The Go-Bag: "What does one wear to a truly stunning natural disaster?"

Living in California this day and age is like living under the Sword of Damocles, only most people don't realize it.

Heck, we are all living under the Sword of Damocles. Natural Disasters are plentiful, when you simply factor in enough time...

Posted by Final Historian at June 12, 2005 11:32 AM

Felt it here in the desert, 50-odd miles from the epicenter. At least it was over quicker than the range fire.

(And yes, I have a go-bag...)

Posted by P.A. Breault at June 12, 2005 12:08 PM

Having been seriously bitten by a rattle snake one week ago today and felt my throat closing up on me within minutes, today's earthquake (which in my home, not far from yours, felt like two long rattles rather than a bump) felt less threatening. Of course, my neighborhood didn't recently slide down a hill. A snake looks so small (it was a young snake), but it's venom is as huge as all four claws of a bear. I was in the ICU for 2 days and couldn't walk, all from a bite, well, actually two bites that came within one second. It feels related to your posting to me. I hope it does to you. I did have the tools I needed to survive: 911, a brother to hold me, and having heard on TV to stay as calm as possible. I was bit on my middle finger. Yesterday someone told me my whole arm looks like it belongs on a cadaver. He was absolutely right. I'm still processing this enormous experience.

Posted by barbara spalding at June 12, 2005 12:50 PM

I heard the china cabinet and one window shake and then looked to see who was in the neighbor's yard. Nobody.

Then the loud boom and shaking again. I told my daughter, okay, come with me and we headed to solid ground. She asked what was happening. I told her, I thought it was an earthquake.

However, I was not sure. One, because it felt different than most quakes and I have lived here (OC) my whole life. Never have I not known it was an earthquake until today. Two, no news about it, no neigbors in the streets, all was quiet. Three, I was just reading about the geologists who said the land was still on the move in Bluebird. I started to think, is the house sliding? Did a mighty eucalyptus branch land on the roof?

I saw a friend online and called her, just to verify my sanity was still intact. Yes, she said, she felt it too.

Finally, an email arrives from Caltech to say it was in fact a 5.6 earthquake.

Still, it was a odd quake. I thought it must not have been very deep for us to feel it all the way here, with that magnitude.
And, the house didn't sway side to side and that was different and it was much noiser than any I have ever heard!

Posted by Nancy Epstein at June 12, 2005 6:47 PM

Here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge we've had our own earthquake rumbles. Not very high on the Richter Scale but enough to know, enough to put chimneys askew. To realize, in a momentless moment, that the sudden noise is not a rushing train, that the cats running through the house in random rabbit-pattern evasions know something just as you do, that the subtle feel of floor moving under your feet means "GET OUT!"...and so I do. Out into the March light, barefoot in the snow...waiting. And there is nothing. Silence. It lengthens until I notice my feet are numb and blue. I return to the house, carrying my vigilance with me.

My husband calls from a hundred miles away. Yes. It was there, too. But how could I have known so utterly, so instantly, *what* that experience was? Maybe it's encoded...I think of the cats' terror. The old joke about the more the firma, the less the terror...

I call my elderly neighbor. Had she felt the tremor? Yes, she had. I tell her. Oh...really. Just an earthquake? I was worried, but if that's all...

For the go bag:

spiral bound notebooks. One lined, one without. Stout pencils. Pens that feel good in the hand. One book of poems -- whoever travels best.

Posted by dymphna at June 12, 2005 7:33 PM

I have a Go-Sack, a Go-Bag, and a Go-Box. The Sack is in the closet, and contains requisites necessary for a trip from here to there, God forbid. The Box is in the garage, and can be thrown in the car in a second; it has food, electronics, fire, cooking tools, wind-up radios, pointy things, all that Coleman crap you can buy at Target. The Bag has all the digitized histories. Worst comes to worst: one, two, three, and we're off.

I often feel foolish for having these things, let alone updating them from time to time. Until I read entries like yours. And the comments! I'll add a notebook and a book to the Box.

Tomorrow. Or one of the days that follow. Hell, next week. What's the ru

Posted by Lileks at June 12, 2005 10:38 PM

In order to avoid mudslides, forest fires and floods, move to South Central LA. What the heck? A few shootings, a few riots PLUS the quakes, no problem! (Not to mention the freeway shootings that have occured a mere couple of miles from here.)

Your "go-bag" concept is something I've considering for a while, most with my hard drive in mind (most pictures are scanned).

Posted by Juliette at June 13, 2005 12:23 AM

Here's just a bit o' something I'd think would have a place in your larger go-bag?

Please pardon the lack of a proper HTML link. I'm away from my crib-notes. Do feel free to properly encode it though!

But I do agree with your having those irreplaceable momentos in your go-bag. Living aboard a 30' sloop since '99, I thought my go-bag was fairly complete. I just learned that it wasn't.

Thank you for such a great insight.

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by Jim at June 13, 2005 11:04 AM

I believe I am acquainted with the author of New Addition number seven.

Posted by Deborah at July 25, 2005 12:21 PM

Not to be a grinch, or anything, but what if it's a big enough natural thump to put a whole lot of folks who DON"T have a go-bag out on the road with you...and one or more of them decides he wants YOUR go-bag, because he's hungry and thirsty and didn't bring anything, thank you very much...

Your go bag needs to also contain a Equalizer, something that will allow you to protect and defend your family from those whose go-bag is empty except for a knife or a club or a machete.

Sorry to bring things down from poetry and photo albums..., but tactical is really very practical.

Posted by Doug In Colorado at April 5, 2006 10:48 AM

Aha, someone beat me to the punch! It's all good!

Posted by Doug In Colorado at April 5, 2006 10:50 AM

Well, in all candor, let me say that *if* one had such a device, one would be a fool to advertise the fact on the Internet.

Posted by Gerard Van der Leun at April 5, 2006 12:39 PM

I live in Utah.

If the S were to in fact HTF, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. And we aren't LDS - just good neighbors with good neighbors.

If you or yours have chronic medical conditions, have at least a month of meds on hand independent of your normal supply. This means having a sensible doc and the self-discipline to rotate stock through the bag, but we do it for my wife (anti-coagulants).

Posted by TmjUtah at May 24, 2006 7:37 PM

Might have to rotate some things in and out now, but it pays to keep your preparedness up to date.

Posted by Gerard Van der Leun at May 7, 2007 10:48 AM

It won't preserve the personal "touch" but my disaster "go bag" consists of a few disks stored with a far-away relative that contain scans of all the pictures, documents, mementos, work materials, etc., that I really don't want to lose. (And really, now you can simply store them on-line or in saved email folders and they'll follow you anywhere.)

Posted by dcanalyst at May 7, 2007 4:19 PM

I live in Ohio, so I'm not so worried about earthquakes or mud slides. A go bag is a good idea for anyone, but for us, hunkering down is more likely than bugging out. Our when-not-if scenario is an ice storm/blizzard induced power outage.

Ten years ago it happened for two days. Not the end of the world, more of a test. My old house had a very old furnace, so I was able to bypass the gas solenoid and keep the gas furnace burning on a low flame. That was enough to keep the house around 60 degrees. My current house has a newer furnace, so that's not an option. I'm going to install a vent-less gas heater as a backup.

Posted by Rick at May 7, 2007 8:17 PM