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Hurricanes and Floods - An Excerpt from When Disaster Strikes

Hurricanes and Floods - An Excerpt from When Disaster Strikes

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Disasters often strike without warning and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Yet armed with the right tools and information, survivors can fend for themselves and get through even the toughest circumstances. Matthew Stein's When Disaster Strikes provides a thorough, practical guide for how to prepare for and react in many of life's most unpredictable scenarios.

This excerpt focuses on hurricanes and floods -- and how to survive them
Disasters often strike without warning and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Yet armed with the right tools and information, survivors can fend for themselves and get through even the toughest circumstances. Matthew Stein's When Disaster Strikes provides a thorough, practical guide for how to prepare for and react in many of life's most unpredictable scenarios.

This excerpt focuses on hurricanes and floods -- and how to survive them

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Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Oct 28, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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12/04/2012

 
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Hurricanes and Floods
 When a hurricane is approaching, and/or foodwaters are rising, it is the wrong time to wish you had planned ahead. I strongly suggest that you usethis chapter, along with the rst 8 chapters (the “core” o this book) to helpyou plan ahead to cope with hurricanes and foods. When deciding whetherto pack and go (evacuate), or to stay and make a stand, i your lie is at stake,or the lives o your loved ones, it is wiser to err on the side o caution. The vastmajority o nearly 2,000 deaths attributed to Hurricane Katrina could havebeen avoided had those people evacuated ahead o time. Remember, when-ever there is a hurricane warning, there will be a run on items like matches,fashlights, candles, plywood, milk, bread, rst-aid kits, and generators. Theprocrastinators get the dregs o what is let on the shelves ater they have beenpicked over, which in some cases is nothing o any use in an emergency!This chapter covers hurricane and food survival tips, how to improve theresistance o your home to hurricanes, checklists o items to have on handand action items to take care o beorehand, and tips or dealing with theatermath, including toxic mold (in the case o fooding).
Hurricane and Flood Survival Tips
Here is a list o essential items and tips or surviving a food or a hurricane:
1.
 
Axe and lie preservers.
Stash an axe and lie preservers in the upperstory, or attic, o your home. Remember, most o the drowning victimso Hurricane Katrina were people who stayed in their homes and oundthemselves trapped by rising waters with no place to go. Many drowned intheir attics, unable to break through the roo to the outside. A ew bucksspent on these items ahead o time could save your lie! Having a smallboat on hand, such as an infatable rat or canoe, is a good idea, but itshouldn’t take the place o a lie preserver, which will keep you afoat, andyour head above water, even i knocked unconscious.2.
 Water is critical.
Water is absolutely essential or human survival; it playsa part in all o the body’s biochemical reactions. You may not believe it,but most o us could survive or several weeks without ood, yet a singleday without water in extreme heat can kill a person. Water requirementsvary depending on activity level and temperature. The absolute mini-mum or survival, with little or no activity and cool conditions, is about 1quart o drinking water per day, and 2 quarts o water per day will usually 
 
272 Specifc Disasters and Crises: Preparations and Strategies
sustain moderate activity at an acceptable level o comort under moder-ate conditions (you will eel somewhat dehydrated). More than 1 quart o  water every hour can be required to perorm heavy physical labor underextremely hot conditions. Typically allow or at least 1 gallon per personper day, and in desert climates, or hot humid climates, a realistic gure isto allow or 3 gallons per day per person.3.
Fill your bathtub and tape o your toilets.
Ater a major hurricane or foodhits, the public water system may be polluted, or entirely shut down, or weeks. Immediately ll your bathtubs, sinks, and other available containers with water. This will provide your household with a short-term supply o clean, potable water. There is a supply o clean, potable water in the toilettanks, hot-water heater, and piping in your house. When you notice thatthe tap water has stopped fowing, conserve the water in your toilet tanks(the tanks, not the bowl, contain potable water) and immediately notiy allother occupants to not fush the toilets.
Caution:
Do not drink the toilettank water i you use an automatic toilet cleaner with blue toilet water.4.
Drain your water heater and pipes.
 Water heaters are supplied with a ventlocated near the top o the tank and a drain near the bottom o the tank.Open the top vent (pull on the little lever on the spigot) and drain thetank into containers as needed. I there is dirt and sediment in the watercoming out o the tank,
do not discard this water.
 
Simply allow 
 
the sedi-ment to settle and drink the water o the top.
 Make sure you turn off the electricity or gas to your water heater before draining or it will be ruined! 
 
Crack an upper aucet and open a lower hose bib or aucet to drain a gallonor two o water out o your home’s piping.
Several years ago, my riends David andNancy few to the island o Kauai or theirvacation. On the rst day o their vacation, they went or a walk on the beach. As theygazed out to sea, they watched a dark andsinister looking cloud build and boil on thehorizon. When the waterline receded about20 eet out to sea, they knew that somethingserious was about to hit. They rushed back to their rented cottage, a mile down the beachand a ew houses back rom the shore. By the time they reached their cottage, the windshad increased to over 80 miles per hour asHurricane Iniki approached the Island. SinceDavid was an employee o the public utilitydistrict in a mountain community, he knew the importance o preserving a supply opotable water. Immediately, he lled all thesinks and bathtubs in the house with waterand instructed the other occupants not tofush toilets or wash with the stored water.As the day progressed, winds increased to an almost unbelievable 175 miles perhour. The terried occupants crouched incorners, away rom windows, and watchedearully as large chunks o the neigh-boring houses blew by. Their house wasconstantly pelted with fying debris and the roar o the wind was deaening. Hourslater, when the storm cleared, there wasan eerie silence. Downed trees cluttered the roads, making automotive travel impos-sible. The stores quickly ran out o ood andwater. The water that David had stored in the bathtubs and sinks provided drinkingwater or several households. It took more than three weeks to restore electricity andwater to most o the island.

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