. Typically local business bankruptcies double when a Wal-Mart opens and unemployment spikes.

Second, once the flood waters enter a store, particularly ones as well insured as Wal-marts, the contents are declared a total loss. As noble as it sounds that Wal-Mart was handing out supplies it didn't represent a significant financial loss. The managers and employees who took the time and made the effort get credit. But as a corporation Wal-Mart was giving up very little.

Also actions like driving bulldozers and forklifts to open doors sounds heroic but it points to simple lack of emergency planning and a lack of coordination. Planning and coordination would have had keys available. But maybe they were available. Driving a bulldozer into a storefront is much more likely to make the news. Cheap advertising for an image conscious company.

A point by point critique:
"Big Box Marts are also glorified barracks and quartermaster stations. You can bet they're made so that if a storm hits they can still operate and make income, so they're safe."

Actually no. Most Wal-Marts don't have backup generators. Those that do, generally the Supercenters with groceries and freezer sections, only have a couple of days supply of fuel and generation capacity for their refrigeration sections. Generally those generators are only marginally maintained. This is pretty common with backup generators in general. Even such places as hospitals. When the POCO power drops a lot of places with generators find out they don't work, don't work for very long, or they can't carry the required loads.

Wal-Marts are built to the same construction standards as all the other big-box stores. Nothing special. Also Wal-Marts may be more vulnerable because of the integrated inventory controls. Their cash registers require inputs from a connection to the central office. All purchases in any Wal-Mart in the US goes through this central office. In theory the manager can operate on a cash-only basis but employees are not trained in that method and the management usually balks. Until the store has power, telephone service and/or satellite connection the managers tend to want to stay closed simply because it makes accounting and inventory much easier.

"The Wal-Marts and Targets here in Florida are ALL solar and during the daytime use skylights. Power!"

Sorry but your wrong. There may be newer stores with these features but of the three stores in this area of Florida none have solar power or skylights.

"You have tons of goods stationed in one area with cooking facilities and storage facilities and tons of space. It's the perfect place to house people after a huge disaster. They've got plenty of bathrooms, too!"

Sorry to bust your bubble but that isn't going to work. The restaurants are typically all-electric. Much more power required than any rooftop solar setup will provide. Assuming they have solar panels, and they still operate after a storm, you might be able to run a couple of hot plates but cooking for 400 is pretty much out of the question.

A;so I don't know how much bathroom space your Wal-Marts have but the ones around here have very limited capacity. Typically one or two stalls, a urinal or two and a couple of sinks on the mens side and two or three stalls and a couple of sinks on the womens side. But even this capacity is going to be gone quickly. None of the Wal-Marts I have seen have any capacity for pumping their own water. They are either entirely dependent on city water or, for a few rural stores, the well runs off POCO power. Either way the water supply won't last long. And as soon as the lift stations are full those WCs are going to back up.

The Wal-Marts around here, and all the other big-box stores, were shut tight the last couple of times hurricanes got anywhere near close. They closed 12 to 24 hours ahead of the storm and remained closed for about 24 hours after. Even if they had power.

Of course it wasn't hard for Wal-Mart to look good in comparison to FEMA during Katrina. FEMA under Clinton functioned. I was there. W got into office claiming government could do no good and has spent the last seven years proving his point by making sure it didn't do any good.

#134598 - 06/03/08 03:37 AM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: ]
Nomad Offline

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 479
Loc: Just wandering around.
What to expect after a disaster? I was a Red Cross Volunteer doing large scale disaster work. Spent a month in New Orleans during/after Katrina and another month in Miami after Hurricane Wilma. Also worked many blizzards, floods and other assorted incidents.

The most serious things I encountered were not the loss of water, fuel, communications or shelter. The hardest to deal with were less tangible.

Expect to be tired. Very very tired. This leads to irritability, errors in judgment, lowered resistance to disease and accidents. And it is not just you that will be tired, but everybody will be tired. Bone dead tired. Imagine being in a town where everyone is stressed. Small incidents bloom into confrontations. People make stupid mistakes which irritate others. Everyone becomes edgy.

Confusion will be extreme. It will be almost impossible to find out what is really happening. Rumors will circulate so many times you will begin to believe the most ridiculous stories. You will spend energy going someplace to get something that is not available. Not once or twice but many times. Making important decisions will be very difficult. You (and others) will become disoriented. Nothing will be as it was. After Katrina there were no street signs. Something as simple as giving someone travel directions was a real challenge. Your everyday reality will be distorted and frightening.

It will be dangerous. Live electrical wires, polluted drinking water, flooded roads, downed trees, broken glass, blocked roads. All this will make any “normal” task difficult and dangerous. It took us several days to move a communications vehicle a short distance (blocks) because of the tangle of downed power lines, trees and debris.

Nothing will be routine. You will have to view each and every action in a new perspective. You will not be able to assume that a simple trip down the block to help a neighbor will be safe and easy.

You will not have any news. Most communications will be gone for a few days and that is when you need information the most. Soon some radio stations will be on the air,, but they will be overwhelmed with technical problems and staff shortages.

Your personal contacts will be limited. The worry about others that are not easily contacted will be very difficult and painful. Where is my daughter, is she alive? How are my friends doing?

Food will be bad. Not dangerous, but not what you are used to either. Limited cooking facilities, lack of refrigeration and repetitive meals will replace your normal fare.

Your living conditions will be uncomfortable. No showers and perhaps very limited water to do even minimal bathing. Privacy may be non-existent. Others may be sharing your living space. Noise, body smells, sleeping on the floor, not having personal space all contribute to tension and discomfort.

You will be doing hard physical work. Much more that you are used to. Long hours, infrequent rests, poor food will make work difficult.

Some supplies will be missing. Perhaps not the big stuff like water, but other less planned for items like toilet paper, proper clothing, parts for equipment that gets broken. Small inconveniences that add up to more stress.

Getting along with others will be difficult. The normal roles we are used to will change. Some will become “boss” when you know a better way. It will take a long time to make group decisions. Everyone will want things just a bit different, and have very good reasons why their needs are just. The normal workplace type “human problems” will be much more difficult to resolve.

Lines of authority will be confused. Who is really in charge? What are the rules? Who decides who gets what? What should be done first? How should group resources be allocated and who decides?

Poor communication skill will obscure intent. When people try to describe situations outside their normal world, the ability to communicate clearly becomes difficult. This is especially true of people thrust into leadership positions that are not used to creating clear, concise and unambiguous instructions.

Social control becomes difficult. Some will need things desperately enough to steal. Others will see the weak as prey. Stress will cause some to act irrationally and violently.

Life becomes very scary. When the normal routine of life is gone, when people are stressed, when the correct path is obscured, when family or friends are killed or missing, when normal social roles are distorted, then life becomes very scary indeed.

What you expect will probably not be what you encounter. But the situation becomes a bit easier when you know that the “normal” will not be normal and that stress will become a very large part of your life.
...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97

#134607 - 06/03/08 12:00 PM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: Nomad]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX

That was probably the best, most useful post ever made to ETS.

Thank you very, very much.

Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

#134613 - 06/03/08 01:11 PM Re: What to Expect After a Disaster [Re: Nomad]
Angel Offline

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 192
I was around New Orleans after Katrina for a month and the biggest obstacle for us was finding a safe place to stay. All the parks were full, no houses available to rent and all the apartments were full or damaged. There was not even a place to pitch a tent. We ended up staying in our cars in a church parking lot which worked out ok because they had bathrooms and coffee in the morning, but it wasn't nearly as comfortable as it could have been if we could have just camped out. Everything was total chaos, even the wal-mart parking lot was full all the time. Everyone looked like zombies and we were all on edge. It was very disorienting. It's one thing to say I'll just camp out but it's another thing when there is no place to put a tent. People were guarding their land and there wasn't a trusting person to be found and you can't set up a tent just anywhere. Alligators and snakes were turning up in places they don't normally frequent. It was an eye opening experience for sure. We were lucky, at least we had cars to sleep in and a safe place to park at night. There was one convienience store opened that made sandwiches and the line went around the building 3 times. It was like a 2 hour wait in line just to get some food. At one point, when the store told everyone they were going to be out of sandwiches, a man went back to his car and got out a shotgun. The police caught him before he could get it loaded though. Desperate people resort to desperate measures so you have to be on guard at all times and thats not as easy as it sounds.

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