Monday, March 9, 2009

Real Life -- Living It

Because we can learn so much from each other, Monday's posts will be "Real Life -- Living It" featuring a guest post.

This week's guest post is by Sylvia. She shares some lessons learned from Hurricane Ike. (Thanks for sharing Sylvia! You are INSPIRING!)


"I’ve been meaning to post this for some time. My darling sister Donna asked me to provide a little article for their ward’s preparedness blog. This is my attempt to do that. If you are a member of her ward, Welcome. I hope you find this helpful. If you are someone who survived the events of Ike and think I missed something or want to give me an amen, please comment. If you are entirely uninterested in this post, feel free to skip it. It is, actually, a bit long. So were the after affects of the hurricane.

1. Everything they say is true to be prepared. Study the churches provident living website and do as you are instructed. It ‘s all there.

2. Invest in a generator. It made surviving bearable. We ran our fridge, a/c, washer/dryer, tv, and computers thanks to the generator. It would actually even be worth having two. We couldn’t run everything at the same time.

3. A chainsaw comes in handy. Oddly enough.

4. Practice living “Old School.” Go without electricity for a day or heat or a/c and see what things you can do to survive.

5. Crisis invites missionary opportunities. Be prepared to share your stash and the gospel.

6. The luxuries of life will no doubt be missed. Learn to live without them and be happy {emphasis on be happy}. After two weeks of “hurricane hair” I was not happy. I need to learn to be.

7. Treat each situation as unique. We sailed through Rita and thus underestimated Ike b/c we thought it would be the same story. It wasn’t. I evacuated for Rita and didn’t need to. I wish I would have evacuated earlier for Ike {thanks Donna!}

8. We had a dial tone phone on hand that didn’t depend on electricity to work. Our cordless phone went dead almost immediately. Keep one of those at the ready. Our phone service was hit and miss but an “Old School” phone made it possible for us to receive calls and dial out when we had service. Also text messages would often make it out while cell calls did not.

9. Gas will be overpriced and difficult to get a hold of.

10. ATMs and credit card machines will be down and you will need cash. That is why you keep some on hand.

11. I could have used a recipe book that was filled with ideas on meals to prepare using only what was in my pantry and could be cooked on our gas stove...the oven was unavailable for two weeks. I wish I had been happy-spirited enough to try cooking in a solar oven...maybe this summer. Also, we had no dutch ovens on hand or charcoal. We did use our grill a few times. Note to self...get a cook book with recipes for dutch ovens and purchase dutch ovens.

12. You will have a built-in network b/c of the church. It is amazing to see it in action. Be prepared to support it {i.e know your vt and ht families and check in with them frequently}.

13. Ham radio operators were in demand and seemed to have access to lots of information. Be friends with someone who knows how to operate one and is involved in the hro” community.

14. Have all of your “official” papers in a place where you can retrieve them easily and quickly...and be familiar with the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.

15. Follow all the safety recommendations for the natural disasters predicted in your area {i.e. earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood, etc}

Just two anecdotal stories and a final word...

When the whole of Galveston flooded and much of the city was destroyed the church house did not. Houses across the street had flood lines past the 6 foot mark. Though built on slightly raised ground the church building was not built on ground 6 feet higher than the neighboring houses. Miraculous.

In one neighborhood {the one of my former visiting teacher’s daughter} a fundamental Christian group marched up and down the street holding candles stopping at each house to pray. Maybe they stopped at her house and prayed. Maybe they didn't. But they didn't invite her to join them. She and her small children went to her mother’s house to ride out the storm. After Ike when she returned to survey the damage to her home she noted that each home along her street had trees down and many had received damage to their roofs and structures. Many of these were homes that had been prayed over. She braced for the worse. Of course, you guessed it...her home had no damage whatsoever. She rolled up her sleeves and went to work helping her neighbors recover.

But not every good and righteous family was passed over. There were many amazing members whose homes were damaged b/c of the hurricane. The storm was no respecter but the good news is that the families hit by this tragedy had an immediate infrastructure to help them through it. And the opportunities to serve? Endless.

Be prepared. Be prepared to help others and to be helped by others.

What did I miss? Please feel free to comment."



Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Sylvia;:)

We don't live a hurricane prone area, but we have had instances of flooding in communities surrounding ours in the last few years. We don't have a generator at this time, but I think it's a great idea. I do have a recipe book with only meals planned from pantry storage, nothing frozen or perishable. I decided that I would rather not deal with the stress of trying to figure out what to eat in an emergency.:)

All the best with your further preparations,

Lynn said...

Thanks SO much for sharing that with us Sylvia. That is an AWESOME list to go by. This will be discussed during our next family meeting. There's a couple of items we will need to purchase for sure.

I am so glad that you and your family survived and did okay.

Anonymous said...

After going thru a devastating hurricane 4 years ago, and we were prepared but not enough, we made about the same list you did.

I would add, learn to cook on your gas/charcoal grill, & keep meals as close to normal meals as possible.After a disaster is not the time to try a bunch of new recipes.

We have been using a solar oven since Dec., husband's Christmas gift to us, and it has been terrific - everything from coffee, bread, lasagna, pot roast.

Be sure to have some games, books, puzzles, etc on hand to occupy your time. Good time to work on hand quilting, knitting, and such.

Being prepared takes away the hand wringing, worry, and such. Peace of mind coupled with preparation makes dealing with any disaster much easier. Brenda

K P said...

Thanks ladies!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow Sylvia. Your experiences are amazing. Thanks for sharing!