Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: hurricane survival

Unprepared Sheeple Make Disasters Worse

Just before Hurricane Rita made landfall I observed something that I probably will never forget, and that was a guy with a lowboy trail loaded with 55 gallon drums. He was at the gas station filling up the drums – and we wonder why gas stations run out of fuel so fast during a disaster?

I am as guilty as the next person about panic buying. When the word comes that a hurricane is heading our way, my wife and I will take a trip to the local china-mart to pick up a few last minute items.

There is a difference in picking up a “few” items, and trying to stockpile several weeks worth of food in one trip.

Every time a hurricane comes around, people will kick into high gear panic buying mode. They run down to the store and start buying everything in sight.

As hurricane Ike was approaching a few years ago, I heard people at china-mart talking about how the store was out of this or that. The people that were talking agreed to buy “something”. That “something” was whatever was left on the shelves.

Its that “we have nothing, so we have to buy anything” desperation that makes the whole situation worse. People walk around china-mart, their eyes have a semi-blank stare, and their mouths slightly open, kinda like a deer in the headlights.

When my wife and I go to china-mart before the landfall of a hurricane, its to pick up some bread, maybe a gallon of milk, maybe some more bottled water,,,. Its not that we are out, or need the items, we just want a couple of extra.

Stress levels go up as the hurricane approaches landfall. The unprepared sheeple make the situation worse because they are in panic buying mode.

Remembering Hurricane Ike Three Years Later

hurricane ike floodingIts simple amazing how much time has passed under the bridge in the last 3 years. On September 13, 2008 Hurricane Ike made landfall, and changed the lives of tens of thousands of people forever.

Mom and Dads house was totaled, sold to the insurance company and demolished.

One of my best friends has rebuilt and now has a nice place.

My brother has rebuilt and seems to be no worse for the wear.

It was somewhere around 10:00pm or 10:30 that I lost phone contact with my kids who were riding out Hurricane Ike in Houston. I figured they were ok, but I worried about them until I knew for sure they were safe.

The winds with Ike were not near as bad as Rita, but the storm surge with Ike was probably 10X worse the Rita. With Rita southeast Texas got a little storm surge, but nothing like what came in with Ike.

The next morning after Ike passed through, my family and I left the shelter we were staying at and went home. I hooked to pit up to my truck and pulled the pit around to the front of my house. I wanted to pit fired up and cooking something, so that the people driving down the street would be assured that life would return to normal.

Hurricane survival tips

Hurricane SurvivalHaving been through Hurricanes Ike and Rita, evacuated for Hurricane Andrew, and having worked an evacuee shelter for Hurricane Katrina, I think I can offer some tips on Hurricanes.

* Have at least 1 week of food and water for every person in your group. The government says at least 3 days, but shoot for at least 5 – 7 days. Depending on how much debris is on the roads, it could take 3 days for the road crews to get the roads open.

Evacuate low lying areas. Storm surge is no myth, get away from low lying areas and areas prone to flooding.

LED flashlights are better then old style bulbed flashlights. LED flashlights are more reliable then lights with old style bulbs, and LEDs have longer battery life.

Buy lithium batteries. Lithiums last longer then alkaline batteries.

Buy LED flashlights with long battery life and low lumens for inside the house. This is not a tactical situation, anything over 50 lumens can mess up your night vision. As you walk around the inside of the house, you do not want to blind other people.

Have a way to cook, such as a camp stove, or propane grill. Nothing boost morale like a good hot meal.

Video about cooking with a Coleman Perfectflow stove.

5 Things Survivalist Should Stockpile

Hurricane ike flooding

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about five things survivalist should stockpile. This could be for just about any type of disaster. Whether it is a hurricane, flood, wildfire… what are items that could be used to bug out?

This list is based on my own personal experiences with numerous tropical storms and hurricanes. Having grown up along the Gulf of Mexico, I have survived devastating hurricanes and tropical storms that flooded southeast Texas.

5. Fuel

When SHTF, your going to need a way to get out of town. Whether its a forest fire, hurricane, chemical spill,,,, keep enough gas in your tank to get away from the affected zone.

When a hurricane rolls trough the southern states, one of the first things to dry up is gasoline. People start filling their tanks up, the lines get long, and gas stations run out of gas.

4. Non-perishable Foods

This is any kind of food that does not need to be kept frozen or cold. There are so many options out there, this list could be a mile long – mountain house foods, #10 cans, family sized cans, any type of can goods, peanut butter, honey, freeze dried foods, food stored in mylar bags, dehydrated foods.

Panic Buying Before a Disaster

Panic buying before a disaster

When the public has and kind of advanced warning of a disaster – such as a hurricane or pandemic disease – people go into a panic buying mode. Keep this one thing in mind – if you do not have it before the panic buying kicks in, you will not be able to get it.

These images were taken as Hurricane Ike was approaching the Texas coast in September of 2008.

The list of items that disappears off the shelf first is rather short, but still long. It includes canned foods, bottled water, camp stoves and camp stove fuel, bread, flashlights, and other odd and end items.

The image to the left shows the camp stove selection at a local store right before Hurricane Ike made landfall in 2008. There were only a couple of stoves and just a little fuel left on the shelves. When this picture was taken, the hurricane was still 2 – 3 days from landfall. People were buying just about any kind of camp stove, lantern and fuel they could get their hands on.

It’s important to mention that people had buggies loaded down with charcoal for their outdoor grill. It it cooked, or could be used to cook, people were buying it up.

Hand Tools For Urban Survival

In an urban survival situation, its important for units to be self supportive. This includes being able to do basic repairs to the home or structure the people are staying in and growing a home garden. This is where the hand tools come into the picture.

Hammers

Unlike an air powered nail gun, or an electric powered nail gun, this amazing device only works with the swing of an arm. You hold it in your hand, grasp firmly and swing.

Every urban survivalist should have several good quality hammers on hand. Do not try to get off cheap. Go ahead, spend the money and get a quality product.

It has been my (Kevin) personal experience that hammers made in the USA are of better quality then those made in China. Also, buying made in USA products helps keep the factories here in the states. That keeps the jobs local which means less people on government assistance. So, buy American and keep your neighbors with a job. Or pay higher taxes and buy your neighbors food stamps, its your choice.

Be sure to include framing hammers for fixing walls and roofs, 4 pound hammers and 8 pound hammers in your collection.

Hurricane Season and Disaster Preparedness Plans

Hand crank powered flashlight at the bug out location

June 1 starts off the 2009 Hurricane season. For those of you that live in areas that might be affected by a hurricane, now is the time to make sure your plans and supplies are in place. Lets just review some basic disaster preparedness plans.

Have a primary and a backup evacuation route. This includes everything from interstate highways to country back roads. Drive these roads every once in awhile – check on construction zones and slow areas. If the traffic is slow during rush hour, its going to be at a dead stop (or barely moving) during an evacuation.

Have enough food and water for double to triple the number of people in your house right now, for at least 1 week (7 days). If you live 100+ miles inland, you might have to receive friends or family members that are evacuating from the coastal area. Do not depend on evacuees to bring their own food – most do – some don’t.

Becoming Complacent with Disaster Preparedness

As Hurricane Rita was making its way through the Gulf of Mexico in 2005, the projected path was towards the Houston and Galveston, Texas area. An evacuation was called for parts of Harris and Galveston counties. Which is where the cities of Houston and Galveston are located.

The way evacuations are “supposed” to work, the areas that are nearest the Gulf of Mexico are evacuated first. Which is Galveston, and lower Harris county. That is how its supposed to work in theory. In reality, how does one of the largest cities in the USA evacuate? They dont. There were stories of people spending 18+ hours on the highway and not even going 10 miles.

There are 2 major highways going north out of Houston – HWY 59 and HWY 45. Going east and west, there is Interstate 10, 1960, old HWY 90 and 105. HWY 105 is north of the Houston area. It goes from Beaumont, through Cleveland, Conroe and finally hits HWY 6.

Picking a Good Quality Ice Chest

Two ice chest next to a barbecue pit on a trailer

After a disaster – such as a hurricane – part of the relief efforts usually include bottled water, MREs or canned goods and ice. The ice is supposed to help people preserve their cold or frozen foods. But, this ice is of little good if the person getting the supplies to does have a good quality ice chest.

It has been in my experience that Rubbermaid brand is almost the bottom of the bucket. I have taken a 34 quart Rubbermaid ice chest, put a couple of bags of ice in it. And the next day just about all of the ice is melted.

On the other hand, Coleman and Igloo both offer quality solutions. One of my ice chest includes a 128 quart Igloo 5 day. Your supposed to be able to be able to put ice in it, and when kept in the shade the ice is supposed to last 5 days.

Back in June of 2008 a buddy of mine got married at the beach. My wife and I loaded up the truck, hooked up the bar-b-q pit and headed to the beach to take part in the wedding. In the back of my truck was an Igloo 128 quart ice chest full of ice, drinks and a couple of frozen gallons of water. We got to the beach Friday evening. The Igloo 5 day extreme ice chest was in the back of my truck all weekend, in direct sunlight and day time temps were in the mid 90’s. Sunday, when my wife and I loaded up to go home, there was still ice in the chest.

Solar Powered Sidewalk Lights Instead of Candles

Most people do not realize that they have a renewable light source right at their feet. And that is those solar powered lights along the walkway. If you do not have any solar powered sidewalk lights, take a look at a local hardware store, or big box mart – such as wal-mart, lowes and k-mart. They are usually in the garden section.

When shopping for a solar powered light, do not get the cheapest ones on the shelf. But then again, dont go overboard on the price either. There are usually 2 different colored lights – clear and amber. Do not get the amber colored lens, they do not put out as much light as the ones with the clear lens. Be sure to get the lights that use an LED and not a regular bulb.

The way those lights work, during the day the solar cell recharges 2 AA batteries. As the sun starts to go down, a light sensor tells the unit when to turn on. Depending on how much sun light the solar cell got, that defines how much light the unit can provide. The more sun light the cell is exposed to during the day, the longer the burn time at night.

Hurricane Rita After Action Review

Barricaded store before hurricane makes landfall

When Hurricane Rita made landfall it was the fourth-most intense Atlantic Hurricane ever recorded and the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico. After Rita made landfall in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana, the storm caused $11.3 billion in damage.

The following story is my personal account of the days right before Rita made landfall, lessons learned, the actual landfall and the following days.

Wednesday morning it looked like Rita might hit Houston so my ex wife brought my youngest kids ages 9 and 11 to Bridge City Texas where my parents live, from there they (my kids and parents, not exwife) were going to evacuate to Jasper – to my house. Wednesday noon my 16 year old calls me, ask me to drive to Houston to get him out, my ex did not ask him if he wanted to leave before she left with the youngest children. At this time there was a voluntary evacuation of parts of lower Houston, Galveston area. So I left Jasper, drove to Houston, really the Bay town area to get my son.

1st lesson, have a full tank of gas going in and a plan for getting out.

Going into Houston was easy, everyone was going north – I was one of the few idiots going south. I was on HWY 96 headed south through Lumberton. Traffic was backed up through the entire city of Lumberton – 3 miles or so and 4 red lights. At this point I knew I was not going to be able to get back on HWY 96 north. I got on the phone with my wife, asked her to get on the internet – map quest, yahoo maps anything, and call her friends to see if they knew a way out of Houston using the back roads – she had about 2 hours till I needed the information. Going through Beaumont where 69-96 joins I-10, traffic was backed up for miles.

Hurricane Ike Aftermath

Flooded roads from Hurricane Ike

These pictures were taken in Bridge City, Texas after Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, Texas. Using Google Earth, and measuring from where these pictures were taken, its estimated that 20 miles inland, there was about a 14 – 15 foot storm surge. This is not a scientific measurement, its just an estimate.

How the storm surge was estimated – my parents house is is about 4 feet above sea level and they got over 9 feet of water in their house. This picture was taken 3 days after Hurricane Ike made landfall and the flood waters had receded about 7 – 8 feet.

Now looking back from the opposite direction. Notice the road has several inches of mud over it. From where this picture was taken, the flood waters got about 5 – 6 feet deep.

Storm surge is only one aspect of a Hurricane, one of the other considerations is the wind. During Hurricane Ike this house collapsed, hopefully nobody was home. Keep in mind this is about 100 miles from where the center of the storm made land fall. Notice the debris on the roof. Not only did the wind make the house collapse, but it was also covered with water by the storm surge. This would have meant certain death to anyone trapped inside.

Barricaded Store Fronts During a Disaster

Barricaded store before hurricane makes landfall

When some type of disaster occurs, the owners of a store will take measures to protect their business and their property. A lot of places like wal-mart will stack bales of compressed cardboard in front of the doors.

These blocks of compressed cardboard act as a barricade to help stop people from driving cars or trucks through the front doors. Most of the time the front doors of these large stores will be made of glass – which offer little to no protection from a car or truck.

During the Rodney King riots, some store owners also used these blocks of cardboard as bullet stops. Its kinda difficult for a bullet to penetrate 3 – 4 feet of compressed cardboard. The store owners were able to band together behind these blocks of cardboard, and stop the crowds of looters from destroying their stores .

These bundles of cardboard are best moved by a forklift, or wrap a chain around it and drag it to the desired location with a truck or car. Even though it weighs several hundred pounds, it is not too difficult to move with a little help. If hand power must be used to move the bundle of cardboard, use jacks to get it off the ground, then get some pipes under the block. Then just roll the block on top of the pipes.

What to expect from the Red Cross

What to expect from the Red CrossPlease Rate This Article After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, a summer camp in east texas took in about 400 evacuees.  The camp in question was used during the summer by several of the local churches for religious and non-religious based events.  When hurricane Katrina struck, the camp was […]

Page 1 of 11
Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018