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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just posting to let everyone (who is interested) know we survived hurricane Matthew. Our electricity just got back on two days ago. (Unfortunately, some are still in the dark) We just got back our phone and internet this morning.

What I learned-
1. You cannot OVER PREPARE for a SHTF or TEOTHWAWKI event!
  • We were completely cut off and isolated for two days.
  • Never neglect your generator! (Ours did not work. We had to exchange repair for two gallons of fuel with a neighbor)
  • Our cell service, landline, electric and water was affected by Matthew. We lost about twenty trees. (Five of which completely blocked our ability to get out or any help to get get in.)
  • When we finally were able to cut ourselves out using our chainsaw, tractor and truck, we discovered a vast apocalyptic landscape. All our avenues of retreat were shut off by flooded roads and bridges.


2. Don't use any of your stores without replacing them immediately!
  • We had used a considerable amount of our food & water stores and hadn't replaced them. When we finally were able to make a supply run (two days after the storm), we discovered only four places open-

  1. Lowes for batteries and tarps.
  2. Academy sports for bottled water, charcoal & propane
  3. Bi-Lo grocery store for canned food
  4. Walmart gas

We were fortunate to be able to restock some stores. But, some places could only operate on a "cash only" basis. My wife had taken $80 in cash from the bank the day before the hurricane and my son had cash from some landscaping work he had done earlier in the week. I had also put back a few hundred dollars in cash and coin for such a time. This enabled us to buy some canned food and non perishable items.

3. Supply chains and rescue personnel will be hindered during disaster events such as this due to their dependence on technology.

  • When outside communications such as cell and internet are lost, ALL the support and infrastructure that depend on them will also be adversely affected. This makes emergency, first responder, replenish and repair services almost impossible to carry out until repaired. So, you will be completely on your own until such repairs to technology dependance can be done.


4. I will not feel comfortable until I can have at least one month's supply of stores at my disposal including generator and automobile fuel.

  • After we made our first supply run gas & food became almost impossible to find. Milk and bread are still almost impossible to find. Meat and refrigerated items are just now beginning to come back in the stores.


5. You need to keep hand tools available to help cut your way out should you be trapped. Keep extra parts available for chainsaws and other power equipment.

  • Carb cleaner and repair kit would have prevented generator problems. We also found out we needed extra chainsaw baldes and the ability to work on our chainsaw.​

6. Learn how to make minor repairs yourself. (If I could have repaired my generator on my own, I would have had power 24 hours earlier than we did.)​​

There is so much more I could share. But, the one thing I will add is this- We have weathered Cat 1, Cat 2 and Cat 3 storms where we now live. The longest we have ever been without power is just a few hours. We were never trapped and we we always able to get supplies and fuel immediately after those storms. So, I did not think the "tropical force" winds and rain we were supposed to get would be that great of a challenge. But, 40-50mph sustained winds and gusts of 80+ mph winds over a twenty four hour period will hammer you harder than you think. The slow moving storm and the torrential rain of 10+ inches in 12 hours combined with unrelenting wind is nothing to take lightly.

Glad we survived and things are getting back to normal. There is widespread damage all over our area. We have yet to get an insurance adjuster to come assess the property damage we sustained. We will most likely be cleaning up and making repairs for MONTHS to come.
 

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Thanks for relating your experience. Glad you made it out unscathed to report on it.

There is the saying "no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy", and I think that may have some application to natural disaster preparedness. Getting a real-world AAR like this is always useful to increase the chances that we can be more prepared if it happens to any of the rest of us.
 

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My brother was without power for two weeks after Hurricane Isabel (Va Beach). He went that long because one of his tree fell on his power line running from the pole on the street to his house, so it was an isolated thing. They cleared the main streets about 8 days prior and his was one of the last places to get power back.

I don't know what the OP meant by using up his emergency supplies without replacing them. I assume cause use over the weeks. ISTM people had a LOT of time to prepare and just underestimated this storm.

Good report!
 

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Generators should be exercised at least weekly to keep everything in tip top shape. If a gasoline model, use fuel stabilizer too! Stabil is one, there are others.

I'm glad you are OK!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My brother was without power for two weeks after Hurricane Isabel (Va Beach). He went that long because one of his tree fell on his power line running from the pole on the street to his house, so it was an isolated thing. They cleared the main streets about 8 days prior and his was one of the last places to get power back.

I don't know what the OP meant by using up his emergency supplies without replacing them. I assume cause use over the weeks. ISTM people had a LOT of time to prepare and just underestimated this storm.

Good report!
We must have lost thousands of trees in our area. We lost all tv & radio stations because they got damaged. We lost cell towers and satellite and cable stations because they were damaged. Our power & water companies were also damaged. I haven't heard the numbers yet. But, I do know we saw about 100 tree crews out working today. They were the ones I saw on the roads working. I don't know how many are working that I didn't see.

Stores like food & water just expire and need to be replaced from time to time. So, you start to go through them and if money is tight they don't get immediately replaced. So, months of supplies get dwindled down to a weeks worth. (That's what happened to us anyways.)

Up until now, I'm the only one in my family that has thoght some types of preps are a good thing. I hope this will wake up my wife and kids. (I think it has.)
 

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Moved your thread out of Off Topic/Humor to here.

Great lessons to be learned and many more members will see/read your thread here rather than it in OT/Humor.


Sometimes you just need to live through it to know exactly what to change/add/alter/ etc.

You are obviously now well on the road to vastly improved preparedness. :king: You learned some things and are now taking specific corrective action.

Reality based corrective action based on an actual event. :yup: Kudos!
 

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Looking on the bright side, you were still lots better prepared than many.

I learned years ago that in that critical short window immediately before and shortly after a catastrophic event...(natural or other) Cash Is King.

Readily available immediately available cash comes in quite handy when times are good also. But, must be replaced A.S.A.P.

Paying in cash (always draw up a dated/signed receipt) just saved me 20% on some concrete work I had done.

I have already replaced those S.H.T.F. funds.

Yours is a great, valuable lesson not just for your own family members but, for many here.

Glad that you made it through with lessons learned. That is the most important thing. :yup:

And folks should remember that when you are out clearing trees, cleaning debris, taking care of property and home damage etc....you need extra calories and not just subsistence level nourishment.
 

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I'm always amazed at some of these ..... like when people have lost electricity for some hours, and thought it was such a catastrophe. Around here, you may be without it for days, or even a couple of weeks or so. Around in this State, all of what you mention is only a small part of what folks typically do here, on a normal basis. We lost electricity for days due to a storm and downburst that blasted this area with over 120 - 130 + mph winds... about 2 weeks ago.

Electricity was out with numerous power lines down and over 100 yr old trees ripped out of the ground and 4-8" limbs broken out of trees ... looked like a war zone around here. They are still trying to bring back up cable, some repairs of electrical lines rather than short term fixes, etc.

What happened ? As soon as the storm calmed down, in pitch black & middle of the night ....... people were starting chain saws @ 2 a.m. and started cutting ...... I got the generator kick started and was burning torches outside for light. Fire Dept was rescuing some folks out of some cars huge trees fell on, and a couple of houses where huge trees went into their roof and house. My neighbor, part of an over 150 yr old tree went thru the front window of the house and car lights were being used to provide light and people were working to cut it down in pieces and getting it all taken care of and boarded up. Elderly people were being checked that they were OK.

Got the grill to cook and plenty of food .... and can run the microwave as well due to the generator. Solar chargers and a crank light and generator to charge cell phones in the meantime.... or to play a radio until the generator or other things are operating. 20 gal. of spare gas for the generator. Battery radio to listen to and a radio that will pick up the weather service, and another for using to contact or talk to others (on battery).


By 6 a.m. .... everyone was out ..... and people were riding around helping with chain saws, etc. and cutting up the mass of trees and big limbs for people that had no way to do it. People were out doing clean up; cutting / sawing , hauling, etc. Maintenance crews were out helping to get streets cleared. I was out cleaning up here... and my son (who doesn't live here has my chain saw ... LOL ... so had to call him ) .

By 6 pm. .... you couldn't tell anything hit.... if it wasn't for the wall of trees, limbs, etc. all along every street in my area it varied from 5-8 ft tall piles all along both sides of the streets, some other areas not hit quite as hard as us. Took a few days for everyone to get electricity back on. And after 1 1/2 weeks, they finally seem to be getting all of it loaded and off the sides of the streets. If you wanted fire wood, we had enough to supply someone for years.

Did we wait for help ? NO
Did we expect the City, County or State to do it for us ? No
Did we wait for FEMA ? No
Were we quite capable of doing all of this without electricity.... yes.
What the dumb city do ? Put the information on Facebook ... right ... like anyone could turn on the computers to check Facebook (the idiots). And no, we don't all have laptops and the wifi was all knocked out anyway. .... so unless they had smart phones it did no good. ... nope I don't use one.

If you live in an area where these things happen, then you have to expect it and plan ahead ...... and if they don't, well.... good luck.

When these things happen, you could be on your own and what you have is what you have ....... around here, everyone makes sure everyone who needs help gets it, take care of each other, and are typically prepared for about anything. As I watched all of this happen ...... my thoughts were ..... we are tooooo good at this , this is like a well oiled disaster response .... no one wastes any time, we all just get to it ..... and no one ... waits for any Govt entity to do squat. It told me, we are all toooo accustomed to this.


Sorry, but I did have to laugh a bit .... 40-50 mph winds in this State ... is called a "windy day" ....... and 80 mph, just means a storm came in and quite common. 80 mph with gusts to 100 mph in a storm, is not that uncommon at all. I've ridden home on my motorcycle on such a day (80 mph winds with gusts to 100mph), although I don't want to do it again. ... but could if I needed to. They finally installed a wind station out here, and over 130 mph winds have been hit several times. And those storms may last a day .... or over a week ... day after day after day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry, but I did have to laugh a bit .... 40-50 mph winds in this State ... is called a "windy day" ....... and 80 mph, just means a storm came in and quite common. 80 mph with gusts to 100 mph in a storm, is not that uncommon at all. I've ridden home on my motorcycle on such a day (80 mph winds with gusts to 100mph), although I don't want to do it again. ... but could if I needed to. They finally installed a wind station out here, and over 130 mph winds have been hit several times. And those storms may last a day .... or over a week ... day after day after day.
I lived in Oklahoma & Texas before moving here. We didn't come of the lake when we were fishing until winds hit 45mph. I remember winds easily topping 60mph a few times. One time the sun was out, bright blue skies and wind hit 90mph. BUT!!! That was there.

Here, people aren't used to it and they don't prepare for it. Trees (LARGE trees) are everywhere! A lot of them are right next to power lines and they only get limbs trimmed when they get too close. This can mean disaster during storms and hurricanes.

I am very fortunate. My power comes from a different direction than my neighbors. He is still out because his line runs from across a swamp and through private hunting & farmland. Hopefully, he'll be up and running today. I hope emergency preparedness operations in our area will also take what they learned here and adapt plans for the future.

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I'd like to know if anyone in the hardest hit areas has natural gas supplied to their house. Not the big propane tank in the yard, but hard plumbed from the utility itself. If what I have heard before is true, that is still generally unaffected. Then, you can have it fueling your generator. Anyone here know if this was working for the badly hit folks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'd like to know if anyone in the hardest hit areas has natural gas supplied to their house. Not the big propane tank in the yard, but hard plumbed from the utility itself. If what I have heard before is true, that is still generally unaffected. Then, you can have it fueling your generator. Anyone here know if this was working for the badly hit folks?
I don't know first hand. But, I heard water and gas was turned off in some areas because uprooting trees damaged some of the underground pipes. The power & pumping stations also lost power & computer monitoring here for a time. So, things were shut down until the damage could be assessed.
 
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