In 2005 I was on location in Louisiana on a Warner Brothers film during Hurricane Katrina where I saw how quickly resources were depleted and the fabric of society crumbled. It was then that I started to assess my own preparedness for an Event such as a natural disaster in a large city such as Los Angeles.
I have been asked repeatedly by our 728 members, as well as other crew members, on shows about the ’72 Hour Bag’ I keep in the trunk of my car. It occurred to me that many of our members are ill prepared for any Event which most definitely will occur sometime in our near future. I built my 72 Hour Bag with the premise that had the Northridge Earthquake happened later in the day, say 10am-2pm, many of us would have already been at location or on stage somewhere within the 30 mile zone. Almost at once the transportation system would become either jammed with every worker in Southern California trying to get home or, as we saw in 1994 the freeway system quite literally crumbled. If something was to happen to your car or the roadway system you have to travel on, would you be able to get from set/location to your home?
We are in an industry which almost always works within the 30 mile zone. We seldom shoot in the same place twice making us travel to varying locations daily, changing our routes and distances from home. For this reason IATSE members should, possibly, more than any other industry in the Southland, be prepared for something to happen and be able to get home to be with their families.
For a short while I volunteered with the Lost Hills Sheriff Station in Disaster Communications and it is well known that the people in the Southland are ill prepared for another Event such as the Northridge quake. The largest cause of injury or death won’t necessarily be from the Event itself, it will be people’s ill preparedness.
This being said, when in a emergency such as being stranded in a remote location it is always best to stay with your vehicle. Spotting a vehicle in a barren landscape is easier than a sole human, it provides shelter and rescuers will look for a vehicle first. This is not what I’m talking about. I am only talking about an Event striking and rendering your vehicle or the roads inoperable within the County of Los Angeles.
There are a few items most 728 members carry with them at all times; rain jacket, flashlight, knife, gloves, maybe an additional layer and warm hat. With that in mind I tailored my 72 Hour Bag knowing I would have those specific items with me but I still try to be redundant with those items. For example, I do have a flashlight in my 72 hour bag, but it’s not as good as the one I carry on a daily basis, and it’s the lightest one I could find to save weight in the bag.
In this blog we will discuss what items are imperative to have on hand when a disaster strikes. Immediately it will directly apply to those of my friends who live in Southern California and work in the Film Industry, but it is my hope that people from all over the country will be able to get ideas and gain knowledge for their own 72 hour kits.