Earthquake Survival Strategy
By Sage Shannon
I am mid-level prepper striving to increase my family’s survival level from two months to a year.
Living in Santa Monica during the Los Angeles riots in 1992 and the Northridge Earthquake in 1994 made me aware of the problems after a major event. I decided that I did not want to be where I would have to deal with a major metropolitan area and masses of unprepared people in the event of a severe earthquake/civil unrest. If they couldn’t handle two days without power then what would they do after two weeks?
We moved to less populated city 60 miles away 15 years ago and then in 2004, 20 miles from an incorporated city. For the hardcore prepper it might not be far enough but we still have to make a living and that means getting to town on a daily basis.
Every scenario consists of a number of variables. The trick, I believe, is to anticipate the variables and prepare for the worst ones.
We are talking a 7.5 or greater. There is major infrastructure damage. Bridges are down and the power is out. Cell and wireless service is non-existent. It could be seven to 14 days before we get any services back. We’re gonna hunker down, I won’t drive if I don’t know what is going on.
Considering we live on two and a half acres then even if our buildings are destroyed we can shelter in vehicles or tents for at least 30 days on our property. It won’t be fun but it is better than sleeping with hundreds of strangers in a shelter.
We have a generator and fuel. The fuel we store in five gallon containers marked with a date and rotated through our vehicles every two months.
There are 500 gallons of water in a storage tank (90 days of drinking for two people, three dogs and ten chickens). From day one there will be no flushing or bathing other than sponge baths until we can access the situation.
There is food for two months. We will use up the refrigerator food first then the freezer food, cooking all uncooked food as soon as possible. Then we move on to canned and dried food. There is also one month’s supply of dog food always on hand.
We can cook with propane from our tank (never let it get less than half-empty), propane from five gallon tanks, camp stove propane, wood and charcoal. For outdoor cooking there are cast iron pots.
For toilet facilities we have two septic tanks which are great if we have water to waste, if we don’t we will be digging latrines.
There is a thirty day supply of medications on hand. We have a darn good first aid kit and short of a compound fracture, I can handle simple doctoring such as shock, burns and CPR.
Flashlights, batteries, lanterns are in abundance. Radio reception isn’t the best but the car radio will work and we won’t run down the battery. We’ve even got some Citizen Band radios.
Immediately after the earthquake once we establish our own safety we check on our neighbors. Our neighbors have things such as tractors and tools and we know each other well. They might not consider themselves preppers but they are from the era where on a good farm there were food and fuel on hand because that’s what you did back then.
Depending on the situation we would have no problem setting up a little neighborhood watch, four hour shifts just keeping an eye out for opportunists at this point. There is even a set of walkie talkies for use.
Firearms are a necessity out in the country. We have chased off bobcats, coyotes and rattlesnakes with a shotgun, killed rabbits and squirrels that eat our garden with a .22 rifle and the .38 revolver and .45 are easy to carry. We know how to load and clean all of them. There is enough ammunition to keep a horde of ruffians or zombies away but I wouldn’t call it an arsenal.
If the earthquake is big enough it will be a few days before I can concentrate on a game of cards or a book so I think we’ll be talking to each other, our neighbors and trying to contact family. Oh, and cleaning up the mess.
Article by Sage Shannon – Sage Shannon lives on a couple of acres in Southern California with her husband, three dogs, ten hens and one happy rooster. She writes, gardens and loves to cook. A former journalist for a daily newspaper, Shannon considers prepping an highly underrated skill in today’s world.