Submitted November 4, 2008

We tried to flee but almost ran out of gas and turned back

Hi Tom -

We were affected slightly by Katrina and Rita. After Katrina hit, tens of thousands of members of our church (LDS/Mormon) went to Louisiana for months to help cleanup, providing free help wherever needed. The biggest things I learned there is:

- You can't have too much water stored up
- You can't have too many chainsaws, extra chains, chain sharpeners and spare parts and chainsaw gas and oil stored up
- Cut down any shallow-rooted pine trees around your home, unless you live on the coast, in which case you might was well kiss your house (and any food/water/gear you don't pack out with you) goodbye.

While we were there in Louisiana, I recall morbidly thinking how awful it would be if Houston were to get its own Category 5 hurricane now that most of New Orleans had moved to Houston. Then Rita hit. Hope I didn't have anything to do with that ;-) We tried to flee but almost ran out of gas and turned back. The hurricane missed our place, so we weren't affected much except for loss of power and no gas in the city for 4 days. Others, of course, were affected much more by Rita.

With Rita, my emergency gear changed only slightly. We now have a 12v DC fan to pass around the van when escaping the city with the AC off to conserve gas. We now have a foldable port-a-potty doo-dad. We now have road-legal, leak-proof Sceptre military gas cans so I don't run out next time. That was for the road. For the home, I now have a 150-gallon LP tank to power our gas stoves to cook on the next time we lose power (our kitchen is all electric). I also now have a box fan since the AC draws too much power. Other than that, no my gear didn't change a whole ton. We were pretty well prepared to begin with.

Bill Coulam

A Note from Survival Authority, Tom Sciacca of CampingSurvival.com:

Comfort items. Many people underestimate the importance of comfort items such as a simple box fan, or a battery operated fan or a bag of candy in your emergency kit. When getting your emergency gear together, think about what items you can include that could make a bad time much better. If you have children, things that can keep them happy and busy are a very important part of your emergency gear such as coloring books, paper, crayons, pens and pencils.

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