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Lessons of Sandy

General Preparedness Topics Relating to your Family

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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby Wild Cookery » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:14 am

Kemstry wrote:Shoot in the air to scare off looters.


Please do NOT do this. That bullet will come down somewhere, and in a populated area, could likely kill an innocent individual. Either shoot the looter, or don't shoot the looter. 'Warning shots' are NEVER acceptable. If someone isn't prepared to actually use a firearm in self defense, then it is a danger. I used to live in Denver. Every year for New Years the Mexicans shoot guns into the air. Every year some poor individual(s) end up getting killed when the bullets rain down a mile or two downrange. One year a bullet struck the house. Luckily it landed in the wood and didn't go through the roof.

So please. Do NOT shoot into the air. It's just a very bad idea.
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby Suburban » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:27 pm

Kemstry wrote:By Day 4 have signs posted on your property This Area Protected By Automatic Weapons.


I do not think this is advisable even if you are licensed for full auto weapons. It is waving a big red flag for law enforcement, and inviting a "no-knock" visit by a swat team. It is also telling the bad guys you have guns, which is rarely a good idea. Keep them guessing.

Kemstry wrote:Shoot in the air to scare off looters.


As Wild Cookery said, this is never a good idea. Fire in the air and you do not know where the bullet will land. Never fire without knowing both your target and what is beyond it (in case you miss or the bullet goes through your target and then hits someone past it). Firing without a defined target and reason for shooting that target is asking for a world of legal hurt in the aftermath.
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby LBSurfer » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:41 pm

Being on Day 7 or 8 of now power/heat (depends on if you count the day the power goes out as 0 or 1 - wife and I disagree about this), I have learned a few things that I need to do better next time:

  1. Cash: Like others have said, cash is king. With the phone lines down, we have been able to purchase supplies, but only with cash. We were preemptive and took cash out before the storm. But, we made the mistake of keeping large bills ($50s from the ATM). Fortunately, most places were OK, but it could stand to reason that people would not be willing to break large bills in a more 'unorganized' situation. That $10 case of water may turn out to be $100 if that's the smallest bill you have.
  2. Heat: I live in a house with oil heating. Without power, the heat turns doesn't work (the hot water follows suite). In the short term, I plan on remedying this problem with the purchase of a generator. Having a generator on hand will also help with the ~$300 of food we had to dispose of from the refrigerator/freezer (both this year and as a result of Irene last year). A longer term (and more expensive) solution will be the installation of a fireplace or wood burning stove. It will also act as an indoor cooking location as we have an electric oven/range. Gas grills work great...as long as you have propane. We may also invest in a Coleman style camp stove for cooking purposes. However, the use of one of those in the house does concern me...
  3. Fuel: We topped off the tanks, but weren't expecting the gas shortage that ensued. Again, most people were pretty amicable and, if you were patient, there was enough gas to go around. I'll plan on having enough gas on hand to fill each vehicle at least once as well as run the above mentioned generator for a certain number of days.
  4. Communication: Phone lines were down and cell phone coverage was affected. The ability to call for help was greatly reduced for multiple days (even up to this AM). I need to come up with a plan for communicating that relies on alternate sources of energy.
  5. Protection: Every night I feel as though we're in a fishbowl. With no curtains on the windows, the entire world can see in and I can't see out. Curtains need to go up and some form of self-protection needs to be procured. Although, having two large dogs does give some sense of security, if only to alert of of potential danger (they bark when people get to the door and are not super friendly to folks they don't know).
  6. Training: The family is during remarkably well given the circumstances, but we need to be better prepared as a unit. I was the only one who knew where the flashlights and batteries were. I'm the only one who knows how to throw the main breaker or turn on/off the furnace. We need to plan and prepare as a unit better. I'll need to make this into a bit of a game since the kids are little, but it's something we can do as a family and learn from. I will also need to make sure my wife is trained on whatever protection we obtain (shotgun, rifle or otherwise) in case I am incapable of protecting the family.

I'm sure there's more to be learned - the wife and I have actually talked about sitting down and doing a kind of After Action Report once we're back up and running in the next day or two. But, these six things should be a good start. We will also reassess the medical kit situation (fortunately, we didn't run into any major problems) and the food storage situation.
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby roger o » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:56 pm

Hi everyone, please excuse the tardiness of logging in to the APN, but this is the first opportunity we have had to get an internet connection since the hurricane.

First, we are fine, and that is the only thing that really matters. Linda and I live(d) on the open bay on the south shore of Long Island, and needless to say got the brunt of the storm in our backyard.

The house was flooded, and the dock and landscape destroyed, but no major structural damage. Our problem is that we were caught "between a rock and a hard place". You see, we were in contract to sell our home, and had 3/4 of our belongings including our preps moved to Connecticut before the storm.

The survival skills we learned (most from APN members), enabled us to survive without much discomfort. We did have candles with us, waterproof strike anywhere matches, canned tuna, dry no prep food, and water available, warm cloths as well as most of our arms and ammunition just in case. Our area as of today still has no electricity, phone or heat, and piles of wet carpets, furniture and filled black garbage bags line the streets.

What amazed us, was that even though we both went out of our way to assist our neighbors, we received absolutely nothing in return. The selfishness was amazing. Forget about helping one another, it was every person for themselves. We helped 2 adjacent neighbors hook up emergency generators (they had no clue), who did not even as much as offer us a hot cup of coffee in return. An elderly neighbor asked me to charge his cell phones, which we gladly did in our car, he later informed us of the great diner he found several miles away with hot food - he didn't even think to ask if we wanted anything! The gas lines continue to extend for blocks at every open gas station, and the dozens of weary people standing on line with gas cans in hand remind me of pictures of the bread lines of the great depression. There are reports of looting in the area, and the police and National Guard presence is great.

We moved out of our home yesterday, and are living with friends, I guess you could call it our BOL. We moved less than 2 hours north of the devastation and all is "normal" here. It continues to bewilder us that all most people need to do, is leave their homes, drive a bit out of the area, and all will be well.

We learned a great deal about prepping through this ordeal, and it really hit home that this was but a dress rehearsal for what could happen in this country.

I definitely agree with LBSurfer on his assessment. Every point he made is valid, especially about cash - virtually no one had a phone line for credit card transactions, and of course ATMs were not working. Make sure you have plenty of cash. Also store at least one 5 gallon can filled with stabilized gas in order to be able to get out of town quickly. There will be no gas available if you need it.

The best defense you can have is to leave town as soon as you can. Staying behind will get you killed. In the case of Long Island, if there ever is an Island wide disaster and everyone is told to evacuate, there will be no physical way to do so, leave early or don't bother at all...

Oh yes, the buyers still want the house, but need to wait until the power is back on before they can move in!
Roger

A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. Ayn Rand
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby Kemstry » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:01 pm

Roger, Thanks so much for the story. So sorry about your ordeal.

Unfortunately I agree about the lack of offers of help. We offered to help a number of neighbors but nothing in return.
Coworkers were better. People offered things, including showers or sleep on their couch, at my work, as well as DS and DH's.

Good Luck with sale of your house!
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby Tybee » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:30 pm

Kemistry,

Thank you for your honest self appraisal and review; I learned a lot from your post. You gave me much to think about and a few revisions in my prep plans. Glad you are safe.

Roger O,

Glad you are safe as well. Sorry to hear your offers of help were taken for granted; people can be such selfish pigs. You still tried to act in the spirit of good will, and being a good neighbor. Don't let them affect your heart.
“Once you have established the goals you want and the price you’re willing to pay, you can ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure and the temporary failures.” Vince Lombardi
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby connecticut yankee » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:17 pm

Lots of generators now coming on for sale, on Craigslist. fyi.
I guess some people didn't need them and others don't think anything bad will come their way ever again!
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby mombear » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:42 pm

Kemstry, I would also look into a butane stove. They put out a lot of heat when you cook and can have your hot coffee if you percolate it. The hot food is a biggie and maybe getting a folding Coleman oven and you can bake the fresh stuff over the butane stove. This is for a short term event, your other ideas are great for more long term. I would even have a kerosene heater. We have lost power and cleared out a bedroom and moved the couch into it and heated just the one room, it was nice and toasty in there. This keeps the generator for the important stuff like the freezer. I like the ideas of oil lamps, we have several of those and they burn a long time on one tank. They also give out some heat.

thanks for the updates and telling us some of the issues at hand.
Your failure to prepare, does not make it an emergency for me!!
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby DuckNCover » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:03 am

I'm glad everyone is safe that went through the Sandy disaster....

LBSurfer.....

A recommendation on alternate communication would be hand held walkie talkies....
Get something that could transmit at least 25-30 miles...
There are police and emergency bands including trucker bands for information on road conditions.
They are also handy when communicating with family members when your not in earshot range.
Many have 50 plus channels. The only thing I see a problem would be charging them. Wish they would come out with removable batteries, like they used too...
I remember back when, I used to have a 27 channel mobile midland CB that I converted to a base station using a 12v dc converter and a portable whip antenna. In an emergency, a 12V car battery would suffice and the CB put out 4 watts... Even with a rubber duck antenna your range would be like 15 - 20 miles....
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby LBSurfer » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:23 am

Great idea! My snowboarding group has actually used this kind of equipment (not quite this powerful) on trips we've taken. It helps the group stay together and find each other, especially useful when we're in any kind of backcountry. I'll definitely look into that.

Learning things already here!

DuckNCover wrote:I'm glad everyone is safe that went through the Sandy disaster....

LBSurfer.....

A recommendation on alternate communication would be hand held walkie talkies....
Get something that could transmit at least 25-30 miles...
There are police and emergency bands including trucker bands for information on road conditions.
They are also handy when communicating with family members when your not in earshot range.
Many have 50 plus channels. The only thing I see a problem would be charging them. Wish they would come out with removable batteries, like they used too...
I remember back when, I used to have a 27 channel mobile midland CB that I converted to a base station using a 12v dc converter and a portable whip antenna. In an emergency, a 12V car battery would suffice and the CB put out 4 watts... Even with a rubber duck antenna your range would be like 15 - 20 miles....
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby LBSurfer » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:05 pm

I just thought of one more major concern/must-do when it comes to communication:

As a general practice, I don't listen to too much terrestrial radio. I tend to listen to podcasts when I'm driving in an effort to broaden my knowledge base. Anyways, the major problem I had when the power went out was where to get information. Watching the TV during lead-in to the storm, the stations on TV kept touting their station as the one to watch and kept giving contact information for their website. Hell, even the FEMA ads you'd see would tell you to contact their website for more info. I believe even the POTUS pointed to the web for more info.

But, when the power (and, subsequently internet and TV) went down, all we had available was radios - either battery/hand-cranked or in our cars. What channel has the most useful information? What channel will give me information on shelters, safety zones, etc? Same goes for phone numbers. If my cell died and I only had access to landlines (assuming their still working), I should have a list of emergency contact numbers available.

I'll keep adding little tidbits I've learned from Sandy to this thread as I think of them as long as folks here don't mind...
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby TheLonelyPrepper » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:43 pm

That's a good point. Where can I find such info?
Stay safe and be prepared,
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby roger o » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:08 am

DuckNCover wrote:I'm glad everyone is safe that went through the Sandy disaster....

LBSurfer.....

A recommendation on alternate communication would be hand held walkie talkies....
Get something that could transmit at least 25-30 miles...
There are police and emergency bands including trucker bands for information on road conditions.
They are also handy when communicating with family members when your not in earshot range.
Many have 50 plus channels. The only thing I see a problem would be charging them. Wish they would come out with removable batteries, like they used too...
I remember back when, I used to have a 27 channel mobile midland CB that I converted to a base station using a 12v dc converter and a portable whip antenna. In an emergency, a 12V car battery would suffice and the CB put out 4 watts... Even with a rubber duck antenna your range would be like 15 - 20 miles....


I would very much like to know what 2 way radio that is legal without a license can transmit 25-30 miles? Legal CB radios are basically "line of sight", and have a max range of 5-10 miles at best. There have been times where atmospheric conditions allow for "skip" for greater distances but that is rare. The frequencies and antenna needed for long range are HF, and are not available without a ham radio operator license of General or above.
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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby AnthroHeather » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:19 am

Some of the things I learned from Sandy:

1. People buy water when they panic. Not sure that they actually know why they are supposed to buy water, but they buy water. I already had a bit but decided to go to the stores to purchase more drinks. The shelves were empty of water and some people were running around like crazy until I pointed out that they could buy pasteurized juice to drink to supplement their current water supplies (This way they can save their water for cooking and washing if they need to make it stretch). The shelves were still loaded with juices. If they were buying drinking water juice is a very acceptable alternative for short term consumption.

2. My first-aid kit needs more small bandages. This may also be an effect of having children who think Band-Aids are fun to wear :)

3. LCD lanterns are great for lighting a room, but it is easier to read by candle light. Far less fatiguing on the eyes.

4. My candles didn't last as long as I thought they would. Perhaps they were burning faster because I had them grouped together?

5. I was surprised at the loss of cell service. This loss of service also drains the batteries on my phone faster.

6. Our emergency food stores lasted longer than I expected. In fact, I still have a good bit of it left. I did learn what the kids really liked and will be sure to replenish more heavily with those items.

I live in a heavily affected area from Sandy, and contrary to what others experienced, I did not see price gouging and saw plenty of neighbors helping neighbors. As I wrote in my introduction, I do not consider myself a prepper, but a prudent planner and I am trying to learn more and explore this. However, this is one thread I can make a meaningful contribution to since I did prepare for and experience the storm.

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Re: Lessons of Sandy

Postby ReadyMom » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:23 am

AnthroHeather wrote:Some of the things I learned from Sandy:

-SNIP- I do not consider myself a prepper, but a prudent planner and I am trying to learn more and explore this. However, this is one thread I can make a meaningful contribution to since I did prepare for and experience the storm.

Heather


LOL! "Prepper" ... "prudent planner". You know what they say "tomatoe' .... "tomata" ... they are both the SAME! Welcome and keep posting! -k
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