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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Prudent Prepping: Blue Skies and Emergencies

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

Everyone has heard about the overfull reservoir here in California by now, right? Did the people interviewed sound like anyone you know?

Emergencies Are Not Required to Have Clouds
As a Californian, I expect to be hit with earthquakes or wildfires. Floods are not on that list, given that we have had five years of severe drought. People living near rivers in other parts of the US have floods, levee breaks and the like; California never has too much water.

Here is a news clip from a local television station explaining what happened to the dam. Looking back through the station's page will show many, many people lining up to buy gas, clogging the roads trying to get out of the towns in the evacuation zone, and talking about how they left with just a pillow, blanket and their pets. The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported people at temporary shelters being without prescriptions, and how there are no early warning systems in place to alert many communities of expected disasters like tsunami on the coast or fires in inland forested areas.

I am not an engineer or a politician, so I will leave any discussion of reconstruction, blame and funding any fixes to others. What I do want to mention are fixes to the obvious, personal failings of many of the almost 200,000 people forced to leave their homes.

What Went Wrong
The people controlling the dam unwisely chose to limit outflow. Again, this is out of our control as citizens. But here is what Californians could have controlled, but didn't:
  • No (or very little) gas in their cars. Evacuation centers were set up in two areas, one as little as 50 miles away, but lines to enter gas stations were blocks long and contributed to the horrible traffic leaving the town of Oroville. 
  • No plan for leaving their homes on short notice. 
  • No system for meeting separated family members after evacuating.

What Went Right
  • The Dept. of Water Resources increased the outflow on the damaged main spillway, reducing the threat of a collapsing emergency spillway. Again, out of our hands. 
  • The various communities enforced mandatory evacuations, with almost 100% compliance.
  • No one died during the evacuations. 
  • The reported arrests for looting are less than five. 
  • The Red Cross, FEMA, and local groups all came together to provide food, blankets, cots and assistance to those needing help filling prescriptions. 
  • Even with the mandatory evacuation being lifted, many people are afraid to move back into their homes, in fear of leaving again if the rains return. 

What Can Be Done To Improve
For most of us here on Blue Collar Prepping, there probably isn't much to do. For friends, family and co-workers, though, there's possibly a lot that could be done.
  1. Ask if they have seen the Oroville reporting
  2. Ask if they have a plan to leave their homes quickly. 
  3. Ask them what is the meet-up point where everyone will be expected to go after leaving.
  4. Talk to them about your plans.
The last point is a bit of a sticky one for me. I don't share much personal information with my friends and even less about my preps, including my involvement with Blue Collar Prepping. I have had the conversation that many of you have related -- "Oh wow! Do you have an underground bunker, armored car and machine guns like that TV show??"  -- followed by laughter and not much listening when the discussion gets to buying extra rice and beans stored in a metal trash can or food-grade 5 gallon pails. I get tired of this reaction, so I am picky about with whom I talk  about prepping. Too picky, I'm sure, for their own good.

The Recap
  • Use your local or national news as an icebreaker to start the prepping conversation. Even if you aren't comfortable with starting it like I am, do it anyway. 
  • Bunkers or not, what we don't do now can come back to hurt those around us.
  • Good luck, and be safe.


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