Hurricane Katrina was certainly one of the deadliest storms in recorded history. Katrina’s landfall cost almost 2,000 lives and destroyed about 100,000 homes. And that was not all the damage and suffering, the storm displaced about 400,000 people. With the peak of hurricane season upon us, and hurricane Ian looming, are you prepared for this or the next natural disaster to hit your area?
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Preparation is key to your chances of survival and minimizing the pain caused by a disaster. The day before a storm is far too late for most preparations, and local shelves will probably be empty. The Shooter’s Log takes a serious approach to helping readers prepare for disasters such as hurricanes and major flooding. We want you to be ready to survive if you were to lose power, utilities, and city services for days, or potentially months.
Not only is safe, clean drinking water imperative, so are non-perishable food items, storing alternative fuels, as well as the means to protect your stockpiles, castle, and loved ones from those who may be desperate or opportunistic enough to attempt taking it from you.
Also, during your prepping, it’s certainly worth remembering that post-Katrina, local officials disarmed law-abiding firearm owners who were attempting to protect themselves and their property.
Firearms: Lessons From Katrina
Days after the storm passed, New Orleans officials ordered the confiscation of lawfully-owned firearms from city residents. From the Washington Post, New Orleans Superintendent P. Edwin Compass said, “No one will be able to be armed,” and, “Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.” This was a clear violation of the Second Amendment, but citizens were stripped of a major form of self-defense, nonetheless.
It took a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against New Orleans to halt the city’s confiscation efforts. On September 23, Judge Jay Zainey granted a temporary restraining order barring New Orleans and the surrounding communities from further confiscations and required seized guns to be returned — but how much damage has been done in the meantime? How would you defend your loved ones if history were to be repeated? Remember, it took three years for residents’ illegally-seized firearms to be returned.
Hurricane season is officially underway, and it’s well past the time to prepare for a hurricane for those living in or near the Gulf and Atlantic coastline regions.
Naturally, the best way to survive any disaster, including a hurricane, is to not be there when it occurs. I’m talking, of course, about evacuation at least three days prior to the storm’s expected arrival. Modern satellites and meteorology allow us to predict a hurricane’s path with a high degree of accuracy. By paying attention to your local news, you should have days advance warning. Weight the risk from the various models and bug out to a safer area outside of the hurricane’s predicted landfall area. It’s better to go on an “unneeded” vacation than to be caught in a disaster.
Create an evacuation kit or bug-out bag. They are easy to grab and toss in your car when you need to flee the area in a hurry. Portable fuel tanks are handy — evacuation routes are often clogged with traffic. Many people fleeing hurricanes find themselves stranded on the side of the road when they run out of fuel and local gas stations are closed or sold out.
When you return to an area impacted by a hurricane, it is possible that electricity will be unavailable for several days, and possibly even weeks. Stores quickly sell out of generators in hurricane affected areas, so it’s critical to plan ahead and purchase a generator long before you will actually need it. How big of a generator you need is going to be determined primarily by how much power you’ll need. We’ve got a handy guide that will help you determine the type and generator size you’ll need.
A lack of electricity may impact your ability to store and prepare food. Never use a barbecue grill or other outdoor cooking device indoors. Dangerous fumes can cause injury or death in a short amount of time. Similarly, generators should be run outside in an open environment with adequate airflow, never indoors or in a garage. Your house should be wired by a licensed electrician before the generator is connected.
If your residence is sturdy enough, it is generally safer to shelter in place unless you are under an evacuation advisory. It is far easier to marshal the resources you need to survive a hurricane at your residence than to pack what you’ll need to evacuate. Exceptions include mobile home residents and anyone who lives on the coast, in a flood plain or flood-prone area: if your home or shelter is a temporary structure or vulnerable to winds, rain, or flooding (including storm surge) — in any way —you should always evacuate.
If you don’t have storm shutters, prepare now by measuring your windows and purchasing plywood and fasteners before a hurricane looms. Also, keep your trees trimmed. You can avoid additional damage to your house from falling limbs by ensuring that weak, damaged, or dead limbs are cut off.
In addition to preparing your house, you’ll need certain supplies to get through a hurricane and the aftermath with minimal problems. You can easily build a hurricane survival kit to help you get through a hurricane whether you decide to ride out the storm or evacuate.
Ensure that you have an adequate water supply. Lack of electricity can cause pumps to fail, making tap water unavailable. Flooding may mean the water from your tap may not be potable. Stock up on bottled water — enough for each person to have a minimum of 1 gallon per day for at least a week. Bathtubs should be filled with clean water just before a storm hits. Consider investing in a bathtub WaterBOB. The clear plastic liner comes complete with a pump that will deliver up to 100 gallons of water. If you do need to use water from your water heater tank or other non-potable water source, there are many methods of water purification that you can use. Water purification tablets can be used to kill off harmful microorganisms in non-potable water.
Adequate food supplies are critical. Ensure to have enough non-perishable food for each person with a minimum of 3,000 calories a day for seven days. If you don’t have one already, get a non-electric can opener for your home and bug-out kit. MREs are always a great solution. They come with their own heating pouches requiring a little water to heat up a full meal.
In addition to food and water, the following items are a great addition to your hurricane kit.
- Clothing, including rain gear and a good pair of boots
- First aid kit, with any required medications you or your family normally takes
- Toys, diapers, etc. for infants and children
- Pet care kit (food, carrier/leash, immunization records, etc.)
- Travel toiletry kit
- Flashlights and batteries, with spares
- Battery-operated radio with AM/FM and NOAA reception
- Critical documents in a waterproof pouch (banking info, insurance, passports, birth certificates, etc.)
- Full fuel tanks in all vehicles along with additional spare fuel cans
- Blankets and pillows
- Portable heater
- Cash, including small bills
- Portable toolset
- Fully charged cell phone, preferably with solar battery charger
Have you survived or prepared for a hurricane or other natural disaster? Share your experiences in the comment section.