Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Observations from Hurricane Ike

Here are some long distance observations on the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. All of this information is garnered from the media, having not been there myself, and all of it relates to preparedness and the 20/20 hindsight that comes after such an event:
  • When everyone is saying evacuate or die, take the warning seriously. I think the death count is 20+, not bad for a major hurricane but some of the deaths could have been prevented if the people would have evacuated.
  • If evacuation in eminent, leave (much) sooner rather than later. Towards the end of the evacuation when the storm was bearing down on Galveston, it was virtually impossible to evacuate because there was one road and way too many cars all trying to get out of town.
  • According to one report, a couple "overslept" and missed the evacuation. It wasn't like they only had an hour's notice. How can you oversleep and miss a multi-day evacuation??
  • One lady said her life jacket saved her because her husband had her put it on while they were waiting out the storm in their home. If you are in a room that is filling up with water, carry the life jacket outside and put it on as you don't want to be trapped in the life jacket in a room filling up with water.
  • Food, both the stockpile in the garage and the portable kind you can take with you when you evacuate, is of critical importance. There was a huge line outside of a store in Texas, when the reporter asked why the people were waiting, they replied that they didn't have any food in their home. Gather up enough food to last you for a number of weeks prior to a disaster--it will be virtually impossible to do so after a disaster. In a related news article, the food banks in the area are also out of food.
  • Next to food, gas is another primary need before, during, and after a disaster. Some people could not evacuate because they could not afford gas. Others ran out of gas because the line of evacuating cars stretched for miles (and hours) and the local stations had run out of gas. After the hurricane, the gas stations were empty and people didn't have gas stored for generators (if they had a generator available).
  • Another critical need in the affected area is water. The water is contaminated and residents must drink bottled or treated water.
  • The importance of having somewhere to evacuate to is something to consider before a disaster. Many people will need to stay where they evacuated to because going back to their home either isn't an option due to lack of service (water, electricity, etc) or because their homes are totally gone. Imagine what would happen if your only option is a community shelter.
  • If there is a chance of flooding where you're at, it's a good idea to have some type of boat and life jackets.
  • Cash is better than credit cards in a disaster situation. Some of the stores could only take cash as they were running without electricity and ATMs weren't working.
  • Surviving the hurricane was just the beginning. Clean up, repair, and rebuilding will take quite a while, quite a bit of work, and quite a lot of materials.


  1. Members of my group got out way ahead of time. Many were already gone before the voluntary evacuations. They new better than to wait. Our emergency plans went well and everyone got to their assigned bug-out locations without expierencing the myriad of problems that plagued those who waited until the last possible moment to get out.


  2. Thanks for the info and showing the value of being prepared--that is exactly the outcome that all of us who prepare for a disaster hope for. Great job to you and your group!