Disaster Preparedness


isaster preparedness is vital.  I studied architecture.  Architecture students in California, for example, always had hurricane construction in their curriculum and on their licensing examination.  Now, the entire country has it because over time the causes of disasters are not as isolated as once thought.  It was well known that California had a high amount tectonic activity.  Well, a fault was found running along 14th Street in Manhattan, New York City.

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Our house remains from Hurricane Irma, September 6, 2017

More disasters occurred and many developments have been destroyed. I lived in the British Virgin Islands for almost twenty years.  I saw the results of hurricanes from destroyed structures to marine vessels landing several feet in on rocky shores.  

Fast forward to 2017 and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Aerial view of Tortola, British Virgin Islands after H. Irma September 6, 2017

Houston, TX post H. Harvey

Hurricane Harvey

H. Harvey was preceded with a lot of information, however, with any storm I learned the information can help people prepare based on that.  The factors that support a tropical storm can change in a minute. People in Texas complained that rainwater came in too fast to collect any belongings.

One woman stated she felt that people did not respect her enough to tell her that flooding would occur, that she was unable to collect valuable items.  This woman placed her trust in others and proceeded to beat them because she suffered. 

I did the same thing, in that I believed ZBVI's assessment of some hurricane I think in 2006 or 2007. I was at the store and saw ice bags.
My mind  "saw" ice bags, that is for me a message from Spirit.  I ignored it because of what I'd heard on the radio.

I roasted a chicken and cut it up for several days  for my husband.  Power was out for three or four days.  The chicken spoiled. The difference was that I blamed myself.  I was the one who listened to the "promise" that the storm was a Category 1 and power, if it went off, would be restored within twenty four hours.  I went all out to make sure my husband and I were prepared for the most extreme condition that could result from a tropical storm after that. 

Hurricane Irma

The above is an image of what is left of our house on Tortola at Josiah's Bay. This is the home my beloved created for us.  We were together for over twenty years. 

The satellite photo above that was claimed NASA "accidentally" released, show how clouds were altered with the introduction of energy waves.

Increasing Numbers of Disasters

Due to the increased numbers of disaster across the United States and the world, disaster preparedness has been added to the list of initial design criteria for architectural design and interior design. 

We have experienced several tropical storm events and earthquake tremors while living in the British Virgin Islands. The habits we have established during fifteen years of living there will be kept anywhere we decide to live.  The tropical storm formation migrates from the African coast westward towards the United States, passing the Caribbean.  The aftermaths are unpredictable: sometimes it is beyond human ability to know what will be affected and how long the conditions remain.     

There are three points with respect to disaster preparedness. It moves one into self-sufficiency.

Our house remains from Hurricane Irma, September 6, 2016

1. Architectural design improvements include designing a place within the center of the home called the safe area. This area is away from windows but has ventilation. This area's walls and ceiling can protect inhabitants during a storm or event.

Our house remains from Hurricane Irma, September 6, 2017

2. The environment should support life, not impact it with uncomfortable temperatures. Supplemental energy systems that do not rely on electricity should be collected and periodically used so that when they are required, they are fully operational. Include what every car in temperate to arctic environments should have: several Mylar blankets to retain body heat or for people in shock. Have the appropriate type of cover available for air circulation during warm months.


Disaster at Fukushima,Japan, March, 2011

3. An interior space should be capable of storing supplies and material for such a time. Products should be rotated, tasty so they will be consumed heartily, provide energy and be nutritious. 

Destroyed cell phone tower, Tortola, BVI

A Disaster Preparedness List


Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days for consumption.

Water for cooking, washing cookware, and flushing toilets is a guess depending on how many occupants and activities take place. During Hurricane Earl (Sept 2010) I used a disposable aluminum deep roasting pan to contain ice.

Though we used the ice for drinks, I poured the water into the toilet tank for enough to accumulate for use.

Toilet tanks do not need to be filled before the storm approached. but we learned through our experience and others that the water tank leaked into the bowl. The water tank periodically refilled to balance the level of water need for flushing. However, during the next disaster, I will and the water can be poured into an empty gallon container.


Disaster Preparedness and Personal Hygiene

I learned to reduce water for bathing from a gallon and a half to less than a gallon. An engineer, who was one of my instructors for the licensing exam preparation,  shared his bathing experience on a naval vessel was limited to three minutes. I appreciate Dr. Bonner's Tea Tree Oil liquid soap because it is anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, and concentrated. Squeeze a little on the body, use a nylon puff and it foams immediately. Start at the feet and massage towards the heart.

-Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes

-paper towels to use for bathing: wet with liquid soap; rinsing, and drying the body.

-toilet paper to use the same as above; treats the portable water closet as a bidet.
Wash and dry after a bowel movement and dispose of used products in the portable toilet.

-portable toilet constructed with a five gallon container lined with a contractor's garbage bag (because they are 4 ml. and sturdy.) Drape it over the outside of the container. Top it off with a portable toilet seat for comfort.


Disaster Preparedness and Laundry

-Fill the washing machine for soaking clothes or linen.

-Over a half of a dozen laundry sheet products are available. They are dried detergents without the water. The products are lightweight, packaged in cardboard, and very easy to carry.

-Small pails for laundering heavily soiled clothing with minimal water and parts of laundry detergent sheets.

-Use pillowcases to separate soiled clothing. Keep them ll in a plastic bag to prevent odors from flowing through the living space.

Disaster Preparedness and Nutrition

-Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days— non-perishable packaged or canned food. Food selection for disaster preparedness should consider the need to remain alert and for adults to sleep sparingly. Foods that cause allergic reactions should be avoided.

Fish is sold in light, disposable, packs with little water or oil. I carried several when I traveled to be with my husband while he was in hospital.

-Packaged, dehydrated noodle meals

-Battery operated container to heat water for beverages and food.


Dried fruit and nuts

- foods for infants or the elderly

- snack foods- dried fruit, nuts, seed


Fruits with skins that need little to no refrigeration

- comfort food, used sparingly

-Non-electric can opener

-Cooking tools / fuel

-Paper plates, plastic cups, paper cups or mugs for hot beverages / plastic utensils that can be reused.

When I lived in the British Virgin Islands, an  associate at a supermarket had the idea of packaging different size plastic bags together. All of the ex-pat women loved it because we traveled. Rather than buying the different sizes separately, we bought one tied-together pack. It would do well to but them for humans and pets. They are available in Costco and BJ's in the United States, and may be available in other wholesale  markets.


Packaged Ceres Juice, delicious and needs no refrigeration.

- beverages packed in asceptic cartons - do not require refrigeration (i.e. Tetra Pak cartons, the corporation that developed the container)***


H. Harvey Disaster Shelter 2017

Disaster Preparation for Comfort and Sleep

-Blankets / Pillows, etc.

-Insulating blankets - plastic sheeting used for emergencies

-Clothing – seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes

-First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs

-Special Items – for babies and the elderly

-Flashlights / Batteries

Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio

Telephones – Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set

Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards – Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods


Toys, Books and Games

Important documents –
                                  – insurance records
                                  - medical records - bank account numbers
                                  - Social Security card, etc.

Purchase laminating sheets and get those important papers sealed. Trim with at least 1/8" or 3/16" plastic seam to ensure water will not penetrate.

The electric food saver, the device that removes air for packaging may be used for sealing important documents and copies.Consider using the device for sealing mementos also.

Tools – keep a set with you during the storm

Vehicle fuel tanks filled prior to storm hitting the area


H. Irma, Tortola, BVI 2017

Disaster Preparedness and Fur Babies

I have seen many disaster recovery segments.  People return to their homes and find pets wandering, looking for their owners.  The ASPCA recommends asking a veterinarian for a list of pet-accepting shelters.

- ample supply of food and water

-proper identification / immunization records / medications

- a carrier or cage

- muzzle and leash - comfort items like toys, covers, etc.

-Various sizes of plastic bags for waste and storage 

-puppy pads


The Wonder Dog who helped me love dogs, PJ!

Additional suggestions from the ASPCA website:

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)

  • 7-10 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)

  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)

  • Litter or paper toweling

  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant

  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up

  • Photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless)

  • At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)

  • Flashlight

  • Blankets

  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)

  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase, toys, scoop-able litter

  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner

 PJ helping me do computer work

Disaster Preparedness Food Packaging

I am a wholistic health coach and it has been brought to my attention to reconsider beverages stored in Tetra Pak cartons. The aluminum lining may interact with the contained substance. Because the Tetra Pak carton is relatively new when compared to metal cans, people still question what metal cans can do to food. Metal cans have a treated lining, bisphenol which is an epoxy resin.  It interacts with food. Tetra Pak cartons are also recycled in he United Kingdom.


Ceres Juice needs no refrigeration until it's opened. Some milk products are sold in Tera-Paks.

"Each year, UK beverage carton manufacturers produce 55,000 tonnes of paper-based cartons for milk, juice, sauces and other liquid food/drinks. This equates to around 2.3 kilograms of cartons per household. These cartons could be recycled instead of thrown in the rubbish bin."
Visit Tetra Pak Recycling Banks to find out more. 

It is unfortunate that the Tetra Pak was not in the United States. However, it is now but I have only seen it in a few flavors.  It allows for long term storage without refrigeration until opened.  Furthermore, it provides basic fluids like skim milk or juices in smaller packages making them easier to carry.  It weighs less than products in metal containers. Soy milk, for example, is not available in quantities less than one gallon cartons. Skim milk is available in a Tetra Pak pint size in the British Virgin Islands and in the United Stares, I believe.

Disaster Preparedness and Preppers

Disaster preparedness will require you to be innovative. So many factors impact the duration of an event and, because of the many unknowns, you may not be able to prepare for every contingency. You may not carry enough items to keep children or yourself occupied the entire time. One idea found at a web site showed that creative people are recycling these cartons as shelves, wallets, and batteries. While sheltered, you may consider activating the creative juices using emptied, non- reused cartons.

The prepper "industry" began when Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008. White people posited that former President Obama was going to create a climate where African-Americans would murder Caucasians with impunity.  The preppers prepared for all services to halt and create communities away from urban areas as far as possible. I collected a great deal of the prepper information.  It all makes sense, encouraging the individual to become self-sufficient. Remember, Obama signed an EO for all citizens to turn over all foodstuff to FEMA authorities during a martial law episode.  One person shared that they were in a telephone interview where the interviewer asked if he had a farm and what did he grow.  WHAT?!

Preppers have observed the erosion of civil liberties, another thing for which they are preparing.  Educate-Yourself.org is a favorite web site of mine.  It prints the news mainstream media will not.  It is prudent to create a bug-out bag that is kept near your front door.


From https://www.lovethispic.com/image/181191/backpack-visual-guide

Your Basic Bug-Out Bag

As with FEMA suggestions and the Disaster Preparedness List above, carry a minimum of three days worth of supplies of everything necessary to function from shelter to body wear and protection. Include camping equipment such as a compass because you may be moving. Modify the list above.  For example, pack lightweight reusable utensils rather than disposable ones.

Each member of the family should have one. Each pack should contain everything for the person carrying it to be self-sufficient. If for some reason members are separated, then the individuals can continue until the family regroups. 

All vehicles should have survival equipment as well. Weather services and news media cannot predict what will happen.  The services can only provide information on which you can make choices.  That woman in Texas and I made choices based o the information we heard.  I use intuition, my gut.  From now on, after hearing any information, that will rule.


Disaster Preparedness for Category 5 Hurricane

So far, there isn't any.  I was going to write that comically, but it's no joke. There aren't any. A taxi driver who became a friend would drive me around Tortola before we had an automatic car. My husband would call automatics "idiot cars." After a hurricane, he and I would muse about category 4; 5; 6 and 7.  We laughed nervously because we knew nothing would survive past 5. The island of Barbuda was 95% destroyed.  

The energy increase of Hurricane Irma was unprecedented.  I was watching the Weather Channel's coverage of H. Harvey which pummeled not only Texas but Louisiana and  Alabama.

Structures constructed from concrete or stone, for the most part, fared well during the hurricane. However, people told me they witnessed winds pick up large stones and saw them hit buildings.Depending on the size; the density of the stone, and the velocity per wind speed, and where the stone struck the building, structural integrity could have been compromised.

Several of these buildings lost their roofs. We learned of a product called Truss Panel designed by an engineer in California. Structures constructed from Truss Panel survived with only surface cracks during the 1994 earthquake in Northridge, California. The engineer sold the product. It was being manufactured in South America and then it was sold to the Dominican Republic. This product is amazing: it could be used for everything from the foundation to the roof and elements in between

- walls, floors, counters, and cabinets. The form is erected first. HVAC is run and installed within the form.  Insulation within panels is scooped out to install materials such as lighting boxes. Protect what Gunnite is not supposed to cover, then spray. Truss Panel sets up in two hours. This product was used in the USVI after Hs. Luis and Marilyn in 1995.



Disaster Recovery


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