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E261: Hurricane Preparedness in Under 10-Minutes

Here’s the thing about hurricanes: The time to think about them and prepare for them is long before they happen. This episode is a reminder for some and gentle nudge to all who might live in areas that experience them.

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We’ll break this short into two parts. First, will be a simple to do list. The second will be a short have on hand list. Neither will be exhaustive, so I encourage you to do more reading using the links provided with this episode.

First things first, there is an excellent oneliner which came about a few years back: Turn around and don’t drown. Houston, where I live, is prone to flooding yearly and usually several times a year. Lots of cars get stuck in high water and die every year. This is generally due to inexperience with flooding or hubris.

There are a few things people should understand:

  • Your vehicle is not amphibious.
  • Water depth is difficult to gauge from inside a vehicle accurately
  • Sinkholes can open up where water is pooling, and you can’t see them.
  • It takes less than few inches of fast-moving water to carry your car away.

The best way to avoid all this is to plan ahead and be where you need to be before the flooding starts. Then, stay home and off the darn roads.

Know evacuation routes. These should be both published and nonpublished routes you develop on your own.

The time to get out of a hurricane way is at least two days before landfall. If you do it the day before or a few hours before you risk getting caught in a massive traffic jam and fuel shortages.

There was a lot of controversy last year when Houston’s mayor didn’t call for largescale evacuations when we knew Harvey was going to hit us. Instead, they only called for evacuations of specific small areas. In my opinion, this was the correct answer because it helped the city avoid issues we’d seen in the past. Once we knew the hurricane would land on us, it was too late to move massive amounts of people.

This is the trouble with spaghetti models, you don’t know what’s going to happen for sure till the last minute. If you can leave, do it. You will likely not be able to do much to save anything if your house is flooded. Your better off protecting yourself and your family.

During and immediately after the storm use text messages and social media, if you must, instead of phone calls to communicate with people. This helps keep strain off off the system. And your messages are more likely to get through during and after a hurricane.

Fill your gas tank when you hear news of a hurricane anywhere near you. Then keep it filled.

Have your insurance information handy and be one of the first to call as soon as you can after the store if you have damage. We live on the water, and my neighbor’s house is a few feet lower than mine. His has was flooded, and he was on the phone as quickly as he could. He was one of the first people in town to have an adjuster come out, a check cut, and restoration work started on his home. These things were a pain for most other people.

Sit down, discuss, and run through all plans with your spouse, life partner, or whatever now. Ensure they know the plan and are part of its creation. You will get a lot less questioning and push back when it’s time to enact any of those plans.

If your home begins to flood, do not go to the attic unless it has an emergency hatch — a specialty item. This is an excellent way to get trapped.

Things to have. Put your none super apocalypse bug-out bag together. It should include the basics and copies of essential documents in sealable plastic bags.

Have basic kits and a plan to meet your needs for at least 7 days without power.

Minimum kits should be in dry boxes and include:

  • Small lantern
  • Flashlight and batteries.
  • First aid kit
  • Written copy of emergency and essential phone numbers in a sealed plastic bag
  • Charging cable for your phone
  • Backup battery for your phone fully charged
  • Signal mirror and whistle

Other items of interest:

  • A weather radio
  • Small battery powered fans
  • Inflatable life vests

Another good item to have is a small generator — keep it outside and away from windows.

Helpful links to kit items mentioned:

In his free time, he enjoys hogging the remote, surfing, scotch, mental masturbation and debate over philosophical topics, and shooting stuff--usually not all at the same time.

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