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Hurricane and Other Natural Disasters Tips

We have had two major hurricane that hit many places and while some were prepared many were not. Here are some tips for preparing yourself and family.

  1. Anyone who isn’t a prepper is nuts. I’ll just start off with that blanket statement. Are you prepared for a hurricane as everyone is fighting over cases of water bottles at the store. Having a mean to filter and distill water would be the long term solution.
  2. Don’t go through any medical procedure the day before a hurricane hits. If it gets infected there are no medical service available short of a trip to the ER.
  3. Get flood insurance, even if you live in an area that doesn’t traditionally flood. Homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by water coming into your house.
  4. Charge all electronics, including solar battery chargers, in the days leading up to something like this. Afterwards, just keep them fully charged, since power outages happen regularly.
  5. Social media is an absolute necessity in times like this. Facebook groups have popped up, connecting neighbor with neighbor and allowing us to loan/borrow things like box fans, extension cords, chain saws, and the like. People are coming out of the woodwork to help out, and it’s because of Facebook.
  6. Nextdoor.com is another life saver.
  7. Heavy duty galoshes (rain boots) can be worth their weight in gold. Trudging through inches and feet of floodwater can be dangerous without boots.
  8. Always have a few filled gas cans around.
  9. If you do make a run to the grocery store in the days leading up to a big storm or something similar, go ahead and throw in some goodies you don’t normally buy.
  10. Get a few solar lights or lanterns.  When our power was out, these lights and lantern are just perfect for providing enough light for a work area or for reading.
  11. Your relatives and friends are going to worry about you, so just accept that and get used to repeating the same information again and again. How wonderful to have people who care about your safety!
  12. Call your insurance company or agent ASAP. They will respond to claims in the order received, so get in there early.
  13. If you experience damage that FEMA may help cover, register with them ASAP also. You’ll receive a registration number. Save that on your cell phone and email it to yourself so it will always be handy.
  14. If you do lose everything, or at least a LOT of what you own, go ahead and cry and ignore people who say things like, “It’s just things. You’re lucky to be alive.” It’s okay to grieve over ruined things. They were a part of your life. They represented what was once normal and now that is gone, at least for now. Cry all you want to and need to without making any excuses.
  15. If you think you may end up without power, go on that assumption and prepare. Run small loads of laundry once a day, run the dishwasher, even when it’s only half full. If the power goes out, you’ll be starting out with clean clothes and dishes.
  16. Pressure canning can be one way to preserve meat that is in the freezer in a power outage. Again, if you think your power may go out, start canning that meat right away. If you have a gas range, you can do the canning without electricity.
  17. You’ll need matches to light the burners on your gas range when the power goes out. Make sure you have plenty of matches. Buy 3 or 4 big boxes. They’re cheap.
  18. Prepare your home for guests. In the case of hundreds or thousands of people being displaced, a very simple way to help is to open up your home, even if just for a few hours. Provide a peaceful, safe haven for families who have lost everything. I think hospitality is greatly overlooked when it comes to disaster recovery.
  19. Not all phone weather apps are the same. Find one you like.
  20. Be prepared for emotional ups and downs.
  21. Get outside when you can do so safely.
  22. Bicycles can get places where vehicles cannot. On a bike you’ll be able to check out storm damage, visit neighbors, run errands, and get fresh air and exercise at the same time.
  23. Be aware of downed electrical wires.
  24. Think about all the volunteers who are going to be thirsty and hungry. Pack brown bag lunches for them and have the  kids help out.
  25. One thing we all take for granted is clean laundry. People with flooded homes will not be able to do laundry and wearing damp, dirty clothes for hours and maybe days at a time is uncomfortable and disheartening. Offer to do laundry for them as an easy way to volunteer.
  26. Buy a few respirators when you begin cleaning out flooded homes. During the Katrina clean-up, many people contracted debilitating illnesses due to inhaling mold and mildew spores.
  27. Consider how you’ll care for your pets both during and after a disaster. Stock up on pet food and kitty litter, if you have cats. If your home is damaged, how will you keep your pets from running away? Make sure you have kennels for them and they are wearing collars with ID tags and have been microchipped.
  28. If you see a stray pet, keep it safe until you can find its owner. Animal shelters are quickly overwhelmed and at capacity. Use Facebook groups for your town and community and Nextdoor.com to reunite pets and owners.
  29. Children may be the most traumatized group of all. Don’t overburden them with your every random thought about doom and gloom! Give them constructive things to do, so they feel they are contributing something important to the family’s survival.
  30. If you are going to help with flood recovery, be sure to wear protective gear, including the respirator mentioned above. Wear boots that go above your ankle a few inches to protect from snake bites and fire ants and heavy work gloves.
  31. Don’t advertise on social media or elsewhere that your home has been flooded and you’re leaving. This just gives looters information that will help them locate your home, specifically.
  32. Even if you can’t help with actual demo work inside flooded homes, you can loan tools, small generators, filled gas cans, work gloves, extension cords, and fans. Label them with your name and phone number but in the madness of storm recovery, you may not get them back.
  33. Stock up on those black, heavy duty trash bags. They’ll come in handy for storm debris, ruined food, mildewed clothes, pieces of wet sheetrock, etc.
  34. Fill your freezer with bags of ice. It will come in handy during while power is out and can be used to keep food and drinks cold for volunteers and rescue workers.
  35. When floodwater is coming in, turn off your electricity at the main breaker and keep it off.
  36. With road closures, you may not have clear passage to help out at shelters, help neighbors muck out their homes, and reach rescue workers, so be prepared to walk. A heavy duty wagon is super helpful at a time like this, as is a bike trailer, for carrying tools, food, and other supplies.
  37. Take both video and photos of your home’s belongings. Some insurance companies prefer one over the other so have both.
  38. As you replace ruined belongings, carpet, sheetrock, and the like, keep every single receipt. If you can, scan them and save them to the cloud or email the scanned images to yourself.
  39. Don’t be surprised if you are overwhelmed with kind offers of help.
  40. Take care of yourself. You’re going to need a mental break every now and then.
  41. Use some kind map app to find look for road closures, which is immensely helpful.
  42. If you don’t know your neighbors now, you soon will! Be the first one to reach out with offers of a hot cup of coffee, a couple of hours of babysitting for a stressed out mom, or heavy duty labor to help an elderly person clear out their yard.
  43. Don’t wig out every time you hear a news report, especially on social media. If it doesn’t come directly from an official channel, then take a few deep breaths and wait until it’s verified.
  44. It will take a while for life to return to a new normal.
  45. If you have skills in administration and logistics, put them to work! One neighborhood can set up their own volunteer check-in desk at the entrance to their subdivision! As volunteers arrive, they are directed to specific homes in need of help. To do this, you’ll need neighborhood maps, roving volunteers with walkie-talkies to assess damage and report to the control center, and, of course, food and water is appreciated. This is a brilliant example of micro-emergency response.
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How to Survive a Hurricane

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After Hurricane Katrina took over 1,800 lives and left a trail of devastation, you’d think that people would have learned their lesson. But, when Hurricanes Ike, Irene, Eresto, and Sandy struck (amongst the many other hurricanes and tropical storms which have hit the United States in the past decade), the local residents and governments were overwhelmingly unprepared. Take a lesson from history and learn how to survive a hurricane – before it is too late!

Truth: You Aren’t As Prepared As You Think

Many people of coastal towns think that they have done a good job of preparing for a hurricane. But, in reality, they often haven’t done more than stock up some non-perishable foods.

Unless you plan on making a floatation device out of your boxes of Cheerios, this isn’t going to save your life!

Disaster planning requires a multifaceted approach. If you want to really be ready to survive a hurricane, then you need to ask yourself questions like:

  • How will my family and I evacuate? Where will we go?
  • What will we eat and drink during and after the hurricane?
  • How will we go to the bathroom? (the plumbing won’t be working during a flood!)
  • How will we treat injuries?
  • How will we stay clean?
  • How will we pay for cleanup and restoration after the hurricane?

If you can’t answer all of these questions, then you aren’t prepared to survive a hurricane!

Truth: You Don’t Know What to Expect

When hurricane winds of 75+ miles per hour hit, you can expect broken tree branches, downed power lines, and large tidal waves. But, with any disaster, there is a lot that we can’t predict.

For example, 6 unarmed people were shot by the police at Danziger Bridge in New Orleans as they looked for food and supplies. The police said they were protecting the community from looters. But, in the chaos, the police were strained and opened fire on civilians – the very people they were supposed to protect.  This is just one example of how disasters can spiral out of control and create other disasters.

Truth: You Are More Vulnerable than You Think

If you live on the coast, then you are probably aware of the risk of hurricanes and have taken some effort to prepare. But it is actually the people who live inland who suffer the most casualties from hurricanes. Yes, that’s right: 60% of hurricane deaths occur inland and away from the ocean!

The deaths occur because of flash flooding, mudslides, and tornadoes which are caused by the heavy rainfall and winds. So don’t think you are safe just because you are away from the coast.

Truth: Most Hurricane Deaths Occur Are Avoidable

Even though hurricane winds are above 74 mph, it isn’t the wind which kills most people. It isn’t even drowning which kills most people.

The majority of deaths from hurricanes occur because people did something careless.

Or they did something downright stupid. Like taking a “walk” to the coast to see how big the waves are.

For example, during Hurricane Sandy, 8% of deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This occurred when people used generators in their homes, but without proper venting or a carbon monoxide detector. Use of propane heaters and lamps can also cause carbon monoxide.

Some common “careless” causes of death in the aftermath of hurricanes include:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Electrocution from touching downed power lines
  • Drowning in car because attempted to drive through flood water
  • Falling off roofs during cleanup

How to Survive a Hurricane: What You Should Do

FEMA has a decent guide on what to do to survive a hurricane. However, here is the more in-depth guide on how to survive a hurricane so you can be ready. Click the links to learn more about the steps.

Preparation Steps before the Hurricane

  1. Stockpile emergency food and water
  2. Stockpile emergency supplies
  3. Gather evacuation documents
  4. Make an evacuation bag
  5. Learn how to turn off the gas, electricity and water safely (and teach everyone on the family)
  6. Create an emergency communication plan with your family
  7. Create an evacuation plan (plan where you will go and map out routes)
  8. Get a generator and learn how to use it safely
  9. Get flood insurance if you can afford it
  10. Install a flood water pump
  11. Put equipment higher up in your house (such as moving breakers from the basement to the first floor)
  12. Reinforce your doors and latches
  13. Install wooden storm shutters on windows
  14. Install sturdier shingles on roofs
  15. Buy an reliable inflatable raft and life jackets

Steps When a Hurricane Watch is in Place

  1. Bring in all outdoor furniture
  2. Check your survival supplies. Fill up more water if you need to.
  3. Listen to the news of the hurricane.

Steps When Hurricane Warning is in Place

  1. Evacuate! Do NOT wait until it is too late. And do not wait until an evacuation order has been issued. By then, the traffic will be very bad.
  2. Board up windows and doors with plywood. Tape will not protect windows.
  3. If you cannot evacuate, then get into a safe room in the house.
  4. Turn off the electricity and gas at the mains.
  5. Do not look out windows or go outside
  6. Do not drive. If you must drive, do not drive through water. Just 6 inches of water can carry away a vehicle.
  7. Do not use candles or unprotected flames during the hurricane

Steps After the Hurricane Has Passed

  1. Do not exit until authorities say the threat is over. The sudden calm might just be the eye of the storm.
  2. Stay out of rooms which could be hit by falling branches
  3. Do not drink water without sanitizing it first. Sanitation facilities don’t work during power outages. Listen to hear if “boil alerts” are in place.
  4. Use text messages only to contact loved ones. Do not tie up the phone lines as these are needed for emergency calls.
  5. Do not walk through flood water in your home. Many drowning deaths occur from slip-and-fall accidents.
  6. Do not walk through flood water outdoors. It is often contaminated with sewage, or may be electrified from downed power lines.
  7. Do not perform any repairs unless you are 100% you can do it safely.

Linked from: http://www.primalsurvivor.net/how-to-survive-a-hurricane/

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Keep your home safe from bugs after a hurricane

Floods and high winds are normally associated with hurricanes. People board up their homes and seal their basements in order to stay safe from these threats. They emerge after the storm hoping the worst is over. But there is another threat most people don’t consider. This threat comes after the hurricane has come and gone. The standing bodies of water left by the hurricane are prime breeding grounds for pests.

Some of the most common bugs that become a problem after a hurricane include mosquitos, cockroaches, and carpenter ants. Each of these bugs presents their own set of problems. They also require separate strategies to prevent and reduce the amount of damage they cause.

Mosquitos

There are a lot of mosquitos after a hurricane. There is plenty of water for them to lay their eggs and multiply. Mosquitos can be annoying. They cause small, itchy bumps on our skin. But they can also be dangerous. Mosquitos can carry a broad range of diseases. This is why is important to know how to keep them away from your home after a hurricane. If you don’t take proper measures to keep mosquitos away, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk. There are several simple methods you can use to keep these pests away.

The first one is kind of cool, and most people don’t know about it. You can use coffee grounds to keep mosquitos away. This is your first line of defense. Sprinkle coffee grounds in any standing water around your house. The coffee grounds will force the eggs to the surface of the water, and they will not be able to survive.

You can also make traps. Cut a water bottle in half. Fill the bottom half with water and brown sugar. Turn the top half upside down and use it as a funnel. Place these around your house. They will attract and trap the mosquitoes inside.

Cockroaches

The risk of a cockroach infestation is worse after a hurricane. It’s important to protect yourself from them because they can carry diseases. There are some things you can do to prevent these bugs from invading your home. Keep all food in sealed containers. Keeping your windows and doors sealed and well-maintained will go a long way in preventing cockroaches from gaining access to your house. But these seals could be damaged during the hurricane. Keeping your home as clean as possible will greatly reduce the odds of your home being infested.

But what do you do if you already have cockroaches? You can start by fixing all water leaks in your house. Cockroaches can only live up to seven days without water. Cockroaches lay eggs all over your house, including your carpet so make sure to use carpet cleaners often. Make sure to ask if they have experience dealing with cockroaches. This is important because you if you don’t remove all the eggs, your home will be infested again.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a serious concern after a hurricane. They infest your home, and they are hard to get rid of. They burrow their way into your walls and destroy your wood furniture. Poisonous bait is a great way to get rid of carpenter ants. They will pick up the bait and share it with their nest.

But what if the damage has already been done? You will need to find and remove any damaged wood. Your walls might need to be repaired. Cabinets are also a prime target. Make sure to use cabinet refinishers to avoid any infestation problems. They will be able to repair the damage caused by the carpenter ants and leave your cabinets looking good as new.

Final Thoughts

The best way to protect yourself from bugs after a hurricane is to take preventive measures ahead of time. Unfortunately, all the planning in the world cannot prevent infestations 100% of the time. When you notice mosquitos, ants, or cockroaches, you need to act before they spread.

If you know a hurricane is coming, stock up on supplies. Be ready with coffee grounds and containers to seal your food. These steps will help you stay safe from bugs after a hurricane.