We have been volunteering at the remains of a home of a prepper here in Ohio for the past two weekends. Their home was destroyed by a tornado. I have some simple suggestions that you might incorporate into your future work.
1. Store / Organize photos and documents in Ziploc bags. In this case, they had the preverbal box of pictures stored on the second floor of a three story 1860 brick home with brick interior walls located flood plain. The tornado remove the upper story plus half of the second floor. The box of pictures was found in the remains of a closet. The subsequent rains degraded the condition of the photos and other documents. If they had simply used Ziploc bags as a means of organizing their photo they would have been in good condition even after ten days in the weather.
2. Recovered clothing needs to be washed as soon as it is recovered. They really wanted as much of their clothing back as possible… We sorted through piles of rubble (bricks, plaster and mortar) looking for clothing. The recovered clothing was bagged and taken to a laundry facility to be washed. The learning here is that you need to have a means of washing all of your clothing in a mass grid down situation. Washing by hand in a galvanized tub would have been unmanageable. Lehman’s in Kidron has some possible solutions…all of which would be major work – assuming you had time you could devote to it.
3. Recovery tools need to be stored somewhere other than in the structure you intend to work on. The list is long of tools used to recover items from a home. First off you need to be able bodied, then you need tools and knowledge of how to use them. The tool list needs to include – bolt cutters, spud bars, wonder bars, a Hi-Lift jack, chains, wheel barrow, saws, 5 gallon pails, plastic bags, shovels, gloves, dust masks, hand tools and lots of tarps. If these tools are all in the basement of your home you will be at a huge disadvantage.
4. Food storage – We recovered less than 1/8th of the year’s supply of food that was on hand. The storm took most of it and the rest was in poor condition due to exposure the weather and falling building materials. Lots of dented cans, ruined bags, broken glass and wet paper goods. Items that faired the best were dog food, can goods and bulk bagged items. If here were 5 gallon pails they were lots along with the 3rd floor.
5. Security – the home owners were very concerned about looters. No one can watch a destroyed property 24/7. A community fire watch needs to be established. On the second weekend we heard nothing about actual looting taking place.
Lastly, I would encourage your readers to go and work disasters in their area. There is a lot to learn about tools, recovery, helping people in real need, understanding what damaged is possible, how that damage can affect everyday goods and understanding that it is enough to simply prepare. The government has professionalized the first responders. There may be a day when the professional first responders are busy with their own families and you will be the only responder that will ever be on hand. – Stev