Fri. Sept. 20, 2019 – so I learned some things…

77F and wet.  Probably.

Boy did we get some rain yesterday.  And I got stuck at the kids’ school, where I was able to help out, and everything worked out ok, but…

Turns out there are some holes in my vehicular preps, and in aspects of my current habits and lifestyle.  NB-I don’t typically carry a BOB or GHB or any other specific bag in my truck.  I’ve got a couple of totes in the back with extra stuff, and my EDC.  I thought that was pretty good, and it is.

I usually have some additional supplements like energy bars tucked away, but I ate them.  Day before yesterday and I didn’t replace them.  I usually refill my gas tank whenever there is a storm coming, and whenever it gets low.  I didn’t notice the level on Wednesday, and it beeped at me on the way to school- 50 miles to empty.  No problem, I’ll fill up on the way home.  Except what if I get stuck in the water on the way and need to wait out the flooding?  Not enough gas to do that.  My friend took 3 hours to get home with his kids.   I certainly didn’t have 3 hours worth of gas, to go less than 5 miles.

I have shirts, sweatshirts, pullover windbreakers, and long pants in the truck.  I’ve got hat and mittens when it’s cold.  I’ve got yellow plastic rain gear, ponchos, and even a set of FroggToggs.  No socks.  No dry shoes.  That’s a big oversight.

I don’t carry my ‘daddy bag’ anymore, so I don’t have a change of clothes for the kids.  It’s been a long time since one had an ‘accident’.

A couple of days ago, I had a case of Mountain House in the truck.  Yesterday I had only two expired MREs (the date doesn’t bother me) and USCG approved lifeboat survival bars.  Plenty of water, soda, and cans of flavored water… and I’d even added instant iced tea to put in the plain water.  I did so and drank that during the afternoon.  Had we been stranded at school overnight (and we have school friends in walking distance, so that was EXTREMELY unlikely) the kids and I would have eaten MREs in the truck while everyone else dined on microwave popcorn.  I did share a big Costco bag of candy that I was taking to my gunstore buddy.  Daughter used it to earn points with her friends.

The biggest problem is that there are only two real driveable ways into the school’s neighborhood, and BOTH are subject to flooding.  If we were desperate, I would have taken the chance on the deeper intersection.   I could see vehicles making it through and had a good idea of depth, but I also couldn’t get good info about the next step in my route.  I retreated to safety and comfort, deciding that the unknown and risk was not worth it to sit at home for the afternoon.

The situation might have been different if I was trying to GET to school and pick them up in an emergency.  This was not an emergency.  No one should have wrecked a car in an attempt to pick up the kids from a fully functional school, in the middle of the day.

It’s amazing the speed and reckless regard with which some people entered the high water.  They didn’t even wait to see how the guy in front of them made out.  Some pulled out around me, while I was watching the other guy go, and sped on ahead.  No way could they have seen the other guys success or failure before entering.  Dumb doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This being Houston, one of the items in my tote is a professional personal flotation device, designed for people who work on the water.  It will auto inflate, but most of the time stays out of your way.  It’s the first item in the tote.  If there ever came a day when I felt compelled to enter high water, I can at least gear up first.  I have a short rescue rope on top too.

My Expy is currently full of cr@p to the point I couldn’t have taken 2 extra kids with me, only one.  I’ve got a lot of auction stuff piled in the back and on the back seat.  That stuff needs to get out of my truck.

I need to add some Mountain House, durable snacks, and kid clothes to the tote.  I need to move a pair of sturdy shoes and a good pair of socks to the tote.   I may even set up a 3 gallon bucket as a toilet for the truck, and leave it in there.   (the 5 gallon with the seat only goes with us when I think or know we’ll want it.  Like 4 hours in a parking lot, watching fireworks,  It’s too big to live in my truck 24/7.)

The kids have grown, and I haven’t changed my truck pack much.

Meanwhile, my wife was stuck at her work.  I reminded her that there were at least a couple of powerbars in the ‘resource kit’ in her minivan.  She decided to stay at work, where they had food, light, AC, and work to do, rather than move through flooded streets.  Maybe I’ll be able to stash a bit more in her vehicle, ‘for the children’ now.  (FWIW, the thing we’ve used most often from her kit is fire starter and matches.)  She waited for clear streets and drove home without incident.

We’re supposed to get more rain.  I hope not, but I guess we’ll see.  This was a good opportunity to find holes in my preps without any resulting drama…and I’m going to use the gift to get better.

nick

Sat. Sept. 14, 2019 – where did the week go?

Cool and wet.  Yesterday started out cooler, stayed cooler longer, but by late afternoon was PLENTY HOT.   It did cool off pretty quickly once the sun started down.

I’ve got my monthly get together for my non-prepping hobby this morning, so I’ll be radio silence for a while.  Then I will be trying to cram as many of my week’s goals into a couple of hours as possible 🙂

I don’t know where the week went.  I had plans.  I had good intentions.  Shopping and auction pickups ate a bunch of daylight, that’s certain, but there still should have been more time to work the list…

Now that the gloves have come off, and Burrito Beto (white on the outside, full of brown stuff inside) declared his position on gun confiscation and the Bill of Rights, I wonder if sales will pick up?  If they don’t, it’ll be a pretty good indicator of how the public sees his chances of winning…  and that the other Dems didn’t come out with ‘clarification’ statements, means that they’re fully on board too, they just don’t want to say it out loud yet. Fully socialist, and gun grabby- does no one see the path they are following and where it leads? [Solzhenitsyn quote left as an exercise for the reader.]

Anyone here still think we’re not headed into a major schism in our country and in the world?  If not, how would we avoid one?  Because just continuing as we are will lead there and no one is suggesting alternate paths, or putting on the brakes.

Which is why I prep (and hurricanes.  Can’t forget about the hurricanes.  Especially with one headed toward us again.)

What have you done to improve your skills? Stockpile? sources? community?   I hope it’s something, even if little tiny steps….

 

 

n

Fri. Sept. 6, 2019 – you are not alone…

Cooler, but humid.  [75F and 96%RH]  End of summer weather in Houston. Super hot by late afternoon though, hit 109F in my driveway yesterday.

Dorian continues to wreak havoc and destruction as it heads up the coast. The pictures out of the Bahamas are of devastation. 70K displaced people is a LOT for that area.

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As it turns out, FEMA tracks preparedness in the general population, and it has been increasing.

This graphic summarizes the 2018 survey results compared to 2017.

 

“Estimates from the 2018 NHS suggest that an increasing percentage of the American public are actively preparing for disasters.

57% percent have taken three or more basic actions to prepare. That’s eleven percentage points higher than last year’s estimate.
94% percent have taken at least one action to prepare.
67% percent of adults have set aside some money for an emergency, although most have set aside less than $500.
When focusing on areas at higher risk of certain disasters, residents in areas at risk for hurricanes are most likely to have taken preparedness actions.”

You can read the story yourself at https://community.fema.gov/story/FEMA-Releases-2018-National-Household-Survey-Results-on-Individual-and-Community-Preparedness?lang=en_US

Prepping is going mainstream. There may be hope yet.

n

Thur. Sept. 5, 2019 – still tearing up the coast…

Cooler but still humid. [74F and 97%RH at 6am]

Spent yesterday picking stuff up, and dropping it off.  I expect to do the same today.  I’m sore, dehydrated, and mildly sunburned.  No sir, I don’t like it.

Dorian is still making trouble, and for people who didn’t really expect it.  Preps people, you never know when it will hook north…

Speaking of preps, I forgot to mention that Taco Tuesday consisted of canned chicken from Costco, with a 2015 date, a pouch of chicken taco mix (in date), and a variety of sides and fixins.  The “Mexican Rice” was 2014, and tasted great.  Cool and dry seems to be the key.

Tonight was leftovers and included chunks of my failed pork roast, served as an open face sandwich and smothered in “Pork” gravy from a mix.  I didn’t look at a date on the mix, but it wasn’t yesterday….  I stock a large variety of gravy mixes, and large quantity too.  They are cheap, versatile, and even if you wouldn’t normally eat gravy from an envelope mix, they add variety and options to otherwise plain meals.  Add gravy to instant mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta for a better/different side.  They keep well and are easy to prepare, and will extend your staple foods if needed.  The kids loved the gravy and pork (which was very dry otherwise) getting seconds and thirds.  Success.

Between the holiday and all the running around doing pickups and dropoffs, I’m not getting much else done.  The garden prep work needs to be started, and some other home maintenance needs doing too.  No rest for the wicked I guess.

And on that note, I’ll schedule this and head for bed.

n

Tues. Sept. 3, 2019 – hurricanes are no joke

Slightly cooler, but humid. [76F and 83%RH at 6am]

Spent yesterday at the beach, which was surreal considering what was going on east of us.  The beaches were mostly empty too, to my surprise.

The pictures and video that are coming out of the Bahamas are shocking.   It’s been a while since we had good video of such a devastating storm.  Waves washing the second story windows should convince anyone that evacuation is the better part of valor, if that’s what you might be facing.

There are reports of “price gouging” coming out of Fla.  I’m of the opinion that laws prohibiting charging more than the usual rate when un-usual events are happening are un-American and counter productive.   Let the business earn the opprobrium if that’s what people decide is fair.  Otherwise, let those without the ability to plan pay those who have the ability for the privilege of their ignorance and lack of self control.

Complaining about expensive bottled water WHEN IT’S COMING OUT OF YOUR TAP is about as stupid as stupid gets.  Gas is a <i>bit</i> different, as it can be difficult to store safely, but if you are motivated you can do so.  I did, and do.  If it’s a priority, you will find a way to do it.  If it’s not, then you will pay the tax.

If there are any new readers, let me point out that I live in a hurricane zone, have been through several, and THAT’S WHY I PREP.

Read through anything tagged with prepping related tags.  Read the comments.  Learn it for next time, as there will surely be a next time.

Also, accept that there are some things that are out of your control and you will just have to deal with them as best you can.  That’s another good reason to have resources set aside, so you can adapt.

Speaking of which… my mom decided that the best thing to do was fly into Florida EARLY this year.  She’s in Sarasota as of YESTERDAY, so should be ok unless things go very wrong with the storm track.   However, I’m reaching out to MY resources, with a ‘heads up’ that I might need some sort of help in that regard if things go pear shaped.  She doesn’t “believe” in preparedness of any sort and so I find myself in the (not completely unusual) position of having a loved one firmly in my darwin column, and yet I can’t actually leave her there if push comes to shove.  I hope to convince her to do her shopping today, and to pick up some extra, if it’s even available.  (FWIW, I was under the impression that her flight would be canceled and she’d stay safely in Chicago, I was shocked to get her text that she had landed in Sarasota.  No idea what she was thinking.)

If you are in the threatened area, please take what time you have and do what is needed to ensure you have the best chance at safety.  If you are not directly threatened by this storm, take it as a warning- there will be other storms, quakes, floods, tornadoes, riots, pipeline explosions, derailments, plagues, and pestilence.   Get prepped.

 

nick

added-  looks like Dorian has started to turn north.  That is good news for Florida but it’s still gonna be a mess up the coast and central regions.  Freaking thing sat for 40 hours on the Bahamas.  That is nuts.

Sun. Sept. 1, 2019 – yikes, we’re headed for fall

Cool and humid, I’m guessing.  [90F in the shade, 100F in the driveway at noon.]

It did get hot yesterday, but locally spotty rain and high winds kept temps down.  It was relatively cool at my secondary location, which gave me a chance to work on restacking stuff that needed restacking.

I found a package of Kirkland AAA batteries, labeled “good til 2023” that all burst and grew big mounds of gunk by their ends.  That will be going back to Costco.  I’m keeping rough track of my spoilage as I go through the stuff I put up in 2014 during Ebola 1.  So far, it’s the batteries and two cases of UHT milk.  The milk is a fairly short lived product, not suited to long term storage.  $36 gone so far.  I put it up for fairly immediate use, and because of the kids, but I haven’t put any milk in long or even medium term storage in a couple years.  I do still have some liter boxes, but they are really only backup for cereal if I miss a trip to the grocery store.  I’ve got Nido powder on the shelf for long term.

I’ve shifted away from the Nestle’ canned “medium table cream” too.  It will turn to a block of cheese-like substance in the can if it sits too long.  I have been stocking powdered cream instead.

I suppose I should count the case of instant mashed potatoes too, since they died in the garage storage.

Maybe I’ll try a carton of hash browns this morning… they are from the same period and are probably high in fat.  High fat items seem to fare the worst.

The prepper bible says ‘store what you eat, eat from your stores’ and that will help you rotate your food.  I’ve known from the beginning that there were items I stored that we do not normally eat, or that we eat in much too small a quantity to ever keep up with the rotation.  Most of those items are shelf stable meals (which are generally horrible tasting) in my ‘medium term’ stores, or bulk items like rice and flour, salt and sugar.  The shelf stable meals aren’t cheap, but they do go on sale.  The flour and rice are  so cheap I don’t mind replacing them (although the totals will add up.)  Salt and sugar don’t go bad if vermin are kept out.

My storage conditions are far from ideal, but having food and getting some spoilage is much preferred to not having food that doesn’t spoil.  So I deal with it and accept that there will be losses.

What isn’t good form is losing track of it.  I’ve got a lot of improperly stored panic buys at my secondary location.  Ebola spooked the heck out of me last time around so I was just throwing food into storage.  I’ll be going through it as I dig it out over the next few weeks.

I’ll be sharing the results so all y’all can benefit too.

And now, I better go cook some breakfast.

 

n

 

Fri. Aug. 29, 2019 – finally Friday

Cooler, but still humid (is my prescient guess, call me swami). [76F and 99%RH]

Headed into the long weekend and we’ve got a hurricane messing around down here.  I hope all of our correspondents in Fla. and the Gulf Coast are paying attention and making last minute adjustments to their preps.

I’m going to rotate another 15 gallons of stored gas tomorrow.  I may find another tank or two of propane to refill too.  I REALLY don’t want to take down antennas or secure the stuff in my driveway, so I’m hoping Dorian stays on the East Coast and doesn’t cross into the Gulf.

In other prepping, the last of my cucumber plants died.  Turned black, then shriveled up.  Peppers are still producing.  Single apple and orange are still there.  Meyer Lemon is still loaded up with green lemons maturing nicely.  It’s almost time to get the fall garden in according to the Ag Extension.  Maybe I’ll have better luck this fall.

I have to get the chainsaw repairs finished.  I’ve still only got the electric that runs, but I have parts and should be able to get at least one of the gas saws running.   I should probably get the gas gennie cleaned up and running too, as the whole house gennie is still sitting there, unconnected.  In fairness to me, the utility hasn’t replaced my service drop yet.  Their guy told me he’d log the request, but I haven’t seen or heard anything from them.  I really want their work done before connecting the gennie.  It’s more excuses, that’s for sure, but will avoid any complication if they don’t like the location of the gennie.

I took several buckets of bulk food to my secondary location.  I’ll rotate several back here and spot check to see if they’re still good.  Most of it was put up in 2014 or ’15 with no particular preservation.  It has been relatively cool there though.  I expect spoilage and am resigned to it due to my less that awesome available spaces.

I need to check my stored fuel at the secondary too, and I should probably fill some of the 5 gallon water jugs…

I have inflatable mattresses that need to find their way to secondary too.  It’s always something, which is why you shouldn’t wait for the last minute…

Time to wake the family and start breakfast.

Let me know what you did this week,

n

Wed. Aug. 28, 2019 – so there’s a storm coming your way….

77F and humid at 6am, but I’ve spent too much time reading the news. Gotta get the kids up and ready, so more later….


 

Now it’s later!

Here comes the storm, now what?

If you’ve been listening and doing, then all you have to do is recheck your preps, and do the little last minute things.  Top up your fresh veg- you can be sure THAT won’t be stripped from the store.  BAKE a loaf of bread.  Maybe pick up some dairy if your normal shopping hasn’t happened yet.

Remember that water is still coming out of your tap!  No need to buy bottled water if there are crowds.  Worst case, buy buckets and fill them.  Locate your water filter, bleach, and maybe your Bob water bladder.  Do laundry and wash dishes.  Wash the bathtubs thoroughly and get your duct tape ready so you can fill the tub before the storm hits.  Don’t forget a bucket for moving water from the tub to the toilet.

Charge up battery powered devices, and charge up all your power packs and rechargeable batteries.  By now you should have some sort of lithium battery for your phone and tablet.  The $80 jump pack from  Costco has a USB port and works well according to my wife.  If you don’t know where it is, locate your AC inverter and put it near your car for charging bigger things.  Test flashlights and battery lanterns.

If you haven’t already, fill your extra gas cans, fuel your generator and test start the gennie.

Look to your property.  Get ready to secure loose articles.  If the predictions warrant, get ready to do your board up.

At this point, you haven’t done anything irrevocable, haven’t spent money you don’t have, and have basically just ‘freshened up.’  Time to watch the storm approach and make any adjustments to your plan.

 

If you HAVEN’T been prepping, you’ve got a lot more to do.

Start with the basics, food water shelter.

Food- hit the canned and boxed meal aisles of your store.  Grab veg and beans, chili, and chicken or stew.  Get some pouches of pasta with sauce.  Get enough for a couple of weeks , at least ONE week.  Since the ‘french toast people’ have probably stripped the bread, eggs, and milk, grab a big bag of tortillas.   Grab some rice, instant or one minute rice is preferable in this case as it takes less to cook.  Grab some oatmeal and sugar or syrup, again quick cooking is better.  Grab some treats for the kids.

Water.   If your store has bottled, get some.  If not, then hit up Home Depot for buckets and lids.  You can fill them at home for drinking water.  Remember, water is still coming out of your faucets.  You may prefer bottled water for drinking, but your municipal water won’t hurt you (unless you’re in Flint, and then you’re on your own.)  You don’t NEED food safe buckets for this short time, but they are better for long term use.  Worst case, buy 2 liter bottles of the store brand generic soda, pour it out, and use the bottles for water.  You might want some koolaid or tea to flavor your water.

Shelter- your home should be fine unless the storm is huge.  If you live in a shack, or in an area prone to flooding, think hard about going to a shelter.  If you are going, better early than late.  Pick up anything that the wind can turn into a missile.  Secure all loose items.  Seriously, put them away.  Charge up all your things that need charging.  Wash everything that needs washing.  Tidy up.  Fill bathtub with water for washing, cover the drain with duct tape first.  Make sure you have some way to make light, battery powered is preferred to fire.  Have at least a battery powered radio to listen for news and updates.

That’s about all you will be able to do in a couple of days, but it should be more than enough and it’s certainly more than 80% of your neighbors will be doing.

 

Chime in in comments if I missed anything appropriate for short term preps, or if you have questions.

 

nick

Mon. June 17, 2019 – back to work

68F and 99%RH this morning .  Gauge said 1.85 inches of rain before midnight, and it’s only been misty since.  Forecast is for more light rain, and higher temps by late afternoon.  No idea yet if our swim meet will go on.  The pool gets in poor condition with inches of rain and the grounds turn to a muddy mess.

Aesop at RaconteurReport is busy laying in some ground truths about the Ebola outbreak (and I’ve contributed a little bit.)  Today’s report out of Africa is it MAY have made a big leap in Uganda.

TL:DR is – if they don’t get a handle on it there (and they won’t), it will get to the west.  It’s likely to get here at some point, and if it breaks out here, it’s SHTF time.  Best defense is self-quarantine to avoid infection.  That means stocking up.

I’m gonna bring together some of Bob’s posts on getting started prepping into one place.  A lot of good info has disappeared when some other good sites sold out.  A new page here with good links and Bob’s advice should be helpful.

Kids are sleeping in, but wife still needs breakfast, so I’m off…

 

n

Fri. April 26, 2019 – driving all day, so some links

Supposed to be clear and nice today and tomorrow. I’ll update that before I leave the house.   [59F and not quite saturated]

I’ve got a pickup in San Marcos, so I’ll probably swing by Austin as well and hit the surplus store. Depends on the time and how long everything takes. Minimum, I’m on the road for 5 hours, with an hour or so between cities at the far end. That means I won’t be here.

Some hard core prepper links (that I haven’t read yet) to keep you occupied. From one of my EMgmt newsletters.

Preppers and doomers always talk about how quickly our Just In Time based world will fall apart and how fragile it is. Here are a couple of links that address that very thing.

Aligning Public and Private Supply Chains Following Disasters

PrepTalks GraphicDr. Jarrod Goentzel’s PrepTalk, “Aligning Public and Private Supply Chains for Disaster Response”, demonstrates how the private sector has far more capacity to respond than the public sector, explains the role of emergency managers in supporting private sector supply chain restoration, and shows how analysis of supply chains can help with strategic and tactical preparedness and operational collaboration during a crisis.”

Private Sector Resilience: It is All in the Supply Chain

PrepTalks GraphicDr. Yossi Sheffi’s PrepTalk, “Private Sector Resilience: It is All in the Supply Chain”, explains the modes of failure in supply chain networks, explores new ways to think about disruptions, and showcases a General Motors case study on the complexities of supply chain management.”

So what can you do before disaster strikes???

These taxpayer funded FEMA resources exist to answer that question. And might provide the basis for some PA novel, if you were inclined that way…

Strategic and Operational Planning

The purpose of this page is to provide information on strategic and operational planning. The National Incident Management System is intended to be used by the whole community. The intended audience for this page is individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.

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And for the really detail oriented…

CPG 101, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, Version 2

How to Use This Guide CPG 101 is designed to help both novice and experienced planners navigate the planning process. Used in its entirety, this Guide provides information and instruction on the fundamentals of planning and their application. Chapters 1 and 2 lay the foundation for planning efforts by providing information on the basics of planning (Chapter 1) and the environment within which planners function (Chapter 2). With an understanding of these fundamentals, the Guide then transitions from theory to practice by discussing the different plan formats and functions (Chapter 3) and moving into an explanation of the planning process (Chapter 4). A detailed checklist, building upon Chapters 3 and 4, is provided in Appendix C. Because Appendix C provides a set of detailed questions to consider throughout the planning process, users are encouraged to copy or remove this checklist and employ it as they work through the planning process in Chapter 4.”

There are a BUNCH of interesting looking PREPtalks in the left hand sidebar on the pages linked above. This is going to be a time suck soon…

Until then, I’m on the road and will only be checking in periodically.

Tell me what you did this week to plan, or prep.

n