Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Twelve Year Disaster Season

The last 25 years have produced devastating hurricanes in my part of the country. 1992 is stained with the destruction of Andrew; a category 5 storm that destroyed Florida. 13 years later, Katrina became the monster that not only killed people, but it also exposed the shortcomings of the American government when it came to the country's most vulnerable population. 12 years later, Harvey leveled sleepy coastal Texas towns before drowning Houston, La Grange, and the Golden Triangle. We couldn't even take a breath, and now Florida is in the midst of another disaster of Andrew proportions.

La Grange neighborhood destroyed by flooding from Harvey

Basically, about every 12 years, hurricanes destroy parts of the Southeastern United States. That's just long enough for most people to forget what it really means to suffer. Honestly, I feel a little guilty chattering away in my last post about something as luxurious as Antique Week. This trendy event is taking place 20 miles from the devastation in La Grange. While the antiquers shop, some folks in the county will rebuild. It happened, it's Texas, people muscle up and start rebuilding.

Tammy, Elizabeth and I met up with my brother, a couple of workmates and a friend to help do some demo work in La Grange. It's a whole different thing to see this kind of destruction in person rather than see it in photos and newscasts. To feel the emptiness and loss is to give these kinds of natural disasters a hopeless respect that, frankly, shouldn't be forgotten for 12 to 13 years.

I don't need to wax on about the devastation. Nor should I have to encourage anyone to make donations of work or money or goods. You should do that on your own, if you can. What I do think deserves some blog time is preparedness. Even if your emergency supplies sit for 12 years, get prepared.

5 Things We Own That You Should Own

  1. A generator. We have a 4,000 watt generator that runs on gasoline and propane. I run propane because it's cleaner. This little gem will keep a refrigerator, freezer and fan running while the electricity is out. It will also run a 10,000 BTU window unit for cool nights and a few lights. 
  2. Emergency radio. The kind you can power by hand cranking. These gadgets usually have a feature that allows you charge a phone, too. Super handy if you don't have a generator.
  3. Emergency lighting. Flashlights, camp lights, lanterns, and even solar charged lights. 
  4. First aid kit. Not just the band aids and tylenol, but include an emergency blanket, bug spray, and soap. Throw in toothpaste, too. 
  5. Emergency food supply. You do not need doomsday prepper food buckets. Stock up on canned goods. Don't forget the can opener. Throw in a camp stove, or at least one propane burner. And food does you no good without water. Fill up those 5 gallon jugs, and put a hand pump on the one you're using. Have two or three on hand. 
The same stuff one needs for an emergency situation is the stuff we use to "live" in the cabin. We are prepared by default. Fortunately, we didn't need any of these items for "survival," but it was comforting to know we had it. 

We have a few more months of hurricane season, and if 12 year weather cycles hold their course, we'll likely have a good freeze this year, if not in the next couple of years. A hard freeze can knock out electricity, so you want to be prepared for that, as well.

I can't speak for folks to north and west of us, but if you're in our parts, be as prepared as you can be. If you don't need your supplies, maybe someone else near you will need them.

Just like the good ol' boys in their bass boats who saved flood victims, be prepared to help your neighbor, too. I heard a reporter say that he asked every good ol' boy he interviewed why he was risking his boat and himself to save total strangers. Every single person gave the same 3 word answer. This is Texas.

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