Ike at T+24Hours

I was watching a report this morning given by a reporter from the Dallas Fox station currently in Houston.  I couldn’t help but be somewhat annoyed by the tone of the people he interviewed about the availability of supplies.  There seemed to be a lot of frustration along the lines of, “Where is FEMA?” 

Instead of wondering where FEMA was, my first question to these people would have been, “Where is your 72-hour kit?” 

If you look at the Ready.gov page on preparing a disaster kit, you will notice several references to three days (or 72 hours):  (highlights added by me)

They didn’t just pull this number out of their asses.  It takes time for local government to organize a response to a disaster, which is why it is each and every person’s responsibility to take care of themselves for the first three days after a disaster.

Further, FEMA’s mission is not to provide direct service to disaster victims, but instead to provide assistance to local government in obtaining supplies and funding to make it through the disaster.  Or at least that was the case until the wailing and moaning of those who were woefully unprepared for Katrina.  So those who are asking, “Where is FEMA?” might ought to instead be asking “Where will the City of Houston be on Wednesday morning?”


  1. Crystal says:

    Awesome post, Aubrey! Seriously, I didn’t know about the 3 day thing, but it makes sense. I need to get better organized. When our power went out the other day, my flashlight/weather radio wouldn’t work, I had no lighter or matches to light the candles and had absolutely no water in the house.

  2. This was fresh on my mind because I taught this section last week in our CERT class.  Anyhow, that ready.gov list is a good starting point for thinking about all the stuff you might need in an emergency.

    About water storage…if you don’t have any other sources and things get desperate, don’t forget about the water heater.  You can always drain it to get water.

    Also, I came across someone on a website during Ike who mentioned something called the WaterBOB, which is a plastic water bag you can put in your tub.  It looked interesting so I ordered one to try it out to see if it’s as good as they say it is.

  3. Mary Cole says:

    Let me know how the WaterBOB works out. There may be a draw back when it comes to drying it out before storing. I would think mold could develop if it isn’t thoroughly dried. I’m checking on it as a Christmas giftie for the LEPC group I coordinate.—Tia

  4. I just received it yesterday and got around to reading the box this morning.  Unfortunately, what they neglected to mention in their ads is that it’s a one-time-use item.  The instructions on the box tell you to dispose of it after use.

    While that certainly does away with any mold concerns, it seems a little wasteful (they’re $20/each).  I certainly won’t be trying it just to see how it works.