Thursday, August 25, 2011

Come on Irene - Real Preparations for Real Hurricanes

Here we go.

Earthquakes not withstanding, it's hurricane season.  And here comes one.  There are a lot of websites and news outlets prescribing a whole suite of stupid activities to prepare for the Zombiepacolypse this Cat II storm.  Let's keep it real.  You want to live through the storm.  Best way to do that is to understand how people DIE in storms, and then to understand what hurricanes actually do. 

First, let's look at how hurricanes actually affect people.

5. Getting blown away with the wind, out into the ocean

5. Roads impacted by flooding

4. Water supplies impacted by flooding

3. Dangerous flying debris

2. Structures impacted by flooding

1. Loss of electricity and/or other utilities.

Now, let's look at how people actually die in hurricanes (taken loosely from a CDC report on FL and AL deaths in Hurricane Katrina):
5. Suicide
4. Murder
3. Drowning (in street, building, car, or boat)
2. Non-drowning Trauma (building collapse, falling tree, car accidents, boat accidents, etc)
1. Various causes during hurricane cleanup activities

OK, people.  We can work with this.  Starting with #5.  Don't freaking kill yourself.  If you are on medication, please call your doctor and go pick up extra, BEFORE the storm hits. If you doubt your ability to withstand multiple extreme stressors, like your car being carried away by floodwaters as your house crumbles down, then please make arrangements to go stay with a friend or relative at least 12 hours before any hint of the storm has arrived.

He had my attention at "ugly woman" and "claw hammer."
And #4.  The murdering. Two great ways to avoid being murdered during a natural disaster are to NOT DO ANY STUPID SHIT TO OTHER PEOPLES' PROPERTY, and to be able to fully secure your own property, which includes, sadly, the ownership of large caliber firearms, gun oil, and ammunition.

I am quite serious about being able to secure your home.  Can someone easily climb in your windows if they are broken? If you live on the Atlantic coastal plain, you may want to look into that.  It's also a great time to move anything in a shed or clubhouse to a safer, drier, overall more safe location.  Why don't you run out today and buy some good chain, pad locks, some half sheets of plywood, and a battery powered drill with a few extra batteries?  If you are a landowner, you should already have those things on-hand.  Sorry to say.

#3. Drowning.  Y'all aren't gonna like this, but here it goes.  If a hurricane is "coming" but the rain has already started, DON'T DRIVE ANYWHERE.  PLAN TO BE AT HOME.  If your home is in any kind of flood zone, this would be a great opportunity to get away to somewhere dry and not floodplain-ey for a few days.  You need to leave.  In Maryland, I think we've had six "one hundred year storms" in the last 10 years.  Get the idea?  I don't care how good you can swim.  Your ass will drown quick as anything if you are swimming amongst any kind of heavy debris.

#2.  Don't get crushed.  If the wind is still blowing, and that tree "looks like" it will fall on your house, guess what, that's gonna happen regardless.  Don't go cutting trees down in a hurricane, because your dumb ass will get killed by a totally different tree falling down at the same time.

If your house is not stable, go somewhere else before the storm gets there.  If your roof has issues and you've "been meaning" to replace it, go somewhere else.  If your house wouldn't be a safe place to live for up to a week without power, you need to go somewhere else. Before the storm.

1. Clean-up deaths.  Man, this is tough, because here at River Mud we are very community minded.   But please be careful.  If insurance is going to cover it, let them.  Unless someone is literally dying and needs extreme, immediate assistance, just take it slow.  Or call a contractor.

Somebody, somewhere, probably thinks you are a decent human being.  Don't mess it up by doing some dumb crap or not being prepared with the basics.  Remember that the two most likely things you will encounter will be 1) roads blocked by trees/flooding and 2) power outage.   That means a protracted time at home.  NOAA/NHC's check list is a good one - check it out. 

Good luck out there! Don't do anything stupid!


Unknown said...

Good luck to you guys!

Kirk Mantay said...

Hopefully just rain and power outages for us!

Map Monkey said...

Great advice, Swampy! I am preparing up here at the lakehouse, especially for the power outages that occur up here with the least provocation, and bringing in objects that are likely to start flying in high winds. There's nothing I can do at this point about the big-ass old trees that surround the house, so hopefully they will keep their 100+-year old roots in the ground and not crash down on us! (the REALLY dead one was cut down last year, so that's good). Hope it is not as terrible as they are predicting. Joseph is amused a little bit, because he lived through Gilbert on Jamaica (and countless earthquakes for that matter, where real damage was done to his home down there). But he is taking it seriously being somewhat of an alarmist. We have to hope for the best.

gorckat said...

I really dig your blog and this sort of practical advice is one of the reasons why.

Guess its too much to hope at this point for Saturday morning to be clear enough to keep my plans for my first time fly fishing...does wading in a stream in a thunderstorm looking for trout come under #3- Drowing? :P

dennfinn said...

I know prep for natural disasters shouldn't make my day - but this just did! I needed a laugh.

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

Ah yes, it has been a fun week around here! between the earthquake and hurricane...can you say OVERTIME and MEAL TICKETS!

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