There are some lessons that I’ve learned in my life. I will start out by sharing some of the problems I see and their solutions. Then, we’ll move on from there.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
Preparation is key. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Without it, there is trouble. Here are some problems that occur and solutions that can resolve them.
#1 Problem: There are powerful and extremely dangerous storms moving inland from the Atlantic. The Solution: None.
#2 Problem: Five million people were ordered by the state government to evacuate the southern half of Florida. Their numbers include the ready and the not ready, the good and the bad, and the well and the sick, and also the elderly and the children. There is no place anywhere in the entire nation capable of receiving and providing sustenance for five million homeless refugees. The Solution: None.
#3 Problem: There is absolutely zero methods available to safely transport and re-inter the Florida state-wide 115,000 population currently being held in jails and prisons. The Solution: None.
#4 Problem: There are hundreds of South Florida waste water treatment plants currently contaminated and fully dangerous and currently unable to function safely. The Solution: None.
#5 Problem: There are hundreds of South Florida and Houston pharmacies currently contaminated by flood waters, with millions of dollars of medicinal stocks destroyed by the flood water. thus causing needless deaths. The Solution: None.
#6 Problem: The flooded areas hospitals and clinics are currently unusable for the foreseeable future, thus causing needless deaths. The Solution: None.
#7 Problem: There are thousands of flooded home where home oxygen, home dialysis, home insulin supplies, and/or home hospital beds were destroyed without ready replacement equipment availability, thus causing needless deaths. The Solution: None.
#8 Problem: There are thousands of schools in south Florida and Houston with ruined libraries and school lunch room kitchens and rest rooms. Solution:None
#9. Problem: There will be a fabulous re-claim effort put into action, and there are hundreds of thousands of homes partially and fully destroyed. There will be no single location or no group of locations available to safely contain the millions of tons of waste housing materials and commercial trash left by the storms. The Solution: None.
#10 There will be thousands of contaminated underground fuel tanks at gas stations that will need to be replaced, and there will not be sufficient stocks available. The Solution: None.
#11 There will be hundreds of large, high-capacity, overhead power transformers no longer usable, and replacement for many will be a multiple year process. The electric power will be slow to re-start and will be rationed severely. The Solution: None.
#12 The electric has shut down. Now for the big one wit no known limits, the local power company has deliberately shut down to protect the massive equipment they need to supply power to the area when the flood is over. The Solution: None.
Furthermore, the list of “no immediate solutions” will grow as the reclaim efforts continue. The millions of donated dollars, the hundreds of tons of food and clothing, and the immense supply of personal toiletries will be so badly needed and so greatly appreciated; yet, it will still not be enough. People will continue to die as both direct and indirect responses to the storms.
After Storm Passed
So, what is the lesson to be learned here, after the storm has passed us and moved on to harm others? What can we write in our journals to remember later? What changes in our preparedness status should we make based on these multiple storms that can be helpful to us in other situations?
A Concept of Proper Preparedness
Consider this concept. If we truly believe that proper preparedness is the actions generated by a conscious and fully knowledgeable decision made in the relative calmness prior to an emergency response need, then would we have made, in advance, simple provisions to accommodate strangers made homeless by the storms and now in need.
When the storm reports informed us of the path and power of the slow moving storms, we should have phoned the people we knew who lived in that path and invited them to leave immediately and take refuge with us in our homes. And I did. My friend, Ray, did not live directly in the path of “Harvey”, and they were only getting a lot of rain. We talked about the storm and about better days in our youth.
I did make the call. I did try. Now we are tearful for the others, the safe survivors who missed being in the storm path and yet failed to say to their others, “Come stay with us a while. Be safe with us. You will be a welcome guest. All is ready here for you and your family.”
Those family who were invited may well have said, “Thanks. We are on our way.” They would have picked up their family “go bags” and the necessary food, medicine, and documents, and moved out smartly, ahead of the flood. They’d have been ahead of the evacuation order by the government.
Yes, they could have, but some did not accept the invitation and still stayed at home. They may have then died, needlessly, still at home.
Their situation is not our responsibility, we say so very sadly. That’s true enough. Some will never trust others enough to think ahead for themselves. So be it. They will suffer for their non-decisiveness. Their misfortune can be the start of a conversation with the younger and less experienced among our friends who need to think about earnest well planned preparedness for their families.
A Workable Solution Found
At this point in the writing, I read this part to my sweet, very smart wife. She said to me, “Bob, earlier today I talked to our friend ‘D’. She said her daughter, who lives in Tampa, had a pastor who made the calls for families with safer homes to invite folks living in trailers and older homes to move to the safer homes during the storms. These good people opened their homes as asked and lives were saved.” Well done. These good people put into practice that very day the principles of charity and sincere concern for others. Well done!
A workable solution was found! I have no doubt that there were many instances of the same genuine concern and generosity in many communities.
Prepper Knowledge and Foresight
As serious preppers, we have gained additional knowledge and foresight. We have used these attributes to provide for ourselves and often for other family members. Now, immediately after the storms, can be the most timely opportunity to try once again to interest our neighbors and co-workers in the “be prepared” principles we have put into action in our daily lives.
A Powerful Wake Up Call
Harvey and Irma and next Jose will be more than just fancy politically correct government issued alphabetical names. They can be, should be, must be, a powerful wake up call to all of us that bad things do happen to good people every day every where, usually without notice and always without selection.
Florida Traffic and Fuel Concerns
There were thousands of good folks, prepared folks, knowledgeable folks, in the evacuation routes very predictable huge traffic jams on the highways heading north from the bottom half of Florida. There is very little choice of routes heading north from lower Florida. Florida is about 500 miles north to south and about 120 miles east to west in the central lower area. That would be from Crystal River to Ormond Beach.
Hilarious Assumptions About Refueling
The estimate is that about 5,000,000 people were on the move in automobiles. Join me in some hilarious assumptions about refueling at gas stations enroute.
Let’s put an average of ten people in every car, van, truck, and bus, and allow 25 mpg in each vehicle. Take 5,000,000 and divide that by ten riders. this results in 500,000 vehicles on the roads all in the same general direction at the same general time. Let’s further assume that every vehicle had a twenty gallon fuel tank and every tank was full when the evacuation exodus began. Okay, obtaining 25 mpg for 20 gal equals five hundred miles, and then they would all need to refuel. Okay, okay. We know that some lived in Key West, some in Miami, and some in Clearwater. They didn’t all have to go the same distance, and they didn’t all need to gas up at the same time.
Still, the available fuel supply at the gas stations would quickly go dry. Some people would have been on foot.
Stress and Pregnant Women
Surely, with five million distressed, unhappy souls on the move, there must have been more that a few very pregnant women who responded to the stress of evacuation by soundly going into early labor right there on interstate 75 going into Orlando. Oh, happy days.
There will always be unexpected delays and difficulties just trying to move a family of five simply across town. That evacuation was for one million families of five.
Golden Horde But Less Terrible
We often read about the “golden horde” coming to pillage and rob and run when the grid finally goes down. Think smaller and less terrible for just a minute.
During any size, any reason, any area, any date, even a small evacuation will mean that some of the “bad guys” will stay behind so as to loot, rob, and steal stuff from empty homes. Think a bit about the street corner drug dealers who buy wholesale and resell at retail, every day all day. The evacuation order opens up a brand new to them free wholesale source. The local pharmacy is full of goodies to steal and then to use and resell. Oh, happy days.
And are you remembering that the electric power is down? We all remember the looters walking out of stores with new televisions and stereos. Some folks stayed behind just to have an opportunity to pillage, rape, steal, and run.
The Real Lessons
So, what are the real lessons for us in this terrible multiple storm event? Answer: There are as many answers as there are problems times persons.
I have a few suggestions for finding answers. First, do not try to plan a response alone, on your own, without help. Second, do not try to have every possible answer to every possible problem. Third, do not try to do a response plan without the aid of the Internet search engine apps. Facts and information will flow more freely into your planning activity. Forth, do pray for guidance, strength, and especially to remember who should be with you in your response. Fifth, work your planning process backwards, in reverse, start with the final position, final situation, final location, final group size, final armament status, final communication ability, final medical access clinic ability, whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish. You must know how to measure your levels of activity and what will actually measure out to full success. Sixth, and finally, of course you should trust the information from the many sources available, and never ever fail to thoroughly inspect and fully verify every single data item available to you.
Most likely the vast majority of the folks moving north from southern Florida had no idea where they were going to finally be at rest or how to survive in a new situation that was far worse than anything they had ever considered as even being possible.
Because we can, we must do better! Good luck!
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 79 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- 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.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- 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,
- 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),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- 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,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- 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,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances.
Round 79 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.