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Experts offer tips on disaster survival

Photo Gallery: Surviving after a major incident
Author and survival educator Christopher Nyerges talks about the types of food one should have at hand during a Preparedness and Wild Food Walk seminar at Hahamongna Watershed Park in Pasadena on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Nyerges talked about how to prepare yourself for the next natural disaster like earthquakes and blackouts.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

For some, the recent 4.4 quake that rattled many Southlanders out of bed early in the morning was not just another earthquake, but also a reminder to prepare for natural disasters.

According to survival expert Christopher Nyerges, an Eagle Rock resident, one must have at least three days of food and water for each member of the family in order to survive after a natural disaster, like a large earthquake or power outage.

PHOTOS: Surviving after a major disaster

Nyerges shared that tip and more during a Preparedness and Wild Food Walk seminar at Hahamongna Watershed Park in Pasadena on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

Nyerges said the most important part of organizing supplies is having enough water for everyone in the family.


While people can go without food for up to three weeks, they can only last about three days without water, he said. People should store containers throughout their home or garage rather than one specific location in case it’s inaccessible, he said.

Nyerges noted that people can also use water that is already at home, like from the toilet reservoir, a pool or even the house water pipes.

Food, according to Nyerges, should be food that you regularly eat. A large supply of small cans and dry goods can be stored and should be replaced as the supply dwindles.

One can also become familiar with wild edibles and supplement food with plants readily found in the wild, he said.


Immediately after a disaster, Nyerges noted, people should begin by eating what’s in the refrigerator because that will spoil first. After that, pantry food can be eaten, followed by the disaster supply.

Nyerges also suggested storing dry goods in recycled glass bottles, which animals can’t get in to.

If there is no access to gas or electricity, Nyerges said one can build a small circle of bricks or rocks to build a fire to use for cooking, or a barbecue that runs on propane.

John Chavez of Supply Sergeant in Burbank said camping equipment could be used in the event of a disaster, adding that it’s important to keep a supply of batteries with a radio for news reports.

It’s also wise to have an alternative backup for electrical tools, like a manual can opener, radios and stoves, Nyerges said.

And while a clean water supply might not be readily available after a disaster, water can be boiled in order to make it safe to drink, according to both Chavez and Nyerges. About two to five minutes of boiling will kill anything that may make you sick.

The water may not smell good, but if boiled it will be good to drink and cook.

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