Tag Archives: Hurricane Preparedness

Get Ahead of the Coming Storm

The following article is a guest submission from Carlee about getting prepared for a Hurricane, a timely submission based on the fact that I spent some time last week ensuring that I was prepared for this very type of event.

Get Ahead of the Coming Storm

Years ago hurricanes were storms that only the Deep South had to worry about. Not anymore. Whether or not you believe global warming is real or a political ruse, the fact is the ocean temperatures are increasing. The eastern seaboard and the gulf coast are particularly vulnerable. But with warmer oceans, the threat for damaging hurricanes extends all the way into the Northeast, where places like Vermont have suffered extreme flooding.

Add to the mix the growing population along the coasts and, as we’ve witnessed in recent years, you’ve got a recipe for disaster. I went down to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina to help with cleanup and witness firsthand the destructive power of a hurricane. To put it mildly, I was awestruck by the devastation. It showed me that natural disasters are nothing to take lightly.

But we can prepare for these storms and ‘weather’ them successfully if we prepare ourselves ahead of time. As preppers, we should never allow ourselves to be caught unaware when Mother Nature throws one of her tantrums. Like any adversarial condition we may face, we should learn about hurricanes now so that if we find ourselves in the path of one, we won’t be unprepared.

Plan Ahead

Make your preparations a family affair. Sit everyone down ahead of time and make sure everyone’s involved. Prepare your plans and make sure everyone understands what to do. Even give your children responsibilities, with the proper oversight. You usually only have a few days at the most to know that a hurricane is barreling down on you, so get organized ahead of time.

photo credit: carobe via photopin cc

Know where your local evacuation routes are located and where local storm shelters are. If you evacuate and have young children, make sure they carry identification and contact information. Have an out of state relative or close friend act as a contact person for everyone in the family in the event you get separated and can’t contact each other locally.

Make sure the needs of elderly friends and family will be taken care of. If necessary, register family members with special medical needs at the local shelter ahead of time. Don’t forget about the needs of your pets as well.

Cash

Make sure you have plenty of cold, hard cash on hand. Most likely the power will be down, which means many stores, gas stations, etc. won’t be taking debit or credit cards.

Food and Water

The American Red Cross suggests you keep at least three days’ worth of water and nonperishable food on hand. After my experience with Katrina in Mississippi I would err on the side of caution and suggest increasing your supply of food and water to at least a week. Nonperishable food will keep for some time, so if you don’t need it immediately it will get used eventually.

Supplies

Make sure you have flashlights, batteries, and a portable radio, preferably battery or wind up (self-powered). If you take medications, make sure you have at least a week’s worth on hand. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand.

Gas up your car and fill up any spare gas containers you have. If you have a portable generator make sure you are familiar with its safe operation.

Prepare the Exterior

Bring inside anything that can be picked up by the wind. This includes lawn furniture, decorations, planters, and the like. If you have shade awnings and don’t want to see them turned into sails, fold them down securely or put them away as well.

photo credit: stockroomcontrol via photopin cc

If you pay attention to the veterans of hurricanes, you’ll notice they have pre-cut and labeled plywood pieces ready for quick window covering. Use ¾ inch exterior grade plywood, not OSB, at a minimum. It’s amazing what a projectile pushed by 100 mph winds can do to a house.

Powered Necessities

Make sure that anything that can hold a charge is fully powered. The first thing that comes to mind is likely your cell phone. But also make sure other devices are charged as well. This includes things you might not think of as important, such as a power drill or electric razor. Keep in mind that you can’t be over prepared.

Also important—turn your refrigerator and freezer down to the coldest settings and avoid opening them unless absolutely necessary to ensure that your food will last longer if the power does go out. And pack them full if possible. An empty freezer warms faster than one full of frozen items. If you have room, freeze water containers.

Power Down

Make sure you unplug your small appliances, computers, and other electronics. Turn off propane tanks. If you are evacuating and think your house faces a good chance of suffering damage, turn off the water and natural gas at your own discretion.

Stay Inside

If you are going to ride out the storm, stay inside. If the storm suddenly lets up and everything looks calm, don’t venture out. You are likely in the eye of the storm, and the dangerous winds will be returning soon. Even if you are not taking a direct hit from the storm, keep in mind that dangerous winds along with lightning and tornados can be present anywhere in the storm.

What Would You Do?

There is a named storm, Arthur, bearing down on the east coast of the United States and a mandatory evacuation has been ordered for some areas while voluntary evacuations have been ordered for other areas. This is not ideal by any means, especially because it is forecasted to make land fall today which would make it the first hurricane to ever hit the United States on Independence Day. Facing a hurricane, or any disaster, reminds us that things happen around us all the time and it reiterates the necessity to prepare for such events constantly. These threats are real and show up on God’s time, not ours. It is not possible to predict such disasters on any type of long term calendar.

Hurrucane Ike, Picture Origin Unknown
Hurrucane Ike, Picture Origin Unknown

Let me put a twist on the situation…imagine that you are there visiting a resort in North Carolina’s Outer Banks on your summer vacation, right where Arthur is headed. It is not likely that you have brought along much in the way of survival or preparedness kits or items. You might not even have a car! Do you carry the bare minimum essentials to survive if you were caught in this situation? Do you have the knowledge to complete the survival tasks necessary in this situation?

It is a good mental exercise to participate in. What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? It is typically not practical to travel with a dedicated bug out bag which can be cumbersome, not to mention that the type of travel can greatly limit what you can have in your bag. The amount of space needed to carry the bare minimum essentials can easily fit into a small portion of the average suitcase.

There are 10 survival items that I would suggest that you consider carrying with you when you travel include:

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. High Quality Multi-Tool
  3. Flashlight
  4. Chemical Light Stick(s)
  5. Whistle
  6. Emergency Poncho
  7. Paracord (~50 Feet)
  8. Water Bottle (Lexan bottles like Nalgene are durable and can be used to pack other items into.)
  9. Way To Purify Water (Tablets, Straw Filter, Etc.)
  10. Duct Tape (~50 feet wrapped around an old gift card) and Zip Ties
  11. Mylar Survival Blanket
  12. Snack Foods (Jerky, Protein Bars, Nuts, Candy, Etc.)
  13. Lighter
  14. Bandana
  15. Sewing Kit

What would you add to this list?

I would also like to say happy Independence Day! It is my hope that everyone enjoys their day and stays safe while celebrating the freedoms that we enjoy. Don’t forget to keep your thoughts and prayers with those who are dealing with Arthur on the east coast and our military who are serving abroad so that we can have fun at home.

Today is the last day to take advantage of the 4th of July sale over at Black River Outpost. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to save a ton of money on marked down items and FREE shipping on ALL orders!

Preparing For Hurricane Season

Whether we like it or not, hurricane season is upon us and there are several predictions that the 2013 season will be worse than average. When I think about it, it does not matter whether tropical storms actually convert into hurricanes or not, the potential for adverse effects is great. Even a tropical storm has the capability of causing significant property damage, flooding, loss of power and utilitities, and delays to everyday activities. So what does this mean for preparedness?

Photo Credit: Ready.gov

1. Have A Plan

Fortunately, technology has evolved to allow early warning of storm systems and their potential to cause catastrophic damage. Such technology has minimized the loss of life that occurs as a result of storms. This is only beneficial though when residents and those in the effected area heed the warnings they are given and evacuate before a storm hits. If an evacuation order is given, the prudent thing to do is leave the area but not without having a plan first! A plan should include:

  • The location where you will go if you must evacuate (hotel, friend or relatives house, shelter, etc.). Ideally, you should have a primary and secondary location. Wherever it is that you decide to go, it should be outside of the area of the evacuation order (I hope that part is kind of obvious).
  • Determine the route of travel. It is possible that a route could be congested or unusable as a result of the need to evacuate or storm system. Consider a route that is on major interstates/highways and one that is on lesser used roads. Another contingency could include having a route in each direction from the area that you will evacuate. Many hurricane prone communities will have designated evacuation routes that are typically the best option.
  • If you have pets, have a plan for them as well. Shelters will normally not allow the presence of pets except if necessary for a service capacity. It is also possible that the hotel you end up at does not allow pets and a friend or relative could have an allergy. Clear up any questions about these possibilities before it is too late.
  • Make a load out plan. The time that you have to evacuate could be extremely limited and as a result of this possibility you should make a plan that includes the items that you will take with you and how it will all be loaded into the vehicle(s) that you will take with you.

2. Keep Supplies On Hand

If the decision is made to evacuate, ensure that your property(home, business, etc.) is properly secured. Often times this involves boarding up doors and windows and sandbagging perimeters.

In the event that an evacuation order is given there will undoubtedly be a rush to purchase the necessary items to complete these tasks. The best way to put yourself in a position where you do not end up short of the necessary supplies to secure your property is to complete an accurate estimate of the materials needed, purchase them, and have the materials staged prior to actually needing them. Covering doors and windows is best completed through the use of purpose built storm shutters but the next best option is use of 1/2″ to 5/8″ marine-grade plywood, cut to fit the door or window, and secured using screws.

Some may say that spending time and money to gather materials is a waste. This is a determination that each individual must make. It seems reasonable to me that if you live in the Gulf Coast Region and Eastern Seaboard of the United States that having necessary materials on hand is just being prepared for the inevitable. In other regions it may not be as likely that a large storm will hit your area and such materials are not necessary. What I can tell you though is that the same materials that are used to secure a property for a tropical storm or hurricane can also be used to secure a property from a number of other situations up to, and including, the rising of the dead*.

If the decision is made to stay in place during a hurricane or tropical storm it is imperative to have the additional items necessary to sustain life in addition to those needed to save lives and safeguard property. Some of these items include:

  • Generator w/ Supply of Fuel
  • Food
  • Clean Water for Drinking and Hygiene
  • Weather Radio
  • Emergency Light Source
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle For Signaling
  • Sanitation and Hygiene Supplies

Other precautions that can be made to prevent or minimize damage include trimming back shrubs and bushes, removing dead trees, cleaning out gutters and downspouts, and clearing exterior areas of items that could become projectiles in high winds.

3. Other Considerations

Evacuating from an area or deciding to shelter in place can be made even more complicated when there are children, pets, or those with medical concerns involved. Keep in mind that children as well as pets may be made more comfortable in strange environments when they have a few of their favorite items to remind them of home. Make sure that these items get taken with you if at all possible. Children may also need to have additional changes of clothes as compared to older family members. When medical concerns are present, ensure that additional necessary items are taken with you to include medications, medical equipment, and important paperwork.

K-Light Lantern for All Seasons

*Please forgive me. I could not help myself and included the possibility of a zombie apocalypse.