Love your blog and the book. I have been meaning to write this for some time but wanted to finish reading everything on the blog. Thought I could provide some info on what I have seen as I live in Louisiana and have gone through several hurricanes that have caused massive disruption to everyday life.
What preparations do you do to protect your home during these storms?(plywood shutters, etc)
Do you have a prearanged plan for the family so everyone knows what to do if caught by surprise?
The benefit of being able to prepare for hurricanes is the fact that I can start preparing for it for about a week before it hits. (I already have my food, water, weapons, and other preps ready year round. I am just talking about hurricane specific preps.) I pick up all loose objects on my property like flower pots, wind chimes, kids’ toys, and other similar items and put them in the shed. I remove dead branches from the trees in my yard. I am about 80 miles from the coast and don’t have to board up my windows like someone in New Orleans or closer to the coast would, but I do tape my windows in case they do break. I also make sure to have plenty of plastic tarps around to protect my house from rain if something were to be damaged. I do keep a few plywood boards around just in case more serious damage occurs. After Gustav I went to my friends house and saw that his neighbor’s house was cut in half by a tall oak tree that fell down. Luckily no one was hurt, but when the family went to stay in a hotel until their home could be repaired, their house was looted by someone who saw an easy target. As for a prearranged plan, my family knows to go straight home if something happens, and if that is not possible then we have another meeting place.
What 10 things would you not go through a storm without?
The 10 things I would not go through a storm without would be: 1. Water, 2. Food, 3. Guns and healthy supply of ammo, 4. Flashlights and plenty of batteries, 5. Radio(battery powered and hand cranked), 6. Extra supply of gasoline, 7. Generator for keeping my fridge running to prolong my frozen goods, 8. Spare parts or even replacement items like your 3 is 2, 2 is 1 idea, 9. Board games/books(It gets really boring when there is no power or work for a week.) and 10. First aid kit/Medical supplies.
If you could go back in time, what prep would you have done differently?
If I could go back in time, I would have bought another 8 gallon container of gas because it goes faster than you think it would. The only thing I used the generator for was for the fridge and two lamps, and I would turn it off at night to save gas. The fridge kept cold enough at night to keep the food cold until morning. I also did not like leaving it on because it would make it harder to hear if someone was breaking into my house at night. Also I would have a chainsaw and more heavy duty garbage bags because clean up took two full days. Lots of downed trees, branches, and debris. I found a Molotov cocktail in my ditch after the water subsided (must have been the neighbor kids).
Did you use you weapons, when were you glad to be armed? Any particular incident or story you’d like to share?
I never had to use my weapons but there were several times I was glad that I was armed. At the gas stations it could get a little hairy because some people were acting a little crazy. During Katrina’s aftermath, there were alot of government vehicles, tents, and temporary offices setup across the street from my house.(about 1 mile as the crow flies). I tried to contact several governmental agencies to see what was going to be there, but they would not tell me anything. My family and I figured it might be a refugee staging area for people from New Orleans. I had a Glock 19 and a shotgun at the time and was glad I did because I had heard about the looting in New Orleans over the radio. It turned out to not be for refugees but as an operational base for New Orleans rescue missions. There was an increase in crime in my city because many gang members fled before the storm and stayed in the area. Every hotel room was booked in my city and even others farther away were booked up as well. I talked to someone at a local drugstore that said he was driving to Shreveport(all the way in north Louisiana) because every hotel was booked already. I know I mentioned it already but the book The Great New Orleans Gun Grab is a good insight into how law enforcement and government can act after a disaster. Scary stuff.
Top two or three pieces of advice you’d like to share with someone that would go through the same thing you did soon?
Some advice I would give would be to have supplies(food, water, guns, etc.) because you can’t get it easily or at all after the storm. Also, having the proper mindset will help you overcome what crosses your path.(A friend of mine, who is addicted to the internet, thought the world was over because she couldn’t access her facebook. I don’t think she could have made it if things really got bad. We only lost power for a week or so, not like the people on the coast and New Orleans who lost everything.) One thing I did forget to mention was that even though we had cell phones they didn’t work at times either because of power loss to the cell towers or an overload of the system by everyone calling at once. I did have a land line(not cordless) at home that allowed me to make calls because it drew its power from the phone line.