To my East Coast Friends – Notes on Hurricane Irene Prep & the Aftermath

Below are a few notes from my last experience with a hurricane. I hope that this blog will help a few of our east coast neighbors.

Seeing Hurricane Irene running up the East Coast reminds me of Ike and how we were out of power for 14 days. Our neighborhood started working together as we realized we had to board up our windows. Some of us ran to Lowes for supplies, while others worked to board up the windows. One house stocked up on beer and wine for an all night hurricane party. They were a group of airline pilots who had never experienced a hurricane, and played beer pong all night through a hurricane.
We stocked up on food supplies, Beer, Meds & Batteries, etc .

As Ike hit our power went out relatively quick. We broke out the candles, guitars and started playing songs having fun with lots of laughter. The kids hardly knew what was going on outside and went to sleep with good feelings while the wind and rain raged outside. When the eye of Ike came over our home we ventured out to see the condition and it was a mess. Small tornados and high winds had knock down trees all around our home. Luckily, no trees had fallen on our home. The eye lasted about 30 minutes then the wind direction changed and the hurricane was on again raging even stronger.

After the Ike hit I opened up the garage, set up 2 – 10 x 10 canopies. Broke out some fold up tables and chairs, the propane grill, camp stove, lanterns, radios, TV, etc. Before the hurricane hit we had just loaded up the freezer with 300 pounds of shrimp, pork ribs and roast and 4 large briskets. So we had a good problem, we had to cook up all this food and share it before it went bad. I fired up our smoker and started cooking smoked meats and shrimp. We went days without power, and we became the center of our neighborhood as we cooked and hung out together. We took a positive attitude and made life long friends with our neighbors. By day we helped each other clean up debris,and by night people came over all night long, play poker, board games, playing music and talking. Many of us took turns reading and sharing story time with the kids.

As the days went on some of us went to the store for ice, milk, soda and beer. Some stood in line for gas. We took turns cooking and cleaning. Parents took turns reading to the kids and comforting them. Many of the young people stayed up all night keeping eyes on the neighborhood for unfriendly people. Which we found few, and mainly found new friends. We had no power for the first week, then a friend brought over a generator. We ran extension cords to as many neighbors as we could, at least 6 homes were sharing the limited power. As people started to come out of their homes struck with fear, many of them came across us and couldn’t believe how we turned the storms aftermath into such a positive experience.

We showed our children how to turn this situation into not just survival, but a thriving positive experience. To this day people who experienced this event with us, remind me and thank me for being the focal point in our neighborhood. Not being fearful, angry or stingy, but opening up our home with great feelings of the joy of living and being together,extending our feelings of family to all our neighbors, and everyone sharing with each other.

My prayers go out toour East Coast neighbors, and I hope this blog helps a few families.

I have made a list of a few items that might help you get through this hurricane. Break out the camping gear, Plan as if you are going to camp for a week.

Equipment and Supplies

Obtain Generator and Gas Cans Fuel – First few days long gas lines
Propane cook top, 6 propane containers
Wind up Radio, flashlights
Battery Operated TV
Solar Power Source
Propane/Battery Lanterns – Flash Light
Percolator Coffee Pot/Ground Coffee
5 to 10 Cases Water Gallon Jugs
Bleach to Sanitize Dishes
Coolers for Ice -Stock up before – This will be a productyou buy daily, prepare for long lines.
Withdraw Cash, ATM’sMaybe down for a few days
Charcoal, and lighter fluid
Battery Operated Fans
Large First Aid Kit
Pain and Headache Meds
2 or 3 Large Propane Tank for BBQ grills
Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, Paper cups, plates, Plastic forks, spoons, knifes
*Old Time Telephone that does not have batteries works off phone line.
Games – Cards, BoardGames, Dominos

Fruits and Vegetables
Canned Juices and Powder Milk,
Canned Soup and Stews
Sugar,Salt, Pepper, Spices
Peanut butter and jelly
Crackers; Canned meats/fish
Granola bars, Trail mix, Nuts, Chips
Cookies,fruit pies
Instant/ground coffee, tea, instant hot chocolate
Supplies for smores

Plan to cook your refrigerated, then frozen foods first.

My prayers go out to my east coast neighbors, may you be safe and find the good moments in your lives in your up coming challenge.

A. Keith Hebert
Humble, Tx 77396
Mobile: 281-798-4599

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