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Monday, August 3, 2009

More on Hurricane Preparedness

Thankfully, we do not have the news media watching a wave in the ocean, on the other side of the world, building up hysteria yet. This is the time to get prepared when expectations of a storm are low. As I have posted before, stores have geared themselves towards having preps in place and you will find a number of things fairly easily.

1. Now is not the time to leave you gas tanks on empty. Not your cars or your reserves.
2. Katrina was a huge learning experience. A lot of people who stayed here vowed never to do it again. So if you are bugging out, leave early. Know where you are going and which route you are taking to get there. This is where your 72hr. kit comes in. Take one for each member of your family. What you need to take besides that:
a) Important papers
b) Anything and everything with proof of residency
c) Food for when you come home (and a way to cook it)
d) Cash for when you come home (some stores were running with no electricity on a cash only basis)
e) Cleaning supplies (mainly bleach and garbage bags)
Being prepared to leave is only half the battle. Not knowing what you will find when you come back is another. You can say I can get these things while away, and you probably can, but everyone else is thinking the same thing. Before you leave take pictures or video of all of your belongings and of the inside and outside of the house make sure it's dated, use a newspaper if you have to. Take it with you. If the storm is bad while you are gone, call your insurance company to file and meet with someone when you return home. Bring your camera and or video camera with you when you leave. The first thing you will do when you get back it retake those pictures or video for the aftermath and insurance purposes. Make sure it's dated or use a newspaper. Board up windows, secure your property.

3. If you are staying, and not staying in your home, figure out what shelter you are going to. A 72 hour kit is a MUST for this. And you need to know what shelters allow pets. A 72 hour kit is a must because you are required to have all of your own food, water, sleeping gear, etc. You must also bring your valuable papers and watch them carefully. Bring some kind of hand sanitizer also because there will be a bunch of you in a small space. If you go to a shelter with pets, you need to show proof of vaccinations. Don't think you can leave the second the hurricane is over, because they will keep you 1-3 days depending on where you stay and how bad the storm was. If you live in a flood zone and have already had your house wash away before or fill up, bring a tent, unless you want to stay at the shelter until they shut it down. If you wash away or fill up, a small rental unit or a friend on higher ground that can store a few cases of food and a generator would be a good idea. Board up windows and secure your property. You cannot bring booze or firearms.

O.k., the storm is over and you are back at your house. A dust mask is a good idea. After Katrina, most of us came down with a cough that we attributed to the molded drywall that residents nicknamed the Katrina Crud. Take out your camera and start shooting, all of outside the house and inside...remember insurance? Now start bagging up and getting rid of flooded items if your house has flooded, remember to keep an inventory list of what you have discarded and it's retail value, I know I said take pictures but you need to do this also. If you do not do repairs yourself get going with the bleach. Spray it on walls, clean the floors until you can get a contractor in. Drag broken limbs, roof tiles, roof, and whatever else into a pile. Don't let the house look abandoned and don't let debris block your view. It wasn't all that safe after the hurricane with looters and such. Arm yourself if you got them, just be careful.
If you can get just one room sanitized that's fine, that is the room you will all sleep in for the first night. Set up a cooking area outside. I have two portable Coleman double burners for this purpose. They work wonderful. In addition, if you can't cook without your gadgets you might want to take recipes with you, camp fire and dutch oven. And bring your cast iron when you bug out.
Unless your house completely fills up with water, you will only get a damage percentage. For example, if you have had only 2 ft. of water, you will only be covered for 3 ft. of drywall and insulation. Bottom cabinets only in a kitchen and if they are 30 years old, oh well. I hope that all your receipts from Katrina are still saved because that will come in very handy when filing a claim. Take those with you too!
If you have neighbors around you that you get along with pool your resources. There are many things I could include, like knowing what colors you painted the house last time and where you bought your cabinets and Grandma's recipes and maybe having all your photos scanned and put on a disc. All placed in your important papers would save more heartache later. With a little planning you can be more than grateful you and your family are alive.


Ken said...

...good one Worn Out,i'll admit it,99% of my 'gear' is for the 'hold tight or bugout' situation...this reminds me to check plan for the 'retun' visit...there just might be one...lol

Worn Out said...

LOL, sad to say most of my neighbors won't come back if they flood again. Some of them received buy out papers from the state this month, so they are trying to figure out what to do with us in this area of suburbia.

Marica said...

There's a new article at Popular Mecanics: 8 Tools and Gadgets to Prepare Your Home For Any Disaster. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/worst_case_scenarios/4326448.html

It is trying to sell tools & gadgets, but it is also informative.

Nice post, Worn out!

Marica said...

One more thought. "Mental health" & attitude go a long way in being prepared & surviving. So I'd add a deck of of cards or other age-appropriate, old-school (small, light) entertainment to my 72 hour bag. Adults & kids get antsy & bored. Having something to DO is a good thing.

Worn Out said...

Thanks Marica, I will be adding your comments to more follow ups also. I've been a little swamped lately. Hope all is well and that we can get you to Mississippi and others writing for Ohio LOL. Hey at least I don't have a "hidden" agenda lol.

britney said...

You have made a awesome list for the trip!!!!!
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