Saturday, June 30, 2007

Safety Propositions: Sheltering in Place

In my CERT class last week we were discussing disasters common to Minnesota and especially the Twin Cities. Minnesota is unusual in that fleeing your location in a disaster is a bad idea 90% of the time.

Most of the time (in Minnesota) the best answer is to hunker down and wait it out. In case of something like a bird flu epidemic, you may want to shelter in place for up to six months... but who among us could last that long without going to the store?

Minnesota is prone to natural disasters like floods, tornados, and blizzards. We also have fires and chemical spills, but not as often.

Floods are the most common natural disaster according to some sources, so it's a good idea to store a hatchet or small ax in your attic (one of those grizzly lessons from Hurricane Katrina). I also put some plastic glow sticks in my attic along with some work gloves.

Storing enough food, water, and supplies for three days in your home is a good idea. Keep a supply of plastic bags on hand too. Plastic bags have many uses, but porta-potty is an important (if often overlooked) one.

Keeping a smaller disaster cache at work is a good idea too since you're probably just as likely to get marooned at work as at home in a sudden disaster.

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