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#282416 - 10/10/16 12:37 PM Hurricane Mathew After Action Review
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1374
Loc: North Carolina
So now the worst is over and we have electricity back. Water is still not potable, but it is flowing now. I know we have other ETSers who live in the Fayetteville area, so how did you fare?

Evacuation orders were in the coastal areas, but we had more than 700 people who needed rescuing in this area. Eventually evacuation orders were given for areas at risk from bursting dams, but they came late in some cases.

We did a risk assessment of ourselves and our friends and we actually preemptively evacuated some to our house. Good thing, one lost her house completely. My stores of drinking water, food and other essentials such as gas stoves, cooking equipment and supplies, shelter and sleeping bags and mats did get used. Neighbors all were very helpful and checking on each other.

Key Points:
1. Lost electricity but cell phones continued to work. It was helpful but not something to be counted on in another emergency.

2. Water mains were broken and we lost water completely. This mainly impacted sanitation issues as we had more than 60 gallons of drinking water stored. During the storm we used the trees in the back yard, but then transported water from a nearby (overflowing) lake to fill toilet tanks. Water was back within 24 hours, though not potable, so toilets work normally now. We are not likely to have potable water for at least 5 days, so water purification will be essential. Now that electricity is back, boiling is easier, but before that we had only what I possessed in camping equipment and survival equipment for purifying water, for most of my neighborhood.

3. We did not count on the government authorities to see all of the dangers and made the decisions with some other people to move them to safer places. This was possibly a life saver. We have friends who lost everything, but they are OK. Due to the heavy rains and flooding last week, the ground was saturated and we received a preview of where the danger areas really were.

4. Skills were as important as supplies. I have spent the last couple of days helping neighbors and friends adapt and learn to live without modern comforts. It is like camping, but most people do not even know how to do that. Water purification, outdoor cooking (other than grilling), some first aid, field sanitation were all important things that others had never even considered.

5. There was a mix of attitudes; from the ones not taking it seriously to the ones who were about to lose their minds from the stress. They automatically look to the one who is calm and displays some knowledge, and they all responded to suggestions and helpful guidance.

6. Many of the rescues were from motorists who drove into flooded areas. Does this really need to be reiterated so often before people listen? Do not drive into a flooded area.

7. Understand your local terrain and how likely you are to be flooded. In one area along a creek, the water rose more than 30 feet above normal due to the terrain. Houses along that creek were at the least flooded, some were washed away. That has never happened before in this location, but it happened this time. Understand your risks, and be able to imagine a worst case scenario. Do not wait for the local government to warn you, it may come too late. There are many man made lakes with earthen dams holding them in. Some of these eroded and caused serious flooding. If you live down stream from something like this, consider leaving BEFORE the storm hits.

8. Prep, prep, prep. Basic stuff. My water was all we had for 24 hours, and it could have gone on longer. It is not expensive, can be done over a period of time on a budget, and does not require anything fancy. Basic necessities, shelter, water, food. If it had lasted longer many more people would have been in dire straights. Be self sufficient, not a burden on others. If everyone had the a supply of water and food for several days, it would not be a problem.

Just some thoughts. We came out very well, even comfortably, because we were prepared and had not only the supplies and equipment, but the knowledge. My family did well (my older son just became an Eagle Scout and my younger one just has his project to do) so we had a fun time with it. The people who are staying with us all did well and were helpful and cooperative. Neighbors were all cooperative and supportive of each other. Handling something like this is easy if you prepare in advance.

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#282417 - 10/10/16 02:05 PM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6538
Loc: southern Cal
Bravo! Glad it came out OK for you and your neighbors and thanks for the after action report.

In many ways your experience seems to mirror many of the principles presented on ETS - take steps to prepare - knowledge is critical, even more useful than just stuff.

I appreciate your comments about potable water and the utility of camping experience (which a good many people don't have). They mirror many of my thoughts and preps for the disasters that may strike SoCal (especially earthquakes).

Best to you, Sir!
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#282419 - 10/10/16 04:18 PM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: Montanero]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2928
Loc: USA
Well done. Excellent report.

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#282422 - 10/10/16 07:29 PM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: Montanero]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1368
Great AAR, Montaneor.

Glad that you and family and friends were able to ride out the hurricane and also were prepared.

Interesting about the water. Your mentioned there was about 60 gallons stored but mains water came back on in about 24 hours. How much stored water did you use and for how many people before mains water was restored?

How long was the power out for? Any generator power for the fridge, freezers etc?

I consider us well prepared but after reading your AAR, I think there is still work to do, especially in the water storage area. We have about 35 gallons stored, but like you, there is a lake nearby (<2 minute drive.) However that water would need to be carefully filtered and treated before I would chance to drink it due to the resident goose population on the lake.

Kudos to your boys. I am sure their years of Scout training has paid off and that they were a big help to not only you, but also your neighbors.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#282425 - 10/10/16 08:17 PM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: Montanero]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1521
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
re:flushing toilets by pouring water directly in the bowl... I ran a basic hurricane preparation lab for my students for many years, and one area that got a lot of comments from students was when I challenged them to flush their toilets by slowly pouring water in a toilet bowl... to conserve water and not fill the tank... that and adding 8drops of bleach per gallon of water to help disinfect still produces a lot of comments when I see former students... I have an on site shallow well, but still place a 33 gal plastic trash can in the shower and fill with a hand wand for shower and flushing use... it still gives me access to the shower's drain


Edited by LesSnyder (10/10/16 08:18 PM)

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#282435 - 10/11/16 03:14 AM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: LesSnyder]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6538
Loc: southern Cal
flushing by pouring directly into the bowl - standard practice in drought stricken SoCal (at least for me) - the water used for this is the shower water captured while waiting for the shower to provide reasonably hot water
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#282436 - 10/11/16 03:23 AM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: Montanero]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2147
Loc: Great Plains
Great post!
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#282439 - 10/11/16 12:04 PM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: Montanero]
Montanero Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1374
Loc: North Carolina
We used less than 16 gallons for 6 people, 2 dogs and 2 cats. That was for drinking and cooking. We did share a few gallons with neighbors as well.

Water was out for about 20 hours, with not enough pressure to fill the tank on the toilets. We were not short of water though, plenty in the nearby lakes. I also did collect in the tubs, though it was a very slow trickle. It was enough to use for the toilets. We had no shortage of water, just not potable one not coming out of the tap.

Power was out for about 24 hours. We had ice chests and obtained ice right before the power went out. We did not have a great deal that needed refrigeration, and nothing critical. We also consumed the perishables first, had kind of a feast during the storm to empty the refrigerator. We emptied the freezers last, and there was very little thawing. The first thing we cooked was the 5 pounds of shrimp. Did not want to smell that if it thawed! We had a picnic out back. I have some substantial camping cooking capabilities, so cooking was not an issue.

I do not have a generator as I have no critical need for power.

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#282442 - 10/11/16 09:02 PM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: Montanero]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1521
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
a suggestion for those that may not need a generator, but may wish to power their 12v fans or as I did a digital portable TV... a deep discharge trolling motor battery with a 12v receptacle permanently mounted... the wire is fused...this is about 3 years old now, and is kept on a float charger...


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#282445 - 10/12/16 12:55 AM Re: Hurricane Mathew After Action Review [Re: Montanero]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1368
Impressive water usage for 6 people.


Also for this time of year, the generator we have will run a small portable heater which helps take the chill off in the house. For example this morning, the outside temperature was only 2C (35F.) Inside, the house was probably in the mid to high 40ish F range. Since we both work during the day, the heat stays off. We have no wood stove nor fireplace for heat and do not plan on adding either due to the capital cost and extra yearly house insurance premium increases.

Even now as the sun sets, it is 55F outside and 64F inside and again the expected low tonight is 2C (35F.)

It goes without saying, having the generator really helps in keeping the fridge and freezer cold. Last year in higher temperatures, there was a 30 hour power outage and without a generator, we lost some food in the fridge and although the freezer was okay, any longer I would have started to worry more. Now having the generator, we could go days without power with no worry.

For non emergency use, the generator is used much more so to keep electric boat motor batteries charged during summer fishing season and where the sun is not always viable to allow the 100 watt solar panel to sufficiently charge the batteries.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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