Hurricane Ike roared ashore Friday night hitting Galveston, Texas and spreading destruction across the state. The pic above is of Crystal Beach, on the Bolivar Peninsula. I took my kids to the beach here the weekend before school started. (about 3 weeks ago) Now it is history. I grew up in Houston and spent a lot of time in Galveston. Seeing pictures and noticing the things that should be there, but are now gone is pretty shocking and depressing. However, I am happy to report we made it through unscathed. We had some wind on Saturday (25-30 mph), but no rain (which we could have used). I was relieved that it missed us, but also happy to have an excuse to test our emergency preparedness.
We had made a decision to cancel all activities for the weekend and stay home together just to be safe. We did not have to crack open the survival rations and we did not lose power, but just getting the family into the correct mindset did wonders. I made a few decisions over the weekend that I think will help in the event of a real emergency and I thought I would share them with you.
1. Be more prepared to close the house up.
This includes having pre-cut sheets of plywood on hand to cover windows and doors. We could cover all windows and doors and leave via the garage and the house would be pretty safe and sturdy. My main concern would be the windows on the front that are surrounded with brick. Either I need to invest in some masonry anchors or board up from the inside with the understanding that I will lose the glass.
2. Have more variety in survival food.
I have come to understand that my tolerance for sitting in a muddy ditch eating MRE's will not be shared by my family in the event of a real emergency. I took a look at our emergency stores and there are a lot of beans, pasta and rice and not a lot of variety. I will be adding some of variations of our family favorites to the larder beginning next week. More ethnic food (Italian, Chinese, Mexican) as well as more comfort food (pudding, snacks, etc.) should make "Bugging In" more tolerable.
3. Prepare for Guests.
After taking a poll of my family in the area, I can tell that no one is ready for a true emergency, and as much as I preach self-reliance to my wife, if push came to shove, I could not turn those people away. Well, in truth, I might be able to, but my wife, who is much more human than I, would not let me. Therefore, I need to prepare to have 2-10 extra mouths to feed if something goes down. Keeping 3 weeks of food for 14 people is not possible, budget or storage wise, but I think if I can keep an extra week and some "extenders" (rice, pasta, beans) on hand, we would be much better off. In addition, we have room for them, but not enough bedding, so some air mattresses and fleece blankets are in a future purchase.
As with anything, preparing takes time, and you are never really finished, but I know after this weekend, that if something happened, I would be better off than probably 80-90% of the population in our area. Mission Accomplished (partially)