Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned

There are lessons to be learned from Katrina as well as from any disaster. More will come to light.

There were plenty of good and bad calls made in this disaster. If I was a mayor or governor I would add a couple of things to the list. If there is warning enough for a Mandatory Evacuation I would use all school buses, and other government passenger carrying vehicles to get as many out as possible, generally following established school bus routes for easy of planning. Also I would want to try to move as much heavy equipment (bulldozers particularly) and not just city owned, into safe areas that would be staging grounds to clearing the roads.

If a Mandatory Evacuation order is issued: Go.
Personal and Family Defenses are no longer optional.
Keep the tank 1/2 full or more always, I've been lax on that lately, in any case it should make the pump shock less.

Review local potential disasters yearly or so. Here in Northern Colorado we have a few major things:
Blizzards, we lived through the October Blizzard of 1997 everything was shutdown for a week. Evaluation: Very Likely Stay and play type disaster, usually have some warning (sometimes inadequate, like then) keep at least a 2 week supply of food on hand. Utilities usually okay except for electricity (usually).

Wild Fires, they were bad a couple of years ago when the drought was in full swing, we could see 4 in our county, In Utah a few years before we could see fires in every direction. Evaluation: Likely Scoop and run. Keep computers backed up, keep important and precious documents grab box updated.

Tornados: We are on the edge of tornado country. Evaluation: Likely, Stay and Play, pick up the pieces afterwards, put computer backups, important and precious documents and items in basement, keep updated.

Flash Floods, took out several homes a few years ago on the far side of town. Evaluation: Unlikely Scoop and Run. very small threat in our neighborhood.

CDC laboratory. Studies mad cow, chronic wasting disease and bubonic plague. Evaluation: Unlikely Scoop and Run but maybe ordered to stay and play. Should get more duct tape.

Budweiser Plant: Largest Ammonia Based Refrigeration system in country. Evaluation Unlikely Scoop and Run but maybe ordered to stay and play. Should get more duct tape.

Nuclear Waste Transporters on Interstate: Midlevel waste being moved from Idaho and others to New Mexico. Evaluation Unlikely Scoop and Run but maybe ordered to stay and play. Should get more duct tape.

I also think I need to create a Walk Away Bag. A simple light-weight 72 hour kit for the family that we use to walk out of the disaster area with. If we are surprised by a devastating disaster like a tornado or flood, we may have to walk out of the devastated area as all the roads are blocked covered with debris and walking is the only option. It only needs to last 3 days to allow you to walk out of the devastated area. This might not work too well if there is a supervolcano or giant meteorite but it will help and those are not too likely. My wife and I are not in the best of shape due to our injuries so lightness is more important to us you can add more if you want.

What should a Walk Away Bag have?
It should be a backpack with everything in plastic bags, the emphasis is on lightness. I am assuming a walk of up to 50 miles across a terrain of roads covered with debris.
Water is the highest priority, while I would want a gallon for each of us for 3 days that would be 72 pounds and not something we can do. So a couple of 2 liter bottles of water plus a water filter to purify water along the way. Plus a bandana to pre-filter the water.
Food is good to have but we'll survive without a lot of it, a box of energy bars will due just fine to keep us going.
Map and compass. A tornado can totally clean out a neighborhood, with nothing but the streets and foundations left, finding your way is more difficult so a good map will help and will show rivers, lakes and reservoirs where water can be obtained.
A small transistor radio with a speaker so everyone can hear the news and find out what happened and where to go.
A flashlight, preferably an LED one that lets the batteries last forever, but a MiniMaglite is fine too.
A pair of sturdy shoes and socks.
Tent, Poncho or tarp to make a shelter with.
First aid kit: Insect repellant, Vicks Vapor Rub (rub under nose to reduce rotting smells), small variety box bandaids, 1 box medium feminine hygiene pads (use as big bandages), 2 ace bandages to hold pads in place.
Toddler Add-on: 1 package diapers and wipes. Teddy bear or blanket.
Winter Add-on: Coat, heavy pants, sweater or sweatshirt.
Copies of Important Documents and computer backups (store in plastic as should everything in here should be)

If you have anything else to add in the way of lessons learned please add them to the comments.


Blogger Seva Alieva said...

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04 September, 2005 15:34  
Blogger Colleen Vesperman said...

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04 September, 2005 15:35  

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