With the current hurricane season hitting and with Hurricane Irene beginning its land fall on the eastern coast, many wonder what to do? How do you survive a Hurricane, and how do you live after one?
Well I (Matt) can speak from experience like I am sure many other can too. I will tell you how me and my family lived thru Hurricane Hugo in the late 80’s. It was a very strange hurricane in the way it hit land head on and not at an angle. Unlike many hurricanes that land on the Atlantic ocean side, Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina and specifically Charleston at a 90 degree angle. The hurricane traveled inland about 3 hours all the way to Charlotte North Carolina where I lived. Hurricane Hugo’s eye travelled over downtown Charlotte in the early morning hours. The beginning of the hurricane woke me and my family up around 4am. The whole house seemed to breath with the winds. They rocked and moved in and out it seemed. I woke and looked outside my window and remember seeing a garbage can flying by the window. You could see green and purple flashes out side from the transformers on the telephone poles exploding. I remember going outside during the eye, you could see the sun and clear sky and the winds would rotate and come at you in all directions.
After the storm passed our house was spared minus a green coating of shredded leaves. The worst part of hurricanes is the constant pounding. Hours of rain, winds, many many tornadoes sprout down from the hurricanes. In our neighborhood alone we have 6 tornadoes touch down, you could follow each path through the trees and homes.
So my advice for those on the eastern seaboard. Please follow the directions of the evacuation plans. If you have the slightest uncertainty – leave. Spend a night in a hotel a couple more hours inland. Bring your photos and special paper work with you. It’s better to be safe then realize the massive power hurricanes bring. It is far more then just rain and winds.
Now that the hurricane has passed, what to expect? Many time power is out for days and maybe weeks. When the storm passed us when I was young our power was out for over 2 weeks. My friend across town was near 30 days with out power. So whats the big deal being with out power. Many people forget that almost everything we have in relation to a meal has a majority of ingredients that need to be refrigerated. With out power no cooling and no cooling no fridge or freezer. After a storm it is time to have a BBQ. Get the neighbors together – even if you don’t know them and cook that meat. A day or so with out power and the insulating ability of your fridge has failed and your meat will begin to spoil. Get together and enjoy that fact that you are still together. You will be surprised how many may not even have enough food to last their family two or three days. Now is the time to sit down while you are cooking on a gas grill and figure out every ones needs.
Now what? During the day, while the light is out, grab all of the candles of all shapes and sizes and bring them to a central location in your home. Grab batteries of all sizes and flashlights to go with them. At night you need to use the candles and flashlights sparingly. You would be surprised how quick a candle burns out, and who knows how long you may be with out power.
During the day, evaluate what food you do have. This is one reason why I appreciate my wife and our couponing food storage. Much of the food we have does not need a fridge and we have enough to last a couple months. Plan out what you will do if your power remains off for an extended period. Figure out how long and how much you can ration your food and supplies.
If you have a pool, you may be using this as a bath. If your home operated off of a pump that is most likely electric, it may not be powered on back up generators. Take a bucket and use it to pour out the water over you in the yard to clean up. A huge moral booster is a clean body and shampoo. Most likely the pool has turned green from the leaves hitting it, like ours did back then. You will need to boil the water if you are to use it for brushing your teeth. This is why an outdoor grill is handy.
It might be good to find a radio. AM channels will be online probably before FM channels will come on air, due to the high power needed for FM stations. Also many times you can pick up AM channels form many towns away that may have power. So scan the AM channels first for weather and news updates.
Sometimes after long periods of being with out power, your gas grill may run out. Or maybe you don’t have one. During the day scan and plan ahead in your yard to find a place for a fire pit. See what downed trees are near by. Maybe in your yard, maybe you will need to share with neighbor.
This all may be quite out there. But after a major storm, it is all about survival. So many times we become complacent with our life and what we have. All though a “stockpile” may seem obsessive and actually can turn out to be a hoarding issue. Many times a well planned and thought out “stockpile” or what we like to call it a “food storage” can bring peace and can reassure you in a time of great need, like after a storm. You won’t be one of those clearing the stores at the last minute. And that’s if you are the first one there. Most likely someone else has already beat you to it. So often during a storm prediction stores are wiped cleaned of the basic necessities of life.
So if you are in the path of a storm this hurricane season, our prayers and our readers prayers are with you. Make sure you try and keep a clear head. Think ahead as much as you can. Follow the directions of emergency personnel. Don’t think you can wait out the storm. Better safe then sorry. You can rebuild a home, you cant rebuild a family the way it was. Protect your family and those in need. Ask a neighbor if they need help. Give a ride to a senior that may not have family close by and maybe can not drive in storms or in the night.