Forward motion is what I’m talking about when faced with a disaster situation and having the forethought to have a 72 Hour Bag. This is a situation where you are not lost, not needed rescue and know how to get where you are going but the infrastructure has for some reason been compromised.
If you were lost or needed rescue most survival experts say to stay put, stay with your vehicle because it is easiest to spot and will most like draw a rescue team. But what I’m talking about is when a 7.0 or greater earthquake has hit and the entire freeway system is in a state of collapse. You are at work 40 plus miles away from your house and you know you need to get home to make sure your family is okay.
If you have a newer car you have to be aware that if you are stuck in a traffic jam, idling the modern car which is so reliant on electronics, your car will probably die even if it has plenty of fuel. When the car isn’t making forward motion the alternator can not recharge the battery quick enough and the battery will drain. I always cite the huge traffic jam in Seattle where SUV’s were dying right in the middle of the road after four hours of idling. Their batteries died and the the vehicle then stopped.
It is going to become important to utilize your greatest asset for as long as you can – your vehicle. I tell people to never let your vehicle drop below a 1/2 tank of gas because if you need to crawl along at 5 miles an hour for ten hours you’re going to need all that fuel and you may not be able to get more for days. If you’re reading this blog then most likely you have started building a 72 Hour Bag. You are carefully choosing items to go into the bag and weighing their cost/weight/benefit ratio. Well the fuel you put in your car is one of those items. Consider it a perishable expendable which needs to be renewed every week. You must be vigilant. I found a product which may be worth while to throw in your trunk. It’s a fuel substitute and is completely safe to store in your trunk for long periods of time. It’s called Extra Fuel and can be found at http://extrafuel.net. It has a 10 year shelf life which is actually 10 times as long as ordinary gasoline so it fits the criteria for product I look for when prepping for events such as this. I want to throw it in my trunk and not have to think about it. It’s pretty expensive: $34.99 for a 1/2 gallon but it suposedly will perform just as gasoline giving you and additional 1/2 gallons worth of miles you can travel. If that means getting out of a bad situation and getting to safety then it’s worth every penny.
Most likely the freeway system is going to be a complete mess. Totally jammed far worse the worst of days for untold hours. Do not even try to get onto the freeway. Most of us work at a studio and go out on location. From the studio, or your office if you’re a civilian and not a migrant film worker learn four good routes home. Understand and know alternatives off these routes. In LA it’s pretty simple the city works like a grid so as long as you’re heading in the direction of you’re house you’ll be making forward progress. In other cities where cows formed the roads this isn’t as simple, but you probably aren’t worried about earthquakes but perhaps a hurricane or snow storm – learn your environment and tailor your exfil to those needs.
Here in LA you’ll still need to familiarize your self with neighborhoods. We all know how one block can look like June Cleaver or Martha Stewart put their finishing touches on it but drive one more block and it looks like the DMZ. During an emergency you may luck out and everyone is going to be on their best behavior and be selfless while helping their fellow human being in a time of need… Yeah right. People are who they are and you should avoid areas which get your stomach to make that little butterfly feeling when you drive through there. People are going to prey upon people in need, and you don’t want to be the prey.
I know at the end of a 14 hour shooting day all you want to do is get home and get to bed, but take the time to drive one block parallel to your normal route. Explore different canyons on your way home to see if they are viable. Learn which houses mow their lawns and take care of their yards. The routes past houses which are actively involved in keeping up their appearances are more likely to be a safer neighborhood to drive through when things are bad. This however is not a guarantee and you’ll have to be your own judge. But the most important thing is to be able to keep moving and not have to even take the time to figure out who’s naughty or nice.
Your first line of defense is keeping forward motion in your car and never having to use your 72 Hour Bag. Trust me when I say that building your 72 Hour Bag is vitally important but never having to use it is priceless.