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Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the Midwest and parts of the South who were impacted by a series of tornadoes, powerful thunderstorms and high winds that arrived on Sunday, November 17.
There are 8 reported deaths blamed on Sunday’s tornadoes while neighborhoods and rescue crews continue to sift through the rubble of destroyed homes, overturned cars and uprooted trees. The powerful storm front impacted the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Western New York.
The heaviest hit areas are reporting power outages, natural gas line breaks, and trees and debris that now block many roadways. Unfortunately, looting is also being reported as people struggle to cope with damaged or destroyed homes and property.
Washington, Illinois, a town of 16,000, took the brunt of the massive storm front where it is reported that between 250 and 500 homes were damaged or destroyed. Even so, residents whose homes were lost tell reporters they are thankful they and their loved ones survived what the governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, stated were the “deadliest tornadoes that we’ve ever seen in the month of November in Illinois history.”
As preppers, we are hard-wired to plan ahead for such emergencies, but it never hurts to double-check what the experts advise during a tornado alert and in its aftermath.
- Move underground to a basement, cellar or to an interior room such as a closet, hallway or bathroom
- Watch for downed power lines
- Wear long pants and shirt and sturdy shoes when examining buildings (the amount bizarre of chemical, biological, viral, fungal, and parasitic threats that get stirred up by high wind events are truly amazing and somewhat shocking. “Mystery” rashes, fevers, spots, bumps, and coughs are the norm more than the exception, so the more you can protect your skin, the better.)
- After a disaster, if you smell natural gas or hear a hissing noise, open a window to disperse the fumes and then exit the building immediately
- Use a flashlight when inspecting for damage. Matches or lighters can be the trigger to ignite natural gas escaping from broken lines
Of course, those are just the basics and I hope that you already knew most or all of these points.
Taking It A Step Further
- Agree on a designated meeting spot that is away from your home. You will need an alternative meeting place in case you are unable to return home due to blocked or gridlocked roads, or in the event that evacuations are ordered because of safety concerns. It is important to make dry runs to your meeting place. This will reveal any weak links, and allow you to fix them, before an actual emergency.
- Many times, disasters arrive without warning. Cellular and landline communications may be down or jammed, making it impossible to get in touch with loved ones. Never assume you will be able to put a plan of action in motion after a crisis hits. Having said that, an out-clause may exist. Several readers have shared they were able to send short texts even when cellular calls did not go through during an emergency situation.(David’s note: Our family carries a pair (or more) of radios in each of our vehicles and in each set of luggage so that we have the possibility for SOME communication, even if landlines and cell service is down.)
- When traveling after a tornado, flood or an earthquake, always check for signs of erosion before crossing a bridge.
- Teach members of your family (who you deem old enough) how to shut off electrical power at the breaker, how to shut off the gas feed running into your home, how to know where the water main to your home is located and how to turn it off. Consider tying a gas shut-off wrench or a crescent wrench to your gas meter.
- During hurricane Katrina, people were caught in attics when they fled from the incoming floodwater and, sadly, some were unable to escape as the water level rose to dangerous levels. In an earthquake or a tornado, debris may block exits. Should you get trapped, keeping an ax or a chainsaw with your other emergency supplies, where it can be grabbed in the event of a sudden emergency, will allow you to cut your way out .(David’s note: This is particularly important if you plan on retreating to your attic in a high water situation.)
- If you are given advance warning, bring critical supplies that you normally store outside in a shed, such as a generator and camp gear, indoors to avoid them being carried away in a flood or a tornado.
- Keep topographical maps and a compass in your Bug Out Bag. GPS relies on batteries, so keep extra batteries sealed and with your GPS.
- Caching critical supplies by burying them in water-proof containers in your yard or an off-site location is a good backup strategy for catastrophic events; plus a cache offers a buffer against looters.
(David’s note: SurvivalDiva offers a good general list below, but if you’re serious about caching, I’m starting a 4 part series on caching with a former sniper from 1St Special Operations Group in the Journal of Tactics and Preparedness that will go into caching techniques that he saw and used during multiple combat deployments as well as decades of personal experience from both of us detailing what has and has not worked. To learn more, go >HERE<)
Many of the items on the suggested cache list below may be things you already have packed in your Bug Out Bag, but redundancy is NEVER a bad thing.
(David’s note: Caches are as individual as underwear, and there are as many possibilities for the perfect cache as their are for the “perfect” shirt. Caches can be inside, outside, above or below ground, above or below water, etc. They can be the size of a cigar tube or as big as a house. They can even be hidden or 100% out in the open. As a good starting point, consider burying a 5 gallon bucket (possibly with a gamma lid) or an ammo container with some of the item’s in SurvivalDiva’s list below.)
- Food: consider caching a mixture of foods. Items like energy bars, trail mix, peanut butter and MREs do not require cooking, thus freeing up valuable time that will be needed at the onset of a crisis. If you’ve got a pet, try to include food that both you and your pet could eat.
- Can opener (if applicable)
- A small amount of water, a hiker’s water purifier, chlorine or iodine, and canteen/water bottle
- Stormproof matches, lighters and a metal match. Blastmatch if you want a Cadillac
- Compass & GPS
- Topographical map(s)
- Emergency medical kit; prescription medications (if applicable)
- Toilet Paper
- Hygiene products, including antibacterial soap
- Bleach (for use as a disinfectant)
- Copies of important documents (possibly on a USB drive)
- Camp gear (tent, sleeping bag, cookware, eating utensils)
- Hunting knife
- Leatherman multi-tool
- Nylon cord, Paracord or technical cord (check the strength of cord before purchasing)
- Duct tape
- Extra clothing (including warm jackets, gloves and hats, when applicable)
- Hiking boots
- Plastic garbage bags (they can be used as a poncho)
- 2-way radios
- Emergency wind-up radio
- Extra batteries, rechargeable batteries, & a solar charger
- A bag, pack, or something else to carry the items that you remove from your cache
(David’s note: This obviously won’t all fit in an ammo can or a 5 gallon bucket. Heck, we’ve got a cache of 4 sets of winter clothes in case we have to run out of the house in the middle of the night barefoot in our PJs and it’s bigger than a 5 gallon bucket :) My advice is to pick a few items and get caching. Don’t let perfection get in the way of making forward progress.
One way to approach caching is to envision an event, like a fire in the middle of the night where you got out safely but lost everything, and figure out what you would need to have cached to be able to pick up the pieces of your life and keep moving forward with minimal downtime. List the items you’d need, then make one or more caches to hold the items and place them somewhere where the disaster you have in mind wouldn’t be able to wipe out both your house and your caches.)
Is there anything you’d like to add to the list of recommended cache items? Have you ever needed to evacuate an area because of a weather-related emergency? Please share by commenting below.
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Chapter 31 of Implant has been posted. You can Click Here to continue reading.
If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving next week, travel safe and keep an eye out for next Friday’s newsletter and our Black Friday specials!
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva