Lessons Learned From Hurricane Sandy
Lesson One: SELF-RELIANCE over servitude. NEVER ever ever ever ever go to the Superdome. In other words, if you are dependent on the government for your well being after a disaster, you are in for some very hard times. If you have not prepared in advance for the likely disasters for your area, you will be at the mercy of local, state, and God forbid, the Federal Government, none of which can be depended upon for mercy.
I am undecided if the Gov response to Sandy is a result of intent or incompetence, but either way, the citizens of the area have not been well served by their rescuers. Either way, those dependent on the government were not treated well.
Instead of going to the FEMA camp, consider likely events and prepare yourself to meet them. Do you have emergency power? Generators are invaluable in running furnaces, providing light, etc. But they require fuel. The best generators for an emergency can be run on natural gas, propane, and gasoline (tri-fuel). Gasoline will be in short supply and is difficult to store. Propane is safe and easy to store. Natural gas is the last utility to be disrupted. It usually works even when the power is down.
Lesson Two: In most of the country, you will need a source of heat in winter. Instead of trying to heat the entire house, close down a room and heat it. A kerosene or propane heater can be used indoors if ventilated. A cracked window or door is all that is necessary.
Lesson Three: You need approximately one gallon of water a day per person. If you cannot store it, know how to purify it. Water is purified four ways. For biological contamination, boiling is simple. Adding bleach or iodine is also effective. A good water filter will remove biological contamination as well. However, distillation is the only method to remove dissolved chemical solids and heavy metals. A pressure cooker with a hose attached to the vent and then attached to copper tubing makes an improvised still. Pure H2O comes out the end of the tube. But it requires a source of heat.
Lesson Three: A good portable stove is worth its weight in food. An inexpensive butane stove can be a perfect emergency source for purifying water and cooking food. A propane stove or barbeque can be utilized. A simple fire can work if it is managed safely. But some form of cook stove is essential.
Lesson Four: Food will become a VERY high priority in a couple of days. Can your food be stored in such a way that rising waters do not destroy it? Canned foods are the most useful resource in an emergency. Canned soups, chili, and tuna are great staples. Have at least several days worth of canned food.
Lesson Five: No one will come when you call 911. You must be responsible for your own protection. Do you have protection against two-legged predators? In states like NY, the powers that be want you disarmed and helpless. But that does not mean you have no options. Shotguns are legal in NYC. But either way, I would not surrender my right to life to some dirtbag. My new home state is very gun-friendly. That is a primary consideration to where I relocated.
Lesson Six: What is an inconvenience now can be devastating in a grid-down situation. A basic first aid kit is essential. Extra prescription medication is important. Over the counter remedies are very helpful in an emergency. A simple cut can go septic because of all the contamination now in the environment.
As I watched the videos of New Yorkers pleading with their leaders, like Chucky Schumer, and listened to the leaders promise relief that they knew was not coming, I was glad that I have learned not to depend on the government. Hopefully everyone learned the big lesson from Sandy. If you care, you must prepare.