Episode 66: Hurricane Preparedness (Surviving a Storm)

Hurricane Preparedness (Surviving a Storm)With the East Coast getting ready to be hit by Hurricane Florence, I’m going to discuss the three phases of hurricane preparedness, which also applies to any major storm.

So, with hurricane season upon us and the winter fast approaching, this episode will help kick-start your mindset for dealing with major storms and all that they bring.

We see this same story of hurricanes and major storms repeat itself time and time again. In spite of the loss of life and massive damage that storms cause every year, people continue to be caught unprepared. The tragedy of this is that preparing for major storms and hurricanes isn’t that difficult. As any preparedness minded person will tell you, successfully preparing for a hurricane or major storm just takes some time, effort and thought.

Beginning Teaser: Preparing for a hurricane or major storm can be broken down into three simple steps, which are:

  1. Preparations to Make Prior to the Storm.
  2. Actions to Take During the Storm.
  3. What to Do After the Storm.

Before we get going, I want to say that if you’re in the path of Hurricane Florence or any future storm for that matter, please take it seriously, play it safe and avoid becoming a statistic. 

Now, before we get going, make sure to join the Mind4Survival Facebook group and share your preparedness success stories with us. Your experiences will help others to become better prepared for when they need it most.

Alright, let’s get going with Episode number 66, Hurricane Preparedness (Surviving a Storm)

Preparedness Wins & Fails

This week’s edition of preparedness wins and fails, comes to us from KSDK.com out of St. Louis, MO and is titled:

Thieves outsmart security cameras at north St. Louis home

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis man felt violated after crooks targeted his home several times in the last few years.

The most recent happened last week.

For the last few years, James St. John said thieves have stolen several items from his home. It’s why he got a high-tech security system, but these crooks have figured out how to avoid getting caught.

“I’m tired of feeling like I have to keep fighting just to keep a good home,” St. John said. “We’ve had our cars broken into three times. We’ve had unwanted trespassers in our backyard, and now we’ve been broken into our backyard twice.”

He considered his neighborhood safe, but the recent crimes have made him question his security.

“It makes me want to move out of the city. It makes me not want to be here because of all the crime and theft around us,” St. John said.

Within the last few months, St. John said crooks have targeted his home twice, but this time he caught one of them on camera. “What we caught on video footage was somebody walking forth and back in the alley and then pulled the plank off right here and reached inside and undo the lock,” he said.

The video showed the thief walking into his backyard then hiding behind his plants for two minutes. The crook then headed to the shed, where he ripped off the door handle and stole St. John’s lawnmower.

“They hid behind plants where the security system couldn’t see him. he said. “I think we have been targeted. I think that being in the neighborhood that we live in that we are targets.”

He believes the thieves are outsmarting the security cameras.

“This person is actively trying to thwart the system because I think he knows what he’s doing because he’s targeted us twice now,” St. John said. Everything stays locked now. we are now a locked down compound because I don’t want to feel like someone is out there to get us.”

St. John told 5 On Your Side he questions if he should stay in his neighborhood or continue to fight
“We’re not sure if we’re going to move out of the neighborhood or fight the good fight. We’re hoping that someone can help us out,” he said.

St. John said he filed a police report, but he wants his local representatives to do more like add more security cameras. He hopes his case will push police to make more patrols in his neighborhood.

This story is both a preparedness win and fail. It’s a fail because the camera system was set up in a manner that incorporated blind spots, which weren’t addressed. A camera isn’t much good if it can’t see the bad guy. The story is a win though because Mr. St. John is doing the right thing and taking positive steps to increase his security. 

Now, before we get into hurricane preparedness, let’s cover some rules to remember about home security.

No security system will stop 100% of criminals 100% of the time. Burglars are professional criminals who use tactics and strategies to avoid getting caught. When my home was robbed eight years ago, the guy who did the robbery robbed over 60 homes in a month, including mine before he was caught. Those 60 homes were burglarized after he was released on parole from prison where he had done a few years for robbing over 200 houses. So, in over 250 robberies, he, a strung-out crack head, was caught twice. That’s less than a one-percent chance of strung-out crackhead being caught. Imagine if he wasn’t strung out, making mistakes.

A camera system, unless you’re actively watching it, is at best, a method of possibly gathering evidence for the police. It doesn’t do anything to stop crime other than to maybe redirect the bad guy to someone else’s home.

When securing your home, which I discussed in depth with Ed Clarke in Episode two which you can check out by going to Mind4Survival.com/2. To be as effective as possible, a camera system and other security features need to be planned, installed, and configured in such a manner so that they are mutually supporting. Cameras should be just one part of your security system and not the whole system, so that they maximize the Deter, Detect, Delay, Assess, Respond security philosophy. Remember:

 

Deter

You deter bad guys by making other targets, in this case, other homes, look like an easier target. While it sounds terrible, it’s either that or accept the fact that bad guys may be in your home. Things to help with this are alarm signs, dogs, security lighting, cameras, a car in the driveway, etc.

 

Detect

When deterring a criminal fails, you want to know as soon as possible that they are crossing onto your property. An early warning gives you more time to assess the situation and react to it in a proper manner that maximizes you and your family’s safety. Some detection methods include a barking dog, motion lights, security cameras, etc.

 

Assess

Once someone or something is on your property, it needs to be assessed. Your assessment will help you to determine its intent and possible course of action. Is the person checking your gas meter, delivering the mail, or someone intent on swiping your lawn mower or worse?

 

Delay

Include items into your overarching security posture that delay people from entering your yard, garage, home, etc. Simple things such as reinforced door jams, thorn bushes near windows, locked (not just latched) gates, and other methods all work to slow down intruders.

 

Respond

When all else fails, you may be forced to take action. Remember, as I preach over and over again, confronting an intruder or intruders can be a costly course of action and should only happen when all else fails. There are very few things in anyone’s life that are worth the problems that may come from confronting a criminal. Whenever possible, call law enforcement and do what you can to avoid the confrontation. I know, some of you are saying, that I’m full of it and that it’s your right to defend your home. I won’t argue the point and believe it is your right to protect your home. If you do so though, know that some very significant and life-threatening consequences come with making that choice.
Alright, so with that, let’s go over Hurricane Preparedness (Surviving a Storm).

So, as I said in the pre-show, Hurricane Preparedness should be planned for in three phases, which are:

  1. Preparations to Make Prior to the Storm.
  2. Actions to Take During the Storm.
  3. What to Do After the Storm.

 

Preparations to Make Before the Storm

When it comes to making preparations before the storm, there are many actions to take. Those actions include:

 

Stay informed

Start by keeping an eye on the news. When you see a storm forming that may impact you, increase your level of awareness about the weather. Pay attention to the weather apps on your phone, check the National Weather Service by going to weather.gov and keeping tabs on the forecasts for your area. Remember, when checking the news, weather.com is an entertainment money making website, and weather.gov is there to pass on weather information.

When staying informed about tropical storms and hurricanes, make sure that you understand the differences between weather advisories, watches, and warnings.

Advisories are issued when conditions are expected to cause substantial problems that may be dangerous. If people use caution, these conditions should not be deadly.

Watches are issued when a hurricane, tropical storm may possibly occur within 48-hours. When a watch is issued, it’s time to double check your preparations, make sure your vehicle is fueled (it should be at least at half) and start getting ready things in case you need to get out of dodge

Warnings are issued when a hurricane, tropical storm may possibly occur within 36-hours. When a warning is released, it’s time to wrap up your preparations and consider launching your evacuation plan.

Form a network with others to help keep each other informed and to help out in the event of a disaster, or different lousy situation. The minute one of you notices something terrible headed your way, pass the word on to others.

 

Create a Plan

If you don’t have a plan, sit down and make one. All it takes is a quick Internet search to get a template or find some advice on how to make a plan. Heck, if you’re not in one jump into any one of the prepper Facebook groups out there and ask others what they do to plan. You’ll probably get an almost overwhelming response. The plan doesn’t need to start in great detail. It can just be an outline of the significant points that you need to consider. Then, once you have those figured out, add to and fill in the rest of your plan over time.

 

Prepare to Evacuate

When it comes right down to it, hurricane preparedness and surviving a storm is similar to many other large-scale problems you may face. Regardless of the problem, having the ability to put time and distance between yourself and the threat, whether it’s a bad guy, storm, or something else, can be a crucial task we all need to consider. Therefore, make sure you have a “go bag” prepped and ready for each family member. Running around at the last minute trying to gather things as danger approaches is not the best option for your safety.

When possible, prep vehicle bags as well. If done right, you should be way ahead of the game if things go wrong and you have to hit the road. Remember, especially in the case of a hurricane, roads fill up fast. So, the sooner you get on the road, the better off you may be. Weathering a significant storm, stuck in traffic, is a considerable drag. So, don’t be that guy or gal who waits to the last minute and wonders why they’re in a bad spot.

Part of your planning process should be to make plans for evacuating if necessary. When creating your evacuation plan, make sure to include several different routes, so that you’re not caught off guard in the event one or more are closed. You’ll also want to plan for a place to meet those you may have been separated from and to take shelter. It’s important to remember that hotels almost always fill up during a hurricane and many take advantages of the situation with price gouging. 

When creating your evacuation plan, it’s also a good idea to designate an out of state relative or friend to be a point of contact for you and your loved ones. That way, if people are split up and the phone system is a mess they can leave a message with your point of contact, who can let others know what’s going on and who is accounted for, or not. Don’t forget when the cell system is getting crushed, text messages have a better chance of getting through. So, try texting, if you can’t get a voice call through.

 

Stock up on Emergency Supplies

We all know the typical story. The vast majority of people do not prepare ahead of time. Then, when a hurricane or other problem comes, they run to the nearest store and empty the shelves. So, take the time and make an effort to stock up on necessary supplies before things go bad. You definitely don’t want to be one of the people fighting over a case of water and can of beans.

 

Protect Your Property

Make sure that your home is set to deal with the storm. Don’t forget that hurricanes bring both high wind, heavy rains, and flooding.

If you have the time, energy, money; probably mostly money, you can think about building a safe room or storm shelter.

If you have space, store material for boarding up your windows, covering up areas where water either gets in, or is getting in, and sandbagging entry points around your home. Trying to find plywood after the horde of two-legged termites hits Home Depot, will be like trying to a find a prepper who doesn’t own a flashlight. Good luck with that. It isn’t happening. Oh, and when you’re done slapping up the plywood, don’t forget to snatch up all of your yard furniture, trash cans, and other lightweight yard items.

When thinking about the rain, keep your roof and gutters free from debris such as leaves, twigs, and branches. Make sure you have check valves in your sewer system to stop any floodwater from winding up soaking the inside of your house. If you have time before a storm and live in a flood-prone area, think about waterproofing the basement and raising the electrical panel, water heater, and furnace.

Make sure that you have all the insurance you both want and need. Many people do not have flood insurance. So, give your insurance agent a call if you live in an area that has experienced flooding. With that, make sure you’re sitting down when the agent tells you the cost because it isn’t cheap.

Gather and Review Your Records

Consolidate your essential medical, financial, insurance, educational, legal, etc., documents where they are easy to grab. If possible, scan or save them onto a flash drive, or other devices that you can take with you. When storing your documents, make sure to have a backup copy in case your other goes bad or gets lost. Make time to sit down and review your insurance policies and any others that may come into play as a result of the storm. If you have any questions, call your insurance agent and have them explain the details to you. Finding out after the fact that you don’t have coverage is never a good time.

 

Actions to Take During the Storm

When it comes to taking actions during a storm, there are many things to do. Those actions include:

“Should I Stay or Should I Go” ~The Clash

First and foremost, decide whether you are going to stay and ride the storm out, or head for the hills. Now, the one caveat to that decision-making process is if the authorities tell you to go. Sure, they err on the side of caution. However, that caution for your safety, so why fight it. Yes, evacuating can be a pain in the butt. Then again, if you evacuate and nothing happens, look at it as if it’s a training event for that time something does happen. Because, when it does matter, you’ll be happy you had it down pat. It’s also good to think about the fact that the authorities don’t always get it right. So, don’t sit around waiting for someone to tell you to go. Instead, if no one has said anything when you think it’s time to go, get up and get going.

Hunkering Down

Now, there are some reading this, who in spite of the danger, will hunker down and stay come heck or high-water; in this case, literally high-water. Heck, I recall a young soldier by the name of Brian Duff who rode out a Tropical Storm in a Panama City hotel room with a bunch of drunken rugby players hurricane party. As Forrest Gump’s momma says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Now that I’ve told you the wrong way to ride out a tropical storm or hurricane let me tell you the right way. Stay inside and away from exterior windows or doors. Make sure that you’re ready for a power failure and for flooding to happen. While you can deal with a power outage, you should definitely think twice if the flood water rises. Remember to consider that areas around your home may flood long before your home, so don’t wait too long before deciding to bug out. When you do leave, it’s a good idea to head to higher ground. Or, at the very least, be able to head to higher ground if it is needed.

 

What to do After the Storm.

Lastly, let’s go over the third point of hurricane preparedness and surviving a storm. That point is what to do after the storm.

Safety First

First off, remember to put safety first. You’ve overcome a bad situation, and there’s no point turning your preparedness win into a preparedness fail. Heading home a day or two before it’s clear to do so, won’t change what has happened. In other words, the storm’s gone, now sit tight and be ready when it’s time to head home.

Help keep yourself safe by staying out of floodwaters. Floodwaters aren’t just dangerous due to the critters and debris that are floating around in it. They can be loaded with bacteria and general nastiness. So, follow the best course of action and stay out of the water. Next, just like we don’t take a shower with a plugged-in hair drier, don’t use electrical equipment if you or the equipment are wet, or in water. Lastly, have someone who knows about floods, and their effects on homes inspect your house before going in. Again, it may not be easy to wait, but then again, the life you save may be your own.

Keep Yourself Healthy.

It’s essential that you take care of your health. Doing so starts with not drinking anything that comes out of the tap now. You’ll want to make sure you purify any water that is not from a purified source. If you want to know more about purifying water, go check out my blog post on “How to Purify Water.”
You will also want to avoid eating any items, even canned items that have been exposed to flood water. You should also not eat anything that may come from your garden. If you aren’t sure, get rid of it.

Cleaning up everything and disinfecting it is also an important tip to follow. In short, if it got wet, it needs to be nuked. Clean it thoroughly or have it removed and hauled away. All of that water and mud in your house can leave behind bacteria, diseases, raw sewage, etc. That doesn’t sound very appetizing to me. But to each their own.

 

Lastly…

Never forget, you’re just one prep away.

If you have any other thoughts or questions about Hurricane Preparedness (Surviving a Storm), please leave a comment below.

Stay safe, secure and prepared,

Brian-Duff-Mind4Survival

 

Thanks for Listening to This Episode on Hurricane Preparedness (Surviving a Storm).

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