Homesteading and Survivalism

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Tag: natural disasters

What is normal behavior after a disaster

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The SHTF, 3 days later people are angry, hungry and tired. What would be considered normal behavior in that kind of situation? Would it be ok to steal? Would it be ok to loot? Would it be ok to fight? How about pulling a gun on someone that objected to your behavior, would that be ok?

Fox News has an interesting article – Superstorm Sandy brings out the worst in some

There is a quote in that article that got me to thinking,

“In a disaster situation, people aren’t sure what the norms are.”

– Jason Nier, a professor of social psychology at Connecticut College

What is normal?

Normal today is waking up, getting a shower, eating breakfast, then going to work.

What would be normal after a SHTF situation like what happened with Hurricane Sandy?

Would it be socially acceptable to steal because your family needs something? Your kids are hungry, so would it be ok to break into a store to get food?

After Hurricane Katrina the world was witness to deplorable behavior.  Behavior that we only thought existed in horror stories and the movies.  If there was one thing Hurricane Katrina taught us, humanity still has a savage underbelly.

Then along comes Hurricane Sandy.  Three days later we see looting, people digging through trash dumpsters for food, electrical crews pelted with eggs, elected officials complaining how long its taking to get the power restored, fights at gas lines,,,, just a breakdown of civilized behavior.

Would we consider digging through a trash dumpster normal behavior?

Would we consider throwing eggs at emergency responders normal behavior?

Would we consider standing for hours in line to get gasoline normal behavior?

If a type of behavior is not accepted before SHTF, why should it be accepted after SHTF?  Where does society draw a line on what is “normal”?

Examples from the past

If we want an example of how far people can develop a new “normal”, just take a look at Nazi Germany.

Is it normal certain groups to be rounded up and put to death?

Then there was slavery in the Americas.  How can people justify keeping others as slaves?  But it was “normal” to have black slaves in the 1700s and 1800s.

Disasters leave the doors open to a new normal

With a breakdown of government, this leaves the door open for people to accept new normal behavior.

When there are little to no consequences for your actions, what is there to restrain people? If a dozen or two dozen people are looting a store, why not join in? Is there a social obligation to follow the law if nobody else does?

After SHTF, at what point do laws no longer mean anything?

If laws are no longer valid, then what is acceptable behavior?

Staten Island residents ask for rescue

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Article from yahoo news,

Staten Island residents ask local leaders for rescue

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.

Unprepared Sheeple Make Disasters Worse

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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.

Do you consider yourself prepared for a natural disaster?

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Some of the things to disappear during panic buying (from my observations anyway)


Food shortages high prices and riots

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DS-Arms SA58 FN/FAL next to a river in southeast TexasRemember hearing something about a drought across parts of the US this year? If you buy anything with peanuts, you’re about to see the effects of a low harvest caused by the drought. Get ready for some high food prices, they are on their way.

Normally I do not subscribe to the doom-and-gloom predictions, but I am seeing it first hand.


Farmers here in Texas are losing crops, and having to sell their cattle because grass is not growing. Texas and Louisiana agreed to allow wide loads of hay to be transported between the 2 states.  Here in Jasper County Texas, I see trailers loaded down with rolls of hay going through the city on a regular basis. Importing hay from Louisiana is one of the few options cattlemen have right now.

Because of farmers selling off their cattle herds, the price of beef might be artificially low right now.  If the sale of cattle starts to slow down, we might see the price of beef jump.

Young and old trees are turning brown and dying. Back in February of 2011 my kids and I planted some oak trees at the Bug Out Location. Due to the lack of rain fall, and not being able to make regular trips to the camp to water the trees, the leaves have turned brown and the baby trees might die.


Remembering Hurricane Ike Three Years Later

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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.

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.

Hurricane survival tips

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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.

Candles and kids do not mix. Keep anything with a flame away from children.

Secure important papers. Put your insurance papers, car title, house title,,,, into a waterproof bag.

Secure anything outside that can blow away. This includes small grills, lawn chairs, yard furniture,,, anything that can move should be secured.

Write down phone numbers and other contact information of friends and family.

Communicate your plans to your friends, family and neighbors.

Have a common contact outside the affected zone – someone that you can call and leave messages with. Then other family members can call that person and ask about the status of others.

Do not forget about pets – stockpile some food and water just for your pet.

Have prescription medicines refilled. Stores can be closed for weeks after a major storm makes landfall.

Lanterns put out a lot of heat, keep them out of the reach of children.

Do not underestimate the storm surge.  Hurricane Ike pushed a 9 foot storm surge surge 20 miles inland in southeast Texas.

Fill up the gas tanks of your car/truck or SUV early.  If you wait too long, the gas stations will run out of fuel.

Have road maps on hand.  Just in case roads are closed you can find alternative routes.

Have a battery powered radio.  Try to get a radio that uses the same size batteries as your flashlights.  As a backup, have a handcrank radio.

If you will be receiving people that are evacuating, buy some air mattresses and have some extra pillows and blankets.  The backs of your friends will thank you the next day.

First aid kit.

Cash, credit cards and check book. Try to have as much cash on hand as you can. When the power goes out, or phone lines go down, a lot of places do not take checks or credit cards.

Post your questions and comments in this forum thread about Hurricane Survival.

Thunderstorms last night

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Last night around midnight we had some pretty bad thunderstorms roll through the area. These were the types of storms that when the rolling thunder hits, your house shakes. Just as luck would have it, when the internet went off, I was 11 minutes from being finished uploading a youtube video. But oh well, I will upload the video again tonight.

Around midnight my step-daughter calls my wife worried about the weather. I don’t know which one kept me up more, the thunder and lightening, or my wife and step-daughter talking on the phone. At least the cell phone towers were working during the bad weather.

The power never went off at my house, but power went off down town. As my wife and I were driving to work, a red light on HWY 190 that runs through Jasper was flashing red. When I got to work this morning 1 of the servers did not start back up when the power came back on. There was some standing rain on the streets, but no flooding. The rain gauge said we got 2 inches of rain last night.

Hopefully the 2 inches of rain helped the garden.

After the storms rolled through the Beaumont, Port Arthur and Houston areas, reports started coming in of chemical refineries losing power. Emergency calls started being made to people who live close by telling them to stay in their homes. Maybe a dozen or more people showed up at the local emergency rooms with breathing problems.

The problems with the refineries makes me wonder if the units can be shutdown quickly in an emergency. Take a look at what happened with the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. Could the same thing happen here in the USA, and not just with a nuclear power plant? With all of the chemical and oil refineries along the gulf coast, are they a disaster waiting to happen?

How about a random video just for the fun of it. This video is about a personal survival kit. I had an empty fist aid kit, so why not make a PSK (personal survival kit) out of it. A few months after the video was made, the box was returned to a first aid kit for my backpack.

Floods from nautral disasters

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This is the intersection of HWY 87 and chemical road, which is between Orange and Bridge City, Texas. 2 major intersections which were blocked by debris and water from Hurricane Ike. Keep in mind, this intersection is about 20 inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

As far as anyone could remember, this part of Orange County, Texas had never flooded – at least not this bad anyway.  When Hurricane Ike pushed the storm surge into the communities of Southeast Texas, a lot of people were caught unprepared.  An unknown number of people did not have flood insurance, mainly because the area where they live had never flooded.

Some of the lessons learned:

You can not protect your house against something like a hurricane. What you do, is make sure you have plenty of insurance, both flood and home owners.

My mom and dad will be ok. They have home owners and flood insurance. For the most part they will recover.

My brother had flood insurance, but nothing on the contents. Meaning he lost everything in his house with 4 – 5 feet of water.

My buddy did not have any flood insurance. He got about 2 feet of water in his house and has lost almost everything.

To protect your family and your property, have a fall back position. My family used my house as such a location. They had a safe place to stay, instead of sleeping in hotels and spending a small fortune on rooms and food.

When the local authorities call for an evacuation, heed those warnings, pack up your stuff and leave.  Property can be replaced, lives can not.

Flooded roads after a natural disaster

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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.

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