Hurricane Ike was interesting. I watched with interest the weather reports and warnings leading up to it. I saw people nail plywood up to their windows and dash out of town. And I saw people that really didn't seem to care.
Well, Hurricane Ike blew into town and left it powerless.
Actually, left a damn huge area of South East Texas powerless.
So, we were here without power, no water (the surge contaminated our treatment plant) and limited police protection.
Never fear...I was prepared (of course!)
Approximately 150 gallons of water, properly stored. (2 liter bottles, rinsed out with scalding water, filled with cool water and 5 drops of bleach in each).
BBQ grill and 4 bags of charcoal and 2 bottles of charcoal lighter.
Food, much of it freeze dried or dry canned, plus canned meats.
My nice new shotgun and plenty of ammo.
First things first, I turned off or unplugged all light switches, radios, t.v.s, anything electric.
Then I turned off all the breakers. (More about that later)
Then we proceeded to remove all limbs and branches from the lines behind the house and clean all debris out of the yard.
Then we began on the neighbors yard (he evacuated).
I put a local radio station on to keep track of *official announcements* and whatnot.
Fired up the grill, had a lunch of chicken fajita's.
Dinner that night was hamburgers.
We had a good dinner EVERY night. Good lunches, too.(Pork bbq, steak and baked potatos, ribs, beef stew...some of our menu)
I even managed to bake bread on the grill.
Because the water was bad, even my dogs got bottled water.
I did run out of dog food, but made dog food for the assorted critters that they seemed to like.
The first grocery store to reopen was Mercados (a local hispanic grocery)
I had some cash (memo to self, need to have more cash stashed for emergencies)
Every day I would walk over (it is less than a mile away) and buy just enough for the meal that night. Sort of European style!
We got our power back on the fifth day.
Finding a working ATM or a gas station was almost impossible.The radio was taking calls from people and someone would call in with a breathless report that such-and-such gas station was open...within 5 minutes there would be a line 2 miles long.
So, I walked as much as possible to conserve fuel.
When I did find an open gas station, I got fueled up and went home and didn't tell a soul about it.
I figured I'd let someone else think they discovered that little gem.
The radio reported SEVERAL house fires due to the power coming back on and the sudden power surge overloaded circuits.
Generators caused several fires as well. One caused the death of a 19 year old girl. She and her boyfriend had bought one, it was dark by the time they decided to fill it and get it going. Because of a bit of rain, they decided to take it into their house to fill it. As the boyfriend started to fill the generator tank, they decided it was too dark in the house to do so safely. So, the girl lit a candle. The flash fire killed her, she was DOA at a local hospital. The young man has severe burns, but will recover.
I found that I went into some sort of *hyper-vigilant* state where I could not sleep over 2 hours at a time. I wasn't tired through all of it, though. When everything was mostly over, I slept a full 8 hours without trouble.
When the power came back on, I saw the neighbors lights go on, so I turned on the main breakers and then each individual breaker, one at a time.
Yeah, I am that cautious.
When all was said and done, I had gone through:
3 bags of charcoal, 1 and a half bottles of lighter.
100 gallons of water.
8 pounds of flour (for bread, flatbread and tortillas)
10 emergency candles.
8 *C* batteries (for the radio)
1 roll of Rolaids.(I get heartburn and usually combat it with a small glass of milk at bedtime, no milk, so I relied on Rolaids)
The other things I noticed;
Despite the fancy cars in my area and the nice houses and the women with the *big hair*, this area of Texas came across as a Third World country during the days after Ike. Very thin veneer of civilization glossing over the whole mess. There were more reports of neighbors robbing neighbors than of neighbors helping neighbors. People turned all their pets out in the streets to fend for themselves. Some people took the opportunity to settle old scores. When FEMA did show up, the lines were 3 to 4 HOURS long to get some water and ice. Fights broke out as people tried to cut in line. Some people got in line EVEN THOUGH THEY DID NOT NEED THE SUPPLIES!
I constantly heard cries of "FEMA needs to do this or FEMA needs to do that", or "The government KNEW this was coming, why didn't they prepare better?"
Everyone that lives in this area, everyone who watched the news, listened to a radio, picked up a paper or talked to another human being in the entire country KNEW Ike was coming and it was going to be bad!
Why didn't people in the areas about to be hit prepare themselves?
My first answers as to why they didn't: Laziness, *welfare mentality*, conditioned response due to being raised by a *nanny state*.
Here's something to think about...I drove past that line of cars that were waiting for FEMA supplies...what I saw in line...Loads of fancy SUVs, sweet little BMWs, newer Cadillacs, gorgeous new pick-ups....so don't DARE tell me these people cannot afford to put back some water and food for emergencies.
You know who I did NOT see in line?
Damn few Mexicans or Hispanics, for the most part. No members of the large Vietnamese community we have here were in that line, either. The faces I saw were about 70% black, 25% white and 5% other (if you live in Texas, you know what I mean...you just can't identify a few folks here). The 5% looked probably Hispanic, but most of them were loaded up in the same vehicles as blacks or whites.
The Hispanic community and the Vietnamese community took care of their own for the most part.
All in all, I was disgusted with the *gimme* mentality of the majority of people that I encountered...and am still running into.
So...I have replenished my water storage, bought a couple bags of charcoal and tucked it away in the tool shed and cleaned up most of the damage done during the storm. I view my experiences as lessons learned about the practical and about the nature of people.
What storm supplies should YOU have?
You need different things in different geographic areas.
If I were in Montana instead of Texas, I would put more emphasis on supplies to keep me warm.
Extra blankets, battery operated hand and foot warmers with mucho extra batteries. Hats, gloves, etc would all be major components of my emergency *bug in* kit.
Of course, water is my first priority--always!
If you do not have a wood stove, look into emergency kerosene heaters (some of which you can cook on) to add to your emergency supplies.
So, in colder climes, first priority--water, followed very closely by warmth, then food. I am assuming you already have shelter. If you do not, invest in a tent. Not a China-Mart cheapie, a decent tent that will actually withstand your local weather variables.
I will be doing, at the very least, a weekly post from here on out.