This chapter of the Survival Guide deals with where you should stay if a natural disaster strikes.
Your best bet for survival is to remain in situ (where you are at). This advice is not based on individual situations
or knowledge of what kind of diaster you are facing. Staying where you are at has its risks but leaving the area
you know best also has its risks.
On the road you will meet many new people. Most are out for number one and nobody else. Where you live now
is where your neighbors live. You know them best but remember the emergency may change them.
If you plan on staying in your neighborhood then you can talk to your neighbors now and learn who among them is preparing
for survival by heading for the hills and who will remain in the neighborhood when disaster strikes.
These neighbors may mention disasters that you never thought of but are unique to your area.
You should make an effort to determine who is preparing for survival, but be careful. That person may have a one
year supply of food in storage and weapons to defend it. This person may deceide, after diaster strikes, that two years
worth of food is better than one year.
If he knows you have prepared for survival and you have shown him your supplies he may come armed to take them through
Always remember that the disaster may change people.
If you leave your home and head for the hills then you will be among strangers. At home you have people you know
and the posibility of neighbor protection such as block watches.
At home the ability to store essential and nonessential items for possible disasters are limitless. If you head
for the hills you can only take what your vehicle will carry.
On the road the people you meet will try to part you from your emergency supplies by trick or by force. If they
succed then you and your family will suffer.
Where should you stay if diaster strikes. That depends on your individual situation. Listed below are three
examples of people who live in Miami with a hurricane approaching.
First example, if you live in a house on the ground in Miami or elsewhere stay there if at all possible. Emergency
personnel may order you to leave the area. Make your own decision about leaving the area.
Emergency personell may order you to leave the area but the roads are clogged. Do you want to be on a clogged road
during a hurricane? If the disaster is a hurricane and you have prepared for it you may determine it is best to stay
On the other hand if you live in California and your home is threatened by a wildfire then you may deceide to stay or
flee. If you deceide to stay then make sure that your family is safe first.
Your own chances of surviving a disaster are better if you do not have to worry about your family.
One of the saddest events were the pictures of the aftermath of the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18th,
1980. Some photographs showed children who were killed by the eruption. Their parents should never have taken
them near an unstable volcanic mountain.
What should the law do about these situations. Warn the public about the potential danger. People who own
property should be allowed to access their property after they have been warned about the possible danger. Parents who
wish to bring their children to their property should be discouraged from exposing their children to danger.
Children do not have a need to enter dangerous areas that the government has deceided are to be restricted. Parents
should not be able to bring children, under 18, into restricted areas. If the children are already in the restricted
area the government should not be allowed to remove them without the parents consent.
For people who have no property in the area they should not be allowed into the restricted area.
Emergency personnel will want you to leave the area so they do not have to worry about you. Leaving the area may
not be best for you and your family. Remaining in situ with your family may be best for you and your family. Emergency
personell usually act in their own best interest not yours.
Prepare your house based on the assumption that you will live there during an emergency.
Try to develop a safe room. A room where you and your family will be safe from any probable emergency. The
best safe room would be at least four feet or more below ground and at least 6 or 7 feet wide. At least as long as the
Stored in this safe room should be at least three gallons of potable water per person and at least two five
gallon buckets full of emergency supplies, such as food. If the emergency arises then the contents of the five gallon
buckets shoud be dumped out and the buckets used for urine and feces. You should have at least one gallon of chlorine
bleach for the urine and a container of quick lime for the feces.
Do not underestimate the need for sanitation. It may be dangerous for anyone to leave the safe room to dispose
of urine and feces. You may be stuck with these for several days.
The water table may be near the surface of your yard. Install a sump pump to keep the safe room dry. Have
a hand pump available in case the electricy is out. If the safe room needs to be built above ground then stack dirt
against the walls for added protection.
Second example, if you live in a high rise apartment in Miami and you own a vehicle, where will you go that will provide
safety for you and your family. The freeway will be probably be bogged down with fleeing people.
Your best bet is to stay in Miami and prepare for the worst NOW. You and your family should
be able to live in your vehicle. A minivan is best.
Have a three day survival backpack in the van for each person in your household. See the chapter on three day packpacks.
Scout out nearby parking places. The best place to stay would be a concrete parking garage with no high buildings
to threaten it. When you and your family access this garage set up camp above the first few floors for protection from
If there is a suitable parking garage within walking distance of your home have your family meet
you there during an emergency (see emergency communications).
If it is more than walking distance from your home, or too dangerous to walk to, then meet your family at your apartment
or home and drive to the garage.
Third example, same situation only you do not have your own vehicle and you rely on public transportation, what
do you do?
Do you think public transportation will be operating during such an emergency? Don't bet your life on it.
The operators of the public transportation may deceide to protect their families and leave their jobs. Do you think
they will allow you on a public vehicle with your emergency gear. Don't bet on it.
Again, scout out nearby parking garages. A concrete parking garage is best. Other structures, such as wood,
may be destroyed during the emergency.
You should have an emergency three day backpack for each member of your family stored in your apartment or home.
In your apartment or home you should have a dome tent that does not need to be secured to the ground. This tent
should be large enough to house your entire family.
If you are going to head for the hills then any tent you have in your vehicle should be able to survive strong winds.
If you decide to remain in situ then the tent does not need to be able to survive strong winds.
If you need two tents then have an adult, with a whistle, stay in each tent. If you have problems with anyone
then blow the whistle. Assume the person causing the problem has a weapon and be careful.
Never leave any member of your family alone during an emergency, particularly children.
If you live in a cold climate and you plan to remain in your house then you will need to store a dome tent. The
dome tent should be erected in one of the rooms that you do not need.
Never have an open flame or high heat source in a tent. If the tent catches on fire you may be trapped inside and
burned to death. If you are outside of the tent when it catches on fire your house or apartment building may go up in
In your vehicle you should have a three day survival backpack for each member of your family.
A dome tent will reduce the amount of cubic feet you need to heat. With several people and blankets on top of the
tent you may not have to heat it at all.