I’m running slower than usual today. So, just a few pieces of information and a couple of suggestions to assist anyone beginning disaster preparations.

Living in an active earthquake zone as all Californians do there are a couple of very basic issues we need to acknowledge. The first is drinking water and water for washing. All authorities agree we need at least one gallon of water per person, per day. We should assume, even if not probable, that we could be completely cut-off from city water. Many of our city water mains are very old and fragile. Many would fail in a strong quake.

Virtually every home and public building has two sources of drinkable water – the tank behind every toilet, and the water in our water heaters. But, it’s a lot easier to open a bottle of water. So, store a sufficient quantity of drinking water and replenish when necessary. We can live a long time without food, only a few days without water.

Official sources recommend 72 hours of food and water. If you plan to live only 72 hours after a major disaster (act of God or man-made) then this advice will suffice. If your plans are more ambitious, prepare for a longer period of time.

Read the history of Katrina, not the official reports, but the history as written by those who suffered through that catastrophe. This will inform you that if you are well prepared those who didn’t prepare will accuse you of “hoarding.” It never fails. And, they will, sooner or later, desire to share your preps whether you like it or not. So, it’s a good idea to facilitate a defense of your food and water. Reliable neighbors can help here. You Christians out there know that you have a duty to share with others, as long as your own family is not endangered; remember the nursery story of The Little Red Hen? How about the story of the Grasshopper and the Ant? (This lesson goes back thousands of years. Human nature doesn’t change. It’s also the issue of how many people should be let into the lifeboat. Get to know those neighbors with whom you can safely rely upon for mutual assistance. Have a plan for survival, other than relying of the incompetence of government. Let your trusted friends and relatives know about the plan.

A quick list of additional things you should have: Medications; first aid articles; at least one good flashlight; food you don’t have to cook; blankets or sleeping bags; a wrench to shut off the gas line; baby food, etc.; and the list can go on for pages. Have plans to stay in place (most likely) and for moving from the area if necessary. Have a “bug-out bag” ready.

Every emergency agency in America, public and private, has urged us to prepare for catastrophic disasters expected to occur in the near future. Fillmore learned about destruction after the Northridge quake. Less warned against is terrorism. If the country is attacked by weapons of mass destruction (biological, chemical, nuclear, dirty bomb) etc., it is a certainty that all freeways, highways, and roadways, will be clogged with traffic of every sort. Los Angeles, a very likely target of Islamic Jihadist attack, will disgorge millions of its residents. Knowing how single vehicle accidents disrupt our freeways every day, think of the mayhem which will result from the detonation of a weapon of mass destruction anywhere in Los Angeles County. Add to this the methodical mayhem expected from street and motorcycle gang predators, and the widespread panic of people desperately trying to evacuate the effected area.

Be well, and prepare for the worst. More thoughts on disaster preps later.