There is nothing funny about stockpiling canned tuna

 

Rob, you seem to be making sport of those of us who keep a two-week supply of tuna in the house. But basic emergency preparation isn’t just for fruitcakes. You are living on a major fault line. It’s common sense to keep a week’s supply of canned goods, a two-week supply of water and water purification tablets in your home. You should also have a flashlight and batteries. You should have a first-aid kit, too, and you should know how to perform basic first aid.

You should also know what to do if there’s an earthquake — drop, cover, hold — and you should have a plan worked out with your family for making contact in case phone coverage goes down. (Drop, cover, hold is the right advice for a lot of unpleasant unforeseen events, such as bomb blasts.) It is a serious mistake to assume you don’t need to worry about disaster planning because FEMA’s just so obviously on top of things. You don’t need me to persuade you of this, do you?

By the way, did you know I have an alter-ego as a campaigner for better earthquake preparation here in Istanbul? (If you follow that last link, be prepared to cry with frustration–if you like kids and want them to live, that is.)

Here’s me demonstrating what you should do if the ground starts shaking. On the left: correct technique. On the right: Wrong! Don’t just sit there.

Disasters do happen. My family was in Port-au-Prince on January 12. Here’s my account of what that was like and here’s my brother’s. They were pretty happy to have enough food and water to last a week in their house.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheMugwump

    Claire’s recommendations are wise and prudent. I would add that you should have enough gasoline in storage to drive a thousand miles should you be faced with the need to bug out. Gas pumps don’t function when the power fails. And a firearm. A shotgun is preferable to a handgun especially for the unskilled.

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    @Claire

    Couldn’t agree more.

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    @MelFoil

    I’m not a member, but I know the LDS Church advises, strongly advises, their members to have one year’s worth of food and water purification supplies stored in their homes. I’m not going to go that far, but if you’re a non-Mormon living in Salt Lake City, you’re not going to be surrounded by panicking mobs, if the worst does happen. And your neighbors will likely have some to spare.

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    @TheMugwump

    Good point, etoiledunord. California residents should consider Salt Lake as a likely sanctuary city. You should have your route preplanned and avoid the major interstates if possible.

    Seriously, you folks in LA are going to be in a heap of trouble when the feces hit the oscillator. I remember flying into LAX at night and seeing the lights of the city disappear over the curvature of the earth. That’s big. Scary big. We know what the underclass does when civil authority breaks down. I wish you luck.

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    @

    I think there is an entire tier of network middle management that may want to weigh in on the question of Rob with a shotgun…

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    @
    ~Paules: …California residents should consider Salt Lake as a likely sanctuary city.

    Screenplay #2: Right here people. Hollywood likely wouldn’t buy the message in your version Drew but there may be something here for M. Night Shyamalan to work with…

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    @RobLong

    Relax, Claire: I’ve got it all — water, firewood, purification tablets, canned tuna and various other survival needs. When (if?) the Big One hits LA, I’ll be a lot readier than my neighbors in Venice.

    As far as firearms go, I keep my arsenal — if I even have one — on the DL. You want to know if I’m armed? Come knocking on my door a few days after The Event.

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    @TheMugwump

    Yeah, well, Hollywood deals in fantasy; the rest of us live with the realities. We already know that LA is prestige target for terrorists because it’s a symbol of American culture. Rumor has it that Homeland Security has already detected and neutralized a couple of terrorist plots aimed at LA. The only question that remains is how long the US can continue to get lucky.

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    @TheMugwump
    Rob Long: Relax, Claire: I’ve got it all — water, firewood, purification tablets, canned tuna and various other survival needs. When (if?) the Big One hits LA, I’ll be a lot readier than my neighbors in Venice.

    As far as firearms go, I keep my arsenal — if I even have one — on the DL. You want to know if I’m armed? Come knocking on my door a few days after The Event. · Jun 25 at 8:29am

    Most gun owners I know have more than one.

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    @MarkWilson

    If you keep gas in cans, you should put a stabilizer in it, and even then, periodically use it up and refill it. Gasoline doesn’t last forever.

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    @RobLong

    Agreed, Mark. I have a neighbor who discovered how unstable home fuel is, the hard way.

    And yes, ˜Paules, LA does seem like a theoretically target-rich environment, but that’s sort of the problem with LA, from a terrorist’s perspective. It’s a environment of low-rise stucco buildings spread out over miles and miles. It already looks like it’s been attacked. No heart (of course) and no center. I guess LAX is a juicy target, but airports, too, are sort of undramatic targets.

    No, my money is that when it turns into a rubble-strewn zombie battlefield, it’ll be either due to the 11.7 Richter scale shaker, or a mysterious infectious disease which made its small debut in a vague mention in ProMED seven months before.

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    @PeterRobinson

    In Switzerland years ago–it’s a long story–I got to know James Clavell, author of, among a lot of other blockbusters, Shogun. In Singapore when it fell to the Japanese, Clavell had spent much of the Second World War in a prison camp, nearly starving to death. The experience gave him the material for King Rat, perhaps the best of his novels. It also left him permanently traumatized. Although by the time he befriended me he had become a very rich man, he admitted to me that he still always packed a tin of tuna in his suitcase when he traveled. “If I had to,” Clavell explained, “I could live on it for a week.”

    Claire’s in good company.

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    @TheMugwump

    Rob, I’m not in the intelligence loop, but if I were Homeland Security, I would be keeping my eyes on the nation’s crop dusters.

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    @Claire

    Rob, I take it back. No matter how sensible it is, there is something just inherently funny about stockpiling tuna. Your ambiguity about the nature of your arsenal is an excellent policy. I too maintain deliberate ambiguity about these things. I note merely that I have never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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    @MarkWilson

    What about Dinty Moore beef stew? It has carrots and potatoes, a bit of fat (which you’ll probably need) and you won’t get mercury poisoning if it’s all you eat for 216 days in a row after the Event.

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    @AaronMiller

    I prefer beef jerky. Unlike tuna, it comes in a resealable package.

    Some of us still live close enough to the woods to hunt, if need be. For those who don’t, there’s always squirrels. I believe one of my neighbors has a recipe.

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    @RobLong

    Mark, you’re totally right: I also have a crate of Dinty Moore Beef Stew cans squirreled away.

    My plan is to save all of that canned stuff and start by eating all of the stuff in the freezer — that should stay cold and safe for four or five days, with judicious door-opening and fast door-closing — which I’ll cook over an open fire. Armed, locked, and loaded.

    Who said The Event can’t be just a little bit fun?

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    @AaronMiller

    Rob, I did exactly that during the 2 weeks I lost power after Hurricane Ike. Every night, all the neighbors met in a cul-de-sac with lawn chairs circled around a firepit. Off to the side was a line of tables where everyone would bring whatever they had cooked up that afternoon. Barbecue every night and a lot of laughs.

    Just as long as The Event isn’t a zombie apocalypse, I’m alright. I’d hate to lose good sausages to a peckish corpse.

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    @TheMugwump

    Just got this month’s American Rifleman in the mail. Taurus just introduced a rifled shotgun known as the Circuit Judge. It fires both .410 shotgun and .45 colt. Big game, small game, and personal protection all in one package. If you only have one gun in the house, this should be it.

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    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Re: Salt Lake City as a Santuary city: <http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Park-Larry-Niven/dp/0765326671/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286498575&sr=8-1&gt;, <http://www.amazon.com/Barsoom-Project-Dream-Park-Book/dp/0441167128/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1286498575&sr=8-3&gt;, <http://www.amazon.com/California-Voodoo-Game-Dream-Novel/dp/0345365984/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1286498575&sr=8-4&gt;. You’re welcome. ;-)

    Re: Dinty Moore beef stew: a staple item for all of us who were troop quartermasters in Boy Scouts. BTW, if you want help constructing your own emergency preparedness kit, you could do a lot worse than to find the local boy scout troop and talk to their quartermaster, and get over the fact that he’ll be ~15 years old.

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    @Misthiocracy

    Friends sometimes mock me because, though I’m not a vegetarian, I do enjoy cooking with soy protein (otherwise known as TVP) from time to time. It’s a heck of a lot easier to haul on a long canoe trip than ground beef. I keep a big jar of the stuff in my kitchen, so when the zombie apocalypse comes, I’ll still be cooking five-alarm chili for months.

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