Survival Afterwards: Living in the Aftermath

August 29 is my wedding anniversary.  It was the same date that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf South Coast.  I try not to attach anyBest Hurricane Survival Tips connection between the two.  Though I lived 150 miles north of the landfall, our community was greatly impacted by the storm.  High winds and driving rain took down scores of trees and power lines along with them.  Roofs soared off homes, glass blew out, and highways became cluttered with storm debris and escaping vehicles.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

All the local motels and eating establishments quickly jammed up with “refugees” coming in from the coast.  Within a week supplies began to dwindle.  Gasoline was in short supply creating long lines at the few open stations to only be able to buy ten gallons.  Even many people lucky enough to have a generator, could not get gas to run them.  All the generators were sold out the first day anyway.  I did not get one.

On the Home Front

So, here was the scenario at home.  I was there off and on because my work site was open.  My wife’s was not.  Schools were closed Best Survival Tipsso my young child was home.  We had no electrical power.  City water pressure continued and we had natural gas for cooking.  In many ways we were better off than a lot of other folks.  We had meat and frozen food in the freezer we could get out quickly that would last a few days and the same in the regular refrigerator.  We had lots of canned goods to last a couple weeks.  We had filled two tubs with water and 12 gallon milk jugs filled when the news came just in case.

Related: The Human Element of Survival

We used the shower for bathing, which was often with the daytime temps above 90 with equal humidity.  It was hot.  Sleeping at night was very uncomfortable.  I had stocked up with plenty of flashlights and batteries.   We had several big candles and a Coleman lantern with two gallons of fuel.  I have a similar camping cook stove in case the natural gas cut off.   We mostly used the candles.

Home security proved no issue.  I had my tools ready but since everyone in the neighborhood was in the same mess, as it were, there was no real advantage to rummaging around or looting, etc.  It did not happen in my area.  Frankly I think the bad elements simply could not get the gasoline to be roaming around.  We do know what happened in New Orleans so there is a lesson to be learned.  Be prepared, equipped and ready.  We were.

At Work 

Work was down completely though the facility I manage was the only one in the whole area with electric power.  It was only Food Storagecoincidental that the regional power company was using the site as an emergency Bug Out location.  It became the central hot spot for all the employees and other groups seeking accommodations for overnight rooms and meals.  We were booked.  Many of my in-house employees could not get to work, which was a good thing.

Also Read: 4 Things To Consider When Bugging Out

We had a stocked walk in freezer and a good supply of other food stuffs.  We had no tap water so bottled water had to be used to cook.  We made a lot of sandwiches and set up a “buffet” each day in the lobby for employees and guests only.  We turned away walk ins that learned we had some supplies.  College police guarded the facility each day.

The ‘tough” part was toting buckets of water up the hill from the nearby lake to flush toilets.  Some of the residents were not able to do this or unwilling to do it.  People failed to realize this was an emergency situation and continued to be demanding.  I recall one obnoxious guest screaming about not having her cable TV.  She was evacuated.

Life without the Power Grid

I recall quite vividly just how tough it was to be without electrical power.  We are all creatures of comfort, and I have to admit my own weaknesses just as all preppers will have to do under real practical aftermath conditions.  When it is 90+ degrees during the day and the house is hovering in the 85+ range, it is decidedly tough to go without air conditioning in the south.

Related: The Fear Factor

Had it been 30 degrees I could crank up the gas log fireplace.  However, I have long wished we had put in a wood burning fireplace or heater instead of a gas one.  There is a trade off for everything since a wood fireplace or wood heater would mean acquiring an ample supply of good firewood each season.   Think about this if you build a new house or add on.

We were able to manage otherwise quite well at home.  I did not miss the electrical lights though I did miss the television for news and weather.  The FM radio sufficed, but make sure you have one.  It is amazing but many people today including preppers simply forget to have on hand an old fashioned battery operated dial radio.  Don’t forget either than your vehicle likely still has an AM-FM radio to catch news and weather.

Cracks in the Infrastructure

Preppers need to be thinking well in advance and planning for the breakdown of every common source of infrastructure that we have become reliant upon.  Storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, other natural disasters can shut everything down.  We could very well be without any support service or utility option.  We might lose electrical power, natural gas, public water, and sewer.

Public resources could be hampered or gone altogether.  Police, fire, rescue and ambulances may disappear from service.  Hospitals may offer restricted service or could be vacant with no source of doctors, nurses, or other employees.  Airports could be closed and interstate highways either totally congested or locked down with abandoned vehicles.   Remember the scenes of highways in Atlanta on Walking Dead.

Related: 4 Step Home Evacuation Plan

The usual supply outlets like grocery stores will be quickly sold out and then likely completely looted.  The same could be true for hardware stores, home supply outlets, gun and ammo shops, pharmacies, general merchandise stores and even “7-11” type convenience stops.  It will all be gone in very short order.  Most businesses may be locked up or simply abandoned.  Hence, this is the definition of prepping and survival planning.  You will have to become totally self-reliant at least until order is re-established and the supply lines flow once again.  It could be a long while or it might be never.  Let’s all hope and pray that our species is above total annihilation, but given the politics and lunacy among the Arab nations, anything could happen on this earthen body.

Storm Interrupted Not a Marathon

In our case of this SHTF created from natural causes our local down time was only three days at home.  Some people out in the Survivalrural county areas lost power for 2-3 weeks.  Fuel supplies remained sketchy for a while but refilled within a month.  Life got better quickly when the electricity came back on line.  Ya just gotta love air conditioning.

Storm damage clean up took a year in some places.  It was a lot longer along the coast.  Some home sites and business will never be rebuilt.  Blue tarps still cover buildings in New Orleans even after billions were spent on recovery efforts.  Some residents still do not understand why Uncle Sam’s buses never did come to evacuate them along with a free wine and cheese basket.

Also Read: SHTF vs. TEOTWAWKI

Had this been some other kind of SHTF it could have been an exercise in fighting off the end of society as we know it.  Personally, I cannot image trying to tough it out in a remote woodland location living under a tarp lean-to, a tent, or out of the back of an SUV for two weeks, six months, or a maybe a couple years.  You younger folks can likely manage it for a while anyway.

The aftermath is not going to be a picnic.  Even a temporary discomforting event like Hurricane Katrina teaches us the stark realities of just how inconvenient these SHTF events can prove to be.  So preppers plan and plan wisely.  Plan to survive the aftermath or at least until society become redefined again.

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6 comments… add one
  • Patrick J Flynn July 14, 2016, 1:36 pm

    Many people bypass the fact that large electronic big box stores have ample supplies of junk food, beverages and water for the taking while the idiots are stealing electronics. Beat them to the punch and concentrate on the food related essentials. Nutritious food? Nope. But it will provide sustenance for your tribe to survive another day!

    Best,

    Snake Plisken

    Reply
  • Pineslayer July 14, 2016, 5:03 pm

    I happened to be in the Deep South a couple of weeks ago, damn. Hot and shitty with no relief in sight. I don’t know how you all do it. I guess a lot of people think I’m nuts for liking life at 8600′, with its mostly mild temps and dry air. We flew into ‘Nawlins, first time there, and proceeded to walk around the old city, damn. It was an eye opener for me and my girls, I was on high alert constantly.

    So what is the game plan for Southern Survivalists with no air conditioning? Suck it up and suffer through the summer? I know there are ways to improve air flow. What have you done since living the dream? :)

    Reply
  • woodchuck July 14, 2016, 7:51 pm

    We lived most of our lives without A/C. I enjoy it now, but don’t really think I would suffer too badly if the power was out. We live in an old farm house, fairly tall with lots of windows. Heating it could be expensive, but I do have a fireplace and unlimited wood available. A big problem for people in newer homes will be air flow and ventilation. There will be problems with mold and mildew. I don’t know that much can be done about it, but you could locate the best areas in your home for safe storage and living. Talking about food and water on this site is preaching to the choir. If possible, convert a neighbor or two to our way of thinking.

    Reply
  • Ray July 18, 2016, 7:51 am

    Living without AC won’t be a big problem for anyone that wants to survive winter in the south eastern US. Because they will be spending every hot a** summers day growing and preserving food–OUTSIDE in the heat. I grew up on a rural sustenance farm and I’ll PROMISS you its a dawn to dusk 365 day a year job. IF TEOTWAWKI does come , you’ll have to add the endless, uncountable, hoards of starving , self entitled “preppers” ,turned starving marauder, trying to over run your crops and murder you and your children for food.

    Reply
  • John J. Woods July 19, 2016, 10:22 am

    What is it they say, “Dejavu all over again?” Irony of ironies as this post was put up a big thunderstorm rolled through our Mississippi town knocking out the power. We were without a spot on the grid for 42 hours. Daytime temps ran into the upper 90s with real feel over 100. I’m too old for this. Having just retired last month, now I had nowhere to escape to, but we managed. My main observation was a note that it seemed my core body heat absorption reached a sort of saturation point and it was impacting the way I felt. Cooling showers helped. If you befall such, keep up the hydration, reduce motion or bug out to a place with air conditioning. Survival is not for the faint of heart or the weak of body.

    Reply
    • irishdutchuncle July 20, 2016, 12:33 pm

      Congrats on making it across the goal line.
      I wish you many happy years of retired living.

      Reply

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