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Your "Earthquake Survival Kit"


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#1 Jaymes

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:25 AM

I've lived in "earthquake country," - the Philippines, Hong Kong, California, Panama, Alaska. We were always told to have an "earthquake survival kit" handy someplace where we planned to ride out the earthquake - like an interior hall, bathroom, etc.

The recent earthquake in Japan made me wonder:

How many of you out there are in Earthquake Country? Do you have a survival kit? In addition to the obvious, like water and a week's worth of essential medication, and non-food items such as a thing to turn off the gas, bandages, a non-electric can opener, toilet paper and paper towels, and a selection of plastic bags to use for various forms of waste, what food items are in yours?

We kept peanut butter, candy bars for quick energy, assorted canned goods, and some MREs.

How about you?

Edited by Jaymes, 11 March 2011 - 09:24 AM.


#2 dcarch

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:33 AM

A small inexpensive power generator will do a lot of good.

Lights, phones, internet, e. mail, refrigerator, heating system, ------- etc.

Good luck to all they are going thru right now in Japan.

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#3 Jaymes

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:50 AM

Yes, but if you're trapped in your walk-in closet with the house collapsed around you, you'll need something to sustain you until somebody comes and digs you out.

So we were always told to have your emergency survival kit in whichever room you planned to run to.

#4 dcarch

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:09 AM

"-----So we were always told to have your emergency survival kit in whichever room you planned to run to. "

During an earthquake, you sdhould never run to any other room.

FEMA:
"---Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave."

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#5 Jaymes

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:22 AM

"-----So we were always told to have your emergency survival kit in whichever room you planned to run to. "

During an earthquake, you sdhould never run to any other room.

FEMA:
"---Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave."

dcarch


Well, what we really did when strong earthquakes hit, and I've been in quite a few, was to dive under the nearest desk or table.

Still, we were told to have our survival kit handy wherever it was that we planned to survive. I guess the idea was that we would crawl into the hall or bathroom or walk-in closet, or other small reinforced room, which we hoped would make it through the quake intact, and then hole up there with our survival kit until help arrived.

I don't know. It seemed to me that we were better off having some supplies handy in a sturdy location than not.

Although I will admit that our tendency was to just eat the candy bars.

Edited by Jaymes, 11 March 2011 - 09:41 AM.


#6 Blether

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:33 AM

I don't have family living with me, it's just me. I think that Tokyo'll be a pretty desperate place to be if it's badly hit. My 'plan' has been to get out if it's really bad - I have an offroad motorbike parked outside, and even if the building lands on it and I somehow don't, I figure I can improvise. Maybe that makes me irresponsible. In the vast scheme of things, even in earthquake country, earthquake disaster remains a small possibility. I don't have detailed plans for what I'll do when I take a heart attack; what I'll do when mowed down by a drunk driver; what I'll do when a serial killer gets me in his sights. You can never know what'll happen tomorrow, you can only hope you'll deal with it gracefully.

I spent five minutes this afternoon sitting under the heavy marble dining table that I'd always seen (but never resorted to) as my earthquake shelter non pareil; in the end I was (a) trying to figure out whether I should be sitting up or semi-prone when the building came down on it, and (b) holding on to the top with both hands in an effort to keep it in place on the legs (the top alone weighs like 100kgs), all the while watching with dismay as my bookshelves gradually unloaded themselves everywhere and listening as one piece after another of ceramic or glassware came to its end. Things reached a crescendo and there's a point where I can't make out distinct memories of shaking, bouncing, shattering or thumping. And we weren't even in the thick of it, here.

If I'm going on a long hiking trip, or long-distance sailing, I'll take stores-planning seriously, but for earthquakes ? No. Which isn't to say that it's not a good idea for someone else in a different situation.

Having said all that, I typically have on hand cans of tomatoes & beans, plenty of rice & flour, a Japanese-style tabletop gas burner and cans of fuel, barbecue charcoal and whatever starts to defrost in the freezer... even stuck here with broken legs, I can get along just so long as the roof and the floor keep themselves apart.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.


#7 Jaymes

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:52 AM

If I'm going on a long hiking trip, or long-distance sailing, I'll take stores-planning seriously, but for earthquakes ? No. Which isn't to say that it's not a good idea for someone else in a different situation.


My situation was generally that I was responsible for myself, and my family, which included three children. I will say that we were also told to keep on hand enough water for one week. A week's worth of water for a family of five seemed pretty unwieldy, so we didn't do that. More like a few gallons of bottled water from the store.

But most of the things advised were easy to keep on hand. So why not?

#8 Dakki

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 10:35 AM

Blether, glad to see you're okay.

I don't live in earthquake country. However, my understanding is that in any natural disaster situation an ample supply of drinking water is going to be more critical than food. I have a whole bunch of water-filled 2 liter soda bottles from last hurricane season in the laundry room and sanitizing drops in case tap water is available but contaminated. (Household bleach also works in an emergency).

Also keep a lot of candles, kitchen matches/cigarette lighters, canned goods and a first-aid kit around, not necessarily for disasters.
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#9 runwestierun

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 10:39 AM

In 2007 the new husband and I were trapped in what was left of our house for 5 days before we were dug out after a storm (not an earthquake). We were so so so thankful we had 50 gallons of water in our basement. It wasn't from preparedness, our water system was spring fed and a 50 gallon tank was part of our set up. You know you need water to drink and maybe wash-but remember you will need it for wounds, too. We would've been so much worse off when we were rescued if we hadn't had that water. I've got 15 gallons of water in 3 different places now around the house.

#10 hathor

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 10:43 AM

We're in earthquake zone in Umbria. A couple of years ago, SISMA, the Italian FEMA but devoted to earthquakes, used our town as an exercise in preparedness. They buried a car under rubble and had a dog find the live volunteer in the car. Rescued people out of windows. Had us do a mock drill with our block captains. And gave us SISMA bags to hang near the door with color coded T-shirts, flashlights etc. Makes me realize it's time to check the batteries on those flashlights.
Everyone in town participated and told horror stories about where they were during the Assisi quake. After the exercise, SISMA fed everyone in town a big lunch.
Never thought to put some food in there, but it's going in now.

Earthquakes are no joke.. my heart and prayers go out to our Japanese neighbors.

#11 lancastermike

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 10:53 AM

Blether, glad to see you're okay.

I don't live in earthquake country. However, my understanding is that in any natural disaster situation an ample supply of drinking water is going to be more critical than food. I have a whole bunch of water-filled 2 liter soda bottles from last hurricane season in the laundry room and sanitizing drops in case tap water is available but contaminated. (Household bleach also works in an emergency).

Also keep a lot of candles, kitchen matches/cigarette lighters, canned goods and a first-aid kit around, not necessarily for disasters.


100% spot on. If five days is the time frame they are asking you to be able to support yourself with no help from anyone water is absolutly the most critical supply. Most people could survive 5 days with out eating anything. This excludes, young children and the ill and the very elderly.

#12 dcarch

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 11:22 AM

Don't flash your toilets.

The water in the tanks is very clean, and will keep you alive for many days.

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#13 Darienne

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 11:56 AM

As for storing water...what about the length of time that stored water will be safe to drink? Should you not rotate the water supply every so often?

We don't live in an earthquake zone, but we do have power failures regularly and no power = no water. In fact, we have a BIG generator. I also keep one 1o litre (2.64 US gals) plastic jug full of water with the purchased date marked on it in large print so that in an emergency we would drink only the latest date. And hope it's still potable I guess.
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#14 JadeShing

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 12:14 PM

I saw some of the TV footage from the earthquake in Japan and it seemed like alot of people were pouring out onto the open street from apartment blocks and what not... many of them had on a hard hat which looked like a standard issue kind of thing , its crazy to see the cameras still rolling while everything is shaking.. I hope everyone there is alright :(
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#15 Jaymes

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 12:25 PM

I had what must be a truly singular earthquake experience, in that I knew one was headed for me.

Years ago, we lived in the Philippines, in a town about 50 miles north of Manila. I was sitting on my bed one evening, watching the TV news that was broadcast live from Manila. All of a sudden, during this live broadcast, a major earthquake hit Manila. You could see the newsroom shaking, things crashing about, pieces of the ceiling falling, and the news anchors diving under tables and desks.

I knew the broadcast was live and I knew that meant that this earthquake was headed for me.

So just a few minutes later when I heard the rumbling of a train rapidly approaching, I knew it was no train.

The earthquake killed about 800 people in the Philippines, so it was a pretty good jolt, even by the time it got to me.

What a really weird, surreal experience to know that an earthquake was about to hit.

#16 sparrowgrass

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 12:27 PM

Red Cross has great information on how to plan for an emergency.

I am on our local disaster team, and have been to many classes on preparedness and emergency management. I am in Missouri--about 100 miles from the New Madrid fault. If we have another earthquake of the magnitude of the one in 1811-12, St. Louis and Memphis will look like New Orleans after Katrina.

I need to be prepared--if that happens, our little county, 90 miles south of St. Louis, won't be reached for weeks, probably. The grocery stores will empty in a day or two--they already look awfully bare the afternoon before a big snow storm is predicted!! And, because of the geology of our area, we may be relatively untouched, and the first undamaged place the refugees from the river bottoms will find.

Earthquakes aside, the tornados and the ice storms knock out power regularly. I have an electric heat pump, so I installed a ventless gas heater--looks like a little woodstove without a chimney, and it keeps me nice and warm. I have enough food in the pantry and the freezer to last a long time--the stuff in the freezer might have to be canned, but I have the supplies and the fuel (and the know-how) to do so.

Water supply--yes, do rotate your water, or set the older water aside for cleaning and flushing toilets, if you have the room. Bottled water has a date on it. There is water in your toilet tanks, and in your water heater--find the tap on the bottom of the heater, now, before you have to find it in the dark!!
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#17 PopsicleToze

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 12:36 PM

Water supply is critical, but having food stored is also needed. After a storm of that magnatude, you can't buy much because all of the registers are down, etc. Canned meats, soup, crackers, etc. help a lot. Price gouging happens. Cash is also critical.

Praying and thinking of all of the people in Japan right now.
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#18 Dakki

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 12:41 PM

As for storing water...what about the length of time that stored water will be safe to drink? Should you not rotate the water supply every so often?

The Red Cross has a handy guide to storing food and water for emergencies.

The upshot is, replace water every six months if you stored it yourself.

I don't think the pamphlet includes instructions for sanitizing suspect water with household bleach so here they are.

As dcarch said, you can drink water from the toilet tank (but not the bowl, for obvious reasons). Given warning of an impending storm etc. you can also store drinking water in foodsafe buckets, stockpots, bathtubs etc. for short-term use.
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#19 Darienne

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 01:28 PM

Beside the usual candles and matches, we also have a few of those flashlights and lanterns that you can wind up and use. Have to be able to see the food too.
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#20 Marlene

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 03:50 PM

We don't really live in earthquake territory, but tornadoes have been known to rip through cottage country. There was one 5 or 6 years ago, and you can still see the damage on some of the properties on the lake. More common, are lengthy power outages. Often after a storm, you can't get out for several days as trees tend to fall down over the road. A couple of years ago, we were up at the cottage over Christmas and the power was out for six days. We were unable to get out for three of those days, due to downed trees.

Back then we had a small generator so we were able to keep the fridges going, but cooking on the stove was out as was running the pump for the well. We heated water on the oil stove and we did all our cooking outside either on the bbq or the coleman stove. Temperatures were at average, -30 celcius the entire week. We also had six guests that week,

I have an extra freezer, here which is always well stocked with meat and frozen veg. My pantry always has canned soup, canned tomatoes and other canned goods. Not only in case of tornadoes, but going to town is at least a two hour process. My husband insists on stocking up on toilet paper because, well you know, if the big one hits, you're going to need it. Or so he says. We keep several battery powered lanterns around, and a ton of extra batteries, and at the time had two induction burners that could be run from the generator. We've since upgraded the generator to a very large one that runs the whole cottage including the stove, so we don't have to worry as much.

So a generator tops my list of essentials for the aftermath, and a stocked freezer and pantry. If I've got meat and frozen veg and rice, we're going to be pretty good for a few weeks if needed. And even though we have a well, we always have a substantial amount of bottled water on hand because my son and I drink a lot of it.
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#21 torakris

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 04:04 PM

Well that quake yesterday sure scared the crap out of me! They normally tell us here to get under a table but since we have a back yard that opens into a huge empty field, we tend to go outside instead. Just outside our back door we have a storage shed we all of our camping gear, tents, sleeping bags, gas ranges, BBQ grills and charcoal, flashlights, etc. I also hoard canned food, though I may have to think about moving it closer to the door in case we can't the back in the house. After the big Kobe earthquake in '95 I started keeping bottled water out in the shed but that has long since disappeared. I will have to restock that.
Our place in Yokohama is too high and too far away from the ocean to be affected by the tsunami but I did feel a little safer knowing we had enough surfboards in our backyard to float on if needed....

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#22 Darienne

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 04:09 PM

So a generator tops my list of essentials for the aftermath, and a stocked freezer and pantry. If I've got meat and frozen veg and rice, we're going to be pretty good for a few weeks if needed. And even though we have a well, we always have a substantial amount of bottled water on hand because my son and I drink a lot of it.

Ditto Marlene for the generator.

Very important to service your generator regularly. I can't give you the exact info here, but you must run it every so often and take care of the gas in it...DH could tell you in a minute but he's not here so I can't ask...or it may not run when you need it. Seriously.
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#23 andiesenji

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 04:17 PM

I've lived through major earthquakes - was evacuated after the '71 Sylmar quake because of fears the Van Norman dam would collapse.
The '94 Northridge quake caught me on the 14 freeway just 2 miles from where the crossovers collapsed in the Newhall pass. My dogs delayed me a few minutes, otherwise I would have been right under them.

I have solar panels and generators to power the fridge, freezer and lights. I have a "portable" propane stove with three burners that I used to use for catering jobs. It got a lot of use after the '94 quake because we had iffy gas lines and no gas for a week. I cooked for the neighborhood.
I have water and canned meats, veg (lots of beans) and milk that are rotated on a regular schedule.
Canned hams, beef, chicken (fish for those that can eat is) in large cans are a good backup if you don't have power for freezer and fridge. They generally have longer shelf life than the smaller cans.
I have six cases of canned emergency drinking water that has a 30-year shelf life.
it is expensive but is safer than storing water in plastic for prolonged periods.


The first quake I experienced was when visiting my dad out here - a week after I arrived, the 1952 Kern County quake was a real jolt! in more ways than one. My dad drove us up to Bakersfield the following day to check on a home he was building on the east side of town. All the roofing tiles that had been stacked on the roof were on the ground and broken. His foreman and the other workmen were all spooked by the frequent aftershocks. It certainly made an impression on me.

Edited by andiesenji, 11 March 2011 - 04:23 PM.

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#24 Jaymes

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 04:19 PM

I have six cases of canned emergency drinking water that has a 30-year shelf life.
it is expensive but is safer than storing water in plastic for prolonged periods.


That is a great idea. If I'm ever living in earthquake country again, I'm going to do the same.

We often have to save up large quantities of water down here in coastal Texas, but it's for hurricanes. One good thing about a hurricane - you know it's coming.

#25 dcarch

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 05:00 PM

A few thoughts:

1. There is no such thing as ventless heater. All combustion depletes oxygen. "ventless" heater have a sensor to sense oxygen level to shut down the unit. I wopuld not have my family's life depend on a little sensor.

2. If you don't have a generator, at least get an inverter. They are so inexpensive. You can plug into your car, and run the engine for many hour to power up phones, tvs, computers, recharge cell phones, lights, pumps and thermostat for you heating system, etc.

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#26 Dakki

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 05:44 PM

Here's a more general question - how long and severe an event should one reasonably prepare for? Scenarios for this sort of thing run the gamut from "three days before the city gets around to fixing power, gas and tap water" to "the complete collapse of modern civilization, complete with Australian punks in mohawks and leather pants." I'm leaning toward the three-day crowd but, hey.


Well that quake yesterday sure scared the crap out of me!


Thanks for checking in. You've been on my mind. I think that goes for a lot of us here on eG.


+1
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#27 Marlene

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:37 PM



So a generator tops my list of essentials for the aftermath, and a stocked freezer and pantry. If I've got meat and frozen veg and rice, we're going to be pretty good for a few weeks if needed. And even though we have a well, we always have a substantial amount of bottled water on hand because my son and I drink a lot of it.

Ditto Marlene for the generator.

Very important to service your generator regularly. I can't give you the exact info here, but you must run it every so often and take care of the gas in it...DH could tell you in a minute but he's not here so I can't ask...or it may not run when you need it. Seriously.


Our generator starts up every Friday at noon and does a test run to make sure it is still working. It runs on propane and the propane company is very good about coming out every month to service it.
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#28 Darienne

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 06:19 AM

Ours runs on gasoline and in the spring DH drains it and refills it with new gasoline...just regular gasoline. He says the gasoline must be changed at least once a year.
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#29 andiesenji

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:46 AM

Here's a more general question - how long and severe an event should one reasonably prepare for? Scenarios for this sort of thing run the gamut from "three days before the city gets around to fixing power, gas and tap water" to "the complete collapse of modern civilization, complete with Australian punks in mohawks and leather pants." I'm leaning toward the three-day crowd but, hey.


For places where quakes are fairly common, the utilities and local government services are geared up for fairly rapid response but in the north end of the San Fernando Valley power was out in some areas for more than a week and because of ruptured gas lines (with spectacular fires) gas service was out for a month. It just depends on what type of ground you are on and how close to the epicenter.

In my opinion, the folks who should do some preparation live within the area that would be affected if a major quake occurs on the New Madrid, MO fault. Historically major quakes have occurred about every 200 years and we just passed the 199 year anniversary of the last really big one. Bridges will fall, shipping on the rivers will be disrupted and major gas and oil pipelines that also cross the rivers will be shut down. Buildings in that area are not built to withstand a lot of ground movement so there will be a lot of damage and according to historical evidence, anyone withing a 150 mile radius could be severely affected. It still amazes me that so many folks who live in that area have absolutely no knowledge of the seismic history of that area. I was born and raised some 80 miles from there and as my ancestors were there before KY became a state in 1792, and kept journals, there were family stories about the great quakes causing collapse of some bluffs along the Ohio river.

Since this is also tornado country, I'm sure many rural folks are prepared but not so much city dwellers.

After the '94 Northridge quake, a friend moved from here back to a place in Arkansas that is only a few miles from New Madrid, because it was "safer."
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#30 judiu

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 11:15 AM

For the sake of your peace of mind, DON'T FORGET THE EXTRA GASOLINE! Most gas stations, virtually ALL of them now, depend on electricity to move the fuel thru the pumps, and no electricity = no fuel. No fuel = no generator or motor vehicle. After Wilma, here in Broward County, it took a good week, at least, for any of the stations to open.
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