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Natural Perspectives: Memoirs of a hot weekend

September 18, 2012|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
(Courtesy Lou Murray )

This past weekend was good for staying inside an air-conditioned place. That wouldn't be our house, so I did the next best thing. I closed up the house early in the morning, turned on the fan, and sat in my rocker with an ice pack on my chest. That helped keep my body core cool. I also drank plenty of ice water.

Vic braved the elements and ventured out into the heat. He attended the emergency preparedness festival in front of the Huntington Beach Central Library on Saturday. This is National Preparedness Month. While we don't face hurricanes or winter ice and snowstorms here on the coast, we have other things to worry about.

A natural or man-made disaster could occur at any time. Earthquakes, fires, floods, tsunamis, heat waves or coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that disrupt power for extended periods of time could all occur here.

We should be prepared to evacuate our homes on short notice if needed, or shelter in place for up to two to three weeks if necessary. At the festival, the Huntington Beach Fire Department's CERT program distributed a list of suggested items to have on hand. I looked it over and discovered that, thanks to my extensive preparations last year, we're in pretty good shape.

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I have a "bug-out bag" in my house and car with emergency first-aid supplies, water, food, spare clothing, copies of important documents and some cash. In our garage, I have enough stored water to last us several days, plus a filter that would allow us to purify lake water or water from our rain barrels if we had to. I have several weeks' worth of canned and dried food that gets rotated through use and repurchase. I have a solar shower, portable toilet, wind-up and solar radios and flashlights and all the camping equipment that we might need to live in our yard if our house was uninhabitable. I don't expect to ever use these things for an emergency, but if one comes along, I'm prepared. I hope you can say the same at your house.

Sunday was a tad cooler than the record-breaking heat of Saturday, so I dragged Vic to the community garden in the morning. He sat on my garden bench and read while I weeded, harvested and watered. We came home with over 17 pounds of produce, which he carried for me. Most of that harvest was two lovely watermelons and a sack of tomatoes. I also got assorted squash and some nice wax beans and Japanese eggplant. My community garden plot has been producing nicely for me this summer.

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