Essential Survival Tips From A Hurricane Irma Survivor, by C.S.

At the time I began writing this, Hurricane Irma had hit only eight days earlier. From it and other hurricane experiences, I have learned some valuable lessons. The first is, use your head. No, do not use it to hammer the shutters down. What I mean is, use some common sense.

Demonstrating a Lack of Reasoning

Here are some things that happened here in South Florida that demonstrated a lack of reasoning:

  • A guy burned down his house because he wasn’t careful while pouring gas in his generator that was running. The spillage later caught on fire, torching his entire hacienda.
  • My girlfriend forgot to take a shower right before the hurricane hit. On the fifth day without water or a bath, she sprayed Febreze all over her body. She’s now waiting for recovery from the repercussions of that move.
  • A guy waited until the last minute to put his hurricane shutters up on the second floor. The wind gusts blew over the ladder, and he died.
  • People spent lots of money on huge amounts of bottled water and then discovered they had no food.
  • Many people stayed in the Keys. They stayed even after they were ordered to evacuate.
  • I saw this guy on the news looking for shells in the Tampa Bay, where the water had just been sucked out to sea.

Common Sense Survival Tips

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to leave town, because there’s going to be a million other people doing the same thing. Three days before is pretty good, preferably in the middle of the night.
  • Make sure you have a paper map in your car. Do you know, those old-fashioned pieces of paper with different colored lines printed on them? Newsflash: Your GPS won’t get you anywhere when the cell phones don’t work.
  • Cell phones do not work after a hurricane, even if you have battery. Text messages will work, though I’m not sure why.
  • Don’t put “big Xs” of masking tape on your windows. Not only will it look stupid but you won’t be able to get it off when the sun bakes the adhesive to the window. It won’t help to prevent your windows from blowing out.
  • Get an off-road SUV that carries stuff. You can’t get much of what you expect to ever own again in a Mini-Cooper. Plus, with millions of people on the same road, you may need to do some creative driving.
  • Take the back roads. Use your paper map. Sleep in the day. Drive during the night. Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
  • Don’t stay in a mobile home. It’s literally like standing outside during the hurricane.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to get gas. Many people waited in line for the whole day and got nothing.
  • You don’t need a million paper towels. Use real towels. You can actually hand wash them in tap water!
  • Baby wipes are good alternatives to showers.
  • Don’t buy bottled water and then throw empty plastic jugs out to the street. Save all plastic bottles and put water in them. Freeze the bottles and turn your refrigerator into a cooler. This will save you from frantically going out to look for more bottled water or buying ice and then complaining you have no money.
  • Don’t run the generator in your house. You’ll fall asleep and never wake up. It’s called carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Don’t open your windows during a hurricane, thinking you need a breeze to break the humidity or that you need to let the house “breathe” or relieve pressure. Doing so will result in a panoramic sky-view of the storm, as your roof will fly off.
  • Turn your air conditioning down to as cold as possible, a couple of days before you lose power. It takes that long to get super cold. Then when you lose power, it will take a couple of days to get back to normal. This way you don’t die of heat exhaustion on day one.
  • Feeling too cold? Suit up! Drag out those winter sweatshirts and sweatpants. Wear layers, baby. It’s the style!
  • Your power is more likely to go out than the water pipes breaking.
  • Don’t drive in water where you can’t see the bottom. Not only may you anger some alligators but your car could get stuck in the water. The alligators may then eat you. Or, you could just sit on the roof of your car for a week until the water subsides. Ditto to snakes.
  • After the storm, don’t open your door to anyone who says they are FEMA or the electric company. They will stick a gun in your face and then it’ll be “bye-bye” to all your stuff that the hurricane didn’t take.
  • Don’t go walking in puddles after the storm. Water is conductive of electricity, and power lines are down all over the place. ZAP!

Past Florida Hurricanes, Like Andrew

I have been through a few hurricanes here in Florida. However, for me, this one was the mother of all. I was in Miami’s Hurricane Andrew in the outer bands but was allowed into the worst damaged area right after the storm. This was the case because my husband was an insurance adjuster.

He was not a homeowner’s insurance adjuster but an automobile claims adjuster. However, the insurance companies were so desperate for insurance adjusters that if you had an insurance license for anything, you were told to strap a ladder to your car roof and go into the belly of the beast.

What I saw was staggering. There were huge, uprooted trees lying flat over roads, making access to homes impossible. Thirty-foot high mounds of tree branches and unrecognizable debris were all over. FUBAR was everywhere you looked.

People had their roofs blown off, with the harsh sun beating down on them. They were found wading around their homes in knee-high deep water acting dazed and zombie-like.

Prepare To Defend Property

I learned that you need to be prepared for a hurricane. Then you need to be prepared to defend your property.

A girlfriend who was in the eye of Hurricane Andrew saw her couch fly out the window as she ran into an adjacent room. Afterward, her husband slept for short periods of time in his running truck for two weeks, just to feel some cool air during the day. He stayed up all night, sitting by the front door with a shotgun.

Hurricane Irma- Andrew On Steroids

Hurricane Irma was like Andrew on steroids.  Everyone was/is affected, and most people were affected significantly.

A friend showed us a picture yesterday of a famous bar in the Upper Keys that is there no more. The roof is sitting on the sand, and the building is gone.

The Keys

As of now, no one is allowed into the Keys. I heard that just yesterday they started to open up some of Highway 1. There are still many trees down, covering the only road to get there. The military is using tanks to plow over fallen trees, in order to get to the people who ignored the evacuation order. All of the Keys is supposedly destroyed. Some people are living in tents outside of their homes. If they managed to salvage a tent.

And everyone knows that the east side of the hurricane is the “dirty” side. In this case, it could spawn hundreds and maybe thousands of tornadoes.

Natural Disaster Like Going Through Boot Camp

Going through a natural disaster like Hurricane Irma is like going through boot camp. At least that’s the closest analogy I can think of, having not actually been through boot camp. It tests and uses up every fiber of your emotional and physical strength, to the last drop, and then it squeezes out a few more drops.

I had this dream before the storm. It was of those biblical guys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, not burning in the furnace they were thrown into.  I felt like I went into an oven and came out alive. Really.

Physical Stress

There is incredible physical stress. I could only sleep three hours a night and could barely eat. I couldn’t even eat a whole yogurt. Don’t worry about that diet you were on. You won’t even remember to eat. I lost five pounds in one week.

Emotional Stress

Then there’s the emotional stress of a Cat 5 Hurricane headed right toward you, only an hour away. Lucky for me, it turned due east in the last moments. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this story.

Everything Turns To Evaluating Priorities

When a natural disaster hits, everything instantly turns into a game of priorities, falling in the hierarchy of the most important priority to the least important. I do mean “everything”. You think things like:

“Is milk more important than bread?

Perhaps bread is more important than water?

Is fruit more important that lunch meat?

How long before it spoils? Does cheese freeze?

How many loafs of bread can I fit in the freezer?

No wait – I need the freezer space for ice!

No wait—I need to put the lunch meat in the freezer…no wait—

I need gas to power the generator to make the freezer run!”

You get the picture.

The Body and Everybody Focuses on Survival

Unfortunately, in a survival situation, your body says it doesn’t really need that much sleep, because there’s too much else to do to survive. I know that I’m not the only woman who reacted this way. Every single woman I’ve met in the grocery store said the same thing.

Another interesting factoid is that everyone in the supermarkets was suddenly talking to each other. Complete strangers became your new chat buddies.

The grocery store attendants are listening to people’s stories. They were doing this while trying to stack bread, which was instantly snatched before they could get it on the shelves.  People made lines at the bakery, waiting for the next batch of bread to be baked. It was then instantly sold out.

Women Looked Haggard

All the women looked haggard, including myself. I haven’t put on makeup for about two weeks. Forget my nails. I’m lucky if I can find a brush to run through my hair.

Hurricanes Are Gender Dividers

Speaking of hurricanes, I’ve noticed that they are the great divider when it comes to genders. The men, you know that other biological species, who is not supposed to be any different than women in this gender neutral world? Well, the men don’t look haggard like the women.

One primary reason is that they don’t wear makeup. Another shocker is that they are actually physically stronger than women. They are now in their glory while carrying plywood, dragging generators, and sawing down trees. You know; they’re doing physical labor.

Concerned of Women

We, women, are the ones that do all the worrying, the planning, and carry all the mental stress. We’re concerned with:

Where is the storm going?

What will we eat for dinner?

How will I keep the food from perishing until the next meal?

Where can I find bread? How will I get there? How long are the lines?”

In a survival situation, men and women instantly revert back to their instinctual gender-differentiated roles.

Top Scarce Commodities In A Natural Disaster

So, what I have gleaned is that these items are of utmost priority:


Importance of Gas and Gas Cans

They’re important because you can’t get out of Dodge if you don’t have enough gas. When I left town last Thursday, the city of Miami was simultaneously evacuating 650,000 residents. On top of that, the Keys were evacuated just one day before. That’s a lot of people on the road. And a lot of people ran out of gas and were stranded by the side of the highway.

The gas stations instantly ran out of gas. Even though extra trucks were headed to refuel, they would quickly run out as well. There’s only so much gas one of those trucks can hold.

Not only do you need gas cans to get out of Dodge, but you need gas to power a generator when the power goes out. And five gallons, which is what a large gas can contains, will only last a day or two, if you shut it off periodically. And that’s just to power the refrigerator and a small A/C unit.


Bread is great for making sandwiches, but it takes up too much room in the freezer and will go bad if you don’t at least refrigerate it. It’s quite a dilemma. I’m thinking a bread maker might be handy, although I’m not sure how much power that thing needs to create a loaf.

Toilet Issues

Speaking of creating loaves, the garbage bag in the toilet with the cat litter is actually a workable solution when you don’t have water to flush the toilet. You don’t want to flush all the water you saved in the tub down the toilet. You need it to wash your face, brush your teeth, and clean your pits.

And to us ladies, you know how we have to pee all of the time? I actually had to do it on the side of the road when evacuating town, hiding behind an open car door. Any tips on improving that method would be greatly appreciated.

Now I have to go out hunting for gas.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been the first entry for Round 73 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value), and

Round 73 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Thanks! A very good read. Our retired friends (two sets) moved down to Bonita Springs, FL. One set had their clay tile roof forcibly removed by Irma, while the other set, two blocks away, just had a window dinged out. Go figure.

    Mold and mildew everywhere and not a contractor to be found at any price.

    1. RE: Female Roadside Urination: search for: Travelmate; Fusionella; Freelax; PaperPee; GoGirl; Freshette; P-EZ. Or, generically, “Female Urination Device.”
      Test several to see what works best for you, then buy several extra. Vinegar works as a cleaning solution. Pro Tip: Buy a couple different ones for the emergency kit even if you’re not female, you might know someone who is. Have spares, more spares than you think you’ll need (which also applies to everything else). Emergency lack-of-preparation solution: 4X6 note card, fold down the center, overlap corners on one end, secure with tape. FYI, look for longer zippers on (loose fitting) shorts, trousers, and use of these devices is made easier by Going Commando. Pro Tip: Practice usage of any solution in controlled environment well before implementing under severe conditions (see below), mentally prepare for potential modesty compromises.

      If you live in Hurricane Country there are two seasons: Hurricane Season, and not-Hurricane Season. Use one to prepare AND TEST SOLUTIONS for the other. During “not-hurricane season” devise solutions and action plans, test the solutions and action plans, evaluate results, Checklists, checklists, checklists; you will get Suddenly Stupid in an emergency.

      1. I don’t mean to be dense but I don’t see the problem. My wife and I go on long hikes in the wilderness and she can pee or crap in the woods without any ‘devices’ and surprisingly she can do it as fast as I do. Just drop trou, squat and let it rip. Make sure your pants are out of the way.

        1. I got the device because I got tired of having pee go the wrong way and end up in my shoes. I like the device because I don’t have to squat and bare my bottom when I pee.

        2. Girls can write in the snow just as well as guys can. Forget false modesty,when you have to go you have to go(3 sisters 1 bathroom/no privacy/beware the flush). Bread isn’t good for you in the first place,hard cheese freezes pretty well. Hard dry salami,cheese,crackers,olives and pickles(Mediterranean diet) can carry you indefinitely without refrigeration.

    1. If you are using the GPS feature of your phone, then it may not work due to it needing to download the local maps from the cell network, which may not be working. I think that may be what she is talking about.

      1. The only GPS that may be working is the GPS that is part of the car or an independent, hand held GPS device. Think Garmin or Magellan. You just can’t depend on the cell network. Besides not all cell phones have GPS.

        1. Before leaving uk for our holiday in Florida we downloaded an app called navmii and downloaded a map of Florida with it and it doesn’t need an Internet connection once you’ve got it though your phone or tablet will need gps of course

    1. That kind of leaves out about half the country. The entire gulf coast, the entire east coast, plus inland Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, etc. They all get nailed sometime by a hurricane directly or as the storm winds down.

      There is no real good solution, the weather is the weather. It’s just another obstacle or another opportunity.

      Just be prepared. Shore up-sturdy up your house and outbuildings. Clean up a fall zone around your buildings for towers, trees, etc.

      Maybe it’s time to put the grid underground instead of overhead. Think Puerto Rico, or for that matter, Florida and Texas. But that is a job for the power companies, not the government and hence the tax payers.

    2. I live in Ohio. We, and most of the rest of southwest Ohio, southeast Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, etc lost power in 2008 due to high winds from hurricane Ike. I had no power for 7 full days. Thankfully the temps moderated after the storm & we could keep the windows open for the week. Getting out of Hurricane Country isn’t always the answer.

    3. Utter twaddle, then you will tell people to move out of Tornado Alley. Well those two weather patterns are half the country.

      Agreed with another, the weather is the weather. I’ve been through five Cat3s and two Cat4s. After I moved, an EF-5 destroyed my son’s high school in 2011. Just get ready, try your setups and fill the gaps.

  2. Toilet issue suggestion – A she-wee or like device is a specially shaped plastic funnel that a woman can stick into the front of her pants so she can pee standing up without having to pull her pants all the way down. Very inexpensive. Throw it in the glove box or trunk and forget it till you need it. Sounds quite ridiculous but I know several women who love them during hunting season when it is 20 degrees outside!

    1. Ditto what sam spade said. My wife and daughter pack a “Go Girl” when we go camping/hiking. They find it quite comical and actually look forward to it (though writing your name is more challenging than for men).

  3. This is one of the best articles I have read on hurricanes. Having been through many on the Gulf Coast of Texas since 1961 (Carla), every thing she writes rings true to me.


  4. Great article.

    Even a little further north, we witnessed most people losing their brains because of the hurricane. People drove wildly, did stupid things, etc. days before and days after the hurricane. We lost commercial power for close to a week, but our solar system kept us in power good. Never heard more generators running in my life. We loaned out a couple to family but didn’t need to run ours.

  5. GPS relies on cell phones to work???
    Cell phones worked after Hurricane Andrew in the Kendall area of South Dade County.
    I will never evacuate. The gestapo will not let you go back to check on your house.
    If I open a window my roof will blow off. So opening my front door to peek out during the last 6 hurricanes was different? How?
    There was more. I stopped reading this post.
    Florida native.

    1. There is a difference between briefly opening a door to look outside and simply leaving a window open, unattended, and possibly forgotten. I think that was the author’s intended meaning…

      As to NEVER evacuating: I see were you’re coming from but I don’t think it’s well-considered (at least as stated). Property is replaceable but your life and those of your loved ones are not.

      An inflexible policy to always stay put ignores the responsibility to evaluate threat conditions specific to our unique situations everywhere.

      Lots of folks stay for their stuff and wish they had left for their lives in hindsight.

  6. People need to re-evaluate the importance of flood insurance. My sister lived in a beautiful home in Dade city in central Florida. they evacuated. I talked to her the day after the storm and said the house was fine with trees down and a little water in the yard. Then the river that is a half mile away began rising. It eventually rose 17.5 feet. Most Florida natives are flatlanders and are not used to rivers rising. She ended up with two feet of sewage-laden water in her home. The stench is awful. They have no flood insurance.they were not in a flood zone. I read 80% of the citizens of Houston did not have flood insurance either. they do not plan to rebuild and will take a huge loss. many others in their town are suffering the same fate.
    I feel blessed. I had my cans of LDS food and water and water filter and propane and carbine and solar lights and DC powered fan and first aid supplies. I was ready. But I was also two stories up and sheltered from the wind.
    By the way, I have found the best site for wind strength and direction of storms is
    if you know what direction the wind will be coming from you can make better choices in surviving.

  7. A bread maker will use 100 watts for about 30 minutes for its mix cycle then 800 watts cycled on/off for a total of 30 minutes of “on” time. I once prepared a loaf using a car battery and an 1000 watt inverter as an exiperment. I figure I could bake 3 or 4 loafs with a fully charged battery before having to start the car to recharge the battery.

  8. Instead of all the hassle of a bread maker, a quick and easy alternative is a Complete Pancake Mix. All you need is a pan, firewood, oil and water for the mix. A nice, thick pancake is very similar to a piece of bread. Fry up two of them and you have the equivalent of two pieces of bread. Add peanut butter and jelly and voila! Keep your kids (and yourself) happy and fed.

    1. hoecakes. like a fried pancake, but not sweet.

      the beautiful thing is that you can make it with all dry ingredients (using powdered egg and powder buttermilk). pre-packaged in mylar in convenient two-serving amounts. Just add water, and fry in oil.

  9. Female roadside bathroom hack?

    Rain poncho – Good for #1 or #2. Procedure: Don poncho, drop trou, #1, raise trou, continue the mission.

    #2? Same but bring tissue, dig small cat hole with heel of their boot (in soft sand) or e-tool (in harder soil), continue the mission.

    I got this info courtesy of Army female soldiers recounting their roadside experiences driving convoy ops.

  10. Texting after a disaster MAY still work due to the lower network requirements. After Katrina I was able to send and receive texts (some with great delays) until the system was shut down by the local cell providers. I was told that emergency services also use the same system and that they needed it to coordinate emergency responses. Now a HAM operator for that reason.

    1. A phone call needs a continuous two-way connection (Internet over phone, too). A text message needs only a few milliseconds of a connection to send, or be received. A text will sit in a buffer, for days if need be, waiting for that window to open.

  11. I found this post to be very useful even though I live over 1500 miles from hurricane country. Much of the advice will be good in other kinds of emergencies also. Thank you.

  12. I disagree with the conclusion that gasoline is the most important item for survival. I survived Katrina and can tell you water is by far the most important item you can store and the second is electrolyte replenishment. Day we returned to our flooded house was hot and humid and worked hard and long, I sweat a lot and drank well over a gallon of water during that period. I had cramps so bad that night I could not have squeezed off a round in self defense if needed. Thankfully the local sheriff had established excellent control and that was unnecessary.

    You can survive and be some what effective three days without or severely limited water and a couple of weeks without food but why not prepare by having all required items on hand.

    Three weeks minimum of drinking water stored
    I fill 120 gal of tap water in tub bladders before the hurricane arrive
    Have water filters stored
    I have damage control plugs to insert in soil lines to prevent sewage back ups.
    Lanterns and 5 gal of lantern oil, Headlamp, flashlights and batteries
    A minimum of 4 months of long storage food plus a couple of weeks of normal food
    I store enough gasoline to drive both vehicles 600 miles without the need of a gas station. If I stay that would rum my gasoline generators a couple weeks.
    Just installed a whole house NG generator.
    Huge supply of medical supplies.
    Tools to handle most repair, traps, nails screws etc.

    There is much more including being a vey well two person army if needed and if have moved out of the flood zone since. Katrina turned me in to a pepper.

    1. Living in FL, for Cramps, I have found that a Magnesium supplement, 250mg, tablet, really helps. Every day in the summer time and a couple of times a week in the winter.

  13. Thanks for this article C.S. Having lived thru Andrew and Wilma I know what damage can be done and how uncomfortable it can get without power. One scary for me is I am living with half a balance system (brain tumor destroyed my balance and hearing nerves) so I need light to stay upright. I used headlamps and as the hurricane approached I became nauseous, had to lay down with headlamp shining in eyes. I believe it was the drop in pressure that wasn’t helpful. Going thru these powerful hurricanes I feel like a novice though as I lived 7 years on a sailboat so what people are doing now in the way of prepping for disaster, I was prepping for ocean sailing months on end, no water, heat, no fuel, weather, etc. It became a way of life for the cruising community. But during Irma our house was a refuge for my sister, her husband and my 92 year old mother who live in Naples as I live on the East Coast of Florida. Our winds topped high 80’s steady and the destruction was only plant and small tree debri. I must say I was very thankful for the 3″ debri ground cover left in my yard. I raked my garden paths clean, sweeping it into the numerous beds I have. Unfortunately our power went out way too early, in my estimation. We had only 20-25 knots blowing and we lost power. Hey FP&L what happened to the so-called $$ spent on ‘hardening the grid’?! We prepared though for no fridge, had a few coolers. We packed the coolers night before and the freezer drawers (no shelves in a Liebherr) with ice in double-bagged gallon sizes a few days before hurricane hit. We stuffed them in every nook and cranny we could find. We were w/o power for 4 days and when it came back on we opened the freezer and the temp read 27 degrees. All food rock solid still. I too didn’t sleep at night due to open windows, heat index in the house was 89 degrees AT NIGHT! I’m gonna employ the window/slider unit of powerless air. Empty plastic one-liter water bottles in holes drilled into plywood. The bottoms of the bottles cut off and the air passes thru large opening facing outside and forcing air thru smaller neck opening facing the room. The bottle necks are secured with the caps by cutting off the top part, and screwing it back onto the bottle neck, holding the bottles in place. I’ll let you know how this works. Otherwise placing frozen vegetable bags onto femoral arteries near crotch helps to cool the blood circulating. The bread thing is easy if you learn to make chapatis (large flatbread) cooked in fry pan on one burner unit or your grill. The one thing I saw a need for is a hand cranked coffee bean mill and any recommendations on this product would be greatly appreciated; although, I ground coffee up days before for the just incase. My lack of sleep was out of fear I or my husband (both hearing impaired) wouldn’t hear an intruder at night. That had me waking on and off and sleeping fitfully. I want a dog hubby! The fridge food was easy to take care of. I made a large butter bell and stored the softening butter in it. It’s simply a container filled with soft butter, salted for preservation, which is inverted into large container that has water then sealed with a lid. It does a great job in keeping butter out of the oxygen keeping it spreadably firm. The cheeses were wrapped in cloth dipped in vinegar to cut down on the mold growth. Eggs went into coolers but if there wasn’t room for them I would’ve pasted each egg with vaseline, put them back into their containers and flipping carton over everyday to keep the fluids coating the inside of the porous shell. I would then employ the small bowl for cracking eggs into one at a time each time an egg was used checking for spoilage. Most condiments in fridge do not have to be refrigerated due to vinegar content. We don’t refrigerate our mayo, never have in all my years and I, my husband and children are still here! We just don’t put any metal into the plastic jars, only wood or rubber. I am going invest in dried fruits and vegetables though adding it to my hurricane supplies I have built up over the years living here. Great article and glad you wrote about your experiences.

  14. Thanks for taking the time to write this. The experiences of other people is so great; they have really “seen the beast” and their advice is always invaluable.

  15. Fuel. Whether we are staying put or bugging out, trust me, no matter what we think, most of us do not have enough fuel. I live in a very rural area of north Florida with just one red light in the whole county, it is not what one would imagine as a vacation destination spot. We have one east/west and one north/south routes. One of the things that the author may have underestimated was that when you are evacuating you will not be the only one with a GPS or, much rarer, an Atlas who will figure out to get off of the main roads or to travel at night. Our one north/south two lane road was heavily traveled both day and night going north during the evacuation and then southbound when they returned. Whenever the rare fuel tanker showed up from Friday to the following Thursday it was immediately covered up like someone had kicked over a fire ant nest by those who were traveling with lines stretching down the side of the road for quite a ways, this was also true for any grocery or dollar store. One cashier told me that they were pumping 1,000 gallons/hour. A US gallon of gas weighs approx 6.2 lbs/gal and the average tanker hauls about 45,000 lbs. At that rate even if they got the whole tank, which was unlikely, they’d run out again in a little over 7 hours. While my house had plenty this time the lesson learned was that I need to amend my preps to take into consideration the fact that an evacuation is like a swarm of locusts, they will strip everything as they pass through. The effect was that a lot of local people who had thought they only needed to prepare for a few days faced shortages even though enough fuel and goods would have been available had there not been all those passing through. Don’t misunderstand me, this wasn’t callousness on the evacuees part. They simply had a need and did what they had to do to meet it. On a positive note this has allowed me the opportunity to preach about preparedness to people who now have a a more open mind on the subject. As for myself I realize that I need to develop alternate energy sources or increase my fuel storage capacity in the event of a larger, long term crisis. It’s one thing to intellectually speculate on the effect of the Golden Horde and quite another to experience it, albeit on a much smaller scale, firsthand.

  16. If you ever cared for an elderly, disabled, or injured person, drop, squat, and let it rip ain’t going to work! Many struggle to get from seated to vertical, trying to squat is a one way trip to the ground!

    It all depends on who your traveling with! Our last evacuation included two people in their eighties and a gal within two weeks of bingo! We left way early and traveled fast, after the news reports they mostly forgave me!

    I had no intention of burying an aunt or delivering my grandson on the side of the road!

    A folding bedside commode is now in the pile of might be needed. You may be young and healthy now, but that can change in an instant and the clock is always ticking!

    Great article and thank you! Swamp

  17. Thought. Some of those big box stores–Costco, etc. have connecting gas service for members. Might they provide quicker access to fuel during times like indicated in these hurricanes?

  18. RE: COFFEE GRINDER — We use a small one by Zassenhaus

    They make several styles and there is one model for about $40. Supposedly the best form of grinding is with “conical burr” grinders. We are very happy with this one as you can adjust the grind from coarse (as for boiling or french press, fine for drip, or extra fine for espresso. This size we use grinds enough in one drawer for 6-8 cups. This narrow style is called a “knee grinder” as it is meant to be held between the knees while grinding. A table top one would be more of the larger square stye.

  19. Taking about maps. You can download Google maps to your phone and store them for 30 days. We did this when we went to Italy. They are fully functional maps too offline. Just go to Google maps and find the location you want and download it. You can download a few areas if needed.

  20. Thanks for the great article.
    My Hurricane Andrew experience taught me the critical importance of a chainsaw with bar oil, fresh gas, mixing oil and support tools. For emergency use, I’ve learned to buy the commercially prepared fuel cans that are premixed and sealed/stabilized for long term storage. This stuff is great and makes traveling with a chainsaw a lot more convenient.

  21. Another thought for the bread is to make bannock. Many recipes on the net and it can be cooked flat, as a loaf or even just wrapped around a stick and held in a fire. I made it through in N Fl okay. Only damage was a scratch on a horse and a 3×3 inch piece of shingle from the roof. Still have not found where on roof it came from. Horses and dogs without a horse trailer was why I stayed home. Of course by the time it got here a dry air mass had come in and ripped the storm to shreds. Even if I had a trailer, where I had planned to go would have been much worse as the storm changed direction as to what ALL the predictions said. Worked a long time with weather guessers in the Navy (I was not one) and the best piece of advise where they are concerned is: “Weather Guessers – the only job where you can be WRONG 365 days a year and Still get a bonus”.

  22. A port-a-potty or “Lug a Loo” works. Once you have done your business you can pour it out or toss cat litter into it until you can get to a place to clean it out.

  23. Just buy a Portable Urinal/Pee Bottle With Female Adapter and just go in the car. Make sure this is not the first time you use it. Just me sure it’s a large size, it can just be poured out of the door not great but better than nothing, They even make them in Glow in the Dark, I could not make that up.

  24. Hiding behind a car door is the time-honored method for peeing beside the road.
    My Mom did it, my sister did it, you can do it.
    The only improvement I can think of is if you have a 4-door car, you can open 2 doors to make a mini stall.

  25. As mentioned above vinegar would be good to store in large amounts if you live in Florida after a hurricane for cleaning, ie. mold, and to rinse out “Mollies”, female urinals with caps as used in hospitals. Baking soda is another multi-use essential item for brushing teeth amongst other uses.
    Honey has a long non-refrigerated shelve life.
    Sidenote: Minor cuts can easily develop into infections after a hurricance as groundwater is polluted by septic waste.
    Baking chocolate if there was a good way to keep it from melting in the floridian heat would complement coffee as a caffeine perk. And of course salt tablets for excessive sweating. Magnesium (as I remember someone mentioning it above) needs vitamin D2 to help it be absorbed. D2 is good for overall health as our bodies do not produce it. Twenty to forty minutes a day of sunshine provides enough vit D2 but then after a hurricance stocking up on sun tanning lotion would be a bigger concern. And garlic for mosquitoes and pests. You’ll have the vinegar and baking soda to clean the odor. Probiotics as in fermented food, dill pickles, would be helpful for the digestive system in the intestines.

    *Of course, none of this is medical advice, see a qualified physician for any advice.*

    Speaking of evacuees … now that Puerto Rico has been wrecked expect a wave(s) coming to Orlando or a city near you.

  26. I have lived on or near the Gulf Coast most of my life. We were always told the reason to put the masking tape “X”s on our windows was to keep more of the glass shards together if the window was broken out by flying debris. Even with safety glass more common now, shattered glass is shattered glass; keeping large portions of it together instead of spread out all over the room is less hazardous. We put on more tape than just an “X”, and, yes, cleaning it off later is tedious, but a good sharp razor blade-type scraper helps a lot.
    Women’s relief: if you have the room in your vehicle, take along a 5 gallon bucket, with the lid rimmed with a split-down-the-middle pool noodle for comfort, and some plastic trash can liners and cat litter (or wood shavings, or shredded paper) and then use the poncho with it (or a shower curtain or a light blanket) for coverage. Dump the filled liner in the nearest trash can. The elderly ladies with balance problems would much prefer this setup to squatting.
    For dealing with heat when there’s no power, I read that tacking up wet towels in the breeziest doorways or window openings can help cool a room, and you can use your grey water (that has been used just for hand-washing or sponge bathing)to wet them down. Also, sleep on the floor if you can tolerate the hardness; tile, concrete and other cool surface materials are the best, but even wood floors can be cooler than your bed.
    I also have an Ikea mosquito-net canopy on hand that I can hang from the ceiling grid and drape around the bed if I have to keep doors and windows open when there’s no power to run a/c.
    But the best thing is to get all your gear and important papers together and evac in plenty of time to avoid the crowds, especially if you have small children or elderly relatives to take care of. That way, you get your pick of available hotel rooms (if you’re not staying with family or friends), and you will be more likely to find gas and other necessities along the way.
    Sit down today and make a list of what you think you may need if you have to evac and cannot return to your home; gather those things together and keep them in a safe place where they will be easy to get to in an emergency of any kind. When a bad situation is imminent, it’s a heck of a lot harder to try and think of what you need because of the stress you will undoubtedly experience; having a thought-out-in-advance plan at the ready will lessen that stress, and you will be glad you took the time to make it beforehand.

  27. A inexpensive solution to the pee thing is a 5 gallon bucket and a pool noodle. The pool noodle can be slit to slip over the edge of the bucket and cut to size so that sitting is doable. I would think this would work better than squatting for people with knee issues or other physical problems. Emptying it and then a lid and some baking soda would help with odors between pit stops.

  28. “Think…Think Again..Then Act.”

    ALWAYS consider what will happen if this action does not go the way I see it going….What else is going to happen.

    Have a plan..have a back up plan..have a back up plan for the back up plan…plan to replace the plan.

Comments are closed.