Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Advice From Hurricane-Town

Hurricane Tips and Wisdom

Hurricane Harvey hit our town, Rockport, Texas.  The eye of the storm went right over our house.  Having been through this ordeal (and it's not over yet), I thought I'd share some of my own realizations on the subject, based upon my husband's and my experience and that of our friends and neighbors.

EVACUATE if you can.  I can't emphasize this strongly enough.  It's important for your own peace of mind--before, during, and after the storm--and for your safety and survival.  This goes especially for pets and livestock.  Take them with you.

Evacuate early.
Evacuate far away.
Evacuate for lower-category storms also.
Take all of your animals.
Take all of your vehicles.

PREPARE your home for the worst.  The storm might veer off at the last minute, but it could also be worse than expected.  Before you leave, batten down the hatches both indoors and out.

Board-up, shutter-up.
Shut off power, unplug everything.
Empty the fridge and prop it open.
Secure movable outdoor items.
Protect valued indoor items.
Fill jars and bottles with clean water.
Leave rugs down to soak up water.
Place sandbags on both sides of doors.
Open fence gates to allow water flow.

PACK for the coming days. When you leave, you'll need some clothing, important papers, special food and meds, and emergency supplies.  Don't try to take too much--just what you need and what you value most.

Take your necessities.
Take food, water, flashlight, batteries, pet supplies.
Take ID, proof of residence (utility bill or deed).
Take a few comfortable outfits.
Take one set of work clothes and shoes.
Take movable valuables.

KEEP YOUR COOL--this is important.  People react differently to stress.  Figure out how to de-stress yourself, and do it as much as possible while evacuating, waiting through the storm, and after the storm.

Listen to music.
Watch favorite shows and movies.
Play with your pets and kids.
Have yummy snacks.
Talk, talk, talk with close family and friends.
Don't feel like you have to socialize.
Accept help when it's offered.
Offer help when it's needed.

GO BACK ASAP when the storm is over and the roads are open.  Check on your home as soon as you can.  You don't have to stay--make it a day trip the first time.  If you can get in after a day or two, you'll be able to prevent a lot of water and mold damage by cleaning up, tarping the roof, etc.

Bring food, water, and ice.
Bring cleaning supplies.
Bring equipment: chainsaw, dolly, tarps, etc.
Bring gasoline in cans.
Bring a generator (not for your whole house).
Bring insect repellant--whatever formula you like.
Bring flashlights and battery-powered fans.
Bring batteries.
Bring spare tire and flat repair products.
Bring work gloves.
Wear sturdy clothes and boots/shoes.

WAIT FOR POWER.  If you must live in your home before power and other utilities are restored, be prepared for hardship.  You'll need to live pretty much like you're camping.  It will be hot, you won't be able to bathe or flush, mosquitoes will be everywhere, and what you need will be hard to come by.  If you have any health issues, wait until the power is back on.  Even then, things can go wrong--our AC broke from a power surge, and I suffered heat exhaustion 3 times in 6 days.

Stay hydrated.
Cool off frequently.
Take lots of work breaks.
Eat whenever you can.
Turn around, don't drown.
Avoid standing water--in car or on foot.
Report water / gas leaks and downed lines.
Keep your distance from loose power lines.
Don't breathe mold--stay away, throw away.
Get medical attention when you need it.
Keep pets indoors or fenced--they will bolt.


Post-Hurricane Rose Bloom and New Oak Leaves
TAKE IT EASY on yourself.  You have made it through a bona fide disaster.  Your mind will work differently.  You'll be tired, anxious, sad, forgetful, and moody.   This is normal, and it will wear off.  Try not to look at the destruction, and focus on making things better.  Be positive.

YOU WILL CHANGE.  These experiences change us.  After the storm, you might have very different priorities for your life.  That's okay.  It's part of our development as humans.  The key is to be all right with it and move forward.

The trees will grow their leaves back.  Nature will do her best to repopulate your little bit of the Earth.  You will be stronger and better as you get on with your life.