Mar 282011

Guest post by Mike Skehan

Now that the dust is settling in Japan (albeit somewhat toxic for some), my thoughts turn inward to Lummi Island again.

As most of us are aware, many of the organizations on Lummi are really getting into Emergency Preparedness, with groups working there way through shelters for maybe ten percent of our population, food, water, energy, communication and local medical attention.

The other ninety percent of us will have to shelter ‘In Place’, which most reading this article have thought a great deal about, and could probably survive for weeks or months.

The ones not reading this article, I suspect the vast majority of islanders, are somewhere between a couple of weeks and a few days of basic supplies.  For some it’s OMG, I need to get to Haggens – NOW.

The thought occurs to me that Haggens and Costco are going to be the last places you want to visit until some semblance of normalcy is restored.  Looking at all the lines for bottled water in Tokyo should serve as a real wake up call.  Who wants to get to the store last, stand in line for hours, and be told everything is gone.  Go back to where you came from!

I did a quick, back of the envelope calculation for our Emerg. Prep meeting last week on Lummi Island water supplies.  Assuming normal consumption for about 1000 residents, and the water in storage reservoirs around the island in our public water systems, it’s about 4 or 5 days worth.  That’s rough, and I’ll be refining those numbers as we work our way through a lot of this, but assuming nobody conserves, which they will, and every water tank survives, which they won’t, and all the standby generators pump at full capacity, until propane and diesel run out, we have about a week or two to shelter ‘In Place’.

Now were into plan B.  Non-Potable water supplies, and deliveries from the mainland (remember Haggens?).

Lummi is blessed with ample runoff, most of the year.  Do you know which ones are safe and which ones are not.  Do you know how to purify the water you grab from a stream or a pond.  We even have artesian wells on Lummi, and several large lakes.

“Coliform Bacteria, or any number of dangerous water borne diseases anyone?”

So, with no power, no ferry, no aircraft carrier standing off Lummi for support, and no more water coming from your spigot, where will you go for the gallon per person per day you need?  That’s a serious question.

I’m not the brightest star in the heavens, but I’m a good listener.  Now it’s your turn.


  One Response to “Sheltering – In Place”

  1. Mike, A half dozen hand pumps on well heads spread throughout the island and a MSR waterworks backpack filter for each family. I’ve used that filter on some truly manky swamp water with the cows staring down over my shoulder.
    Based on water storage, generators, and swamp water I’d guess there might be more water around then you think. With that said its still inadequate for a long term problem lasting a couple of months.

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