It should be not­ed, that this was sent to me by a friend yes­ter­day.  I did not write this, and nei­ther did he, rather it comes from a prep­per who evac­u­at­ed LA and post­ed this sto­ry in a forum (  It is a chron­i­cle of what worked for him and his fam­i­ly and what did not in the post Kat­ri­na after­math.  That was more than three years ago accord­ing to the date below, and this is the first time I have read this sto­ry.  I was com­pelled to share it with you, after I start­ed writ­ing anoth­er post.  I aban­doned the oth­er post to bring this to you as it was a com­pelling, open, and hon­est rec­ol­lec­tion of the events which “rap­tor” under­took.  

“This sto­ry was repro­duced WITHOUT per­mis­sion, so if I am asked to take it down I will.”

Postby rap­tor » Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:59 pm

The Sto­ry 

I live in a sub­urb of N.O. called Metairie. Parts of it were flood­ed briefly though a small por­tion was flood­ed due to the 17th street canal fail­ure for about 2 weeks. My home was not flood­ed and sus­tained rel­a­tive­ly minor dam­age.

I evac­u­at­ed my fam­i­ly (includ­ing pets) to Atlanta on Sun­day at noon after mak­ing sure oth­er peo­ple I know includ­ing employ­ees had left and did not need trans­port. I thought I was the last one out as every­one I knew told me they were long gone. I lis­tened to the may­or order a manda­to­ry evac­u­a­tion of the city as I passed Slidell about 30 miles east of the city. My wife was behind me in anoth­er vehi­cle the whole way pissed off that she had to leave. The whole world was going west to Hous­ton. I decid­ed had at the last minute to head east into the storm’s pro­ject­ed route to avoid the traf­fic since I cal­cu­lat­ed I had only 18 hours to escape. I did not want to risk being on the road for this storm.

As it turned out, we made a great deci­sion because the traf­fic was main­ly head­ed west. We momen­tar­i­ly slowed down to 50 mph on parts of the I‑10 but for the most part I did not slow down to under 80 mph until we were past the con­tra flow area about 25 miles north of the coast line on I‑59. We picked the right win­dow and the right direc­tion for our quick escape. We spent the night in Birm­ing­ham after a 6 hour dri­ve, (we were tired and emo­tion­al­ly spent) and drove with a heavy heart to Atlanta the next morn­ing. I got us set­tled into a hotel near a relative’s home. I then told my wife to go find 2 fur­nished cor­po­rate apart­ments for us; we knew we were going to be in Atlanta a while. She asked how long (she always assumes I have the answer to every­thing). I said maybe per­ma­nent­ly from the looks of things which real­ly pissed her off.

We wait­ed until the last minute to evac­u­ate due to the reluc­tance of both my wife and moth­er to leave. My house is built of rein­forced con­crete; it is about 8 feet off the ground with park­ing and stor­age under­neath. It has hur­ri­cane shut­ters, a 30 kW diesel gen­er­a­tor with 300 gal­lons of fuel and is on rel­a­tive­ly high ground (about 5 feet above sea lev­el). I have always stock piled food shelf sta­ble and MRE, water, firearms, ammu­ni­tion, med­ical sup­plies and basic dis­as­ter sup­plies and con­sid­er my self rea­son­ably pre­pared. I also keep a small 16 ft Boston Whaler in the garage.

I shut down my busi­ness on Fri­day at noon after we com­plet­ed our much test­ed hur­ri­cane back up plan. I sent every­one home ear­ly and told them to con­tact me Sat­ur­day and Sun­day if they decid­ed to evac­u­ate. I told them we would regroup Mon­day or Tues­day. My usu­al hur­ri­cane rule was in force for my employ­ees. That is “you will not be penal­ized in any way if you miss work for one or two days due to an evac­u­a­tion” (lit­tle did I know that would be 3 weeks before we would gath­er as even a par­tial group again). I gave a 2 week pay advance to every­one before they left telling every­one to be safe but to com­mu­ni­cate with me, I nor­mal­ly do not do this but since pay­day was next Fri­day and Kat­ri­na had me spooked I did it. This 2 weeks pay helped some low­er paid employ­ees evac­u­ate to safe­ty. I kept every­one on the pay­roll and for­gave the 2 week pay advance for all. I did this to retain every­body and I was not dis­ap­point­ed by any­body. Most were moved and some to tears when we met again and regrouped. Work pro­vid­ed some nor­mal­cy and secu­ri­ty dur­ing these dark days.

Kat­ri­na of course hit and you know the sto­ry; car­nage, loot­ing, flood­ing death, etc. Around Wednes­day after Kat­ri­na, I was going crazy with wor­ry. My employ­ees had not all checked in. Our office had no com­mu­ni­ca­tions; the whole 504 area code was down. Prop­er­ty was obvi­ous­ly in need of atten­tion and I was con­cerned about the busi­ness. I decid­ed to go back and deal with the issues. I left my fam­i­ly back in Atlanta and went back alone.

I got to my home despite the fact that the city and parish were “sealed off”. I know the city well and knew it could not be “sealed off”. I got through un-chal­lenged; the flood­ing in most of Jef­fer­son Parish had been pumped out by then. Upon arriv­ing home I cranked up the gen­er­a­tor and had pow­er, HVAC, inter­net, land­line tele­phone (I could dial out but no one could dial in). I neglect­ed to emp­ty the refrig­er­a­tor when I left so I did have that mess to clean up. That is a par­tic­u­lar­ly nasty job but a large thick garbage bag, gas mask and chem­i­cal gloves make the job easy.

Once home, I assessed the dam­age and secured what lit­tle dam­age was done. The wind caused lit­tle dam­age to the entire city. The flood­ing is what caused the bulk of the dam­age. I fixed what I could then went check out oth­er people’s prop­er­ty. I sent dig­i­tal pho­tos via the inter­net to my wife in Atlanta who con­tact­ed and for­ward­ed the pic­tures.

I found out some friends from Lafayette, LA were com­ing down to the city on res­cue par­ties by boat the next day. They were turned away for some obscure rea­son and stopped by my house to check on me. They agreed to stay a few days to help out our friends. That began the role I played for sev­er­al friends; being the for­ward stag­ing area for friends and busi­ness asso­ciates try­ing to get back to their busi­ness­es.

The gen­er­a­tor made life com­fort­able but it burned copi­ous amounts fuel. My 300 gal­lons was sup­posed to last 10 to 12 days but 300 gal­lons was only a 7 day sup­ply. I had to dri­ve to Baton Rouge with emp­ty drums to buy diesel. Gaso­line was in very short sup­ply but diesel was nonex­is­tent for civil­ians for about a week. I had plen­ty of nat­ur­al gas for the grill, seafood boil­er, water heater and dry­er but it was use­less for the gen­er­a­tor. I have since added a small­er 15 kW air-cooled gas pow­ered gen­er­a­tor to sup­ple­ment the diesel pow­ered set. The diesel ran like a champ though for 3 weeks straight (500 hours). I stopped it twice a day to check the oil and coolant lev­els. I changed the oil and fil­ter only once after 200 hours. I had neglect­ed the oil & fil­ter stock­pile and had enough for only one fil­ter change. I also had trou­ble find­ing the right oil and fil­ter for about 4 weeks so I ran it with dirty oil.

I made many for­ays into the city with friends and fam­i­ly. Some were clan­des­tine and oth­ers were overt and autho­rized. I passed loot­ers active­ly loot­ing stores and was shot at on at least one occa­sion. I will nev­er for­get one trip I made. I hired 9 off duty police offi­cers to go with me into a flood­ed area. This offi­cer was an acquain­tance and a true blue cop a real Joe Fri­day. How­ev­er, before we left he said “Now if some­thing hap­pens and we shoot some­one, we are just going to leave him there ok? Do you under­stand what I am say­ing?” It was clear to me that things like that hap­pened and that is what was done. Why do you think there are so many miss­ing peo­ple whose bod­ies were nev­er found? Look at the ages and sex of the miss­ing peo­ple, most were under 35, male and lived in areas sub­ject to the unrest.

The 3 things I remem­ber most about the time was the oppres­sive heat & sun dur­ing the day and pitch black nights and the chaos and uncer­tain­ty of the whole sit­u­a­tion.

The fol­low­ing is my list of what worked and did not work:

Text mes­sag­ing worked well all through the worst of the inci­dent. The mes­sages were often delayed but they got through even­tu­al­ly. A Black­ber­ry proved to be a valu­able and use­ful means to com­mu­ni­cate. A pager also worked but was only a one way sys­tem. The text mes­sage inter­face on a PC also worked great also assum­ing you have inter­net ser­vice.

A cell phone with dif­fer­ent area code was invalu­able. I bought a pre­paid cell phone in Atlanta. The Cin­gu­lar sys­tem was dys­func­tion­al, but Veri­son and Sprint did work. I used Cin­gu­lar and Vir­gin Mobile which is a Sprint reseller. The cell phone with a dif­fer­ent area code allowed you to dial out and to receive calls. For­ward your key tele­phone num­bers to this cell and you can remain in com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The entire 504 area code was unus­able for about 30 days. We for­ward­ed our phones before we left but the entire net­work includ­ing for­ward­ing went down. So all of our phones just rang or you received an out of ser­vice mes­sage which is not good for busi­ness.

CB & FMRS radios were use­less in the city due to sig­nif­i­cant range lim­i­ta­tions. Around the house a cord­less phone with a paging/intercom func­tion worked bet­ter than the FMRS radio, since it would ring when you were want­ed. I would car­ry the cord­less phone and use the inter­com func­tion.

Marine VHF was use­ful for local area com­mu­ni­ca­tion though it is strict­ly ille­gal to use it for this pur­pose. A 12 volt VHF unit on a boat in the dri­ve­way is good for about a mile to hand held sets. Though hand held sets could get through to the base sta­tion at this dis­tance only if you could see the oth­er per­son. They could also be used in the car on the high­way and were use­ful since the chan­nels are not much in use inland and the squelch func­tion is use­ful. Be sure to get the VHF units with the abil­i­ty to use alka­line bat­ter­ies.

Tele­phone land lines worked well and in non-flood­ed areas the tele­phones land lines nev­er went down. Cable was not robust at and went down ear­ly and stayed down a very long time. DSL since it uses land lines did not go down at all. Satel­lite dish­es were blown away and like cable were inop­er­a­tive. The inter­net was invalu­able.

I set up rou­tine a check in time for all par­ties with some­one out­side of the city. I sur­faced to com­mu­ni­cate and check in at 9am, noon and 6pm to com­mu­ni­cate with my wife while she was in Atlanta.

Keep your cell phone bat­ter­ies charged so have a car adapter, 110 volt adapter, AA adapter, and spare bat­ter­ies. Any­time you see a place to charge them, charge them up. Keep­ing these items charged will be a PITA.

A TV made a poor news machine at first. AM & FM radios worked well, the inter­net was more com­pre­hen­sive, but had a sev­er­al hour lag time. A spare satel­lite dish had Dish TV back up and work­ing in no time. A spare dish also had satel­lite inter­net up and oper­at­ing. I rec­om­mend satel­lite TV and inter­net as long as you have a spare dish.

Light­ing — Dark­ness, Dark­ness and more dark­ness!
Post dis­as­ter, street lights will not work and the place will be incred­i­bly dark. When there was no moon the dark­ness was sur­re­al.

Park your cars so that their head lights shine on like­ly areas of egress to your house or the place you are vis­it­ing. Use the remote fob switch to make the head lights and back up lights go one in the event that you hear some­one out­side. You can also use the car pan­ic switch to set off the horn for a dis­trac­tion.

Use a car bat­tery boost­er with a 12v to 110v invert­er to plug in a 110 volt area light to pro­vide area light­ing if your gen­er­a­tor is not oper­a­tional.

Use flood lights spar­ing­ly they attract too much atten­tion in a dark city.

Spot­lights with recharge­able bat­ter­ies were less use­ful than those which took D cell bat­ter­ies. The charges could not be relied upon when you need­ed them and recharg­ing them once deplet­ed was a PITA. A 12 volt cord­ed spot light are cheap­er and more reli­able; of course they need a cord & a sep­a­rate bat­tery. Note that they can also be plugged into the bat­tery boost­er.

Attempt to cre­ate appear­ance of many more peo­ple than you have. A group of 6 to 10 is more like­ly to thrive than a small group. A per­son alone is in great dan­ger and should con­sid­er leav­ing.

Flash­lights are not use­ful for area light­ing, regard­less of size & type. Lanterns are much more use­ful for area light­ing. LED and flu­o­res­cent are great inside but Cole­man dou­ble man­tle lanterns dual fuel are great out­doors, but only out doors.

I buy only D cell, AA and/or AAA to sim­pli­fy inven­to­ry needs.

Avoid can­dles and hur­ri­cane lamps, the light is poor for can­dles and both bring heat and more impor­tant­ly fire risk into the house. All open flame of any kind should be kept only out­side!

Keep a low pro­file
Be able to estab­lish bonafides with a pic­ture ID with your com­pa­ny name and address work as well as a let­ter on cor­po­rate let­ter­head, nota­rized and cor­po­rate seal on it.

A white pick­up truck with a cor­po­rate logo and peo­ple inside dressed in PPE will be the key to trans­porta­tion. Make sure it has a sign on it, mag­net­ic signs with busi­ness name work well.

Imper­son­at­ing a respon­der is ille­gal but imper­son­at­ing a busi­ness is not, use the term safe­ty guy or per­son­nel guy. These folks are always in and out and nobody either hates them or real­ly needs them so you will not get draft­ed by the locals. DoNOT I repeat do not, say you are an insur­ance adjuster or in the insur­ance busi­ness (even if you are) you will be tak­ing your life into your own hands, seri­ous­ly. They are con­sid­ered equal to child moles­ters.

Per­son­al Morale and Stress
Morale is vital to all on scene.

Clean­ing your­self up and putting on clean clothes is a good morale boost­er. Wash­ing clothes is a pain but it is impor­tant to have clean clothes avail­able even if you have to do by hand. As long as the water from the tap is clear and not murky, cloudy or odif­er­ous, you can use it to clean clothes in an elec­tric wash­ing machine, assum­ing you have a gen­er­a­tor.

If you are the leader act like one. Express con­cern about your peo­ple whether you give a rat’s ass or not about them. They must think you care about them and will help them, it helps if you are sin­cere, but even if you are not, pre­tend to be sin­cere; your life may depend on it!

Get lots of rest at night. The night is the worst part. It will be very, very dark, which to city dwellers can be scary and dis­ori­ent­ing. Sleep is the best way to han­dle this prob­lem. How­ev­er if pos­si­ble always have some­one awake 24/7. Prefer­ably set up shifts to ensure all get ade­quate rest but the group is cov­ered by some­one awake. I had a rule that no one went out­side alone at night, for any rea­son. If you heard some­thing unusu­al, wake up the per­son who just got off duty or the per­son about to go on duty and have them go with you. The per­son on watch also had the car remote con­trol to set off the car lights or the car alarm.

The nights were stress­ful due to the dark­ness and unusu­al qui­et. With­out pow­er there were no A/C com­pres­sors, no cars and no peo­ple sounds. The only sounds were frogs croak­ing (yes in the city frogs) and silence. My gen­er­a­tor instal­la­tion was no nois­i­er than an A/C unit. But with the cen­tral A/C units and the gen­er­a­tor we were the nois­i­est thing for many blocks. Add inside and out­side lights and we stood out for some dis­tance. Hence the con­cern about secu­ri­ty at night.

Drink­ing water gets bor­ing so have some­thing like Gatorade mix or tea.

Keep a pos­i­tive atti­tude and a smile on your face! Your mood is con­ta­gious.

Heat saps strength, sta­mi­na & morale. Stay out of the sun, cool and hydrat­ed. Make sure every­body has enough water and is drink­ing it, not just hold­ing on to it. Read about heat exhaus­tion and heat stroke, know the symp­toms, and act fast if you think the per­son is being affect­ed by the heat.

Do not under­es­ti­mate the emo­tion of see­ing a beloved or even famil­iar place ruined.
Sev­er­al cops com­mit­ted sui­cide as a result of the stress; do not under­es­ti­mate the lev­el of stress involved.

Fire is a haz­ard and a real pos­si­bil­i­ty. Have a fire watch and remem­ber you can­not call the fire depart­ment or an EMS. There were instances of sev­er­al hous­es catch­ing fire and set­ting a neigh­bor­ing house on fire. A 24 hour a day fire watch could save your life. Have the gar­den hoses ready out­side, in the event a neighbor’s house catch­es fire.

Smoke alarms in the halls out­side bed­rooms and Car­bon monox­ide alarms in every bed­room and oth­er strate­gic points are a must! The car­bon monox­ide alarms are manda­to­ry if a gen­er­a­tor is used.

Fuel & Pow­er:
Always have enough fuel in a vehi­cle that can car­ry your group to a safe point with­out refu­el­ing. Always have a plan to get you and your group out to safe place.

Spare fuel in 5 gal­lons can is dan­ger­ous; store it out­side in a shady spot. Hide it because if you do it may get req­ui­si­tioned.

Diesel was almost impos­si­ble to find ini­tial­ly but gas was easy to find after the 3rd week.

Con­sid­er a tri-fuel gen­er­a­tor and hook the gen­er­a­tor up to nat­ur­al gas. Nat­ur­al gas remained on in most un-flood­ed sec­tions but failed in flood­ed areas, so do not rely sole­ly on nat­ur­al gas have the capa­bil­i­ty to run on liq­uid gaso­line as well. How­ev­er a nat­ur­al gas gen­er­a­tor would have solved my fuel prob­lems.

Gen­er­a­tors are noisy and will dis­turb you, peo­ple near­by and attract unwant­ed atten­tion. Find some­way to keep the sound down. If you have a portable gas oper­at­ed gen­er­a­tor retro­fit a car muf­fler (search the inter­net for arti­cle) to it and build a sound box of some kind. You want the noise sig­na­ture to be as quite as pos­si­ble. See this link:

Ide­al­ly have a large one per­ma­nent­ly installed with qual­i­ty sound dead­ing mate­r­i­al around it as I did.

Dig a hole and put the gen­er­a­tor in it and cov­er it with ply­wood. Allow for drainage.
Build a sand­bag berm around it cov­er the berm with ply­wood
Enclose it in a build­ing not con­nect­ed to the house, route the exhaust out­side!
Keep its noise to a min­i­mum.

Have an elec­tri­cian come and put a man­u­al dis­con­nect switch so you can hook the gen­er­a­tor to the house. You can do some­thing as sim­ple as putting in the dis­con­nect switch and pro­vid­ing a 50 amp 220 volt plug so you can hook up a portable gen­er­a­tor to the house cir­cuits. Avoid hav­ing a stand alone gen­er­a­tor in the back yard with exten­sion cords. Plan ahead and do it right! Also to keep the peace with your neigh­bor, plan on run­ning 1 or 2 15 amp cir­cuits to their house(s) if they do not have a gen­er­a­tor. That is enough to run a fridge, lights & fans. Or a fridge and a small win­dow A/C.

Type and quan­ti­ty less impor­tant than train­ing and pro­fi­cien­cy. All those debates about which is best, is a mean­ing­less dis­cus­sion. The best one to have is one you have right now in your hand, learn to use it pro­fi­cient­ly, includ­ing the abil­i­ty to take it apart and repair it. Make sure you can hit a tar­get at 35 meters one hand­ed with either the left or right hand. Stop debat­ing what is best set­tle on what works for you and spend the time train­ing with it.

Do not open­ly bran­dish weapons the Nation­al Guard & cops will take them away despite any laws pro­tect­ing you.

Have spares so that if cops take them away you have oth­ers. Do not resist attempts to by LEO to con­fis­cate weapons. It will not end very well for you.

Be pre­pared to be forcibly removed for your premis­es and leave your pets or have your pets killed in front of you!

Nation­al Guard & LEO are not nec­es­sar­i­ly help­ful, to be trust­ed or your friends. Trust your­self and your friends. Keep a low pro­file, avoid con­fronta­tions and be respect­ful and friend­ly (not sub­servient) to the NG and police when con­tact with them is unavoid­able. Obey their instruc­tions (at least when they are around) if pos­si­ble and not counter to your goal. Nev­er con­front them or active­ly or vio­lent­ly resist them, you will lose and become just anoth­er uniden­ti­fied body found in the rub­ble.

Cash, Doc­u­ments and Com­merce:
A Good way to make a friend is cold soft drinks – trade hot for cold if you can when you are giv­ing them away as gifts. I went through a lot of Cokes.

Image impor­tant doc­u­ments on a scan­ner and store them on a flash dri­ve or on line by email­ing them to your­self at for instance AOL or Google.

Dri­vers license, pass­port, social secu­ri­ty card, birth cer­tifi­cate, mar­riage cer­tifi­cate,
Insur­ance poli­cies, vaccination/medical records for fam­i­ly & pets should be imaged.

Use an online bank and have mul­ti­ple accounts. Keep mul­ti­ple cred­it cards with a zero bal­ance so that in an emer­gency you can at least buy gas, a hotel room and some food.

You need at least $1,000 cash on hand. More is always bet­ter but do not car­ry all split it up in dif­fer­ent pock­ets and use cred­it cards wher­ev­er pos­si­ble. Keep it in small bills like $5, $10 & $20 along with a cred­it card. Checks, trav­el­ers checks and mon­ey orders are use­less don’t waste your time with them.

Take pho­tos of your insured prop­er­ty and make sure that they are not more than 2 year old. Use a dig­i­tal cam­era and store the pho­tos in mul­ti­ple places.

Any pho­to albums, doc­u­ments, or sim­i­lar such things can be dig­i­tal­ized so that if the orig­i­nal is destroyed you at least have a copy. Look around your house and see what falls into that cat­e­go­ry. It is amaz­ing how much you lose when you are look­ing at just a house slab.

Back up your data in mul­ti­ple places and set out a con­tin­gency plan for your busi­ness. We use noth­ing but lap­tops and have con­tract­ed with an off site serv­er to store all of our data files. Every­body can use a vir­tu­al pri­vate net­work to set up wher­ev­er we may final­ly stop assum­ing they can get to high speed inter­net con­nec­tions.

Phone for­ward­ing mal­func­tioned so all our lines did was to ring when they did not get a sys­tem busy. Have a con­tin­gency plan to noti­fy all cus­tomers of a num­ber change or arrange with the tele­phone com­pa­ny to use a trunk for­ward­ing ser­vice.

We set up a toll free num­ber and manned it with a small staff to dis­sem­i­nate con­tact info. Emails worked fine as did text mes­sages. Web sites also worked well as a means to dis­sem­i­nate tele­phone num­bers.

Loot­ing. Loot­ers and Req­ui­si­tion­ing:
Police will loot. It is called req­ui­si­tion­ing. They will take your spare gaso­line, sup­plies, ammu­ni­tion, first aid kits, ice, water, guns and even your vehi­cle! They are worse than loot­ers in that they have the force of law behind them. They loot­ed cars, booze, TV as well as neces­si­ties such as food water and clean clothes.

Avoid loot­ing par­ties. They tend to be undis­ci­plined and have numer­ous, armed peo­ple. If you join them, watch your back and go only with a group you know and then stick togeth­er. Take only what you need and make resti­tu­tion when you can do so. Even when you need it… loot­ing is wrong. It belongs to some­one else.

The LEO & nation­al guard will be hot, tired, scared and grumpy! Avoid them at all costs. They will be well armed, bet­ter trained and are more like­ly to shoot you than the loot­ers. Always approach them slow­ly with your hands vis­i­ble and in a non-threat­en­ing man­ner. Polite­ness (though not sub­mis­sion like you are guilty of some­thing) and a smile on your face and a com­ment like “Boy am I glad to see you guys, thanks for the help”. If you are unsure of the sit­u­a­tion extend your hand in a hand­shake. Their actions will tell vol­umes as to their intent. Nev­er curse them, do offer them a cold coke or water. If you do not have a cold drink, say I would offer you guys one but I don’t have one.

The USCG were the best guys, they were most use­ful, pro­fes­sion­al and least dan­ger­ous (as long as you were not hos­tile to them) the worst were the Nation­al Guard units and local PD. They were stressed out lost their homes sep­a­rat­ed from loved ones etc. They were heav­i­ly armed and dan­ger­ous. No offense intend­ed to any mem­ber of these units but that is my obser­va­tion.

When you trav­el, trav­el in groups. No few­er than two, four in 2 vehi­cles are bet­ter. If you leave your vehicle(s) make sure some­one or prefer­ably 2 peo­ple stay with it (them).

Have a pre­arranged sign and counter sign for the group, include a trou­ble sign and counter sign. Do not shout every­body and anybody’s name when you think you see trou­ble. Use a sig­nal when con­cerned or need­ing help. You do not have to be sil­ly about it, but a shout of “Hey Mr. Mur­phy” is a whole more innocu­ous than “Hey George and Louis there are five guys com­ing towards me”. In the lat­ter you have con­veyed to the par­ty com­ing at you that there are 2 oth­er peo­ple who will be com­ing short­ly. On the oth­er hand if you shout “ Hey Mr. Mur­phy” while look­ing at the group and wav­ing in a friend­ly like man­ner at the peo­ple com­ing at you, they may assume that you are address­ing them and wav­ing at them and not call­ing your bud­dies to come out­side and help. It may just give you the edge in that sit­u­a­tion.

Look out for people’s pets, save the ones you can. Bring food and water for them since it is like­ly one else will. Many pets were aban­doned and dies a long linger death as a result.

Be very care­ful avoid any injuries of any kind. If you are injured, cut, get a blis­ter, etc treat it aggres­sive­ly, even a sim­ple scratch in a dis­as­ter zone can be life threat­en­ing.

Get vac­ci­na­tion for hepati­tis, tetanus and any­thing else you can talk your MD into giv­ing you.

Do not take sup­plies from the Red Cross, Sal­va­tion Army or oth­ers unless you or some­one you know tru­ly needs them. Sup­plies are lim­it­ed and oth­ers in need may do with­out because you want­ed some­thing you did not real­ly need. I saw a sin­gle moth­er with a baby and tod­dler go with­out water when an “alpha” male barged in line and took stuff meant for her. The “alpha” males sim­ply put the water in their pock­ets and walked away. I “found” her some water when the “alpha” males sud­den­ly “dropped” their water and ran for their lives.

Be com­pas­sion­ate, but do not be sil­ly, some­times sym­pa­thy tar­gets (old peo­ple, dis­abled peo­ple, kids and women) are used by loot­ers as bait.

Do not be in the dis­as­ter area if you can avoid it. Leave the area until the sit­u­a­tion sta­bi­lizes. If you have to be there stay only as long as nec­es­sary. It is not a game and it is sure as hell not fun.

Food, Water & Ice:
Ice is a very valu­able com­mod­i­ty when the tem­per­a­ture is 95 degrees and the humid­i­ty is 100%. Keep some handy to trade or barter for favors. Use emp­ty water bot­tles to make it at home in the freez­er. It is a good barter com­mod­i­ty.

Safe, potable water is crit­i­cal. You can­not have too much of it on hand. I had 10 five gal­lon bot­tles of water on hand, in addi­tion to 6 cas­es of 20 oz bot­tles of water. That was no where near ade­quate.

Water is either safe or not. If you have the slight­est doubt about the water; then it is not safe to drink it!

Unsafe water from the tap can be used for flush­ing toi­lets and wash­ing clothes. It can also be used for wash­ing you, but do not drink it and keep it away from your eyes, nose and mouth when show­er­ing with it. How­ev­er, unsafe water from the tap and a 5% to 10% solu­tion of bleach can be used for clean­ing dish­es with soap as long as the final rinse is in boiled or clean water (be sure the water has cooled and add 2% to 3% bleach to the rinse water). You can rinse the plate to get the food residue off with the run­ning un-boiled water before wash­ing them, but wash them with boiled water, if pos­si­ble dip them in a mild bleach solu­tion in the rinse cycle and hand dry.

To make clear water safe, boil the water for 10 to 20 min­utes at a rolling boil. You can also add chlo­rine before boil­ing it if you are real­ly ner­vous. Be care­ful and let the water stand at least an hour to avoid burn­ing your­self. Boil as much as you can at one time because it is a PITA to boil water. I used a seafood boil­er and nat­ur­al gas for this chore. Keep the pot cov­ered when the water is boil­ing and cool­ing Store it in a CLEAN prefer­ably ster­il­ized con­tain­er. Used but clean 2 liter soft drink bot­tles are per­fect for stor­ing boiled water (but wait till it cools to pour it!).

Potable Water should be used as much as pos­si­ble. For exam­ple water used for cook­ing rice and spaghet­ti can be reused for clean­ing the pots and dish­es.

An out­side propane or nat­ur­al gas burn­er with a large boil­ing pot will make quick work of pro­duc­ing many gal­lons of safe drink­ing water with­out the heat and humid­i­ty in the house. This boil­ing pot can also be used to san­i­tize plates, sil­ver­ware and pots.

You can attach a large acti­vat­ed char­coal fil­ter to an out­side water hose to fil­ter water that you boil for drink­ing. Boil­ing may or may not remove tox­ic chem­i­cals in the water. Use bot­tled water from a known source if at all pos­si­ble for all drink­ing, food prepa­ra­tion wash­ing and bathing.

Water in a pinch can be made safer by fil­ter­ing it and adding a small amount of Clorox or iodine tablets to the water. Murky or smelly water should not be used for any­thing, if at all pos­si­ble!

You may be tempt­ed to use the dish­wash­er and put it on heat­ed water and the san­i­tize set­ting, but do not take the risk. It is just not worth the risk! Plan on hand wash­ing and san­i­tiz­ing the dish­es your­self.

Paper tow­els, plates and depos­able knives and forks work very well and many times are bet­ter than real chi­na and sil­ver­ware. Have lots of paper tow­els, garbage bags and depos­able stuff on hand.

Garbage dis­pos­al is a prob­lem; there was not garbage pick up for 2 months. Plan on bring­ing it to the dump your self. San­i­ta­tion is impor­tant and garbage stinks after a week in the sun! When you bring it to the dump put it on the trail­er; do not put it in the car or trunk you will nev­er get the stink out!

Note you can freeze bot­tle of unsafe water for ice, just label it as unsafe and do not use or drink the water.

Food is impor­tant to morale! Cook it and present it well! Sit down togeth­er and eat togeth­er, this is great morale builder.

Sim­ple Menus are Impor­tant since fresh items are lim­it­ed

Spaghet­ti & meat­balls
Red beans rice & meat (sausage, ham­burg­er, chick­en)
Chick­en and rice
Ham­burg­ers and mac­a­roni & cheese
Scram­bled eggs, grits and toast
Steak and canned veg­gies
Jam­bal­aya & meat of any kind

Use MRE only for lunch when out and about or as a last resort. Every­body should sit down and eat togeth­er at least once a day for bet­ter morale.

4wd was not impor­tant but was use­ful main­ly due to the high­er ground clear­ance it afford­ed.

Bring rope to tie to branch­es to move them. Make sure the vehi­cle has aux­il­iary stor­age like a roof rack, a roof car­go car­ri­er , a trail­er hitch ”back porch” or have a trail­er. Any­thing that you can use to car­ry addi­tion­al bulky car­go, like roof­ing shin­gles, gas, clothes, food water, etc.

I used my boat as means to car­ry car­go such as garbage and fuel. It was all I had so I used it as a util­i­ty trail­er. It had 2 ‑18 gal­lon gas tanks so filled up those tanks and put 3 ‑55 gal­lon drums in the boat. Use what you have.

Make sure your vehi­cle is in good shape, a bro­ken fan belt, bad tire, leak­ing water pump or bat­tery with a dead cell is use­less and dan­ger­ous in a dis­as­ter zone.

Be sure to have a can of fix a flat, 12 volt air com­pres­sor, bat­tery boost­er, tire plug kit, flash light with spare bat­ter­ies and a plug in 12 volt spot light (they are cheap­er and more reli­able than those need­ing a charge) as well as basic tools like a screw­driv­er, pli­ers and cres­cent wrench are invalu­able. A 12volt to 110 volt invert­er (no more than 100 watts to avoid blow­ing fus­es or worse a fusible link), small first aid kit and rope will also be invalu­able. A 110 volt trou­ble light with a 25 foot cord to plug into the invert­er will serve mul­ti­ple pur­pos­es of light and pow­er; just do not over­load the invert­er. Be sure to have a spare oil, brake flu­id, ATF flu­id and antifreeze, (it does not have to be in the car) you will not be able to find it.

The car­go area if not “hoseable” should be cov­ered in plas­tic to pre­vent the spread of con­t­a­m­i­nants.

A cheap­er car or pick up truck will attract a whole lot less neg­a­tive atten­tion than a bling­mo­bile! Park the Mer­cedes and Lexus dri­ve the pick­up truck!

Basic tools like a sock­et set, wrench, screw­drivers, etc. A cord­less elec­tric screw­driv­er and drill will also save you a lot of ener­gy and sweat.

Oth­er use­ful tools:
Crow bar large & small for break­ing glass and pry­ing open win­dows and doors. Pry bar for open­ing doors, Large bolt cut­ters, Claw ham­mer, Axe or Hatch­et, Small sledge ham­mer and wedges (s.m.l).

PPE – very impor­tant! Hard hat, safe­ty glass­es, gloves leather & latex res­pi­ra­tors or face mask, steel toed shoes WITH steel soles!
Gas chain­saw (nice but not required unless you live in a wood­ed area) I used the rope and car to pull large branch­es out of my way. A tree hand saw is just as use­ful and less cost­ly in an urban area. In a wood­ed area buy 2 chain­saws, one is not enough.

Tarps sev­er­al sizes are good you can always trade them if you do not need them.
An elec­tric sawza­ll is par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful assum­ing you have a gen­er­a­tor.

Chain and pad­locks will always come in handy.

Elec­tric exten­sion cords get sev­er­al and buy the thick con­trac­tors grade. Also a pow­er strip with a surge sup­pres­sor for each cord will be use­ful. Tape (elec­tri­cal & duct), Spray paint (white, orange & black for signs, warn­ings & messages),Preprinted signs like Loot­ers will be shot are not as use­ful as hand­made signs since the preprint­ed ones may indi­cate no one is around. Also date any spray paint­ed signs so peo­ple know it is up post dis­as­ter.

Boats in Urban Set­tings and Flood Water:
If you have the mis­for­tune of deal­ing with a flood, there will be all kind of haz­ards that you will encounter such that even the old­est of salts will be in a chal­leng­ing envi­ron­ment.
Oper­ate the boat only at idle or slow speeds. Do not let the boat get on a plane, dis­place­ment speed only. They will be signs, wires trees shrubs, debris and many oth­er things that will destroy or dam­age an out dri­ve. Bet­ter to hit some­thing at a slow speed.

Trim the engine up to reduce your draft. Trav­el in pairs and main­tain radio watch­es be wary of man­hole cov­ers if you go in the water. The cov­ers may be gone. There are ditch­es and var­i­ous oth­er obsta­cles that are not appar­ent. Do not walk in the water if at all pos­si­ble. Always wear a PFD even an inflat­able one is bet­ter than noth­ing.

Nav­i­ga­tion will be dif­fi­cult since road signs may be obscured and your GPS will like­ly have a nau­ti­cal chart rather than I‑10 on it. Have some­one on the boat who knows the area.

Pow­er lines may still be ener­gized, so stay away from them, do not touch them.

For the record, res­cued peo­ple are not always grate­ful to be res­cued. They may be in shock, ter­ri­fied, dis­ori­ent­ed and/or poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous. Always have at least one oth­er you can trust in the boat with you. You can con­cen­trate on steer­ing and he/she should con­cen­trate on the peo­ple in the boat. Nev­er assume peo­ple can swim, pro­vide a PFD for all and make them wear it; if noth­ing else it will be reas­sur­ing for them. If you encounter hos­tile peo­ple, exit the area ASAP. Always know how to get out of an area quick­ly.

Do not fool around in flood waters! They are nasty, dis­gust­ing and dan­ger­ous. Do not han­dle any float­ing bod­ies unless you want a very, very unpleas­ant expe­ri­ence. Do not ford the water in your vehi­cle if you can avoid it. Check the depth on foot before you even con­sid­er ford­ing water. Most vehi­cles can get their dri­ve train dam­aged by as lit­tle as a foot of water. The vehi­cle will also kick up wakes into people’s homes. The peo­ple in the house may object vio­lent­ly to you flood­ing their already dam­aged house. If you do ford water do so at an idle speed and pay­ing close atten­tion to water depth. If in doubt back up to high­er ground! Judg­ing the water depth is decep­tive since cars have dif­fer­ent heights. Often times the cen­ter of the road is the high­est side. Con­sid­er using the side­walk, lawns or road medi­an to keep at least part of your vehi­cle high enough not to flood.

Elder­ly, Infirm, Pets and Kids:
None belong in a dis­as­ter zone and should be evac­u­at­ed ASAP. Pets will be destroyed at the slight­est bit of incon­ve­nience to the author­i­ties. Chip your pet and evac­u­ate them. Keep their shots cur­rent and board them with friends fam­i­lies or a board­ing facil­i­ty. There were numer­ous instances of pets sum­mar­i­ly destroyed for a vari­ety of rea­sons includ­ing sim­ply spite. Two deputies in St Bernard parish are fac­ing charges for shoot­ing pets for no appar­ent rea­son. The inci­dents were cap­tured on video­tape, despite this, they would nev­er have been charged if left to the local offi­cials. One can only imag­ine what else went on and was not uncov­ered. An elder­ly women recount­ed to me her sto­ry about how she refused to leave her home because her pet could not come with her. The LEO sim­ply shot her beloved pet in front of her said “now the prob­lem is solved” and put the woman in a boat. I heard from oth­ers in dif­fer­ent areas that they were forced to aban­don their pets under threat of phys­i­cal threat. Some of these pets sur­vived oth­ers did not. In a tru­ly bad sit­u­a­tion you should assume this atti­tude will extend to chil­dren and non-able bod­ied peo­ple as well. In fact in war time this type of behav­ior has been doc­u­ment­ed in var­i­ous parts of the world.

There was also the case of 32 nurs­ing home patients that were aban­doned and sub­se­quent­ly drown in St Bernard Parish. In anoth­er case an elder­ly woman and her mid­dle aged quad­ri­pleg­ic son were told a spe­cial van would come get them. No trans­porta­tion arrived and they both died.

If you are hand­i­capped, elder­ly have chil­dren or pets make your own plans to evac­u­ate. Do not rely on any gov­ern­ment plan to assist you. Rely only on your­self.

Evac­u­a­tion issues:
Leave ear­ly or Late – A tough call it depends on your cir­cum­stances and how like­ly your risk is to be vs. that of stay­ing put. Just do not wait too long. allow 12 hours to get to safe­ty!

Which route to use? – be flex­i­ble and do not be afraid to use back routes, speed is less impor­tant than steady progress away from dan­ger. Keep a close watch on your gas. Look for gas at ½ a tank, search dili­gent­ly for gas at ¼ of a tank, look for a safe place stop at 1/8 of a tank. Do not run out of gas. If you have to use your reserve tank find shel­ter near­by and wait until it is safe. Gas gives you options, no gas leaves you vul­ner­a­ble. If nec­es­sary aban­don one vehi­cle and strip all fuel from it. Dis­card stuff in the fol­low­ing order (if nec­es­sary) goods to make things fit: mag­a­zines, clothes, ice chests, food, spare tire, tools, adults, chil­dren & elder­ly, pets. Nev­er dis­card water or fuel. If some­one has be left behind (at a safe place obvi­ous­ly) leave two peo­ple and give them cash & cred­it card, water, cell phone and set an alter­nate ral­ly point.

If pos­si­ble trav­el in two cars, evac­u­a­tion is very dan­ger­ous. Your car could break down and leave you and your loved ones strand­ed with an impend­ing dis­as­ter enroute. Two cars capa­ble of car­ry­ing all is the safest way to trav­el. Do not rely on the LEOs to assist, they will be busy and the phrase SOL comes to mind.

What to bring? See the above list but include at least 5 gal­lons of gaso­line, food (sim­ple stuff like bread and peanut but­ter) and at least 1 gal­lon of water for every two peo­ple. Be sure to car­ry the gas on top of the vehi­cle on the roof rack not inside the car. It will make every­one nau­seous oth­er­wise. Have maps, a lap­top with an inter­net card to stay in touch with the out­side world and a GPS is very use­ful. FRMS & CB radios do work well here. but are obnox­ious to have on all the time. The driver’s job is to dri­ve and do noth­ing else oth­er than keep an eye out­side the vehi­cle. The traf­fic will range from a creep­ing 10 to 20 mph to 60 mph bumper to bumper traf­fic. It is demand­ing and tir­ing to dri­ve like this for 6 to 12 hours at a time. If pos­si­ble appoint one of the pas­sen­gers nav­i­ga­tor. The nav­i­ga­tor is respon­si­ble for keep­ing track of the locataion of both vehi­cles, near­by alter­nate routes and main­tains com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the oth­er vehi­cle. Oth­er pas­sen­gers can be uti­lized to find accom­mo­da­tions, gas and oth­er nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion via cell phone (or inter­net) as well as tend to needs of the oth­er pas­sen­gers or dri­ver. A 12 volt TV can pro­vide invalu­able news.

The traf­fic will be mov­ing very slow­ing. 10 to 20 mph is not unusu­al, so be patient and do not plan on being able to get off the high­way for any­thing for at least 5 to 8 hours.
A “piss buck­et” is absolute­ly vital. For males a sim­ple 32 oz cup WITH A LID, a 2 liter bot­tle and a fun­nel or a wide mouth 1 to 2 liter juice bot­tle will work nice­ly. Women may use the same thing but with a fun­nel. Be sure to have a tow­el handy! Do not dump it on the road unless you are trav­el­ing very slow­ly (which is nor­mal­ly the case) keep it sealed in Ziploc bag in between uses to avoid mess­es. Kids espe­cial­ly pre­teen girls may pose spe­cial prob­lems due to mod­esty issues. Talk to those involved. It will be a prob­lem and stop­ping may not be an option, assum­ing you can even pull over.

It depends on the sit­u­a­tion but gen­er­al­ly the far­ther away the bet­ter yet the clos­er the des­ti­na­tion the eas­i­er it will be to get there. Where you go is up to your bud­get. I sug­gest some place with fam­i­ly and friends to help you assim­i­late in case the stay is a long one. For stays over 2 weeks, a fur­nished cor­po­rate apart­ment is gen­er­al­ly a bet­ter deal and more com­fort­able and nor­mal than a hotel room.

Evac­u­a­tion by Air:
This is the safest and eas­i­est way to evac­u­ate but you can­not take much with you. This is gen­er­al­ly best if you have a house else­where or you have small chil­dren, elder­ly or infirm peo­ple to remove. When you leave be sure to leave your car parked at an inside garage and at least one lev­el above the ground floor. Do not count on this method unless you own your own plane since flights are gen­er­al­ly booked well in advance.

Per­son­al gear:
You should always car­ry the fol­low­ing:
A butt pack with flash­light, pis­tol (assum­ing you have a CCH per­mit), reloads, cig­a­rette lighter, pep­per spray, leather­man tool, latex gloves, small hand san­i­tiz­er and dig­i­tal cam­era, spare bat­ter­ies, spare data card. The cam­era should be kept in a bag­gy to pro­tect it. Why the cam­era? So you can show oth­ers what you saw and get their input into sit­u­a­tions.

Water at least one bot­tle

Clean tow­el, spare shoes, spare clothes, and wad­ing boots. I typ­i­cal­ly wore a jump­suit and run­ning shoes. I changed my shoes to steel toed boots when I got out of the car and again when I got back in.

A hat and sun­screen were also very handy.

Wash your hands wash your face with a clean tow­el before you go into the house if you have been out on “expe­di­tion”.
Hand san­i­tiz­er and plain old alco­hol work great if potable water is not avail­able..
Thick Plastic/chemical resis­tant gloves as well as latex gloves to pro­tect your­self from chem­i­cals like chlo­rine.

Leave your shoes out side and do not track any crud inside.

If you wear a jump­suit with shorts under­neath. Shuck the jump­suit and put it in a garbage bag along with any tow­els used. Leave your boots out­side. Every­thing dirty goes in the wash­ing machine. Any­thing recov­ered from the flood water stays out side. Set up a hose and buck­et with dish wash­ing liq­uid to clean off any­thing nasty and leave it out side..


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