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GUNS Magazine Digital May 2011 - Page 78
• J O h N C O N N O R • NO, ThE SKY AIN’T FAllING The right wrench at the right time… priceless! But just in case it does…. ost of us live on power grids which are M increasingly subject to massive system failure. ninety percent of you reside in areas susceptible to hurricanes or tornadoes; metro, forest or wildfires; earthquakes, flooding or avalanches; severe lightning, ice or snowstorms. consider too, there’s no sizeable American city with resources to self-sustain for a week before its shelves are empty, prompting riots and looting, martial law or anarchy. That’s not “scary talk,” it’s reality talk. Bad things happen with monotonous regularity—just not to all of us, all the time. It seems I bonked a beehive in the September/October issue of American Handgunner when I answered a reader’s question about the “best Doomsday gun”: which handgun would I grab if I had to get outta Dodge, maybe forever? The bees went berserk, the subject spun up and out, and I followed it with a column on survival planning—really, emergency contingency planning—in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue. They’re available at www. americanhandgunner.com if you’re interested. Essentially, my main point in that column was to start from the right place in emergency planning; “from the inside out,” addressing basic health and safety needs for yourself and family for a short-term low-threat situation before launching doomsday plans. Kinda like, if you’re not sure your spare tire’s inflated, don’t start looking for a survival sanctuary 400 miles away. While filing my scribbles from that column I ran across some notes from past interviews with survivors of several natural and manmade catastrophes; their 20-20 hindsights on how they really should have planned for virtually any emergency, and what they didn’t have that they really needed. Aside from common sense stuff like batteries, candles and canned goods, they had some suggestions you may not have thought of: “Shoulda hads” A wrench for the gas meter valve: The event was an earthquake. Structural damage took its toll, but fires and explosions from busted natural gas lines wreaked far more havoc. “My house was damaged but still standing; almost all of our things would have been salvageable. I smelled gas right away and knew to shut it off at the meter, but I didn’t have a wrench that fit the shut-off valve!” They had to evacuate the house, and it burned with all their belongings. “The mains up to the meters are When disaster strikes, an old crowbar beats a Platinum VISA card hands down. buried and strong,” he said. “The real danger is on the house side of the meter. Now we have four (meter wrenches); one for us, three to give to neighbors—fast!” Water filters, purifiers & containers: In the aftermath of a flood, “There was water everywhere, but it was polluted, filthy and dangerous. We had no clean water to drink, clean wounds with, bathe with and it was three days before (bottled) water got to us. Everybody got sick. One guy had a little hiker’s purifier, but we didn’t have containers to put water in and keep it clean, so everybody had to line up for one mouthful at a time. Another ‘must-have’ is a small hand pump. They’re cheap, but worth a fortune in an emergency.” Dust masks—lots of them!: Following a tornado and fires, “You wouldn’t believe how much crap is in the air—dust, fibers, organic stuff, heavy smoke full of oils, asbestos and God knows what. The movies show people with scarves over their faces, but they’re about useless. You need house-painting or medical dust masks; cheap and effective. “We had to walk miles to an aid center through clouds of choking crap. Our daughter went into respiratory distress and we were all coughing up black stuff for weeks. Now we have Breath of Life Emergency Escape Masks and a couple dozen regular dust masks.” Dental Emergency Kit: During an earthquake a former EMT with a volunteer fire department fell through his buckled bedroom floor to his ground floor. “It’s embarrassing,” he said. “I of all people should have thought of it. My two medical kits were almost perfect, but… my injuries weren’t bad except I broke a tooth and lost a big filling. The pain was excruciating and constant, 78 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • MAY 2011