Runaway coffins. It’s an issue floating to the surface with increasing frequency in Louisiana. It happened again last month when two feet of rain fell in less than 72 hours in some parts of the state. Towns were flooded — as were their cemeteries.
That’s a catastrophe for the living though not usually for the dead. But in many parts of Louisiana coffins are placed partially or wholly above ground in raised tombs or vaults. They are not buried. So when a big storm hits, and flooding lasts for days, the vaults — and the coffins within them — can float.
“What happens is when we have hurricanes which brings flooding and high winds, buoyancy will cause these vaults to pop up and then float away from their graves,” says Arbie Goings, with the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, a group activated by the Department of Health and Human Services in case of large-scale disasters.
The real challenge is when the waters recede and they’ve rounded up the coffins, how do you know to which grave they belong?
After Hurricane Katrina, when nearly a thousand departed escaped their earthly moorings, Louisiana required that all coffins have some kind of identification. But Goings says that’s had mixed success. Death certificates tucked inside coffins are destroyed by water. Labels wash away.
Hurricane Katrina Victim Rebuilds Her Life Again After Louisiana Floods
Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest hurricanes ever to hit the United States. An estimated 1,833 people died in the hurricane and the flooding that followed in late August 2005, and millions of others were left homeless along the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans.
Long-Term Food Supply
In the event of economic crises, sweeping natural disasters, or other massives disruption of the political and social order, will you be prepared to survive? Yes, if you follow the author’s advice.
Have you heard the news today? Energy crunch, money crisis, shortages, and predictions of worldwide famine within two years because the population of the earth is exceeding the productive capacity of the land.
What can you do to protect yourself and your family? How can you be prepared to survive? One of the best insurance policies to own in these times is a year’s supply of food. (Ideally, the planning should include other necessities too, since warmth, cleanliness, medication and so on may also be essential to your own survival and that of your loved ones.) Once you prepare yourself to live for a twelve-month period without any income, you’ll find that you’re ready for strikes, floods, earthquakes, power failures, unemployment, tornadoes, war, epidemics, riots, etc. The feeling of security is fantastic!
The main theme of any survival program is “Rely on yourself.” In a true emergency or panic, grocery stores would be out of staples in a few hours and completely emptied of food in about two days. Their wholesalers’ supplies would be exhausted within a week.
And don’t expect public or private social agencies to step in and fill the gap. The Red Cross has limited resources that are already overtaxed. Even the government and the many service organizations it sponsors may not be willing or able to subsidize everyone during a large-scale disaster, and certainly not during a depression. Here, then, is a step-by-step plan to offer you the best chance of getting through the worst the future can hold.
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Water is the first and most basic need for survival. You can live for weeks without food but only two or three days at the most without this precious fluid. In the event of nuclear disaster, terrorist sabotage, tornado, chemical and bacterial warfare or accident, the public water supply may become contaminated. Therefore, your own cache is of prime importance.
You should have on hand one gallon of good drinking water per person per day for a period of two to three weeks. This is a survival ration which precludes bathing, dishwashing, shampooing and other uses which are not absolutely essential. If you live in an arid climate, you may feel more secure with a larger reserve. If your home is in a remote area and has a deep well, you might get by with less. Whatever your situation, though, the establishment of a water cache is very important and very inexpensive. Do it now!
Storage of a water supply is extremely flexible. Some people use tanks, or purchase five-gallon jerrycans. The most inexpensive scrounge method I’ve ever seen anyone put together consists of making daily rounds to laundromats to collect empty Clorox jugs (plastic containers which have held various other products may allow harmful or distasteful residues to leach into your reserve.) The bottles are filled from an indoor tap, identified as “DRINKING WATER” with a Marks-A-Lot or other felt-tipped marking pen (remove the paper label first) and squirreled away in odd nooks and crannies around the house wherever space permits. If four drops of any 5 1 /2 or 6% hypochlorite bleach such as Clorox or Purex are added at bottling time, the liquid will remain sweet for years … except for a flat taste which is easily cured by aeration before use.
If you can your garden produce, the jars—as they are emptied—may be filled with water for storage and thus made useful the year round. Should you choose to hot pack such containers and close them with caps that seal, don’t add chlorine. The canning procedure will eliminate any bacteria.
Defense and First Aid
If you live in a large city, you will have to expect—at some time or another in a survival situation—to defend your life and goods. There may come a period when the law of the jungle is the only law in effect, and you will be forced to live by it or be killed. I feel a considerable amount of revulsion at the idea of deliberately harming another human being, and would rather protect myself by avoidance. I find, however, that I must face the prospect of being unable to escape a confrontation and having to defend myself and my own.
In the role of defender, one should choose a weapon that is inexpensive, easily used by male or female and adequate to stop an aggressor (not necessarily to kill one). Make sure all who are to use it are thoroughly trained. Remember, firearms are always dangerous and should never be stored loaded. Keep all arms and ammunition out of the reach of children.
On a less grim note, the right knowledge at the right time can be as valuable a safeguard as any weapon. Take first aid training, or at least buy a manual and study it. Enroll in civil defense courses on survival and emergency preparedness. If you have the time and inclination, you might even try an outdoor survival course or a field trip series on foraging.
If you have trusted friends who feel as you do about the need to prepare for difficult times, you might give thought to working out a mutual assistance program. A word of caution, though: It would be nice if everyone were honest, but—as has been proven in hard times all through history—some folks who suddenly find themselves in a tight situation get desperate, throw character to the winds and become downright savage. A hard-working Mormon family I know had their food supply ripped off and I discovered someone close to me planning the same thing. So be sensitive and careful, and choose your companions well.
Long-Term Food Supply
A year’s food supply is the next priority. Before you begin gathering your stock, you’ll need someplace to store it. This may be a retreat, root cellar, garage, house, or barn. Wherever the cache, it must be accessible and secure against spoilage and oxidation, rodents, insects, water damage and extremes of heat and cold. The best temperature range is 55° to 65° F.
Storage containers must be tailored to the space available and the type and amount of food. A secondary consideration is convenient handling of the stored provisions for consumption and stock rotation.
The second pressing need in any survival program is for an advance supply of drugs for those who must take medication on a regular basis. This group includes heart patients, epileptics, diabetics, women who must—for health reasons—avoid pregnancy and all others whose lives might depend on a store of medicine. Visit your doctor and explain to him that—in case a strike of pharmaceutical company employees or truckers, or a civil disturbance, should temporarily deprive you of your supply of drugs or access to their source—you would like a standby reserve.
Whatever you do, do not store away the extra medication your doctor arranges for you. Use your regular supply, then the reserve . . . which, in turn, has just been replaced with your next prescription. Thus, you’ll always rotate your stock to keep the drugs fresh. If possible, use this method over a period of time to build up a year’s supply of medication and make sure you have at least two weeks’ reserve to start.
Short-Term Food Supply
The third priority in your survival program is a food supply of at least two weeks’ balanced diet. The very best advice on this subject available at present is the U.S. Department of Agriculture Home and Garden Bulletin No. G77, Family Food Stockpile for Survival, available free from the Office of Information, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although the publication is very much slanted to the home fallout shelter enthusiasm of the late 1950’s, the information it contains is solid and applicable to present situations. The booklet covers storage and replacement of foods, sample meals and menus, cooking and serving equipment, storage and purification of water, and recordkeeping.