Edited Version January 20, 1999 Transcript
EIIP Virtual Library Online Presentation

'They Laughed at Noah
Preparing for Natural Disasters

Kellye A. Junchaya

EIIP Moderator: Avagene Moore

The original unedited transcript of the January 20, 1999 Virtual Library presentation is available in EIIP Virtual Forum Archives < http://www.emforum.org >. The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each input were deleted but the content of questions and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the participants to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.


Avagene Moore: Welcome to the Virtual Library! We are pleased to present Kellye A. Junchaya to talk about her new book, They Laughed at Noah - Preparing for Natural Disasters.

Before formally introducing Kellye, let's discuss the order of business today. I will ask Kellye a series of questions; once our interview is complete, we will open the floor for questions or comments from the floor. Please note any URLs given become live links which allow you to see the page referenced in your browser window. And now to our speaker.


Kellye Junchaya is a Bio-Engineer from Arizona State University who currently lives in New Jersey. Please see the background material on Kellye and her book at <http://www.emforum.org/vlibrary/990120.htm> Kellye, we are pleased to have you with us today. Please tell us a little bit about your background.

Kellye Junchaya: I have a Bio-Engineering degree from Arizona State University. After getting my degree, I moved to Texas to work for a pacemaker company. I moved to New Jersey about two years later and continued working with pacemakers until my first daughter was born. At that time, I left work to stay home and be a mom. With more time, I started researching natural disasters seriously and decided to write a book about the subject.



Avagene Moore: How/why did you get interested in the field of disaster or emergency management?

Kellye Junchaya: About a month after moving to Texas, my town was evacuated due to the threat of hurricane Gilbert (1988). That event really hit me hard.. It was very traumatic for me. I was single at the time, with no property and no family to worry about. The hurricane didn't even hit nearby.

I started wondering about all the people whose town did get hit and their families and homes and pets and jobs and businesses, etc. It was so overwhelming that I couldn't even conceive of all the implications. I have been fascinated with disasters and their consequences since then.


Avagene Moore: What prompted you to write a book on preparing for natural disasters?

Kellye Junchaya: I went to the store the day before a snow storm was supposed to hit New Jersey. It was so packed I thought they were giving away free food or something. When I realized it was due to the impending storm, I realized how unprepared we are! I wanted to write a book so people won't have to go through that every time a snow storm passes by.


Avagene Moore: Kellye, briefly describe the format of your book, please.

Kellye Junchaya: There are three sections:

• The first is on natural disasters and describes each major disaster in detail. I start each chapter with a story of a past event. Then the particular disaster is explained scientifically (how, why, where, etc.). A discussion of the destruction that is caused by that type of disaster is followed by what we can do specifically.

• The second section is emergency supplies and lists what we need for a family plan, first-aid kits, evacuation kits, car kits, etc.

• The last section is on food and water storage and gives amounts and types of foods, how to store, maintain, rotate, use and keep pests off the foods. Water treatment is also discussed.


Avagene Moore: Kellye, I enjoyed reading your book and was impressed with the facts stated in Section 1 about some of the world's worst disasters; they effectively illustrate the severity of all the various types of disasters discussed. How much research was involved in getting the information and pictures you share in your book?

Kellye Junchaya: Quite a lot! I had two specific research challenges. The first was finding resources that agreed. For example, some books say that wood is one of the best materials to use for earthquake territory. Others say that wood is one of the worst. I would then have to dig deeper until I found several sources that agreed.

The second challenge was writing to different audiences. The book must be readable for the average person who knows nothing about disasters. On the other hand, it should have enough information that it would be helpful for people who have a background in emergencies or disasters. I struggled with that aspect. Trying to make it not too scientific for laymen but with enough science to satisfy those who want to dig deeper.


Avagene Moore: Section 2 of your book is titled Emergency Supplies; how is the section laid out?

Kellye Junchaya: This section is less formal. It is mainly lists of things that should be in each type of "kit". The discussion is short and mainly focuses on why the kit is necessary and where it should be kept, etc.


Avagene Moore: The third section of the book is about food and water storage. Why is this section important to family preparedness for disasters?

Kellye Junchaya: Well, obviously we need to have some extra food for short-term emergencies (like a snow storm). With Y2K problems looming, talks of global warming (cooling), far-reaching effects of weather (destroyed crops, poor transportation, etc.) and other hazards, it is pertinent. Food/water storage can also get us through financial difficulties (layoffs, health problems) and makes it easier to help others following disasters.


Avagene Moore: The last section includes a discussion of nonfood storage and a longer segment of Hints and Suggestions. Explain your rationale for including this discussion about specific foods, particularly grains.

Kellye Junchaya: That is actually part of the food and water storage section. I wanted to include information about how to use the foods that are stored. It doesn't do any good to store, say wheat, if you don't have a wheat grinder and you don't know how to cook with whole wheat.


Avagene Moore: Kellye, you also added a useful list of resources at the end of your book that is a very nice feature. Your book is certainly an excellent resource too. Please tell us how to get a copy of it.

Kellye Junchaya: Thank you. You can get a copy by sending $12.95 plus $1.50 shipping ($14.45 total) to: Medcap, Department 137, P.O. Box 2085, Clifton, NJ 07015. When the order is received, the book goes out the next day. If you have other questions about ordering, you can send an e-mail to <[email protected]>.

Avagene Moore: Thank you Kellye, for the overview of They Laughed at Noah - Preparing for Natural Disasters. First question for Kellye?

[Audience Questions]


Russell Coile: The book is great! I do have one comment on the earthquake section on page 87.


Kellye Junchaya: Thanks! I hope there will be lots of uses for it. What is your comment, Russell?

Russell Coile: You say in section 6, "Help friends and neighbors with rescue efforts..." In California there is a big effort to really do something about this. The San Francisco Fire Department's program is call "Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams". FEMA now has improved on this and call the FEMA program Community Emergency Response Teams. In your next edition, perhaps you could discuss this.

Kellye Junchaya: I would love to. Send me any information that you feel would be appropriate. (That goes for any of you).

Russell Coile: Sam Isenberger at FEMA's Emergency Management Institute is the contact for CERT. Write to him at <[email protected]>. He has a Directory of CERT by States.

Kellye Junchaya: Thanks!


Rick Tobin: So many books talk about storing water for extended periods, beyond six months. What was your take on that? With current problems of filtration in many water supplies I doubt anything past 3 months.

Kellye Junchaya: My book suggests two weeks worth of storage. This is because it is very difficult for most people to store more than that. Water takes up a lot of space and most people just don't have room for three months or more. It is recommended to have 14 gallons per person for 2 weeks.

Rick Tobin: Sorry, not volume but shelf life.

Kellye Junchaya: Shelf life depends on how the water is stored. I would recommend rotating properly stored water about every 6 months. If you can continually rotate it, even better.

David Crews: Rick, I store 15 gallons but have it in daily use for continual rotation and freshness.


Jeremy Jones: In your book, do you go over installing and using wood burners in your home? advantages, dangers, etc.?

Kellye Junchaya: No. I did not get specific about wood burners.


Kevin Farrell: I'm interested in the case studies used in the first section. Can you tell us a little about them?

Kellye Junchaya: I wrote about past events that are fairly well known. For example, the Galveston hurricane, the San Francisco Earthquake (1906), Johnstown Flood, etc. I wanted to use examples that were interesting and that also illustrated the destruction and disruption that the disaster can cause.


Barbara Sims: Are your scenarios based on quick emergency response from local government? We just went through a major blizzard and SE Michigan was not prepared.

Kellye Junchaya: Barbara, emergency response was not a consideration in my selection of scenarios. Perhaps I should include response success/failure stories in the next edition.


Lindsey Burke: Kellye, I think that your book would make an excellent reference source for those of us in college studying emergency administration. It would be perfect for our preparedness class.

Kellye Junchaya: I am trying to submit the book for uses in colleges and emergency management programs but I don't have all the contacts yet.

Lindsey Burke: I do not know if it is my place to say or not, but I will get you the contact for the Interim Dean of our program here and see where it can take you.

Kellye Junchaya: Thanks, Lindsey. I would appreciate that.


Amy Sebring: Did you do any research or come to any conclusions why people don't have emergency supplies?

Kellye Junchaya: I did some surveys and got a myriad of responses. Most people feel that they live in the one safe place or that, "It won't happen to me." Others say that they don't have time, money, knowledge, etc. Some also said that they feel they could make do with what they have or that the government will "save" them. One person actually said that there is no way a disaster like Honduras (hurricane Mitch) could happen in the U.S. because our government is so prepared for emergencies.

BJ Sibley: Kellye, sounds like a new book in the wings. "One Safe Place", exploding the myth that it can't happen here.


Avagene Moore: A reminder to see background material for today's session at <http: //www.emforum.org/vlibrary/990120.htm>. Do you follow your own advice and how prepared is your family?

Kellye Junchaya: Yes I do. I have about a six month supply of food (working up to 12) and emergency kits. I am currently working on my car kit.


Barbara Sims: With Y2k, do you think 2 weeks would be safe recommendation to give to families?

Kellye Junchaya: I think two weeks is minimal. For water it may be all we can find room for but for food it should be more. Most people could probably live for two weeks with what they have in the house if they had to. I recommend at least one month. (Not just for Y2K but for all emergencies.)


Kevin Farrell: Do you make a distinction between 'fast' incidents, such as an earthquake, and 'slow' ones such as flood? Is that covered in your case studies? And how they are dealt with differently?

Kellye Junchaya: Each incident is taken separately and a discussion about what to do specifically for that disaster is given.


Jeremy Jones: Going along with Amy's question --- did you research show who tends to be more prepared --- urban or rural citizens?

Kellye Junchaya: A mixture. Rural citizens seemed to be more prepared in general.


Rick Tobin: Would you like to comment further about your concern for animals in disaster?

Kellye Junchaya: I did not go into much detail about pets. I included some resources in the bibliography, I believe.


Amy Sebring: Do you address warning issues, such as having a NOAA radio?

Kellye Junchaya: Yes. In several sections. Most of the chapters with weather related disasters suggest having an NOAA radio.


Dolores Beaugez: Do you have any research about the people who will not leave because of their animals?

Kellye Junchaya: No. There is no way to reach that specific group of people. I did talk about that in general but could not really research that. If you know where to find where they hang out. : -)

Avagene Moore: Delores can help you reach that group of people, Kellye.

She works with animal issues.

David Crews: That issue is Addressed in FEMA's new IS Home Studies on Animals.

Dolores Beaugez: Kellye, please check out the animal disaster preparedness section of <http: //www.horsereview.com>. We are also working with FEMA and a national pet publication to get the word out.


Amy Sebring: Are you in fact planning another book, Kellye?

Kellye Junchaya: Yes. I will first update this one with a new edition in a year or so. In the meantime, I am working on an unrelated topic.


Avagene Moore: Kellye, would you like to acknowledge some of the sources used in your book?

Kellye Junchaya: Sure. I also wanted to say that I had the book reviewed by Rocky Lopes (Red Cross), Ralph Swisher (FEMA) and Rick Cox (IAEM) for accuracy and they gave me some valuable input.

I used many books listed in the bibliography and also worked with several organizations such as the Drought Mitigation Center. They are all listed in the Appendix.


Russell Coile: May I suggest that you take a "working" trip to Hawaii to visit the Tsunami Center.

Kellye Junchaya: That would be great! I hope to do that.


Avagene Moore: One of the neat things about Kellye's book is that she actually has a few recipes in it? Are these your original recipes?

Kellye Junchaya: No. Some are from my family and friends and others I got permission to use from other books.


Amy Sebring: Since I am also on the Texas Coast, I was curious about where your hurricane Gilbert experience occurred?

Kellye Junchaya: Lake Jackson. It is about 30 miles south along the coast from Galveston.

Amy Sebring: Yes, I know it well.


Jeremy Jones: Throughout your research, have you come across many cases where whole communities are getting together to store resources for possible disasters?

Kellye Junchaya: Not many. There is a program (FEMA) where cities or communities are becoming "disaster-proof" but I don't know too much about the program. It is fairly new.

Lindsey Burke: That would be Project Impact!

Avagene Moore: Right, Lindsey.

BJ Sibley: You might want to contact these folks about your book: UC Berkeley Extension offers a certificate in Emergency Management <[email protected]>.


Kellye Junchaya: Thanks for all the resources! Lindsey, do you have more info about Project Impact?

Amy Sebring: We hope to have another session next month on it, Kellye.

Lindsey Burke: I do and I could send it to you later after the discussion and give you more sources.

Kellye Junchaya: Thanks. You can e-mail me direct at <[email protected]>

Final Question:

Isabel McCurdy: What suggestions, if any, resulted from your research, to motivate people to move from their beliefs that "this can't happen to me" or the "government will look after me" to preparing for a disaster?

Kellye Junchaya: The whole book is kind of geared to that. When I do seminars, I give a quiz with some amazing statistics from the book that show how often and how destructive disasters are.


Avagene Moore: Thank you, Kellye. Excellent overview. I congratulate you on your book and commend it to our audience as a personal disaster preparedness guide. Thanks to you, the audience, also. Amy, will you please tell us about what is coming up in the Virtual Forum?

Kellye Junchaya: Thank you. I enjoyed the session and all the input from everyone.

Amy Sebring: Thanks Ava. Tomorrow evening, 8:00 PM Eastern, Mutual Aid session.

Next Tuesday, 1: 00 PM Eastern, we have a scheduled Round Table hosted by EIIP Partner, IAEM, represented by President Elect, Phyllis Mann, CEM from Kitsap County, Washington.

Next Wednesday, 12:00 Noon EST, I will be making a presentation about accessing EMWIN, a National Weather Service distribution service, via Internet push. We also hope to have a guest with us to answer your questions. More info will be posted on the site this weekend.

Avagene Moore: We will now move to the Virtual Forum for a few moments. Please feel free to stay with us a little longer for one-on-one comments with Kellye. Thanks to everyone. Great session!