We were here for Hurricane Rita, which was a big deal because it happened right after Katrina. Highways out of town were congested because officials
said "any one who can leave...leave".
That was my first hurricane and I started my hurricane kit. It was built on one principle.
I am a non-affluent husband. But, that was 3 years ago NOW I go on this principle
I am a non-affluent husband and father of twin 16 month girls with two dogs (one 45 lbs and the other 95 lbs: this is needed for food and water
which gives me my hurricane survival plan.
Option A. Take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of your family.
Reasonable for Ike meant not staying in my house that has massive (8-10") Oak tree limbs grown over the entire roof. I was not concerned with
flooding, our flood planes are thoroughly researched and defined and I do not live near any. So, we left our house and stayed with a family member
further west that lives in a new development which meant that all of the trees in the area could not be used as a hockey stick...if you know what I
So, as my wife and family (extended) saw the storm coming we all agreed that we would ride out the storm and if it were apparent that power would not
come back for more than 3 days we would then leave for a friends house in San Antonio. I had no desire to keep babies in Texas without air
conditioning or refrigeration.
So, that leads us to option B.
Option B. Stock up on at least 3 days worth of food and 5 days worth of water. You may ask why 5 days worth of water; well rationing food is more
efficient that rationing water, water can be traded (see lesson 1), and finally because I have no faith in the discipline of the people I was staying
with I almost expected a lot of wasted water.
So, if we look at stocking up base on my principle of "I am a non-affluent father of twin baby girls," we see that buying a generator is out of the
So, here is a lesson on stocking up on a budget.
1. Only buy food that if it is not needed for the emergency will get eaten in the normal course of your days and weeks. I saw lots of people buy food
that you could tell they didn't like (such as potted meat, certain types of canned soup, and so on), if you cannot take it back it will most likely
sit on the shelf and go bad (yes, there is canned goods that expire or the container deteriorates and make it unsafe to eat such as dented or rusted
cans. See canned food safety
I believe that reason is that the inside of the can is
sprayed with a wax(?) that keeps the food from interacting with the metal of the can. In the end you should ask your self is it worth the risk?)
2. Instead of buying bottled water buy empty water jugs. They are cheaper and can be filled from the tap or one of those free standing machines
before the storm. and if you don't normally drink bottled water you can save a lot of money not worrying about keeping all of that bottled water for
the next emergency. see water shelf life guide
3. save the receipts. We took back over $100 in un-eaten snack crackers (thank God), batteries, and other "necessities." And we will be taking
un-used ply wood back ($120) shortly.
4. If you plan on weathering the storm with the potential of leaving later get enough gas containers (5-gal should be the biggest size of an
individual container, larger containers may require special equipment and get really heavy) to fill the tank of your primary evacuation. you should
only keep gas in the cans if you think you are going to use it within a month (1 month is a good rule of thumb, when I searched the web I found
postings that said gas goes bad after one month out to a year)
5. Fill the ALL of the gas tanks you own before the storm (preferably before the gas lines form). You can always siphon the gas out of one car into
another or into a can.
6. Pre-Pack a bag with about 4 days worth of clothes for everyone. with four days of clothes a family of four will have about a load of laundry every
7. GET CASH... ATM's credit cards, debit cards, and now checks all require power and a phone line to operate. Also, if you need to buy something
from an individual cash is the only currency.
8. if you are going to weather the storm, fill bath tubs with water, it will be good enough to use for bathing and washing dishes also, it is good
enough for dogs and cats. Now, when I say bathing I mean with a wash cloth and soap, actually in the tub. This happened when one of the people I was
staying with decided he needed a bath and in 20 min wasted about 40 gallons of water... IMHO selfish.
9.You don't need a generator or chain saw. The operative word here is NEED. if you live in the suburbs like me some one will have a chain saw, and
they will probably get bored. If you have gas (which you should have enough to spare enough to fill the tank on a chain saw; about 1/4-1/2 gal) to
give them they will probably help you clear any branches.
10. a grill is great, a propane grill is AWESOME. As the freezer thaws BBQ it up. And propane grills can be used to boil water or cook canned
11. make sure you have a mostly full tank of propane. lets be hones here (even if I have trouble admitting it as well) you really do not need two
propane tanks. A 20 pound cylinder (normal grill size) is enough to last for days even with heavy cooking. I would wager that most people who have
two cylinders have one that is empty and the other half full.
12. Watch/listen to the news to get important updates, do not continually listen to the news unless you know to expect coverage reminiscent of the
weeks following 9/11, or depressing, which is not good when you have no power, stupid peanut butter cracker sandwiches, hot crying babies, a house
full of people, and no where to go.
11. if you are going to buy goods like flash lights and radios I recommend investing in the types that have cranks or you shake or even solar powered
(please no jokes about the Solar Powered Flash Lights
These ones are actually pretty good.) You will save money
on batteries and a few months or years from now when you open the cabinet to use the flashlight you wont be frustrated by the whole dead battery
Okay out of correctors for now, When I think of more I