FROM TRAVIS O'DEAN WHO LIVES IN FLORIDA, AND IS THE AUTHOR OF THE BEST SERIES OF REAL WORLD PREP BOOKS THERE ARE

Steve Said It, A Practical Example

Steve said these tips are coming from someone who has lived it. Well I'm living it now. I've said I live in Florida and as of this writing Cat. 5 Hurricane Dorian is pounding the stuffing out of the Bahama's. My heart goes out to those folks. As a life long Floridian I've seen a storm or six. (O.K. more than six.) I've been through more than one Cat. 4 storm. And Dorian is headed my way. True, by the time it gets to my hometown it will have been on land for a while and will most likely be down to a Cat. 1, but that is still enough wind to do a lot of damage. During the past seventy-two hours I have watched as things went from bad to worse to crazy. Yet Dorian is still a day or three away from me and might not even get here if it does what the talking heads on the boob tube say it will. But I have learned that the ONLY predictable thing about hurricanes is that they are totally unpredictable. So I prepare.

Between mid-night Thursday and about 6 P.M. Friday every gas station in Gainesville was sold out of gas. That is why I always run on the top half of the tank. Let's face it, the top half of your tank costs exactly the same amount as the bottom half. However when something like this hits, you don't have to be in a panic to fill your tank. And if it is a few days or a week from payday and your funds are running low, you can comfortably spend what you have on things like food and water without worrying about getting from here to there. I am a locksmith and on Friday morning I was at a gas station getting a young lady into her car after she had locked the keys inside while filling up. I became a hero to all the people in line behind her when that car door opened and she could now be on her way and they could get to the pumps. While there I heard one woman loudly complaining about;

"Some guy came in here a little while ago and not only filled his car but filled four gas cans as well. They shouldn't let him do that. We need gas too."

Well dear lady, if you ran on the top half of the tank, you wouldn't have had that problem. Not only that, but what I hear is someone spouting sour grapes because she doesn't have four cans to fill for herself. During this same time every store that carries bottled water sold out. After having been though this a few times, I keep a few milk jags filled with water in the freezer. Not only does that help to keep the cold things cold but if the worst happens and we can't get water from the tap for a day or three, I have gallons of clean water available to me after the food thaws out. One other thing that most people don't even think about is their water heater. Depending on the size you have, there are gallons and gallons of clean water right there for the taking. You simply open the valve on top of the heater to allow air in and place a container under the spigot on the bottom of the heater when you open it. For places like apartments, that means at least twenty-five gallons of clean water. If you are in a home it could be up to one hundred gallons. So why rush out and buy it? One other thing that always causes a problem is going to the bathroom. I just fill the tub and when I flush, I use the water from the tub to refill the toilet tank for next time.

And what about food? You have to eat. When the power goes out, I pull out my camping stove. May The Lord bless my wife. She grew up as a city girl and is unfamiliar with roughing it. But she has learned how to cook a meal on my garage sale two burner Coleman stove. Now some may say that's fine, but what happens when you run out of fuel for the stove? I have a grill, I know how to make a fire, and since I have a fireplace there is always wood available. Wood that I go out , find, bring home and cut myself rather than spending my hard earned money of just enough wood to last maybe an hour. And that comes without kindling or any other way to get it started.

Now people are saying, "Okay, fine but what about food it's self?"

When Janet Reno was Attorney General she said that everyone should have at least three days of food available. That would give people like FEMA a chance to get to you with help. We old timer Floridians laughed at that. Three days? Are you kidding? There are a lot of places down here where after a storm it is going to take three WEEKS for the water to go down enough to make the roads passable. Three days is a joke. A VERY BAD joke. And storing three weeks worth of food isn't that hard. Anyone who has ever cooked rice knows the old truth. You put in one cup of rice and you get back three. A five pound bag of rice doesn't take up that much room in the fridge or cabinet and it will last quite some time. While the volumes of food produced aren't the same the storage requirements are the same for dried beans and other vegetables. That will leave room for a lot of other things. Something like Kool-Aide doesn't take a lot of room, stores just about forever and will provide a welcome relief to drinking nothing but water for days or weeks on end.

As Dorian gets closer, I'm watching people who have never been through this before go into a blind panic. Mainly because they have bought into one of two beliefs that can get you killed.

1. It can't happen here.

REALLY? Tell that to the people of New Orleans after Katrina.

2. Even if something like that does happen, the government will step in and do something. After all they can't just let people starve.

See my answer above.

Hurricane Francis put a tree through my roof. It took out twenty-two trusses and the gable. Because of the widespread damage after that storm it took six months to get my home repaired. I was lucky and only spent two weeks with a trap keeping the water out of my home. But it did nothing to stop the mosquitoes. And for forty-eight hours after the storm our lighting was courtesy of some oil lamps and entertainment and information was provided by battery powered radios.

Dorian is coming. Maybe we get hit, maybe we don't. Only God knows for certain. But my food stocks are in place, my water is frozen, my stove is ready and I am as set as I can be. Now we ride it out and see what The Lord wills.

Sep 1, 2019

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