I woke up last Sunday to the sound of my house shaking. Yup, an earthquake and wow, a really big one. Calmly and firmly I ordered the kids out of the house and waited until the shaking stopped. When we went inside my 6 and 8 year olds had already gotten their little mini-survival packs out (emergency mylar bags, flints, tinder and Swiss army knives) and were working on getting their heavier survival backpacks out from the closet (food, clothes and sleeping bags) while I swept up the broken glass on the kitchen floor. They did me proud. No worries, they could put them away, I said. "What about if the volcano goes off?" one asked. "Okay, leave them out and put your shoes on." I responded. I got out the short wave and some AA batteries and scanned to find an operating radio station running on a generator (Statewide power outage). When I found one, I got the location of the epicenter off the northwest coast of the Big Island, grabbed my topographic maps and saw that the tsunami (which never came) would be a non issue for my location. I was surprised by the lack of decent information on the radio. No one mentioned turning off gas lines to avoid explosions. All they said was stay off the roads and limit cell and land line phone usage. I got through to my wife on the other side of the island (working a crafts fair) and while rocks had tumbled from cliffs no one had been hurt. Dang, I thought. Is there any food in the car? How about water? Did she bring good walking shoes? Mental note, put all in the trunk How much gas was in the tank? I have a bad habit of letting the gas tank go to nearly empty before refilling. Okay, so from now on, gas fill ups at 1/2 a tank. 1/4 at worst.
Later in the day my neighbors came back from their survival trips into town. One said that 1000 generators had been sold in one day at the local Home Depot and he had bought one himself. [JWR Adds: I'm dubious about what your neighbor said. Is there a Home Depot store has that kind of deep inventory? Or were they mostly taking back orders?] I asked what kind of generator he got and he said gasoline. "How much gasoline do you have?" "Well, 5 gallons plus what's in my [car's] gas tank." "I see, and with no power on the island, how will you get more gas from the gas station? The pumps won't work." I queried. "You've got a huge propane tank over there. Why not get a propane generator?" I left him scratching his head. Why not get food and water? If the quakes and or tsunami took out the docks, then we'd have no food on the island real fast. Well, at least he could watch his big screen TV for a few hours until his gas ran out. Several of my neighbors didn't even have portable radios. - SF in Hawaii