With a category 4 Dennis heading into the gulf coast, it looks already that this will likely be as active or more active season than last.
Hopefully, nobody here will have to deal with this crap, but if you should, here's some info that might be helpful from my own hindsight and experiences.
1. battery powered radio. A hurricane will take your electric out for a long time, as well as telephone and even cell service. The radio will keep you informed to WHERE to find water, food and medical care. Stations will be set up at various locations, and you won't want to waste fuel searching for them. With electric out, gas stations cannot operate the pumps.
2. a first aid kit. There will be debris everywhere. Plus you'll be moving trees and debris out to the road for pickup. There's a good chance of getting cuts. I took one nail in the foot. It could be a couple days before you find out where the first aid stations are set up, and 911 will not likely exist. Ambulances will be on the road all over the place and will be at their limit. (you'll hear sirens around the clock for the first couple weeks, non-stop) So, you'll need to be prepared to take care of medical situations yourself.
3. drinking water and ice chest. FEMA will move fast on food and ice. But, you'll need two or three days supply before FEMA kicks in. Fill up your ice chest before the storm arrives and before the police shut down the streets to traffic. You can't wait until the last minute.
FEMA is on the ball with their past experience. You'll be amazed how fast they get the water and ice coming.
4. gas powered generator. Although this will be important, they cost around $500. If you don't own one already, I would give you the hint that FEMA will reimburse you the cost if bought AFTER the storm. They will be for sale EVERYWHERE, even roadside, after a storm hits. FEMA will also reimburse the cost of chain saws and dehumidifiers. All of which will be available everywhere you look after two or three days.
5. flashlights. With no electricity, you not only won't have lights in the house, but there will be no street lights. Being without a flashlight with plenty of batteries, you'll be in bad shape after dark.
6. canned goods. enough for your family for a week. There will be food available at specified FEMA locatons (check the radio emergency channel to find where). Also, a gas grill will come in very handy. Make sure you have at least one full tank of propane when the hurricane warnings go up.
The red cross will set up a regular route with their mobile canteens, with two hot meals a day. The food isn't great, but you won't care. The red cross is wonderful and you'll be amazed at the hearts of these people.
7. Fill up your gas tanks on all vehicles! With no electricity, gas pumps will not work. You're going to need gas to get to aid and supplies, and to fill up AFTER the storm, you'll have to drive outside the disaster area. For me, that was 40 miles.
8. Photograph your belongings BEFORE the storm.
Other things to consider if you find yourself in a storm zone:
1. Call the 800 number to sign up/get a number at FEMA ASAP. Any assistance they can give will require you have registered. If you have no phone service, look for a communications center, which usually will be in the same location as the FEMA locations. Companies like verizon and at&t will offer free cell phone calls for the first couple weeks after a storm. The call for registration will take from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. But worth it! I would also recommend calling ONE family member and have him/her contact the rest of the family to let them know you're OK.
2. Once your electric goes out, you can figure on one to three weeks without electric. That being said, you may want to knock on doors in your neighborhood and organize a couple neighborhood cook outs. The food is all going to spoil, and can be put to good use. Besides, you will need your neighbors and they will need you. It's a good way to do some bonding.
3. If you have any damage to your vehicles, you'll find that most insurance companies will set up tents along the roadsides for emergency damage assessments. Even if you've only got scratches on your car, do this! State Farm was wonderful...they assessed my damage and had me out of there will a check in less than an hour. The money will come in handy...remember the $500 generator...reimbursed, but you'll need the money to buy one. By the way, figure on 10 gallons a day to run it.
4. By the way, when you get low on gas, you'll probably probably have to drive 30 to 50 miles to find a station with working pumps. Keep that in mind and go after a fill up BEFORE you're down to a quarter tank in your car.
Hope this helps. I wish I didn't know so much about this subject. One more thing about generators. Buy a heavy chain and padlock. You'll want to chain the generator to something solid. Sad to say, but generators got stolen every day after our storm. You sure don't want to have to buy two.
Also, change the oil in the generator once a day! This means buying oil by the case. These things take a lot of abuse from running for hours on end, and if you don't do the oil changes, you're going to find yourself with a large paperweight and NO electricity.
A couple additional things to do: Board up you windows if you don't have hurricane shutters. When a window breaks, your roof will fly off almost in the same beat...the pressure created will rip it off. So, protecting windows does more than keep things from flying into your living room.
Bring anything that isn't tied down indoors! Everything flies when a storm hits. A flower planter traveling 150 mph can be deadly.
Like I said, I hope none of you ever need this info. But, it seems a good time to post this. A category 4 is nothing to sneeze at, and if it SHOULD come your way, don't take it lightly.
Additional: For what it's worth, if any of you have a firebird or camero, try to protect the rear window when you park it before a storm. I didn't see a single one that didn't have it's rear window blown out. Just something to keep in mind.
Thank you Don. Writing this up for us was a lot of work, and I appreciate it. We think it might not hit us, but often it does. It hit Asheville really really hard last year, they had to pull bodies out of the water from canoes. And Asheville is in the mountains, in the way western part of North Carolina.
I for one am making a survival chest and just printed your stuff out so I can be smart about it, have not read it all yet, but am saving it along with some other articles on the subject I have already saved in a little pile.
I will, while I'm at it, make a second one for the "kids". This I had already planned, but you made me give it a deadline, which is how things get done
-------------------- Myra A. Grozinger Signs Limited Winston-Salem, NC
email@example.com Posts: 1244 | From: Winston-Salem, NC USA | Registered: Nov 1998
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One other very important item - medications. Keep a week's supply (or more) with you someplace you can grab it quickly and make sure they are sealed in a double ziploc bag. Those pharmacy bottles are not going to keep them dry if water gets into your house.
Thanks for clearing that up, John. It's still curious to me that it was the camera/firebirds that were effected, and it was always the back window. Everywhere I went, I saw them with plastic covering the back.
I'd figured flying debris.
Here's FEMA's page for hurricane preparedness. PRINT ALL THIS OUT NOW, if you're in an area that could be hit this year, plus print my post above. You won't be able to look it up after a storm without electricity!
On Kimberly's thoughts...if your meds need refrigeration, make absolute sure that you have ice. Keep in mind, all the streets will be closed and businesses closed by police HOURS before the storm begins. Waiting until the last minute will not cut it. And don't think for a second you can wait till the last minute to grab batteries, flashlights, radios, etc...they'll ALL be sold out.
And while I'm in typing mode here, one more thing. As much of a pain in the ass as it is, disconnect your computer equipment, wrap it in plastic bags and put it up HIGH. Talk about hindsight...geesh...heed these words!
Another thing, if you can put your furniture up on blocks, you'll be glad you did if you get hit! I had 3 inches of water in the house. If water gets on anything, it's pretty much history. You can figure on 2 to 3 weeks without electric, meaning no AC or dehudifiers, and that effected furniture will turn to mold in no time flat if it gets wet.
One more thing. After a storm hits, your number one priority is finding a channel with emergency info. Here, all the local channels pooled and carried 24/7 info...first aid stations, ice and water, food and supplies, closed streets, etc. Find out where these services are ASAP. You won't have gas enough to go on scavenger hunts, and driving is extremely dangerous! There will be NO working stop lights anywhere you go. Treat all intersections as four way stops, and be wary that many people are two stupid to know what a four way stop is...so be very careful and don't take it for granted that the other cars will let you through.
Looks like it's headed in our general direction. I'll be spending all day tomorrow getting everything nailed and screwed down. Besides the beautiful hills and hillbilly pickin', this is just another of the reasons I want to move to somewhere in the Apalacians....preferably Tennessee. I'm tired of the storms. Thanks Don
Billy, if you ever were in a big one, you'd think it was the apocalypse..right down to national guards directing traffic and military helicopters patroling the neighborhoods all night long for weeks. All that was missing was Marlon Brando.
I'm from Indiana...escaped the blizzards, ice storms and for the most part, homely women. lol (I sure hope there aren't any hoosier women on this site...if so, I was not referring to you.)
They're calling for this storm pattern to continue for another ten years. I'd sure like to relocate, but need to find an employer that will help out with relocation costs. Not as common as it used to be. (When I moved to Florida, I got relocation reimbursement and $1000 sign on bonus.)
Thanks, Bob. This is turning out to be a great thread with all the tips flowing in.
I've got another couple:
1. When your electric goes out, all your perishables will go bad. In our neighborhood, we knocked on doors and pooled all our food to have a few very very good cookouts on the street. Besides making good use of food that we wouldn't otherwise be able to eat before it went bad, it was an opportunity to meet and get to know the neighbors. Neighbors are VERY important in a crisis like that.
2. Besides filling up ice chests with ice, you can also fill your freezer and fridge with bags of ice. Ice will keep for a couple days that way, more or less. When the ice trucks start coming into the area, you'll be able to stock up. (Most of the ice distribution centers passed out 6 large bags of ice per family at a time, more than you can put in a good sized chest. So, put your extra in the freezer.)
[ July 08, 2005, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: Don Coplen ]
Hiya Don, I was lucky enough to only experience relatively minor Hurricanes when I lived in Tampa, but I've seen, first hand, the damage a major storm can do. Another tip would be to freeze blocks of ice if you have the spare room in your freezer. It lasts a lot longer than cubes. I normally freeze soda bottles, milk jugs and bottled water for camping. It normally lasts all weekend. When we were without power for an extended period of time, these blocks of ice saved our perishables in the freezer for 4 days without electric.
This also turns back to the generator thread. You can get an INVERTER off e-bay in time for the expected power outages. A good $200.00 inverter is hardy enough to run an extension cord into your house and run the basics.... fridge, TV, well pump if you have one, small freezer, etc. Just make sure you have plenty of gasoline on hand for your vehicle.
Back to the car windows blowing out: When I was in Pascagoula, MS in '85(?), a hurricane hit it dead center and we were on the 2nd floor looking down into the parking lot and just watched in amazement at the car windows just imploding and exploding as the storm passed. I really believe that there were sudden changes in pressure that made that happen and with the windows tightly closed, the back windows just compensated for the difference.
-------------------- John Smith Kings Bay Signs (Retired) Kissimmee, Florida Posts: 817 | From: Central Florida - The Sunshine State | Registered: Jan 2000
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A few more things to think about if your're in the zone for a direct hit.
Aside from stocking up on fresh bottled water, fill your tub with water. This water can be used to rinse stuff and for light baths.
Have a jub of bleach on hand, for cleaning and in the event you need to boil and drink the water in the tub.
Have a tire plug kit and one of them pumps that works off your cig-lighter. Lots of nails and screws on the roads long after the storm is gone.
Have a freezer therometer handy. If the electric goes out, stick it in your freezer and don't open the door unless absolutely necessary. The food in there will stay good until the temperature rises above 40 degrees. I was able to save the frozen food in my freezer for 4 days.
In preparation of the storm, put anything in your fridge and freezer you think you would like COLD after there is no electric. Cold items transferred to a cooler will help maintain the ice, you've hopefully stocked.
Also, if you have room in your freezer and pleanty of time to prepare, freeze gallon jugs of fresh water. These can be used in your cooler and won't melt as quickly as cubed ice. And, you can drink 'ice water' while you're sweating without the A/C.
Make sure you are well stocked in BO-Control. You'll need it!
I can't recall if anyone already mentioned it, but make sure you have all of your important papers secured in one place and in a zip lock bag. Especially your insurance policies!
It's a good idea to have several large tarps on hand. The larger, the better, as they can be cut to a smaller size if necessary.
Secure valuables, photo's, etc. in plastic bins, cover with a tarp and elevate them.
If you should lose your roof; watch for the locations where the water begins to trickle down through the ceiling. Water will seek its level. Use a screw driver to poke a hole where the drips are falling from. This will allow the water to drain and will help keep the ceiling boards from deteriating and falling in on you.
Oh, you'll need pleanty of buckets, pots & pans, garbage can, etc.
In your shop, unplug all electrical equipment and cover with tarps, elevate if you can.
A good set of gloves will be handy for cleaning up debris, afterward. Have several on hand, for family, neighbors and friends.
That's all for now, gotta go finish securing my stuff.
Good topic, Don... Stay safe!
-------------------- Co-Host: SANDCASTLE Panel Jam 'a Dixie Letterhead Reunion' Fort Myers, Florida
Cheryl Lucas a/k/a "Shag" on mIRC Vital Signs & Graphics, Etc. Cape Coral, Florida 239-574-4713 VSignsNgraphics@aol.com Posts: 987 | From: Cape Coral, FL USA | Registered: Aug 2000
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Watch out for snakes in standing water and when cleaning up. Never grab anything you don't know exactly what it is. Stay away from downed electric cables. Remember the dog. Have some rubber boots around. (Ask Kathy, I bet she has a pair of Pontchatula Nikes) Know where everyone in the family is when the storm is bearing down. If you think your vehicle is safer in the garage, remember, that you may have to get it out without electricity or have to remove obstructions from in front of the door, be prepared. Don't rely on someone else to get you out of a situation, you caused by being a dumbass.
Dan, that first post is a mighty fine piece of writing.That and your follow-ups can probably be distilled into a compact, portable document, with pictures, that lots of people would want to have.Most of us don't think about Disaster until it's on top of us.Then it's a Surprise. After one survives a few surprises, they loose their charm, and it's better to listen to experience. Particularly, when it is well-said.
-------------------- Bruce Williams Lexington KY Posts: 945 | From: Lexington, KY, USA | Registered: Mar 1999
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quote:Originally posted by Don Coplen: Here's FEMA's page for hurricane preparedness. PRINT ALL THIS OUT NOW, if you're in an area that could be hit this year, plus print my post above. You won't be able to look it up after a storm without electricity!
hey good advice all - how about putting all the small stuff (Jewelry, Important papers, back-up cd's, original photo's, family heirlooms) in a large bank safety deposit box? I know they are not insured but they are pretty durn safe - I know they will withstand tornadoes - what could be more secure than that? (Outside the U.S.S. Enterprise)
-------------------- Carl Wood Olive Branch, Ms Posts: 1392 | From: Olive Branch,MS USA | Registered: Nov 1999
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I just wanted to add that you should make sure you turn off your main breaker if you power is out. Last year many houses burned to the ground after the power companies restored power and surged the houses.
-------------------- Amy Brown Life Skills 101 Private Address Posts: 3502 | From: Lake Helen, FL, USA | Registered: Feb 2001
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