Malibu West Emergency Preparedness

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A STORY OF SURVIVAL FROM A LATIGO COVE RESIDENT

CH, Survivor of 2005 Hurricane Katrina:
I was living in Mississippi in August 2005 with my family on 6 acres of land in suburban Jackson.    I grew up in this area and had experienced many hurricanes over the years.   Our family knew the drill and kept supplies on hand including food, water, flashlights …

The weather folks seemed to have been caught off guard.   They waited one 24-hour period too many before they announced mandatory evacuations as the storm continued to grow in its severity.    The result of the delay was that thousands and thousands of people all spilled on to the evacuation routes at the same time.   Like in Malibu there was only one main two-lane road near us.   The result was gridlock, with cars stalled out, cars running out of gas and people’s tempers building. 

My family and I hunkered down in our home and listened to the wind crack generations old trees like matchsticks …   It was the period following the storm that was the challenge.    The electricity was out.   The normal water supply was non-operational or polluted.    … We were among the lucky because we had stored food and water…    I had ventured out because I am a filmmaker and caught some of this with my camera.   Someone was stabbed over a bad of ice.   What I saw was a sea of desperate refugees.

It was one thing to be prepared to exist for a few days after a storm, but it was another to realize we were completely cut off and that timeframe would become 3-4 weeks.   It was apparent that help would not be immediately coming and it was up to us to do what was necessary to survive.

My family and I made it through this experience.   But as we all know today, many did not and many who did have not as yet recovered.

CH’s Lessons:

  • Just because you may have survived disasters before, you can’t count on the next experience being the same.
  • If evacuation is called for, you need to get your head around what mass evacuation looks like –clogged highways and people panicking – and always keep a full tank of gas and supplies in your car.  
  • Complacency can get you killed.   Have multiple game plans because one or another might fail.
  • Plan for the worst.   You can never have too many supplies on hand.   Assess your supplies at least annually and don’t be lax in their upkeep.
  • You might be prepared but others might not be.   Other people may panic and go into survival mode and put you in a dangerous situation.   Have what you need and stay put.   Be self-sufficient.   Don’t create a reason to put yourself “out there”.