Saturday, July 30, 2022

Hurricane season preps

I thought this guy did a good job on his preps. I am not going to repost much of what he wrote (fair use and all that) but I will post a couple of pictures.

Shutters. Also available in steel. Installs with wing-nuts.

An after-action-report on what makes the first few weeks after a hurricane more livable. Insects and biting flies are a huge annoyance especially if your windows are broken.

On the more humorous side, Strawberry Pop-Tarts and light beer are huge sellers after hurricanes.


  1. We live about 30 miles north of his location, and our preps mirror his in a large part. We lost power for 6 days from that storm. Being in a more rural area puts you far down the restoration list. We had two generators at the time and I was able to lend one to a neighbor in need. We store 70 gallons of stabilized fuel in metal "jerry" cans (Wavian, if you prefer) and that proved more than sufficient for the the 2000 watt generator we ran. No AC, but closing the house up tight during the day and opening when it cooled down after sunset made it bearable. A bathtub bladder gave us plenty of drinking water.

  2. Went through 3 hurricanes in 7 weeks in 2004. First was Charlie, 110 MPH winds. 6 days without power.
    Pro Tip: Hurricane Season is 6 months long (June 01 - Nov 30); Not-Hurricane Season is also 6 months long (Dec 01 - May 31). Use Not-Hurricane Season (NHS) to prepare for Hurricane Season. Just sayin'.
    Part 1
    Windows - Steel shutters work, plywood also works, is cheaper, do NOT use OSB, use real plywood, minimum 5/8, 3/4 better. Cut to fit windows and doors and install anchors during Not-Hurricane season, mark panels for whoch window, door, create documentation with pictures on installation procedures. You will forget.
    Cut viewing ports in plywood so you can see out. Horizontal works, 2.5" H X 12" L, if you can find 3/8" Lexan to cover the view ports, 4-5"H X 18" L is better. Use screws, washers and nuts, NOT wood screws. They will pull out of wet-soaked plywood.
    Compute minimum size generator required. Bigger = more fuel. Quiet is better than Noisy. Very Quiet is much more betterer than Quiet. Inverter type adjusts engine speed for load, saves gas. 3K watts will run fridge and window AC OK. 2K Hondas work well, can be coupled to double wattage; their small fuel tank can be overcome, search "RV Generator Solutions" for tips on auxiliary fuel tanks and connections. Non-ethanol gas is best for small engines. Have a couple carb rebuild kits on hand anyway with appropriate hand tools and KNOW HOW TO USE THEM. Also plenty of engine oil - you'll be changing every 24-36 hours of operation. Figure how to easily distribute power during NHS, buy 50 ft (and a 100 ft or two) 12 ga and 10 ga extension cords, stranded pure copper, NOT Chinesium "copper-clad aluminum", large gauge real copper will cost REAL money, very much worth it. Very High Quality 20 amp outlet strips (home center/Walmart stuff is total crap, avoid "surge strips"). See: Tripp-Lite, Leviton, etc.
    Hot (sorta) water - Zodi camping water heater very useful. Get 2 (2 is one, 1 is none), extra 1 lb propane cylinders, means of refilling them from 20 lb cylinder (research that on internet). Have non-electric means of making coffee and cooking, plenty of fuel for it. Rocket stove using concrete blocks or fire bricks extrmely useful (more internet research for you) . Small dorm-size fridge or 10 cu ft "apartment" size fridge very useful.
    Use Kill-A-Watt tool to determine wattage draws of stuff (check your public library, they often have them for loan).
    Fans - several high quality (Lasko, etc.) 16" oscillating, Air King "Whole House Window Fan" very useful, a real whole house fan more so. Use one with lowest CFM and wattage draw that will do the job. Have way to (legal & safe) power it with gennie. 20 liter Wavian NATO cans very, very $$$ now, but very very worth it, everything else is crap. Get SEVERAL extra spouts, nothing else fits. Older non-CARB spouts light years better than Gov't mandated SH*TTY spouts, lotsa luck finding any.
    Partner with neighbors for post-event repairs, assistance and security. Figure limited patrols may be necessary, depending on what your AO has (Area of Operation). Set this up during NHS, work it, practice it, refine it during NHS, maintain contact and comms all 12 months.

    Widespread power outage means no cell phones after 6-8 hours (that's the backup battery life for commercial cell towers) so FRS (Family Radio Service) and GRMS radios extremely useful. Every ADULT INDIVIDUAL neighbor should have one, batteries for it, know how to use it, which channels to use. Buy high quality brand name stuff, not budget Chinesium crap or children's toys. All xmissions will be in clear so develop SIMPLE verbal codes unique to your AO and group., incl code word for switching to alternate channel.

  3. Part II
    Security - Have multiple means of self defense. Learn/Train/Practice/Test during NHS, keep skills current. Plenty of ammo on hand, won't be available just before and after event. Sidearms require holsters, long arms require slings. How many magazines? MORE ! Learn and understand principles of light and sound discipline.
    Aladdin kerosene lamps very useful, older ones better quaity than recent mfg. Store plenty spare Aladdin parts, esp chimneys and mantles. Learn to carry Tube of Dark Repellant (very high quality aluminum LED flashlight) on person 24X7X365 (See: Surefire, Streamlight, Elzetta (maybe Fenix, but they change models and specs too quickly for me) - much $$$ but worth it, the good stuff will last a lifetime. Elzetta will "build your own" for same $$). Have lots of spare batteries (the good lights will use R123A batts, Surefire usually does a Black Friday sale on 72-battery boxes). Avoid the plastic "bargain" LED lights. The brand name aluminum lights can double as impact weapons. Maglite D-cells (3-cell most useful) in wall brackets next to doors very handy, aimed up light bounces off ceiling for general illumination. Streamlight Seige battery lanterns very excellent. RE: Weapon-mounted lights - they are NOT "general use flashlights" because illuminating something with a WML means pointing a loaded gun at is - which is why you carry your very own Tube of Dark Repellant in a belt holster - and YOU NEED TO BE TRAINED IN HOW TO USE A WML. Otherwise, learn the Harries Technique.
    Charged large UPS (1500VAC) provides power for Xmas LED light string and charging phones (replace the UPS battery every 4 years). A battery radio is useful, most hand-crank "emergency" radios are gimmicky crap, a couple are OK, you want AM-FM-SW radio only, not "AM-FM-SW, light, toothbrush, vacuum cleaner, drink mixer, signal beacon, etc." models. KISS applies.
    Water - however much you have you need MORE. Flats of bottled water from grocery store waste of time, money. Commercial 5-gallon jugs (and some sort of gravity-only dispenser) way to go. Home Depot wire shelf unit 72H X 48W X 18D ~$110 now, assemble with 6 shelves, each shelf will hold 4 jugs, each jug is 44 lbs 24X44=1056 lbs. Make sure your floor can take it AND members of household can handle jugs. Gets cheaper if multiple neighbors go in together for one commercial account, they'll deliver.
    Rain water barrels fed by downspouts MAY provide toilet flushing water, swimming pools will also work, have buckets & means of transport (4-wheel garden wagon works well, comes with pneumatic tires, replace with non-pneumatic), also non-water means of dealing with waste disposal (attach toilet seat to old lawn chair, center over hole, etc. You provide the hole so post hole digger, shovel, etc. required).

    Also very useful is documentation - a "house bible 3-ring binder" - where in house did you store batteries, where are tools, contact info for plumbers,
    AC repair, roofers, home emergency services, etc. plus make, model, serial of important stuff - "LG refrigerator, 24 cu ft, model ABC12345, serial XYZ9876, purchase date Octember 33 2005" or ""Lennox heat pump, 4 ton, model 012345, serial 98765, installed April 35th 1999 by Acme HVAC, 202-555-1234", "roof shingles are 30-year Jones Brand, Southern Decor type in light gray, installed by Smith Co (404-555-4321) over 30 lb felt underlayment on March 39th 2012" makes it easier, faster to get competent service. Also, accurate and complete household inventory will help TREMENDOUSLY with insurance claims and tax write-offs. Video and still photo records are good, also having detailed written descriptions (think: Room-by-Room Spreadsheets) helps a lot.
    PRACTICE YOUR PREPS DURING NON-HURRICANE SEASON. Then practice them some more, when The Bad Stuff happens, having trained for it and practiced it makes it so much easier.

  4. Outstanding information at the link, outstanding information in the comments.

    May I plug a post of my own? immediate care/first aid/emergency care/WTSHTF medical care are issues that we ought to contemplate. Get training. Red Cross used to have a 40 hour Advanced First Aid and Emergency Care class, Wilderness EMT or First Aid training will start you on the path to being skilled, and able to intervene when the professionals are kinda up to their asses in alligators.

    Here's one of my posts about my medic bag:

  5. I (in The UK) always feel a bit (smugly?) left out in discussing (what appears to be) every other country’s extreme weather events.

    Much as the most dangerous creature you are likely to meet here is a slightly disgruntled sheep, our weather is a bit … wishy-washy (although … soggy).

    Saying that, whilst we don’t do Hurricanes, we are (apparently) the worlds hot-spot for Tornadoes (more per year than any other country) – ‘unfortunately’ they (being typically restrained British) are generally not strong enough to blow the skin off a rice pudding (or actually to be even noticed). Sigh!

    This weather envy is apparently quite common, with media and even the Met Office now naming our ‘storms’ (some are bad enough to ruffle your hair, or even blow your hat off).

    So, for the British perspective on storm preps – a raincoat and wellingtons are nice (but not essential), knowing the way to your local shop/pub (when the rain speckles your spectacles) is useful, and make sure to stock up on essentials (bacon, beer and pipe tobacco) beforehand, as getting into shops can be difficult (when everyone is sheltering from the light shower in the shop doorways).

    I just realised … I live in The Shire.

  6. Those lexan panels are nice because they let light into the room but lexan is flexible enough to bend under positive or negative pressure and pop out of the top track if they aren't attached to a proper horizontal support.

  7. If it can't take a 200 mph 2x4 it's not worth doing. I agree with most of what Schrivener posted. I too went through the 2004 trifecta in Cape Coral, FL. I have been designing hurricane resistant buildings in southern Florida for 40 years. I designed and built our new home in 2002 and it went through all of the hurricanes with no damage except one screen panel on the pool enclosure. The plywood for the exterior openings should receive 2 coats of FlexBon exterior latex. At this stage of the game there is no excuse to not exploit the sun and have a solar array working for you. Plywood for the array is a good idea too.

    Since we lost power for 7 days the thing I craved the most was ice and cold water for drinking. After Charlie passed I bought a used fridg and put it in the garage and kept is slammed with 1 gallon milk jugs full of filtered water.

    I also designed our FL house to be fire resistant because we were located in a mostly rural area of north Cape Coral and the paper trees were rampant. Our house was built with stucco covered concrete block and a standing seam silver metal roof. On the primary roof ridge I installed 2 high pressure water sprinklers with a 50' radius and they were connected with a 3" pipe to our pool pump. With a throw of the switch an area 100' x 150' around our house was doused from our 30,000 gal pool.


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