Friday, September 8, 2017

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare


In the last few weeks, Houston, the southeast of Texas, and the south of Louisiana were flooded and slammed by Hurricane Harvey; Mexico had a magnitude 8 earthquake in the southwest, as it's bracing to get hit by Hurricane Katia on the Gulf Coast side, and Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are about to get epically pummeled by Hurricane Irma for the entire weekend. And I don't even bother to mention the typical raging wildfires that hit the western half of the US from about August to October since lighting and trees became a thing here, going back some millennia.

If you don't have plans in place and supplies on hand already for the types of anytime and predictable annual disasters your particular area could foreseeably face, you're either homeless and living in a shopping cart, or you're an oblivious idiot.

There is no third option, but there's an obvious solution to not falling into either sorry category.

Make A Plan. It should be brutally realistic, mathematically logical and precise, and as comprehensive as you can make it, covering the potential problems anyone in your area could reasonably expect. And the point to remember about 100-year floods/storms/earthquakes/etc. is that any year could be Year 100, forever. Prediction just means you might not see two of them, but should expect to see at least one in your lifetime. Nature doesn't read a calendar.

Gather supplies. Anybody who hasn't the means at hand to amass 3 days of emergency supplies for everything you need, both to stay put, or GTFO, is already in a survival situation. The other 99.9999% of humanity living in this country has no excuse for being braindead idiots, and failing to prepare - other than where on this graph their IQ is.
And you should have 3-6 months' worth in short order, or you're still an idiot, unless you want to live in a FEMA shelter after the first 72 hours.

Execute when necessary. Think things over, and brutally consider your own If/Then set of contingencies. If something happens, then you do...what? That's for you (and your Significant Other, it that applies) to work out. If you're in one of the 45 states not currently under the gun with regard to being on CNN 24/7, count your blessings. Then go over your plans, fix deficiencies, and be ready for the day your turn comes. There's precious few places in this country that are immune to any disaster. In fact, close to none. Some definitely have more, and some less, than others. But wherever you are, make your contingency plans for them, and be ready to be the solution in times of distress, not part of the problem.

The last two weeks and the next two are a golden opportunity to bring the topic up, if anyone else in your family is hard-headed or weak-willed when it comes to dealing with those realities. Do what you've got to do; I don't want to see anyone looking clueless, shivering under a blanket, and wondering what hit them. Disasters have three types of people: victims, volunteers for being victims, and the guys driving the boats and helicopters and running the shelters. Do your damnedest to be the last type. They're the ones that save the whole town when it has to be done.
"Out of every hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back." - Heraclitus, 500 BC
And as we watch the tragedies that befall others, wherever you are, remember this absolute truth:

Your turn in the barrel is coming, to a certainty.
Failure to plan, is planning to fail.


Anonymous said...

I admit I wasn't as prepared as I should have been for Hurricane Sandy which hit the NYC/NJ area a few years back. I had food on hand, and flashlights, but after living without power for nine days, in November, and the power coming back during a snowstorm (that morning the temperature in my kitchen was 47 degrees) I've made some changes. Mostly to my imagination, and that has led to further preparations. Last time I relied in flashlights, I've since added a number of battery powered lanterns (much more convenient for, say, showering). I have flashlights stashed everywhere, you're seldom more than about eight feet from the nearest anyplace in my home. Yes, my wife laughs at me, until she needs a light.

Flashlight Pro-tip #1: Harbor Freight frequently has a coupon for a pair of LED flashlights that take 3 AAA batteries, whenever you see that stop in and get a pair.

Flashlight Pro-tip #2: Home Depot and other big-box hardware stores get cases of flashlights similar to #1 above, standing in styrofoam holders. When the cheap-assed batteries die they clear them out for a buck a pop (your call if you want to open them up to make sure said cheap-assed batteries didn't leak), buy a half-dozen, or a dozen. You were going to replace the cheap-assed bateries with Duracells anyway, right?

Flashlight Pro-tip #3: Costco sells AAA, AA, C and D batteries in quantity. Act accordingly.

After Sandy a buddy of mine showed me his high-tech super-bright, eye-searing flashlight which he paid something like $300 for, and uses specialized batteries. Yeah, it's nice a bright. Suppose you lose it, or drop it and break it, or the $25 battery decides to go belly up, or you just don't happen to be NEAR it when the lights go out? I have a couple dozen lights scattered around my home, plus two in my desk at work (because two-is-one-and-one-is-none) and another in the bag I carry with me. I can get replacement batteries at any drug store I pass. Maybe I can't use them as landing lights for a jet liner, but they're plenty bright enough to get my up or down a flight of stairs without breaking my neck.

loren said...

I had a mag light - a big one- stashed next to my bed. The wife, now ex-wife, used to borrow it and leave it somewhere else. Tried to explain to her the value of having a flashlight where you can find the fucking thing when things go bump in the night but no joy there.
My current GF, a psychotherapist, considers me nuts for living fully prepped and off grid. Asks why I need to take a gun camping or hanging on the wall in the cabin. I tell her if I thought I needed a gun I'd not go some particular pace of even live there. She doesn't get the concept. Refuses to have any extra water or gas or food or heaven forbid a weapon in her home. Lives in fear of somebody breaking in, which in Australia is a national sport. She's not stupid. Far from it so I disagree with your assumption that unprepared people are.
What it seems to be is they won't accept it can happen to them as it hasn't before. The failure of being protected by the government is beyond the conception.
I'm also a flashlight nut and find it hard to pass a new one in a store. Best find so far is a NECO Big Larry. $18 at Ace Hardware counters. Takes 2 AA's and lights up the world with a led bar. 3 settings and a mag. base to attach to a car fender or anything else ferrous metal. I've bought a fair few for gifts. Buy one. You'll be happy you did.

Aesop said...

Unprepared people are stupid.
IQ tests measure intelligence.
So does an emergency.
If you ace the former and flunk the latter, the Darwin Modifier (it's a variable ranging from 0 to 1) on your IQ score multiples your first result by 0 for the final answer.
People who are bright in one area and stupid in another are simply Raymond from Rain Man, in a " 'bout a dollar" sort of way.

I'm a big fan of lots of lights; I keep chemlights velcro'ed over each door for earthquakes and such, but I also have a couple of plastic tubs for a dozen or so of the $1 LED lights. When I need one, I grab it and light my way from one end of the lair to the other. If I get down to too many at one end, and not enough at the other, I grab a few and even out the supply. And with several to grab, I never have to worry about a dead light.

A battery tester makes finding the dead batt in a stack a lot easier too.

jim rock said...

I am a flashlight fiend also. In addition to the high zoot, bazillion lumen, light-up-the-world, aluminum bodied searchlights, i buy cheap headlights. Two hands are better than one.