The storm caused by Hurricane Sandy has downed trees, flooded homes and damaged streets in the New York City borough of Staten Island. On the island’s south shore, trapped residents, some of whom ignored evacuation orders, pleaded with local officials on Facebook to send help to their flooded homes.
This might sound cold-hearted, if you were warned to leave, and you ignored those warnings, too bad.
People that ignore calls to evacuate put a drain emergency services that are better served elsewhere. There is a difference in someone that can not evacuate because they do have the means to, and someone that ignores the situation.
Nobody has the right to willfully be a burden upon others. That is called willful negligence, and it puts others at risk.
Why should a fireman or police officer risk their lives to rescue someone, when that person ignored orders to evacuate?
House gets flooded in a hurricane, you were warned to leave and now you need rescue, too bad. Deal with it.
Just before Hurricane Rita made landfall I observed something that I probably will never forget, and that was a guy with a lowboy trailer 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.
Some of the things to disappear during panic buying (from my observations anyway)
Its 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.
Something I learned from Hurricane Ike, never underestimate a hurricane. My mom and dad were planning on staying at home during the storm. If they had, they would have been in the attic to get above the flood waters.
A buddy of mine evacuated thinking things would return to normal in a matter of days. Little did he know his house would get 2 feet of flood water.
People in Houston had to sit in the food and ice lines for hours at a time.
When the government says there is a disaster on the way, take the warning seriously.
Keep flashlights and batteries in stock, have a way to cook without electricity, have an extra air mattress, pillows and blankets for guest, fill up the gas tanks of your vehicles.
After hurricane Rita passed through, there were people calling the local radio station complaining that they did not have fuel to drive to the food lines. But the people had several days warning before landfall. The thing is, they were not expecting the damage to be as bad as it was. The majority of the people expected life to return to normal within a few days, but it was over 2 weeks before things started to get back to normal.
Never underestimate the destructive force that nature has.
I think that most of the people that were affected by Hurricane Ike are wiser today – I know I am.
One of the saddest scenes I saw after Ike passed through, was a family looking at what was left of their house. The house was close to the marsh, the storm surge busted through the walls and washed everything inside the house out into the street. A girl who looked like she was around 8 or 10 years old walked over to a man who looked like her dad, and the girl broke down. The man wrapped his arms around the girl, as if he was trying to keep her safe.
I am going to guess that the man and daughter were looking at what was left of their house. The emotional toll was probably more then a lot of people could take. I went through a depression phase after seeing my home town almost destroyed.
Regardless of how bad the damage was, the people recovered and rebuilt. Some of the people of Bridge City sold their homes and left, one flood was enough for them and they did not want to risk going through another one.
Not everyone sold their home and moved out of Bridge City, a lot of people stayed and rebuilt.
Having 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.
As soon as the public gets information that a disaster is looming, people go into panic buying mode. Expect food, bottled water, camping supplies, bread, snacks, camp stoves, charcoal,,,,, well, if its on the shelf, expect people to buy it.
There is one thing that is sold out very quickly, and that is fuel. Before you know it the fuel lines are out to the street, and tempers start to flare.
This video was taken after hurricane Ike hit southeast Texas. People were blocking the roads so other traffic was not able to get through. I did not see any road rage, but its very possible it did happen.
This is a real story, as it was told to me. As far as I know it based on actual events.
Location – Lufkin, Texas Date – a couple of days after Hurricane Rita passed through.
The story – this guy was at a gas station filling up several 55 gallon drums. Gasoline was already in short supply. Before Hurricane Rita made landfall, Houston, Texas had evacuated. As the people from Houston passed through the small towns of East Texas, they were like locust, cleaning out the resources of the small towns – such as food, hotel rooms, bottled water and gasoline.
Someone walks over to the guy, pulls out a pistol, points it at him, and says “you have enough gas, move on.”
Who is in the right and who is in the wrong?
Was the guy hogging more then his fair share of fuel?
Did he need that much fuel?
Was he bringing the gasoline to people further south in the Hurricane affected areas?
Did he have a special needs person and needed the fueul for a generator?
Was the guy with the gun in the wrong for forcing the other person to move on?
Some of the gas stations in Lufkin started rationing fuel – cars were only allowed to get 45 dollars worth of fuel and then they had to move on. At time, gas cost 2.99 a gallon, so $45 of gas at the time was not much. Some of the gas stations had police officers at them to ensure peace and order.
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.
Its 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.
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.
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.
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.
Have a way to cook without electricity. This is where a lot of people fail to plan. A simple camp stove – liquid fuel or propane – will do the job just fine. On a personal note, I prefer my pull behind bar-b-q pit with a 6 feet 9 inch long and 29 inches across grill.
Have some air mattresses on hand. These are for evacuees to bring with them and for the people receiving the evacuees. Sleeping on an air mattress is a lot better then sleeping on the floor. Be sure to have a way to inflate the air mattress.
Have some extra pillows and blankets – these go with the air mattress.
Hand crank flashlights
Make sure every member of the family has their own flashlight. Some of the best ones to hand out are the hand crank dynamo powered units. That way there is no need in worrying about batteries.
Hand crank battery powered lanterns could be placed in the bathrooms. That way people do not have to have to try to hold their flashlight and do their business at the same time. Be sure the lanterns are positioned so that the light is reflected by the bathroom mirrors.
Instead of dynamo powered flashlights, solar powered sidewalk lights work well in bathrooms. Either option will help eliminate the fire hazard posed by kerosene lanterns and candles.
Communications – be sure to have the cell phone and home phone number of everyone you might need to call. Usually, right before a hurricane makes landfall the telephone company will be overloaded – as friends and family members are calling each other.
2 days before Hurricane Rita made landfall, cell phone and home circuits were overloaded. Because the phone systems might be overloaded, its important to have some kind of backup communications – such as email, instant messenger program, posting in a forum,,,,.
After natural disasters – such as a hurricane – roads may become flooded and impassable. This video was filmed after Hurricane Ike passed through the Southeast Texas area in September 2008. Its important to know where the back roads are and how to use them.
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.
On a typical day, its pretty much bumper to bumper on all of those roads. But an evacuation is not a “typical” day. Traffic ground to a dead stop as millions of people tried to flee Hurricane Rita. Untold numbers of people gave up on the evacuation, turned around, went back home and were ready to accept whatever fate awaited them.
When Hurricane Rita neared the coast, the point of projected landfall was moved to the east – from Galveston to the Sabine Pass area. The evacuations for Galveston and Houston were canceled and people returned to their homes. A few months after Rita made landfall, there were questions as to why an evacuation was even called for the residents of Houston. There seemed to be a backlash of anger towards the City Government. People were frustrated that they were stuck in traffic for hours- and for nothing.
In August of 2008, Hurricane Ike formed in the Atlantic ocean. Even though the projected path changed several times, Ike finally made landfall in Galveston, Texas. This time, there was no evacuation like what had happened with Hurricane Rita.
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.
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.
Three weeks after the power has gone out, and all of the batteries are dead, survivalist will be glad that they invested into some kind of hand crack flashlight – also called a dynamo powered flashlight. Whether its a type of lantern, or flashlight, it does not matter, these things are good to have around.
Hand crank lantern
The basic principle of a hand crank lantern is that it does not need batteries. Even though these devices say they do not “require batteries”, they have a couple of AA rechargeable batteries to store the charge. A few cranks of the handle is enough to charge the batteries for for several minutes of light.
Some of these flashlights / lanterns have a built in radio. However, with the radio on, the batteries can go dead rather quickly. Most of these types of combo units (lanterns with built in radios) have very limited range and may not be able to pick up even near by radio stations. So do not consider these as a primary radio.