Letter Re: Katrina’s Aftermath: Lessons Learned

Mr. Rawles:

Well, it seems that Katrina and friends have amply proven what you and many, many other survival writers have been saying for a long time.
1. You cannot depend on any governmental agency to look out for you and yours. Not federal, not state, not county and certainly not local. You have to be fully responsible for looking out for yourself and for your loved ones.
It also proved what I have always felt about FEMA‘s vaunted 72-Hour home survival/preparedness kit.
2. A 72-Hour (three day) Kit simply does NOT cut it, at all
Anyone who plans on anything less than a minimum of seven days (one week) is just kidding themselves and asking for trouble.
More realistically it really should be for fourteen days (two weeks).
And if you can handle it thirty days (one month) would not be at all unreasonable or out of line.

When you consider the great amount of death and destruction that was visited on the people of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast it is certainly not hard to feel a great deal of compassion and sympathy for those folks who lost their homes, businesses, loved ones or all three. Yet at the same time, considering the past history of hurricanes on the Gulf Coast and all the warning that was provided, how poorly many of those people were prepared for Katrina and her aftermath (in a great number of cases, not at all) I really cant and don’t feel too sympathetic. Mostly, I feel some anger and a lot of disgust that so many people paid so little attention to their own welfare and that of their children and old folks and totally ignored the well-known hazards of living on the Gulf Coast.
Lets take just a couple of points. First, WATER. There were hundreds (maybe thousands) of cases of severe dehydration, even death due to the lack of water. How stupid! How lazy!! Here in central Los Angeles County, California, I can buy a case of six one gal. bottles of Arrowhead drinking water for less than $5. Four cases for under $20. That’s enough water to take care of one person for more than three weeks. I’m sure that there are similar deals in the New Orleans area. Maybe even better ones. No one should have had a dehydration problem with just a bit of thought and pre-planning.
Another point It doesn’t really seem that many folks gave much prior thought about getting out of their second floors or attics onto their roofs. I mean really, using a shotgun to blow a hole in the roof! Dangerous and what a waste of shotgun shells. How about having a hatchet or small ax along with a tree-trimming saw. Chop a small hole with the ax and then make a larger opening with the saw. And what’s with this making the holes in the middle of the roof at the highest point of the roof. Cut the hole down near the eves and one or two rafters in from the end of the roof where its easy to get out and where any incoming rain wont be soaking the area where you would be trying to live.
One could go on and on about items like this but enough said. Think it through people and get prepared before TSHTF again! – J.S.