Tags: Lessons | From | Katrina

Lessons From Katrina

Sunday, 04 September 2005 12:00 AM

1. If warned to evacuate, GO!

2. The most important thing is water. You need seven gallons per person MINIMUM.

Make your people drink at regular intervals, but you also have to exercise water discipline. Do NOT assume that FEMA or some other entity is going to show up with supplies.

3. You must have non-perishable food, preferably MREs. One MRE per day will hold you, and they are easier to dispose of than canned goods. Those cans pile up quickly and their interior residue smells horrible. You need to bury that trash, and piles of cans are harder to bury than plastic bags.

So many folks around here have zero knowledge of basic hygiene and field craft. Food byproducts pile up all over the place and attract flies and other critters. You need a MINIMUM of seven MREs per person. You do NOT want any food that requires heating.

4. You need to find a place away from where you are eating and sleeping for a slit trench or, if in an urban environment with no place to dig, someplace to carry out bodily functions. And don't just dig one trench and leave it open for days and days. Fill that sucker in every day or two, mark the spot, and make a new one and so on and so forth.

5. Hygiene is a real problem. As part of your stockpile, you should have lots and lots of baby wipes. Pay particular attention to keeping your feet clean and dry.

6. Since Katrina passed, it has been up to 94 degrees or higher every day, with high humidity. Other locales will have their own climate factors to deal with.

Avoid the temptation to go on unnecessary exploration expeditions. Not only might these prove dangerous, for reasons to be discussed later, they also run the risk of someone becoming a heat casualty. They also result in increased consumption of scarce water. Especially during the heat of the day, all movement should be kept to a minimum and folks should stay out of direct sunlight.

7. You need a definite chain of command worked out ahead of time to enforce these rules. There are jerks and troublemakers in every group. The best way to head that off is to make things clear ahead of time: "Here are the rules and here is who is in charge of what."

Give everyone a task/job/responsibility to keep them as occupied as possible. Idle hands and minds create all kinds of problems.

8. During the race and anti-war riots and unrest of the 1960s and 1970s, New Orleans had no serious problems. During Hurricane Betsy, which hit New Orleans in 1965, there was some minor looting, but nothing like the murderous roaming gangs and lawlessness after Katrina.

During the 1990s, when Los Angeles and Atlanta were racked by race riots, New Orleans was peaceful. But Katrina produced street violence unprecedented in U.S. history. Social scientists will no doubt study the reasons and causes for decades.

All I know is if you're in an urban environment, whether as a resident or an unfortunate tourist, and an earthquake, hurricane, blackout or WMD attack occur, what happened in New Orleans could easily happen in Miami, Houston, Tampa, Jacksonville, Charleston, Washington, NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Chicago. Especially during extremes of heat.

I used to have a pretty extensive arsenal of firearms. I still have the firearms, but I do not have near as many magazines or ammunition on hand as I used to. The next time will be different. You don't want to have to worry about whether the bad guys have more ammo than you do.

Do not assume that the government can and will protect you. The folks who were unharmed in New Orleans were the folks who were armed. In the greater New Orleans area, cops were telling us to keep our arms at the ready because they were spread too thin and busy with lifesaving.

Don't go looking for trouble or waving your weapons around, but make it apparent that you are well armed and avoid confrontation. Much of the trouble down here started after dark. The animals owned the night. What that meant – and most folks were clueless on this – was don't call attention to your location at night with lanterns and flashlights, which also ruin your night vision.

The bad guys seemed to be attracted to the noise of generators, too. It is important to have a generator. But if you used your generator to light your location at night in New Orleans, you became a target. If you keep things quiet and dark, you will know where the bad guys are before they know where you are.

9. After the storm, transportation was made infinitely harder by fuel shortages. You need to have gasoline stored safely for supplemental use. A five-gallon gas can can extend the range of your SUV by as much as 100 miles.

When evacuating on the highway, don't drive at 70 mph as if on your way to a football game. Drive 55 and get as much as 50 miles further on a tank.

Contact Christopher Holton at theholtons@bellsouth.net


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1. If warned to evacuate, GO! 2. The most important thing is water. You need seven gallons per person MINIMUM. Make your people drink at regular intervals, but you also have to exercise water discipline. Do NOT assume that FEMA or some other entity is going to show up...
Sunday, 04 September 2005 12:00 AM
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