Lessons Learned From Sandy

It seems like every time we experience another natural disaster some people have already forgotten the lessons we learned from the last one. It's all the more exasperating when you realize how simple some of these basic preparedness "lessons" are. Let's...


Mother Nature is more powerful than man and all of our contrivances.

In every weather disaster I've seen reported for the past couple of decades, Mother Nature has found a way to overcome some preparation made by man. The best example I can think of is how rain from Hurricane Katrina flooded the New Orleans Emergency Operations Center early on.

Another thing we forget is that Mother Nature isn't just comprised of weather but includes all of the forces our Earth creates including gravity. Sometimes our structures, wonderfully designed to be secure in pouring down rain and more than capable of supporting themselves against gravity are insufficiently designed and constructed to resist that rain, plus gravity, plus high winds. Almost every structure can sway and if it sways enough then the center of gravity changes and the structure comes tumbling down.

I'm actually surprised this doesn't happen more often. I suppose it's a good thing that we over-engineer so much.

Bugging out or bugging in?

I can't begin to count the number of articles I've written about Bugging Out, Bug Out Bags, prepping to But Out, etc. The number of conversations about such have been even more. It's a rare occasion that I find myself discussing "Bugging In" or "Hunkering down." I find that odd given that I've only left my residence once in the past decade due to an on-coming storm.

That said, whether you're bugging out or hunkering down, planning and preparation are both required. It is reasonable to assume that a storm of sufficient size to make you contemplate bugging out is of sufficient size to impact your safety, comfort and convenience if you hunker down and ride it out. Power loss... loss of running water... damage to your shelter... loss of convenient food supplies... all of these things should be expected and planned for.

If you bug out you have to pack to provide yourself with shelter, food, water, first-aid and defense. Planning to hunker down should include each of those items as well. PLAN on the conveniences to fail and be prepared to provide for yourself and your family as necessary.

Being prepared for a long camping trip almost equates to being prepared to survive.

I have previously compared camping to bug out practice. I maintain that approach. If you can camp comfortably for a week or more, then I'd consider you relatively well prepared to survive without modern conveniences for a week or more. If you have that much food to camp, then you have that much food to survive.

Just as going on a long camping trip can be excellent practice for bugging out, shutting off your modern conveniences for a couple days can be good practice for when it happens unexpectedly. So, prior to a future weather event, store food and water, prep your first-aid supplies and make sure you've covered all your bases. Then turn off the main switch in your breaker box and turn off the water to your house. See how well you do for how long. You're not practicing replacing comfort. You're practicing survival. Know the difference.

The freaks come out at night... and in the morning, afternoon and evening.

As much as the best of mankind can be brought out by challenges we face after weather disasters, so can the worst. In fact, prior to Hurricane Sandy hitting NJ and NY, Twitter feeds were used by gangs to plan looting and robbing events once the hurricane had passed. It is important to note that if you're properly prepared, there are probably ten people out there who aren't and it's also a safe bet that one or two of them are predators. That means they're more than willing to come do you harm to take what you've got that they want.

The only protection against this, especially when emergency circumstance has public safety services WAY backed up, is to be prepared to defend yourself, your family and your property. Part of that preparation means knowing the laws in your area so you are fully informed as to what you can or can't legally do. Further preparation includes arming yourself and training so that you can deliver authorized force accurately.

Stay safe!

 

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