Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Post Irma Update



With apologies to Neil Sedaka . . .but Bugging Out Is Hard To Do.

On Friday it became increasingly obvious that staying in my mobile home in Pasco County (20 miles north of Tampa) was going to be an incredibly bad idea, so with more than a little resignation I loaded what I could into my car, battened down the hatches as best I could, and on Saturday afternoon evacuated to a friend's house in Tampa.

Once I unloaded my stuff, I helped my buddy secure her house. By the time the storm arrived we were both exhausted. By now everyone knows an unexpected last minute jog to the east spared Tampa Bay the worst, but the folks in Miami, Naples, Marco Island, and up the interior of the state were not so lucky.
Across the state, most people are without power, water, or Internet. Gasoline is scarce, and the lines to get it are long. Stores are closed, credit/debit cards are useless, and if you can find something open, you'd better have cash.
I got lucky.  Not only did I have a prearranged place to go (see #NatlPrep: Disaster Buddies - The Most Important Prep Of All), we are in one of the few Tampa neighborhoods that still has powerEstimates for restoration of electrical service around the state are pretty vague, but many will have to wait a week or longer.

In some areas, the sewer lift stations are not working, and people are urged to limit toilet flushing.  Water is out many places, and some areas where the water continues to flow, a boil water order is in effect.

I returned to my neighborhood this morning and found my home with a few limbs on the roof and a damaged window screen, but miraculously still standing.   The power, water, and Internet are out of course, so I'll impose on my friend for a few more days.
Although I was well prepared for this emergency, there will be a few changes to my preps going forward.  I'll discuss those in the future.
I had enough `surplus' preps, that I was able to loan a camp stove to one of my neighbors, several bags of heat-and-eat foods (spam, tuna, Ramen noodles, canned ravioli, etc.) to some in the neighborhood whose food supplies were running low, and a gratefully received 10-lb block of ice and some still frozen food to a friend down the block.

The MH park manager is trying to get a gas generator to let them run the well pump for 2 hours a day, and with this heat and humidity, they need it badly. Hopefully they can score enough fuel to keep it running for a week or longer
By the luck of the draw I haven't needed many of the preps I had on hand, but having them has allowed me to share with a half dozen neighbors who weren't nearly as fortunate.
I've managed to reach all but one of my close friends and relatives who were impacted.  All are safe, but many are without electricity.  There is going to be a long, hot, and tedious few weeks ahead, but Floridians have been through this many times before.

I'll try to do a little blogging over the next few days, but I hope you'll forgive me if I'm not back to my full schedule until I return home.  I'm using a laptop, and many of my links and resources are on my main computer at home.

The lesson from Irma, and Harvey, is that you can never be too prepared.  Whether its a hurricane, an earthquake, an ice storm, or some other disaster, you really will be on your own for 3 days or longer.  You may be without power or running water for weeks. Stores may be closed, and relief supplies slow in arriving.
And hardest of all you may even have to leave your home and everything you own, with no guarantee it will be there when you return.
None of that is easy.  But is can be a little less terrible if you know where you will go, and have the essentials to see you through that first week of a disaster.

The good news, is that like in Texas, I'm seeing a terrific response by local, state, and federal officials.  I'm seeing neighbors out helping neighbors, and an army of volunteers helping strangers.

It's nice to know that sort of thing still happens in this world.

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