It’s been a few weeks since Hurricane Harvey began wreaking havoc in the south of the United States, and now we have word that Hurricane Irma will be coming from Cuba toward Florida to wreak havoc as well. Seeing photographs, footage, and hearing stories about Harvey has been heartbreaking, and though we don’t live in the United States ourselves, I feel like watching the hardship Harvey has brought hits close to home no matter where in the world you live. It sure hits home here, especially knowing so many of you are in the places it’s terrorized the most.
I wholeheartedly believe that as preppers, we should definitely be expecting the worst – all the while hoping for the best. When hurricanes like Harvey come along, it’s hard not to feel the intense loss and suffering they bring with them – not only during their stay, but afterward as well. And while, at the end of the day, the best help we could have comes in the form of our own preps, I’m happy to see the world’s response toward Harvey has been compassionate and how much contribution there’s been to disaster relief through donations.
Since the 27th of August, our friend and forum member zackmars has been updating us with photos and written updates on how things have been in his neck of the woods of Texas. It’s not a pretty sight at all, and yet, as he’s so aptly put, “You can’t prepare for a storm like Harvey. You can try, but you’ll run yourself ragged jumping at every storm coming your way, especially when 99.999999% of them either turn away at the last second, or just give some wind and rain.” Even for preppers – these sorts of situations are not emergencies you come out of unscathed.
Still, I can’t help but feel there must be at least some things one can do.
Maybe not in terms of fleeing one’s home pre-emptively, but potentially in terms of having a bug out boat at home, say, and of course having plenty of water bottles and food stockpiled, and making sure that stockpile is stored in an attic instead of in the basement, for instance.
Other preps crossed my mind as well, ones related to re-building after such a dire event takes place: having plenty of emergency/literal “rainy day” savings comes to mind, to make sure you can start to re-build as quickly and easily as possible. Maybe also buying the right kind of insurance, if that exists and is worthwhile.
What do you guys think? What are some of the most helpful preps in your opinion for people who live where hurricanes can do this kind of damage? If disasters like this happen in your neck of the woods, have you any advice for those who maybe have newly moved to an area where hurricanes are common? I know I’d be completely out of my element trying to deal with an emergency like this, even on a much smaller scale than Harvey.
As zackmars states: “The only people here who have faith in the system are the ones who haven’t gone through this before.”
So what can newbies who understand the value of prepping for themselves do in advance to hedge against an emergency like this, no matter how small the prep? And are there any overlooked preps that even veteran preppers forget, but at the same time should be, implementing?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below.
I was reading yesterday that in Puerto Rico many businesses did not have credit card communications working and could only accept cash. At one main bank, the line to withdraw currency was 200 people deep.
I don’t know that the advice to keep cash on hand would be helpful as most people live from paycheck to paycheck.. However, even last week, locally, without a natural disaster, I was at a business that had its bank access down and could only accept cash. This happens every couple of months so I do have cash at home and in the car available to myself.
Elise Xavier says
It’s definitely important to have cash in hand in case of an emergency, I think. And something small is still better than nothing. I can imagine many cases where even $40-60 is enough to help you out a great deal in a really tough spot.
I live in a city near Houston that was 60% flooded by the rain waters of Harvey. I was also a child when Hurricane Carla hit in 1961 which probably is responsible for my prepper way of life. Hurricane preparedness was a way of life beginning on June 1st every year. The things I see people freak out over these days didn’t exist when I was younger. ie. Bottled water. People go nuts when they think they can’t get it yet there is a pipe hanging over everybody’s sink that water comes out of. When I was young we filled up bath tubs and what ever container we could find right before the storm was planned to hit. I did see some takeaways from this flood I would like to share. We were blessed in our home. WE stayed dry, a lot of others didn’t.
1. Your attic can become a deathtrap in a flooded home. Retreating to high ground doesn’t mean sitting on your roof in hurricane winds or drenching rains. It does mean to have a plan to enter your attic with a safe means of escape. Keep and ax and a saw in your attic at all times. Don’t be afraid to cut a hole in your roof if you know your house is going to flood. Have that plan ready long before the threat. Better yet take a battery saw in the attic if you have one and have time. DO NOT take your family in the attic until you have cut a hole in the roof. What would be worse than taking your family into your attic to drown?
2. Blow up mattresses can become a safety raft for you, your pets, your valuables, and your firearms if you think ahead and have some ready to blow up. Do this when the threat is eminent hopefully before the power goes out. Also have a high volume manual air pump as part of your equipment.
3. A lot of homes in our town didn’t get more that 24″ of water . Not enough to escape to the attic but enough to ruin grandma’s old chairs and such. I suggest getting a few of those plastic swimming pools that have the blow up ring on the top. Lay them out on the floor of your rooms and put as much “things” as possible in them. Blow up the top ring. As the water rises the pool will lift up around the furniture and keep it dry.
4. If you know water is going to get up over your outlets and water heater, shut off the main breaker and and gas to the house. This will avoid a gas fire or electric shock.
5. Make sure plenty of gasoline is stored. This should always be at the beginning of hurricane season. Get a generator. I have a 10kw Hobart welding machine that I back feed into my home. Our power was out over 12 hours while the first responders saved people with boats close to power lines. Others were out of power a lot longer.
Elise Xavier says
#1 – Such solid advice, and very well said.
#2 – Are blow up mattresses actually strong enough to use as safety rafts? Didn’t know that!
#3 – I have never heard this idea! Would love to see it in action.
Mack Griffin says
I’m also a survivor of hurricane Carla, and all the hurricanes since that time. I’ve learned a few things also and will share: If you stay get ready for a damn scary stay. We lived in a house made of wood but a concrete floor. That whole house would shake and dust would fly at times. Things would hit the house and it sounded like a bomb going off. The wind howled for hours. My dad got us all into the hall and I could tell he was concerned. Needless to say we weren’t prepared after the storm, We went to the school because a policeman told dad the red cross was giving out food. It was a slice of toast. I sure remember how good it taste. Missed a lot of school. No electricity for days. We went home and went to work repairing, cleaning up. I never saw anyone come to help except law enforcement. No FEMA,No mass donations etc. To take what I learned is to do one prep thing a day. all year. Rotate your food and water. Keep plenty of cash ,food ,water rechargeable batteries, gasoline etc. You will need them all to make things a little more comfortable. I also purchased an above ground concrete safe shed. Tested in Texas tech windstorm lab to 250 mph wind gusts it weighs 12 tons and anchored to the ground. It’s really not that expensive considering. I saved 5 years to purchase. Its stocked with everything my wife and I need to survive. We used it for Harvey. Cons: if your in a flood zone leave for higher ground. Also be prepared for unexpected events during a hurricane, my neighbor died in the middle of Harvey. Next few day’s were helping the family with food and needed support . Helping in anyway possible. It took time to get a coroner, justice of the peace, and funeral home to their home. Get prepared for life events the best way possible. Also purchase a generator.
Elise Xavier says
Boy does that experience staying sound horrifying! I think your advice to prep just one thing a day for the whole year is solid advice; after that year you’ll be so much more ready for another storm. Every little bit helps push you to be a lot more prepared in the long run. Thanks so much for sharing your firsthand experiences with us!
I will make some comments, one of which may go against the grain.
Generator. Before ever buying one, do the following:
1. consult an expert about what you intend to power;
2. consult an expert about how much fuel you will have to store to last as long as you want to use the generator.
3. be prepared to test fire/maintain the generator every 6 months whether you use it or not.
After I bought my generator, I thought about the decision. It has remained unused for years – and will go to a family member soon. My mentor did the thinking in advance and never bought a generator.
Propane. Propane doesn’t go bad like gasoline. Propane tanks have to experience a lot before going bad. It seems that everyone must have a barbecue. When my barbecue gave up the ghost, I didn’t replace it. I simply have 5 propane tanks stored for my propane lantern, propane outdoor stove and the neighbor’s barbecue. Conversely, with the new federal regulations on gasoline contents, I am recycling 20 gallons every 6 months and obtaining a lot of undesired handling.
Elise Xavier says
I agree about the generator. I’m still not sure if I’d bother with one. I’m now preferring to keep freezers free of all food (except what can easily be eaten) and only stockpiling food in tins and jars. Easy to give away, no issue whatsoever if there’s a power outage, and with rocket stoves, a charcoal barbeque, and propane heaters/stoves, I have redundancy without needing electricity at all really. The only issue I had being in Canada was the cold winters. Now that we’re in the UK, enough blankets are all I need to keep us warm all winter. With food taken care of sans electricity, I just don’t see the point in the generator investment. I’d probably have only a few devices worth charging, and for those I can use solar panels and pre-charged batteries.
Keith Cornett says
I’m in Tampa and we decided to evacuate after Irma’s track shifted west and it looked like a direct hit was in the plan. I have a couple of collector cars and with a house that is 7 feet above sea level, didn’t want to see them flooded. The day before we left town, we parked the cars in a large concrete parking garage in downtown Tampa. As it was a city-owned garaged, the city waived all parking fees during the storm. They were parked high and dry and stayed that way throughout the storm. Two days after Irma passed, we returned and were able to pick them and take them back home.
I wrote about the experience here: http://www.corvetteblogger.com/2017/09/10/hurricane-irma-update/
Once we returned we were without power for five days. Our generator made it liveable. In retrospect, I’m going to add a few more gas cans as gas was scarce in both leading up to and afterward. Also the Gas Buddy app was essential in locating stations that had fuel.
Elise Xavier says
Didn’t know about that app! Genius actually! Otherwise it’d be luck of the draw whether the next place you went to had any fuel.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Romeo Bravo says
From some other folks I have read:
1. Put important documents, valuable items in the dish washer. Waterproof and it’s probably going to stay in place. So dry storage!
2. Take cell phone photos of all your drawers, closets, etc. Apparently good enough for insurance needs. Please double check this.
In the spirit of avoiding bad advice,
The dishwasher DOES NOT work. It keeps water in, not out.
Elise Xavier says
Ken Pierce says
By far the most important prep is a large network of friends whom you can count on because you have proved they can count on you. I live in Houston and at the height of the storm it seemed you could divide people into two groups: the people who had had to evacuate their homes, and the people who had a bunch of for-the-duration house guests. I have friends sending me money from out of state because they trust me more than they trust Red Cross, and all that money is going to people who need help — but it is going to people whom I know who need help. It is coming through me because know me and trust me; it is going to people whom I know and whose need is genuine. This is happening throughout the area, and it means that 100% of the money goes to real needs…but if we don’t know the need we can’t help fill it. The human network is the single most important prep you can make — whether you want to be prepared to get through a Harvey yourself, or whether you want to be prepared to help people who are trying to get through a Harvey.
Elise Xavier says
Excellent points. I’d say, if you’re not a particularly “social” person (I for one am not usually) at least make friends with the few people on the block who seem to be the “neighbourhood watch” almost. There are always a few people in your neighbourhood who seem to be doing more than others when it comes to looking out for their neighbours – they sometimes help the elderly with their lawns, they volunteer to help you with garden projects, they’ll even many times reach out to you of their own accord. If you’re too busy or just don’t like interacting with slews of people, find these pivotal people because they will be the ones ‘connected’ in an emergency, and thus can really help you out if you ever need assistance.
General rule of thumb is “run from the water, hide from the wind”. If you live outside the storm surge zone, you are probably better of sheltering in place. Storm surge can kill, wind is usually just an inconvenience, primarily due to power loss. (If you are very near Level 4 or 5 landfall, wind is dangerous as well.)
There may be collateral flooding from rainfall (not storm surge). This is what happened in Houston. The main cause of death from this type of flooding is people driving into the water.
Mass evacuation from high population areas is not really possible. The transport system won’t accommodate it, and there is nowhere to put the people. If you do go, you need to leave 4 or 5 days before the event, in other words well before its clear where, or even if, landfall will occur. Evacuation is not risk free.
If you think you need a boat as part of your preps, you should very seriously be considering moving as your number one prep priority.
Plan ahead. Biggest issues for most people are usually no power, maybe no water, no grocery stores, no gas. It’s camping out at home for 2 or 3 days – or maybe 15 days.
FPL still has 730,000 customers without power (16%), this morning, 6 days after Irma hit. When Ike hit Houston in 2008, over 2.2 million customers lost power, and 25% of those were still out after 10 days. The city of Beaumont (120,000 people) lost their entire water supply for 3 days, and their was a boil notice when it came back on.
I have a 96 hour and a 24 hour warning To Do list – everything from get cash, get meds, top off gas, recharge rechargeable batteries, make extra ice in freezer, wash cloths, back up computers.
If you do have to evacuate, have a checklist of what you will take. There are 38 items on my list.
I live in the suburbs of Houston. We are near the Brazos, behind a levee designed for a 100 year rainfall event. We got 38″ of rain in our area. If the predicted 50″ had occurred, it wasn’t clear whether the levee would be enough, and that would have been another 4,000 houses flooded. In fact, we did not flood. Quite a few area roads did flood. My plan going forward to shelter in place, and improve my “power loss” preps.
So far I have purchased a small solar panel (20 W) that outputs USB level power, to charge phones and tablets. I also bought a small backup battery that will charge phones. I would like a 100 W panel – enough to run a small fan, charge a 12V battery, and recharge AA batteries, but haven’t done it yet.
Elise Xavier says
I still don’t understand why people try to drive into hurricane water.. It makes no sense to me, but maybe that’s just because I’ve never been in that situation? It seems like an absolute recipe for disaster.
This is all such solid advice, thank you so much for sharing your experience!
Ron the Tree Farmer says
The notes above from Amanda C are dead on. Based on 35 years of hurricane experience, as an adult, in southeast Texas I would add:
1. Have an emergency radio that uses multiple sources of power, including a hand crank. Good multi-ban radios are available from multiple outlets for less than $50. Information is critical. Other than physical injury, lack of power is the worst thing for most people. After Alicia in 1983, we went without power for 11 days because a tornado knocked down our local power lines.
2. The best part of any preparation is where you choose to live. Most of the areas that flooded in Houston were the “usual suspects”. Harvey flooded all the usual suspects. Before you rent or buy, talk to the neighbors, look at flood control maps, and use your common sense. That river or coastal property may be awesome, but your only prepping is to have flood insurance and plan on evacuating every time. We’ve had major damage from Alicia and Ike, but never evacuated because we don’t flood in the our part of the Heights.
3. At the risk of sounding trite: weapons and ammo. You see very little looting in Texas overall and in particular in residential areas, that’s because it’s common knowledge that most of us are armed.
Elise Xavier says
These are excellent tips, thank you.
#1 I learned going through a power outage with a very helpful neighbour years and years ago. Radio is 100% the best way to stay informed during an outage/emergency and it really is important to stay informed.
When you’re choosing a house to buy, get a topo map. Look at the flood planes.
Check out the trees on your property. Huge, beautiful trees that are standing alone in your yard look beautiful, but they’ll catch wind and without other trees to screen them they’re a threat to anything they may fall on. Like your car or your house. Keep up with your pruning: dead branches are potential projectiles.
We talk bug-out bags for when you need to get out NOW. But you should also plan for an intermediate scenario where sheltering in place isn’t an option but you’re not in so much of a rush that you can’t collect your treasures. That means a list and a plan.
Finally, and ferfal started making this point years ago: you’re part of a community. Even in a total TEOTWAWKI scenario, your neighbors and friends are part of your environment. They’re a source of help and support when things get tough.
Elise Xavier says
Very true. Also, just because a tree looks like it’s well rooted and solid, doesn’t mean it won’t be knocked down, so be real careful with those right near your house. Too many times we’ve seen trees being knocked down (in our case due to ice/winter storms) when the house owners thought it’d be fine/safe. Don’t take the risk if you don’t have to. Make sure trees are far enough away from the house that if they fall, your roof isn’t touched.
This is all excellent advice. Thank you so much for stopping by!
Andy Mcgill says
1. Know how water would flow through your neighborhood and your home’s flood risk. Check the FEMA flood maps. Think about your neighborhood — is it flat or hilly? Are you on the top of even a slight hill or at the bottom?
2. Decide early whether to leave or not. If you don’t decide to leave, then work on staying immediately. Have extra gas and propane stored and rotated into use so it is not too old.
3. NEVER USE A GENERATOR INDOORS, even in attached garages. Have a working battery powered CO detector — many disasters have half the deaths from CO poisoning from generators.
4. If you leave, place as many valuables as possible high in the house. TVs, computers, etc can be saved if the water doesn’t reach them upstairs or in the attic.
Elise Xavier says
Thanks for these. Great suggestions!
I always thought it was a good idea to buy on a hill considering my mum’s house (not on a hill) used to get basement flooding in Canada. But it was a little depressing seeing houses that weren’t supposed to be in flood areas get flooded anyways in Houston. I guess you can never really know, no matter how hard you try to be careful where you buy a home.
An idea: A 200-300 gallon polyethylene tank installed in your house…in-line in the water system (like your water heater already is…so that it is always constantly turning over with new, fresh water. When the SHTF you simply turn off the input and output valves to keep from corrupting your supply and you’ve got 200-300 gallons of fresh water on site.
(I realize there would be no water pressure to drive the water to fixtures throughout the house. But water you would have!)
Elise Xavier says
That sounds amazing. Wonder how difficult this would be to implement?
I live in Palm Harbor FL and dealt with Irma. Our respected local meteorologist said repeatedly: “run from water, hide from wind”. He means that if you are threatened by rising water from storm surge or extensive rain, you leave. If you are in a solid structure not threatened by rising water, stay, but know where your safe room is. Running is somewhat problematic. Friends from the east coast ran to the west coast only to have the storm track shift west, so they ran back. The storm went up the middle. The only ones who avoided it left the state. Even then, Irma knocked power out for a day and a half for friends in Atlanta. No simple answers.
Elise Xavier says
I haven’t heard that rule of thumb before, but it’s easy to remember and makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing!
Amanda C says
I live right smack where Harvey came over, and reversed back out over..1 1/2 hrs from Rockport. The paranoia in the three days leading up to the storm amazed me. The grocery stories look like Black Friday, gas stations were full and supplies low. It was awful. One thing I can say for myself is that I didn’t take into account the massive number of people that would evacuate through our area from the coast. Everything was bought up and consumed. Then came then storm followed by our town flooding and cutting off roadways for two days. Groceries were replenished amazingly fast, but gas was not. Stations couldn’t keep up with the demand of the locals and evacuees returning…2 weeks later we finally came keep some gasoline and got our first load of diesel. Things I learned from the storm:
*cash is king. Get small bills. ATMs and debit cards won’t work without power.
*fill up every available tub, bucket, ice chests etc with water. I even filled the tank on my travel trailer (which doubled to weigh it down a bit)
*keep your generators maintainable check them every few months. We haven’t cranked ours up in over a year…fired it up a few hours before the storm only to find we had a leak in the gas tank. Luckily we also have a power inverter as a backup, and also didn’t lose power.
*cast iron works great on BBQ pits. Fill up that propane and grab extra charcoal. Don’t unestimate the power of a hot meal.
*plan for helping neighbors. Mine ran out of milk and eggs on day 2 when her family dropped in for shelter.
*social media is GREAT at fast paced weather updates, family check ins and needs. If you lose connectivity though and cell towers are down, record a voicemail message for family members updating them of your location and safety. Keeps the panic scale down a bit.
*if you plan on leaving, plan accordingly. Travel trailers and Uhauls don’t travel well in high wind, and the stress of traveling with the multitude of evacuees is not to be taken lightly. Start moving these items early if you must.
The one thing I can say is start early, even if it is just small. I was blessed to have a stocked pantry and only made minimal preparations, others were not so lucky. Be watchful and make informed decisions.
Social media can be great but also be careful. Triangulate data if possible. There are some out there that get their jollies feeding misinformation to people, and then there are the well to doers that forward every false report that comes their way.
Elise Xavier says
This is genius: “If you lose connectivity though and cell towers are down, record a voicemail message for family members updating them of your location and safety.” Something so simple and yet so effective. All the rest is of course great advice as well, but I’ve never seen anyone recommend anything like this before and it is such a perfect solution to reducing panic with friends and family worried about you, especially if they don’t necessarily live in the same city and thus have all that free time to worry.
Sometimes, there aren’t good choices.
My former mother-in-law, well into her 90s lives smack dab in the path of the hurricane in a mobile home. Made a decision, early in life, never to work a job. So, no money.
Hurricanes are a form of repetitive disaster. Yes, smart people do an inventory of their possessions, digitize their photograph albums, They also rent a small storage unit, either on the way to safety or at safety, and stock it with minimal clothing/food/water/possession records/etc. Most people will not do it.
After a major earthquake here, with the power off for the day, I took my son to the local big box drugstore only to witness the panic buying and the empty shelves. There was a panicked, older man agonizing over the few batteries left on the shelf. He was old enough to have experienced the 1935 Long Beach earthquake – and yet he never had prepared for anything in his life. The important thing to remember is as follows.
You are going to have relatives, good neighbors, friends, and strangers in your life. Most of them live day-to-day and will never prepare for any emergency. You have to be prepared to deal with them/their needs in an emergency. Example – I have a sister who lives a mile away. Phd! I offered to give her some things to store in her garage in case of emergency. She couldn’t be bothered – “if there is an emergency, I will come to your house.” Accept it and figure out how you will deal with it. Those people are part of the challenge.
Elise Xavier says
I can’t imagine going through one hurricane or earthquake and doing nothing to prep for the potential that another will happen, but I know it’s plenty true that many out there are that way.
Good on you for taking your son to have a look at what was happening after the earthquake. It’s hard to imagine a better way of showing someone the kind of situation they might be in if they don’t take precautions themselves, especially if they’re used to their parents prepping and thus have never really had to really deal with the desperation of being in an emergency with no preps for themselves.
There are lots of friends-and-family-of-preppers like your sister, and I don’t mind altogether. If they are important to me, I have no problem taking them in during an emergency. That being said, I do usually wear them down and get them to keep a little of something in their own homes – just in case. It’s fine to say you’ll come crash if there’s an emergency, and like I said, I’m willing to take some people in, but there would also be situations where you’d want to stay home for at least a little while first, and that’s when it’s good to have at least something in your own house. Happy to prep for other people, but I do expect them to give a little with regards to storing *some* things in their own home as well.
Maura Furie says
I would have rented a storage place well out of hurricane territory, then rented a u-haul at the first siting. Anything I have that is precious to me, I’d move to the storage. Antique furniture, crafts, even food I had stored. Of course, for some people a simple locker would suffice.
I might think in terms of being stranded by the floodwaters and order a blow up kayak. The problem with something like that is going over something that would rip the fabric. It depends on how deep the water is. In Houston it was over five feet, so you would be well above the level of fire hydrants. I can’t believe how many people have to be rescued from their homes. With Harvey, they did not know where the flood water would be, so if you are hesitant to evacuate, at least be able to float.
Some people can’t really evacuate in a hurry. If this is an issue, your prepping should include a place to go in your situation. An ambulance ride to a rental may be needed, or a generator for an oxygen tank. Prepping is not one size fits all.
Elise Xavier says
Thanks for stopping by with a comment, Maura! The blow up kayak is a great idea, and while it’s obviously not as good as a boat considering it could rip, I’d of course argue it’s much better than nothing, and they’re reasonably cheap, so better to have than not.
That’s what I’ve always felt I would do, too – have a storage place outside of hurricane territory. That being said, I don’t know if I could handle living in a place that hurricanes like that could potentially hit, just because I think the paranoia/worry over it happening or (if it happened to me before) the stress over having to re-build yet again would probably eat away at me. My mom has a basement that flooded around once every 5 years (not serious flooding, just a little) and even that was enough for me to be paranoid enough to get a house up on a hill when I bought in Toronto. Definitely think it takes balls to live in a hurricane-prone city.
One of the hardest things to prepare for is the time you are away after you have a mandatory evacuation. I can’t tell you the amount of money spent on gas, lodging, and food when you evacuate and then can’t get back into your place due to road closures and national guard. Lesson learned here is have a place to evacuate to, and make sure you are prepared to be there for a good length of time. After Rita I couldn’t get back to my house for over 3 weeks.
If you decide to stay: You can prep and have your water, generators, ammo, food, documents gathered, et cetera for when you stay and weather the storm, which many people do because of looters.
A quick tip for folks who have documents and photos that you might lose in the storm. Scan all of your documents and photos and email them to yourself.
After the storm you will need a ton of bleach!
One other note: Give to a local charity that you trust with roots in that area rather than the big organizations. Trust me it will make a huge difference!
Elise Xavier says
Wow 3 weeks.
That’s a really good point about the mandatory evacuation time being expensive. I’d imagine unless you stayed with relatives, you’d find it very hard to keep costs down during that time. Air BNB might be possible if you still have access to your phone, but a hotel or motel – that can be crazy pricey, especially if you have to stay over a month.
I think your quick tip about scanning documents is so important to do even if you don’t live in a flood/hurricane prone area. What happens if there’s a house fire? Unlikely these days but they do happen.
& excellent tip on the local charities; makes perfect sense.
As was pointed out to me by a woman who’s still out of her house and probably will be for at least a couple more weeks, expect that EVERYTHING you leave behind will be DESTROYED. Moving it to the second floor will not help if you have water in your house for a month; EVERYTHING will grow mold in that time. She talked about the difficulty of explaining to her kids before they evacuated that they needed to pick the things that were most important to them, do it now, and fit it all into a small case.
We were lucky through Harvey – our house stayed completely dry and we never even lost power. But I had our “tornado closet” fully stocked with everything we’d need for one (cramped but fully supplied) day, plus tools to cut ourselves out if we had to, plus our most irreplaceable and most necessary documents and memorabilia, suitably wrapped. (It helps that we don’t own a lot of heirlooms.) And I was able to stay out of the way of those whose prep had included only buying a bunch of Power Bars and bottles of water and , once the stores started to reopen, were desperate for something good to eat, because I had a written plan of what was in the freezers, and in what order that food would need to be cooked and eaten if we had lost power, plus plenty of charcoal for our backup grill and a camp stove. My beer-making equipment was a handy way to store the first about 20 gallons of drinking water.
Elise Xavier says
This is excellent advice, especially about the mold. Something you don’t think about for sure if you haven’t thought flooding all the way through.
A tornado closet is the perfect idea. I love that bit of advice the most. Definitely good to plan out what you’re going to eat like you did, too.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Great article and good questions. Personally if I lived in a Hurricane, flood area, I would have a prepared BO plan before I got flooded out. When the water is entering your home it may be to late to get out of Dodge without a boat. I personally have been able to pack most of my preps and BOBs in my car with a 2 hour window of advance notice or opportunity. I’ve ran a 30 minute drill and probably got 75% packed up. I won’t second guess anyone in Houston, or in Florida but I’m leaving as soon as I get a hint a SHTF situation weather wise is coming. There are situations to stay put and situations to flee. Floods and Hurricanes are not issues I can beat if I stay in place…Good luck to all in Houston, and Florida!
Elise Xavier says
What would you do if hurricane warnings were frequent, and barely any of them were actually serious enough to get out of dodge for? Would you do it anyway, on the off chance that one of them would grow into something like Harvey? Just curious! :)
1. you don’t store in the attic – deterioration
The best prep is as follows and I don’t have the money.
A video. In the video, you show:
1. how to make the UN recommended 2 liter solar water bottle purifier;
2. how to make the dual 2 liter solar water bottle purifier that also filters out some contaminants;
3. how to store water in 5 gallon plastic paint buckets with the number “2” on the bottom (food grade) and have the option of a lid that it essentially a few times usage vs. a lid that is rotated on and off.
4. explain that plastic water bottles purchased at the mom and pop grocery store are not designed to last more than a few months.
5. explain that chlorine deteriorates in a few months.
6. shows the FEMA recommended pool shock that costs $7 a pound and will treat 17,000 gallons of water.
7. show the UN approved rehydration salts package and explain how to make it;
8. demonstrate how to make hardtack that will last in storage for years.
Most people don’t give a thought or a dam- about preps. But if the video were made and shown free at senior centers, community centers and fire stations, you might have some better communication.
Elise Xavier says
I wish a video like this was shown at elementary schools even.. and uploaded online for the kids to re-watch with their parents and do an assignment on. Would mean parents with young kids would see it, too.
Thanks for the correction on storing in the attic, and spelling out all these tips that should be way more commonly known.
I know preppers who love pool shock, but I am seriously concerned about the inactive ingredients. Do you have a link to the specific FEMA page which recommends pool shock? Thanks. The only disinfectant I’ve seen recommended is chlorine bleach.
Make sure that you understand the difference between filtration and purification.
Make sure that you understand what heavy metals may be.
Make sure that you know what “salts” may be.
Too many people confuse the concepts of purification and filtration. They also may think that if a gallon of scented chlorine bleach is stored in a dark corner of the garage, it will be good to go 5 years later if not opened (hint, never use scented chlorine and it loses potency after a few months).
It also helps to understand germ theory. You may think germ theory is an old concept. Oh no, my grandfathers were alive when Dr. Lister and Dr. Pasteur lived.