Hurricane seasons is coming, do you know what to do?

I have had the pleasure of experiencing and surviving Hurricanes Ike and Harvey as well as Tropical Storm Allison just to name a few. The truly scary events have been the unnamed storms, just fronts that come in during the spring, in our area that were accompanied by major flood events in the South Texas area. Each event has made me aware of deficits in my preparedness for my family, I don’t want you to feel the stress and burden from not being properly prepared for something that you can be ready for.   

My recent Experience:  During Hurricane Harvey I stocked up my home with food and water about 4 days before landfall, the rest of the gear I already had as a result of being an avid camper. with 2 days to landfall I saw all of our local grocery, warehouse and big box stores filled with people losing their minds looking for water, and really what amounts to junk food. There was plenty of canned veggies, tuna, and ramen left on the shelves however there were no chips, ice cream, pop tarts or any of the other traditional junk food items. Seeing this really makes me worry about people’s priorities in an emergency situation. Overall the best lesson l learned over the last twenty years is to not be a big mooch, be prepared. Below I have made a comprehensive list of ideas and supplies you may want to have on hand before the start of the Hurricane Season. 

The list below is a suggested list and is only meant to help you get prepared for the upcoming hurricane season. We live on the Texas Gulf Coast so we have different needs than someone on the eastern seaboard. Take your area of the country, population density and personal or family situation into account when making your list.  

Before any Hurricane event: 

  1. Make sure you keep your gas tank full in all your vehicles. Hurricanes don’t sneak up on you, they are forecast for at minimum 3 days. Even if it turns, the worst case is you have a full tank of gas for the week. 
  2. Charge all of your electronic devices and external batteries. a dead phone or flashlight will do you no good when the power goes out. 
  3. Take photos & Videos of your home inside and out before you leave, this is for insurance purposes. If you home is damaged destroyed or looted, you need to have a record of what you had. (Email them to yourself or upload to the cloud so they can be retrieved if the device is ruined.  
  4. Have CASH, the ATM’s may be down, and stores may not be able to take Credit Cards. Be sure to get small bills people may not be able to make change. Special Note, typically you can only pull out $300 per day, so plan accordingly to what you think you will need. 
  5. Fill your Bathtub with as much water as you can. This can be used in to fill up the toilet tank for flushing or washing dishes and any other general cleanup that needs to happen after the storm passes. 
  6. If you have a family or group, have Board games and or Card games on hand for when the power goes out. Boredom can have a negative impact on the overall attitude of the family or group.    
  7. Freeze water in jugs or bottles. Once frozen, place some in your fridge and leave the rest in your freezer. This little step will help keep your food and milk colder longer in the event of a power outage. 
  8. In an effort to minimize damage for both you home and others try and eliminate any potential projectiles. Bring all outdoor furniture, BBQ, playground equipment, wind chimes and potted plants inside the garage or apartment. 
  9. Riding out any storm has risk, decide before a hurricane if you are staying home or leaving. Do not leave in the middle of the storm it could be the worst decision you make. Roads may be impassable with trees, high water or downed power lines  
  10. If you are going to stay with someone in the potentially impacted area, bring your supplies. Contribute to the group don’t be a huge mooch. Bring bedding pillows, food, cash, anything that may be of use. 
  11. Prepare for your pets if you have them. Ensure they have food and water with bowls to eat and drink from. You will also have to account for them to have an area to take care of their business.  
  12. This is an oldie but a goodie, Board up or tape windows. Boarding is the best defense against flying objects, tape will help with shattering glass if the windows break. 
  13. When sheltering in place Identify the safest room in your home for emergency shelter. Stay away from windows and doors during the event and stick close to the safer areas. You never know when things will turn for the worse so always be aware of your location. 
  14. A Hurricane is a fairly short event with very lasting effects. Have enough supplies, food and water for everyone in your home (and Extra for family or friends that may be displaced) for up to a week. It may take that long to get food back to local stores.  
  15. Have a bag ready with some basic food and water along with the basic needs and your important documents in the event your home is damaged and you can no longer stay. In the unfortunate event you home or the place you are staying is damaged you may need to relocate. And may not have the opportunity to gather these items after the fact.   
  16. Be sure to store any important documents, including health insurance, vehicle or home titles, Birth Certificates, Social Security cards, if you have kids, include the shot records in a waterproof bag, box, or safe. 
  17. If you are a Gun lover like me, secure any and all firearms and Ammunition. Make sure they are locked in a safe or in your bag for relocation. You never want to leave them exposed for potential looters or family members or friends that may be staying with you.   

Items to have on hand and why:  

1. Water – Good rule is one gallon per person per day – Best to plan for 5 days. We store the gallon jugs for easy transport and carry. My Wife and daughter would be hard pressed to lift and pour a 5-gallon water jug for cooking or drinking.  

2. Food – Only buy what you would normally eat, Dry Just add water or canned goods. If the power goes out eat all your cold food first.  – Tuna Fish, Corned Beef, Spam (Yes, I said Spam) canned chicken breast, Pasta sides, rice, instant potatoes, macaroni or basic pasta noodles, Powdered Milk, Gatorade mix, Mio Drink Mix, Tea or Coffee, Cereal and Instant oatmeal, (Fun fact, the instant oatmeal packets are waterproof. You can put hot water in them and stir, no bowl required), Granola bars, pop tarts, trail mix, snack bars Chips. (The junk food or comfort foods)

3. Cooking – If you have a gas stove, you can skip over this. The gas typically does not go out. If you have an electric stove, I highly recommend a small propane burner  

Notes for using an outdoor stove: 

  1. Make sure you have Matches, or a long stem lighter – If the lighter is out, don’t worry, the sparks at the tip of the lighter will still light the stove. 
  2. If you have no choice but to cook indoors after a hurricane, keep a window open, this is propane stove and not meant to cook indoors. Please do not use this as space heating device. 
  3. Be sure to disconnect the gas after you use the stove. If it one of the single burner stoves, wait until it cools. 

4. Power – There are lots of USB battery packs you can get at a local big box store. You don’t want to run your car to charge the battery if you can help it. Also, a good solar panel can keep your devices charged in extended power outages.  And always keep extra batteries for all your flashlights and radios. I suggest keeping all your devices to one kind of battery to minimize the different types of batteries you have to purchase and store.  I use an Anker Solar Panel to power my battery banks. You can see all the specifications on this link to Amazon

5. Clean up – Apartment or House, have the Large Heavy Duty 55-gallon drum liner bags – Best place to find them is a big box home improvement store or Warehouse store. Trash service may be interrupted and these will keep the smells in better and are less likely to rip. If the trash does not get picked up, in would suggest keeping them on the balcony of an apartment or if you have a house, keep them in the back yard. Keep wet wipes on hand for the quick clean up   

6. Restroom – This I only add because on VERY RARE occasions the water has been shut off for a day of so while the power is being restored. I recommend filling your Bathtub, this water can be used to do dishes, or transport to the tank of your toilet for flushing. An alternate restroom is a 5-gallon bucket, Bucket Lid Toilet Seat and White kitchen trash Bags. (You can figure out the assembly!) This will save the water you have until the city water comes back on. Be sure to have a sufficient stock of Toilet paper and wet wipes. Even if you don’t use the bucket system. And ladies, be sure to get what you need if you can’t make to the store.  (You know what I’m talking about).   

7. Lighting – Lanterns are good for full room lighting and to use while cooking. Flashlights and headlamps are better for doing a task in a separate room (especially if you have family, kids feel better if they have their own light, it gives them a sense of security) Candles are good, it is best to use Tea Candles because they come in a metal casing and are less likely to be knocked over. (DO NOT USE PROPANE LANTERNS INDOORS!) We like the Coleman LED lanterns. You can see all the specifications on this link to Amazon

8. Smartphones – Know that if the power is out, some of the cell towers may be out and you can get spotty cell service, any may not have your beloved smart Phone internet to keep up with the news and conditions. Have a radio! The Midland Crank radio can charge your phone and has a light and can be found in retail sporting goods stores or you can see all the specifications on this link to Amazon 

If you are leaving the impacted area: 

  1. Make the decision to leave early, a hurricane or tropical storm is a forecast event and is one of the few natural disasters you can prepare for. If you wait for the local emergency management service to come on the news an issue an evacuation order, it is too late. the traffic will be a mess and my put you in a worse situation than you would be in if you rode out the storm at home.   
  2. When a tropical storm is forecast for your area be sure to keep your vehicle filled with gas. Don’t be ashamed to fill up at the half full mark. The worst that can happen is you have more gas than you need to get where you are going.  also note stores may be out of gas for several miles outside the potentially impacted zone closer to the storm making landfall.   
  3. Let TRUSTED family know you are leaving, where you are going and the best way to reach you. There is nothing worse than not knowing the status of a family member and if they are ok, if they made it safely to their destination or if they need help, communication is the key to a good evacuation plan.   
  4. Not to sound paranoid but I highly suggest you DO NOT post on social media that you have abandoned your home! Your “Friends” may decide your home is an easy target for looting. If a trusted family member hunkered down and stayed in the impacted area, see if they can  that is in the area check on your home if    
  5. Have a gas can, if you can, fill it up, extra fuel is never a bad thing. Just make sure if it inside the car, you keep the windows down, the best place to keep it is in the trunk strapped to the wall or secured so it does not spill. This is not ideal but in emergency situations noting is.  
  6. Lock all windows and doors on your home and any other structures. Don’t leave your home vulnerable to looters after the storm has cleared. There is nothing that can be done if the home is destroyed but you don’t want to come home to an empty standing house.  
  7. Unplug everything except the fridge and or freezer (unless they are empty). If you can, shut off the power at your breaker box, if you home is damaged this will help prevent power surges that could destroy home appliances and may electrical fires if there is water and structural damage to the home.  
  8. If your neighbor is staying home to ride out the storm, (and you trust them) let them know you are leaving and ask them to keep an eye on your home. They can also provide updates on the status of your home and when power comes back on 
  9. Be sure to bring any important documents, including health insurance, vehicle or home titles, Birth Certificates, Social Security cards, if you have kids, bring the shot records. Keep these in a waterproof or gallon size freezer bag to help protect them from water damage. 
  10. Take photos & Videos of your home inside and out before you leave, this is for insurance purposes. If you home is damaged destroyed or looted you need to have a record of what you had. (Email them to yourself or upload to the cloud so they can be retrieved if the device is ruined.  
  11. Make a plan to stay with friends or family, (don’t just show up randomly, it is bad manners!) If that is not an option make reservations at a hotel if you can, if not head to a RV park or campground outside the storm area. It is important to have a destination in confirmed before you travel when you can. Wandering aimlessly may get you in more trouble than staying at home      
  12. You will forget or run out of supplies, so have CASH. Be sure to get small bills after you pull out money from the ATM, people may not be able or refuse to make change. Sad but true, people will take advantage of a situation if they feel they can profit from it.    
  13. Your Smartphone is your best tool for updates on the situation for both weather, traffic and news. Have this and ll  your electronics and all charging cables with you and be sure you have a way to charge any devices for communication.  
  14. Keeping your energy up and being hydrated is the key to a good evacuation plan. Bring food and water, minimum 1,000 calories and 1 gallon of water per person per day, you may not have a place to stop, or may be stuck in traffic. If you are staying with friends and family, don’t show up empty handed.  
  15. In an effort to keep everyone safe, please bring your fire arms with you. Make sure they are unloaded and in a safe locked part of your vehicle, you don’t want them sitting on the back seat and stop for gas only to find them missing when you return from a grocery store. And please don’t leave them at home. Even if you have someone stopping by your house until you get back, anyone can break in and get them. I know the argument will be that can happen at any time but looters feel embolden after a natural disaster.   
  16. If you are camping at a campground or RV park, be sure you have a way to cook or only bring “Snack type” foods. If you have a Colman stove or backpacking stove and fuel, cook away, if not bring canned or packaged foods that don’t need preparation such as protein bars, cookies. Chips, tuna. Much of the same foods I have noted in the section above.    
  17. Don’t leave your pets behind to ride out the storm. Be sure to have plenty of food and water for the trip and for the duration of your absence. Your furry friend needs to feel comfortable just as you do, believe it or not they get stressed out in these situations. A good sea to summit collapsible bowl for food and water is a great      
  18. Bring clothes, enough for 3 days per person. Wear comfortable, close toed walking shoes & pack the flip flops. You can do laundry when you get where you are going. Don’t forget the comfort items such as blankets, pillows, towels epically if you are camping or staying with friends or family. If you are going to a hotel the bedding and towels will not be as important.  

There are many other things that you should consider for your personal or family situation. Make your own list and prepare the best you can with what you have and stay safe. We hope this information will help you be ready the next time the weather man lets you know there is a strong possibility a tropical storm or hurricane is coming your way and you can make the best of a bad situation.  

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites 

Gear review – Leatherman Surge Multitool

Gear review – Leatherman Surge Multi-tool
I love the Leatherman line of products, they are made in the USA and have a well-deserved steller reputation. I have had my surge for about a year and have used it on more occasions than I thought I might. It is a solid piece of gear that will compliment any EDC, camping, fishing, hunting, bugout, emergency or disaster gear you already own. Below I have my list of Pros and Cons on the Leatherman Surge multi-tool

Leatherman Surge -1

Product Pros:

This is a BEAST of a Multi-tool with a Sturdy design that really has not been rivaled. It has no “Flop” in it, the pliers, blades and tools are in place for the log haul and so far there have no issues with the structural integrity of the product
Your daily use items are on the exterior of the multi-tool, making them much easier to access. The 2 knife blades are one had open with a liner lock design that makes then a one handed close as well. Scissors and saw blade can be done with one had if you practice but are still simple to get to. This feature makes this an EDC worthy pocket knife.

The Pliers are your standard needle nose design with a larger opening for nuts and bolts toward the back of the assembly. They work well for the standard sizes most commonly used on automotive and household needs. The wire cutters work just fine for metal coat hangers, electrical wire and just about any standard household wires you may deal with. I would also like to note that they are replaceable, but I don’t use them enough to warrant it.
The interior tools, Awl, can opener, small and large flat head screwdriver and the bit driver that comes with a Phillips and flat head all work as expected. The surge has a locking mechanism for these tools as well to keep them from moving on you while in use.

Leatherman Surge Multitool - Blade

There are 2 distinctly different blades for your use, a straight and a serrated edge. I have been told on many occasions that a knife, unless used for cutting meet is to be a straight edge, if it has serrations it should just be a saw. I don’t agree with this logic, I personally believe the serrated blades come in the handiest cutting rope, or a small piece of wood, really anything that can fit in the divits between the peaks of the blades.

Leatherman Surge Multitool Saw file
The saw blade can be swapped out for the file they provide in the factory package. It is an easy exchange between the 2, also note you can order replacement saws and files from the Leatherman website. I had to replace my saw after it was chewed up by some concrete rock board I cut during my shower remodel project.

You have read all the good up to this point, now let me tell you a few of the things I don’t really care for.

Product Cons:

At 14.4 ounces, it is a heavy tool, if you wear it on your belt in the sheath they provided it is not too bad to carry, if it is in your pocket, be sure to have a belt on to keep your britches up! This is definitely a better pack item in my opinion.
This is a Multitool not just a pocket knife, so keep that in when you are using it as one. The next statement holds true for the vast majority of multitools, so I don’t hold it against Leatherman. When using the blades the bulk of the tool can get in the way of what you are trying to cut, especially if you are in a tight space or up against another object. It can make it more difficult than it needs to be and this is when you just want to go with a standard pocket or utility knife.

Leatherman Surge Multitool open

Here is my big complaint, the bit driver is proprietary, yes you have to buy your bits from Leatherman. I understand because of the design and function of the tool you were cutting down on the thickness of the bit driver and bits, but this really limits the size of hex or star heads you can use in the driver.

In Conclusion:

All in all, I like my Surge enough if it were ever stolen or lost I would replace it. The cons on this do not outweigh the pros by a longshot. This piece of gear has traveled with me on several campouts, fishing trips and has never failed me. I have used it camp cooking, getting the hook out of fish and even wrapping gifts at Christmas (Yes, I used the scissors, not the knife). For the foreseeable future the Leatherman Surge Multitool will have a place in my Everyday Carry bag.

If you like this review and find it helpful leave a comment or subscribe! For more specifications or to purchase the Leatherman Surge Multitool
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Gear Review – Browning Microblast 72 Lumen Flashlight

The Browning Microblast 72 Lumen flashlight has become one of my favorite EDC light. Below is a list of my pros and cons on the features and a little about how I use it in my daily life.

The Pros:

This light weighs in at around 3 ounces, that includes  the battery. It is so lite you may forget you have it in your pocket. But seriously, it makes this flashlight more desirable to carry everyday

One Triple A battery is all that is required to power this bad boy. it is an easy battery to stock or find in any local retailer when it needs replacing.

This is a bright 72 lumens and is enough for any close range task. Typically I use it for searching in my backpack, car, under the couch or behind the TV.

I have had issues in the past with lights getting turned on in my pocket. Browning has created this with the Twist-Style On/Off Switch, so far I have not had it come on unexpectedly

The pocket / hat clip makes it a good hands free option (as long as you wear a hat) it is even lite enough to clip on the collar of your shirt in a pinch.

The Cons:

This little guy  is easy to misplace! I have lost this light on 3 different occasions, it is so small that it can get lost in the cracks of a couch or in the car vary easily.

the single Triple A battery has a standard run time of only about 2 hours. This is not a long use light. Best for daily task but not so great for overnight adventures or as a primary emergency flashlight

With only 72 lumens the range is limited to about 15′-20′ of useable light. Depending on where you are using it, it may not be enough.

The twist style on/off switch is difficult to manage one handed. This is really due to its small stature, no where to grip when you twist.

The pocket/ hat clip is a little small and needs to be forced on the brim of most hats the first time. Typically I hold the light with my mouth for a quick hands free application.

If you like this review and find it helpful leave a comment or subscribe! For more specifications or to purchase theBrowning Microblast 72L, please visit our Amazon Store Here

Thanks, and remember, it’s your life, Prepare for it!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Why you Prepare your body

The ultimate in preparedness is your body!

We only have one body it is best to take care of it. When we talk about being prepared Men, We are talking about the ability to do a physical or mental task. The body and mind go hand-in-hand, and feed on each other for support. Now you may ask, why it is so important to keep your body prepared? it’s not like you’re trying to run a triathlon or be an Olympic sprinter it’s about being useful, useful to yourself and useful to others, especially your friends and family. I don’t tell you this so that they want you to help them move or any normal day-to-day tasks but when you’re needed and you can help you are ready. We recently went through a major flood event in our city and I couldn’t help but notice that there were three kinds of people, The ones helping, the ones needing help, and the ones on the sideline. This is where having a good body will be useful to not only you but maybe many others.

If you’re in respectable shape you can help out with the general rescue needs or more importantly you can help yourself when in a bad situation. I have found, being out of shape myself, that when you are not in shape you not only put yourself at risk, You can put others at risk as well. That is the position I don’t want to put anybody in unnecessarily.

I am on a personal mission to get myself in better shape and if you are a little too “Robust” for your liking, I challenge you to do the same.

Everyday Carry (EDC) Part 3

A good Pen is priceless, no not a $300 pen that an executive would have, just a solid ball point or gel pen that is dependable. Great for everyday use and has replicable ink. I like the Zebra stainless steel series, it is solid and has easy to find ink refills. For those that don’t know, this is often your first best self defense weapon!

Now we come to what may be to some a very sensitive subject. To some this could can be perceived as a weapon, for others it is just another tool, the pocket knife! If you can carry one do so. First of all this is not a plea to get you to carry a self-defense weapon, this is a box/letter opener, cutting tags off clothes, and general use tool. You are welcome to carry 2 if you so choose. I do! My basic tool is the Leatherman Style SC. Super small with scissors, tweezers, file, screwdriver, bottle opener and knife blade. Roughly the size of my index finger closed. It is perfect for cutting oranges and apples, snipping wild hairs, quick wrapping gifts and pulling splinters. I also carry a Kershaw folding knife with a 3-1/2″ blade, I carry it for peace of mind and larger task that the little one wont handle. Feel free to select any knife you would like, just make sure it is appropriate for the daily life you live and conforms to your state and local laws.

I personally carry a very small True Utility Lighter – I don’t smoke, so you are thinking why carry one? I carry one for emergencies only. We do lots of camping, have birthday parties with candles that need lighting, sometimes the stove wont lite with the built in ignition or I need to fuse the end of a rope or straw for a project. There are many uses for a lighter, this is something you need to decide for yourself.

if you enjoy this series be sure to subscribe! And leave a comment with your thoughts on the EDC items we have discussed here today!

Thanks, and remember, it’s your life, prepare for it!

What is a Preper?

To be a prepared man has more than a stash of gear in a Tactical backpack with a “Can Do” attitude. To be a Survivalist also means more than holding your own in the woods, just you and your wits, for days pretending to be evading and waiting to be rescued. What I have described above are the typical images that are conjured up when anyone says they are a “Preper” or a “Survival Expert”. While they are a version of a accurate account of the term, they are not the only definition. My goal as a fellow Man, Dad and Husband is to enlighten you to the more tame and domesticated definition of the words. “Preper” or a “Survival Expert” have been stereotyped by YouTube and Reality TV personalities to the point that is you declare to be either someone will think you are a weekend warrior with a stockpile of MRE’s and Semi-Automatic Rifles with enough bullets to wait out a zombie apocalypse. I am here to change all that, this is a place to learn how to prepare for the 99.99% of situations that 95% of people deal with and to not only survive but thrive in their everyday lives.

if you enjoy this series be sure to subscribe! And leave a comment with your thoughts on the topic we have discussed here today!

Thanks, and remember, it’s your life, prepare for it!

What Home Preparation is about

This is not a forum on how to fortify your house and be prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse… But some of the information may help with that as well!

Home Preparedness is all about keeping your home ready. We want you to be able to weather Unforeseen Natural Events like Earthquakes or Tornados and Forecast Natural Events such as Hurricanes or Snow Storms. Personal Hardships are one of the most common, Job loss and loss of a family provider, can devastate a home as much as anything else.  We hope the information you gather for our experience can better prepare you for life.

if you enjoy this series be sure to subscribe! And leave a comment with your thoughts on the topic we have discussed here today!

Thanks, and remember, it’s your life, prepare for it!