*Things that make the aftermath of a hurricane liveable*
By: Ajax
07 September 2005

Things that make the aftermath of a hurricane liveable - I had to use most all of these items in one fashion or another, or knew someone who did actually have to use them, during and after the hurricane. If you are planning to ride out any kind of major environmental or weather related disaster, take a long and hard look at what you have on hand to deal with problems that WILL arise.

LOTS of fresh water to drink, cook and clean with - If you think you have enough, you probably need to double it. Water is for more than just drinking. With extra water, and no backpressure on the sewer system, business can go on as usual so to speak. Now I keep several large garbage cans to fill with water for cleaning and toilet flushing. No water = no life. You also need a way to filter and purify LARGE quantities of questionable water. Personally, I use a sand and gravel and mesh pre-filter, settling, and chlorine rather than a hiking filter (I have both, one is cost effective for large amounts and the other is not).

Easily prepared food that is palatable in hot weather - I found that I can exist and have plenty of energy by subsisting on "energy or power" bars. For whatever reason, they seem much more palatable in hot weather than cold weather. Probably all comes down to personal taste.

A generator - one large enough to power a small air-conditioner. Hot weather is BAD and has proven to be a killer. I never lost power but had I lost it, I would have been reduced to fans. I will be purchasing a small window AC unit to cool one room at least. AC helps you get rest which you WILL NEED as I found. Also a bigger battery bank will be needed in a long outage. Solar power can help in the aftermath, although is vulnerable to being stolen. Working refrigeration puts you WAY ahead of the competition.

Fuel - To quote Mad Max, "the precious juice" is indeed precious during a disaster. I knew MANY people who ran out of gasoline. Try and keep some stored. I had some but added more using Warís suggestion of keeping cash and empty cans. Fortunately I did not have to use it in the genset, but it is there if I need it. I will rotate the fuel through the cars before it goes bad.

Paper plates and disposable utensils - Saves a lot of time and trouble if you are willing to take the time to throw them away after you use themÖ

Weapons and Ammo - more than likely, you donít need this, but when you do, you NEED them and nothing else will do. Build up to at least a 5,000 round supply per high cap gun because when it is gone it is GONE. Stores run out quickly. Here in Baton Rouge, the big box stores pulled ALL guns and ammo after the Tchopitoulas Wal-Mart was looted in New Orleans. The smaller dealers (with whom you SHOULD be dealing on at least some items) ran out of almost ALL ammo QUICKLY. You also need several weapons because one could easily be damaged beyond repair or just choose to crap out at the worst possible time. This is not the area to skimp out on but you donít have to spend a fortune to get quality. Perfect is the enemy of good enough in this case. MUCH better to have that Ruger P-89 in hand with a few magazines and several cases of Blazer ammo rather than that Kimber Custom with 10 extra high capacity mags of premium hydrashock ammo. Far better to have that Remington 870 Express or a kit AK a Mini-14 or even a lever gun on hand with a case of buckshot or ammo rather than the latest SOCOM 16 with an ACOG on lay-away. You are also going to have to be proficient in the use, cleaning and maintenance of these weapons. You are going to know how to shoot and as important WHEN to shoot and not to shoot. Take that personal protection class NOW and get that concealed carry permit BEFORE you need it.

Force multipliers - Night Vision gear is a MUST. Ultimately, I am going to have to go with some sort of NV scoped weapon for nighttime use. Seems that most of the bad stuff happens at night. Being able to see the looter before he sees you is of paramount importance. Watch the movie "Blackhawk Down" (as if any of us have not already seen it!) to get an idea of the advantages of being able to see your enemy while he cannot see you. Police are calling New Orleans the "Little Mo" after Mogadishu in Somalia. Need some sort of IR flares/lightsticks too to help make the NV devices better over a longer distance. My Gen 1 crap doesnít cut it by a long shot. You also need a Kevlar pot and some sort of body armor - even if it is just a PASGT vest. Again, something is better than nothing - as long as you are aware of its limitations. Wounds become deadly quickly in such situations. If I had to confront looters, I would feel much better about doing so if I were somewhat protected.

Surveillance cameras - need more cameras and better coverage. Also need cameras that operate better in low light situations and they need to be wireless. This also falls under the force multiplier concept.

Extended first aid supplies and better knowledge - Although I am not a doctor, nurse or EMT, I am pretty knowledgeable for a layman about such things. From what I have seen is that people need to keep a supply of cortisone in the form of either injectable decadron or oral methyl-prednisone. Further, a good supply of broad spectrum antibiotics is needed for potential skin and respiratory infections. Some adrenaline would also be useful in the event of a bad allergic reaction - and these things seem to happen during disasters for some reason or another. A reasonably competent layman SHOULD be able to learn to use these medications with some physician support and instruction. If possible, some narcotic pain relief would be of great value. I could go on and on about the need to be medically competent for a layman. I personally had to treat a heat exhaustion patient, a food poisoning victim and several nasty cases of poison ivy. IMHO two things you want to avoid having to do is use a mechanic or a doctor when TSHTF.

Head and eye protection - especially bump protection while working. That noggin is very vulnerable and without eyesight you are in BIG trouble. I used a Petzl helmet and a pair of safety glasses all the time while working. A common hardhat or military pot would work fine. Even a speck in the eye can make you extremely unproductive and miserable. Donít worry about the neighbors laughing at you. At compound Ajax, the emphasis is on PREVENTION rather than cure. Use your sunscreen too. A bad sunburn drastically reduces productivity.

Cash and Credit - Without them, you are dead in the water.

Chainsaws and tree clearing equipment - very useful for taking care of problems at your home or in your neighborhood and even for earning some extra money to help out when money runs tight during the disaster. Get some climbing ropes and a harness and learn how to safely use them BEFORE the disaster strikes.

Insecticide - mosquitoes are a major problem after a hurricane. Be prepared to use a hose sprayer to knock down the population a bit. Too many diseases are vectored by these pests to ignore them.

Prepare for "Unexpected Guests"Ö.From the Ajax perspective, you guys know what that means by now.

Better communications - have at least a FRS for EVERY adult and capable juvenile in the house. A CB and trunk scanner are necessities to know what is coming your way. A ham rig is ideal. BECOME PROFFICIENT. I know I am working on this one right now.

Insurance - an absolute necessity to avoid destitution if you go under.

A working vehicle - no need to elaborate.

Bottom line - if you need something you need MORE of it.

Is all of this expensive? You betcha. I have invested THOUSANDS of dollars in all of this stuff and I consider myself just "making do" a lot of the time and much of my gear is dual purpose. Do you "need" it - absolutely. I consider this to be an absolute bare minimum of gear and I have left a lot of items out. Weather a storm and the aftermath at your own peril without the proper gear. The Rubicon is a resource to be used.

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