When Hur­ri­cane Prep Hits Home

We also asked Capt. Graff and Search Spe­cial­ist Muder to give us five take­away lessons from their de­ploy­ment that they were able to ap­ply to their own lives.

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Pocket Preps -


Capt. Rob Graff: I think harder now about mak­ing sure that I have enough fuel for my gen­er­a­tors and fig­ur­ing out ex­actly how long they’re go­ing to run based on the fuel on-hand. This was an is­sue while I was de­ployed with my own house. I had fuel, and two dif­fer­ent meth­ods — propane and gaso­line. And what I found out was that the propane was gone quick. It burns cleaner, but doesn’t last as long as reg­u­lar gaso­line.

It also comes down to know­ing what you can and can’t run with the gen­er­a­tor. In my house now, ev­ery­thing’s color-coded. Red dots can’t be run with the gen­er­a­tor, for ex­am­ple. So even when I’m not there my wife can op­er­ate it. All she has to do is fol­low the color code, turn on this one, turn off that one, and so on, so that my fam­ily can have some sense of nor­malcy in their lives since I’m usu­ally de­ployed af­ter a dis­as­ter.

Down in the Keys I saw guys who had their gen­er­a­tors and fuel all laid out, but their fuel had got­ten con­tam­i­nated by sea­wa­ter be­cause they’d left it on the ground in­stead of putting it up high. So I learned from that as well.


Search Spe­cial­ist Todd Muder: We im­ple­mented sev­eral ideas that I took away. One is us­ing al­ter­na­tive power sources other than gen­er­a­tors or the con­ven­tional power off the power grid. We’ve ac­quired por­ta­ble bat­tery-pow­ered charg­ing blocks that can run com­put­ers or your cell phone, and I also pur­chased a so­lar-pow­ered charger to charge my phone and the power block backup even when off the grid.


TM: If you plan on shel­ter­ing in place, you need solid footwear. Ev­ery­thing we saw was houses bro­ken into pieces. There’s nails, glass, and screws stick­ing out everywhere. If we hadn’t had sturdy boots we prob­a­bly would have been put out of ser­vice.


TM: You may need to con­sider al­ter­nate means of nav­i­ga­tion af­ter a hur­ri­cane. Road signs will be gone, and the roads you may be used to could be washed out. If all the vis­ual land­marks that you’re used to are gone, be­ing able to nav­i­gate lo­cally — even in ar­eas that you’re nor­mally fa­mil­iar with — can be hard to do. Es­pe­cially if you’re on an evac­u­a­tion route, you might get off course and then noth­ing is fa­mil­iar to you at that point.

Ev­ery­body thinks they can just use their phone, but the phone may or may not be work­ing at that point. So have a good-qual­ity GPS, sep­a­rate from your phone, and know how to use it to get from point A to point B.


TM: In the Keys, I saw com­mu­ni­ties that would have ben­e­fit­ted from bet­ter re­source pool­ing. For ex­am­ple, one fel­low we ran into was try­ing to use his front-end loader to clear the roads. But he was out of diesel. The next guy we ran into had diesel, but his gen­er­a­tor was broke. So if they’d had a bet­ter sys­tem to com­mu­ni­cate, or just bet­ter gen­eral knowl­edge of the avail­able re­sources within their area, that would have helped.

So now, I and my neigh­bors have talked about it, and it’s amaz­ing the re­sources that they have. For ex­am­ple, my neigh­bor has a high-pow­ered gen­er­a­tor. I’ve got a gen­er­a­tor too, but I’m also the only one on my block that has a swim­ming pool, so ev­ery­one knows that they can use that wa­ter for flush­ing toi­lets and use for gen­eral clean­ing. So just hav­ing the knowl­edge of what peo­ple in my com­mu­nity have that we can share, trade, barter, or what­ever is crit­i­cal.

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