Evacuation

by Jerry K.

I was asked under what circumstances besides after an earthquake would you need your 72 hour kit?  The answer I gave is this, following any emergency where your house is not fully livable.  That brought further questions and so I decided a bit of explanation is in order.

We prepare for a Great Earthquake to hit Portland as it is the biggest natural disaster we can conceive that is likely to occur in our lifetimes.  Sure, we can look at preparing for Nuclear War (we are targeted by Russia, China and allegedly North Korea) but that is considered too far fetched and frightening.  We can prepare for Mount Hood to awaken and erupt.  Again, not likely anytime soon and besides, volcano experts say Mt.Rainier will be the next one to turn active after Mount St Helens.

Anyway, by preparing for the most likely worst case scenario we are also preparing for all the lesser disasters that are even more common to the Metro Portland area.  For example, at the time I am writing this article the “Pineapple Express” is roaring through the Pacific Northwest.  There have been mudslides, power outages, localized flooding, downed trees upon houses and cars, etc.  Homes in our stake have been affected and the residents, if prepared for a larger disaster can weather out these types of emergencies.

Besides these emergencies there are many others that can make a home unlivable.  For instance a fire or pipe breakage can both force a family out.  When my family came home from vacation we discovered that a ¼” water line to our fridge’s icemaker had burst while we were out of town.  For at least three days water ran through our split-level home.  Most of the house was uninhabitable until renovations could be complete.  For the first couple of days we were on our own.  The insurance company took awhile before they would pay for us to move into a hotel while workers tore up the floors, ceilings, carpet, etc. to fix the mold problem and water damage.  So during the first 72 hours we used our kits and camping gear to cook, eat and sleep in the back yard.

Police and Fire Department emergencies can require your family to evacuate for a lengthy time on very short notice.  Let’s say there is a barricaded subject down the street, or a broken gas main.  Emergency responders knock on your door and give you five minutes to gather your things and get out.  It may only be for a few hours to a day but you are better off with your spare clothing, medicines and toiletries from your 72 hour kits than just with the clothes on your back.

A longer set of emergencies requiring evacuation are those involving hazardous chemicals, whether a truck accident, train derailment or terrorist attack.  No matter where you live there are roads with trucks carrying chemicals passing near-by.  Wherever there is a store there are chemicals delivered there by truck.  Say a semi- is carrying a load of supplies for Fred Meyers.  In it there is a pallet load of chlorine bleach and a pallet load of window cleaners with ammonia.  If there was an accident the two could mingle and voila, a third more dangerous chemical spill is created requiring evacuation downwind.

Just remember that your 72 hour kit is also an evacuation kit for many different types of emergencies besides an earthquake.

2006 Noah’s Ark Newsletter/LDS Intelligent Living

Photo source: public domain

 

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