It appears increasingly likely that 'Puter and Volgi's homeland (and GorT's current residence) is going to be taking a whuppin' from Hurricane Irene this weekend. Based on DC's performance during Earthquake-A-Palooza 2011, 'Puter figured his peeps in the Greater DC Metroplex could use some tips for surviving Irene.
Here goes nothing, and in no particular order.
1. Fuel up your cars. Gas will be hard to come by (assuming you can even drive) if the power is out for an extended period. 'Puter would also move one of his vehicles to as sheltered (and elevated) a parking area as he can find nearby, so as to avoid having all his eggs in one basket, but 'Puter's crazy like that. Having sufficient gas will come in handy for ...
2. Car cell phone charger. Assuming the networks are operative post-hurricane, it will be important to have a communication device that also works. Gas would also be nice to have to power your ...
3. Chainsaw. The most popular guy after just about any summertime storm is the guy with the chainsaw. You can clear debris from your house and your neighbors' houses, if you're so inclined. You can also cut out trapped people, or make a nice chainsaw art bear from the shattered remnants of that nice red oak that used to be in your front lawn. Whatever.
4. Non perishable food is a must. 'Puter is partial to rice and dried beans because, assuming they're not soaked in the hurricane, they're about as shelf stable as they come. Canned food is also good, provided you've remembered to pack your can opener. To cook your rice and rehydrate your dried beans, you're going to need ...
5. Potable water. You should always have some water on hand in your house, regardless. With a hurricane coming, you'd better have a darned good plan to get some, because water may be out for a while, and the government isn't really good at disaster relief. If you're lucky water supplies won't be interrupted, but if they are, you'll be doing well if you have adequate water for drinking, cooking and basic hygiene. 'Puter would consider getting a filter or other purification system, just in case. Heck, household bleach works great if you know what the heck you're doing. And the time to figure out what the heck you're doing is before the storm hits, not during or after.
6. Tarps, and lots of them. Tarps are useful to secure damaged houses, as well as to create alternate shelter, if necessary. You'll need cordage for this as well, which probably rates it own category and discussion, but 'Puter's too lazy this afternoon.
7. Gas grill, with extra propane tanks. You're going to feel a lot better with hot food than without. And with the power out, you're going to need to cook all the meat in your rapidly thawing freezer as quickly as possible. Giving some of it away to your unprepared neighbors will also earn you some good will.
8. At least one hunting knife. This will be useful for opening sealed items, as well as for protection if necessary.
9. If so inclined, a variety of firearms. Firearms are exceptionally useful in a situation where government is unable to provide you protection. See, e.g., aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, if you are not so inclined, or uncertain in your firearms ability, you are far better off without one.
10. Flashlights and lanterns. 'Puter's got a Coleman dual fuel lantern that runs on Coleman fuel and unleaded gas. Bright as the sun, it is. And useful when darkness comes and there's no electricity.
11. A generator, if you can afford one. Being able to run a refrigerator and some lights, as well as your sump pump, is extremely helpful. Just don't run them all day, every day. Be frugal. Better to have the power come back before you're out of gas than vice versa.
12. Good, sturdy boots. If the hurricane punks your neighborhood, there's going to be debris all over the place. Shattered boards, bricks, nails, glass. Anything that can come off a house and get all sharp and pointy on your ass will. Plan on it. Boots will protect you from cutting the snot out of your feet much better than
13. Cash. Cash is king when there are no ATMs working. You can bet if the ATMs aren't up, no one will be taking credit cards either. You certainly don't want to have to send your wife/girlfriend/slampiece of the day out to trade some in kind services for food. And even more worser, you don't want to be the one doing the in kind trade.
14. For goodness sake, clean all the loose stuff out of your yard before the storm sets in. A hurricane will pick up your lawn furniture and chuck it through your sliding glass door, the wall behind it, and the child behind that, no problem. Don't be the moron whose lack of forethought hurts someone, especially not someone you care about.
15 Good neighbors and friends. Stick together and help each other out. It will make a bad situation better. But don't let helping neighbors put you in a bad position (e.g., using up your supplies too quickly).
16. Consider securing your abode and bugging the hell out to a safer place well before the storm hits. Go visit the grandkids Upstate. If the hurricane misses you, at least you've spent some time with loved ones. If it destroys your house and all its contents, at least you're safe. Once everybody on the East Coast hits the road (or, for our Quebecois, frappe la route), it's too late. You're stuck. Plan ahead.
17. Above all else, keep your head. The worst thing you can do in an emergency is panic, which is easy for 'Puter to say since he's outside the Giant Weather Channel Cone of Impending Hurricane Doom, and Jim Cantore is nowhere to be seen.
So there's 'Puter's two cents, from a guy who has spent a substantial amount of time outdoors, and has made his fair share of stupid mistakes (e.g.: getting caught in a white out while hunting without a compass, not recognizing early signs of hypothermia, etc.). 'Puter's certain he's missed a ton of stuff that wiser outdoorsman wouldn't have. But he doesn't want to hear about it. Write your own danged list if you're so inclined, for you own blog, on your own time.
Remember, the only person you can rely on is yourself. Don't let yourself down. And if you die stupidly, 'Puter's going to be really irked, as it means one less Twitter follower for him.
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