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Encounter with Hurricane Irma, Part III

This is a guest post by Rick Burner. He’s a member of the Living Freedom Commentariat and one of several Florida residents who kept us posted before, during, and after Hurricane Irma. He was kind enough to write up this after-action report, of which this is the third and final part. Rick blogs occasionally at The Working Fish and Being Renewed.


Click here for Part I and Part II.


By Rick Burner

Heat indices (H.I.) are from the NOAA Heat Index Calculator. They are in degrees Fahrenheit at mid-afternoon, in the shade. Add 10-15° for direct sun. The danger zone starts at 104°.

Wednesday, September 13 (H.I. 93°)

I wake up with a sunburn headache. Pop an ibuprofen.

Coffee on the patio was unpleasant – again. The pounding of the generators was getting old. So was “The Red and Karma Show, Act 2.” This time, Red managed to trip over my wheelbarrow and fall headlong. How does one not notice a wheelbarrow? I knew I was going to have to do more work.

I delayed as long as I could – I wasn’t feeling very energetic. But, eventually, I went to work scrounging usable fence panels and posts. I had erected three panels – 24 feet – when Kevin appeared. He wasn’t working – he’d lost his helpers.

His cousin was called back to his full-time job as a roofer. They, apparently, were also doing quite well in the aftermath of the hurricane. And, on Tuesday night, his Miami friend found an open drinking establishment. He decided to convert his cash into refreshments – in liquid and pill form. Afterwards, stoned out of his mind, pockets bulging with forbidden substances, he fell asleep in a stranger’s car. As a result, he would be spending the rest of his “vacation” at the Pinellas County Jail.

Kevin agreed that the fence had to be rebuilt, to keep the dog and girlfriend in their own yard. Between the two of us, we set up a couple more posts and got the last three panels hung. Afterwards, I lent a hand to Faye, my neighbor to the west. Today is her eightieth birthday.

I realized that, after a disaster, there is always going to be much more work to do than anticipated. This made personal – physical – preparedness extremely important.

There was another problem: regularity. I normally eat about three quarters of a pound of vegetables, cooked and raw, per day. After the first day, these weren’t available. Combined with the unaccustomed labor and the relentless heat, I was less “regular” than usual. I had anticipated this and, on Monday, started taking two doses of whole-husk psyllium per day. My favorite brand is Organic India, but you can buy Metamucil in the grocery store. I never became constipated.

I was exhausted and shaky at the end of the afternoon, but forced myself to have some chili and rice for supper. Everything from the freezer goes in the trashcan.

I had been in daily touch with my boss – and the power was still out at the office. I longed to go into work and relax in air-conditioned comfort. I fantasized about ice cubes. Did they still exist, somewhere?

At bedtime, the temperature was 81° and the heat index was eighty-eight. I tossed and turned for hours. Every time I fell asleep, I dreamed that the power had come back on; then I awoke to the rumble of generators. I guess not.

Thursday, September 14 (H.I. 105°)

My first order of business is the same as every other day – I take my morning “tonic.” This consists of a dose of whole-husk psyllium, half teaspoon of Himalayan salt, and one tablet each of potassium gluconate and magnesium citrate. (The links are to the exact products I use.) I’ve lived in Florida for thirty years – I know how to handle heat. Because I take these minerals every morning, I’ve had little to no problem with heat cramping.

Today I gaze with satisfaction at my yard. The important part of the fence is up. The downed branches have been cleared. For this job, my bow saw was essential equipment.

I enjoy a leisurely breakfast. (I am so sick of bacon and eggs; and the heat; and food; and everything).

My yard could really use some raking. There are lots of small twigs and branches everywhere. I work on this for a couple of hours. At noon, I decide that I’m too hot and nauseated to eat anything. I work straight through till suppertime. But, standing in the noon day sun, I become inspired to move all the sawed-up fence panels, stacked on my patio, out to the curb. To say that my brain isn’t functioning correctly would be an understatement.

I’m feeling really week and shaky, but very satisfied with myself, as I finish this task. It’s about 3:30. I’m going to reward myself with an early shower. The cool shower helps a lot but I should have stayed in there a lot longer. Afterwards, sitting at my kitchen table and doing something (I have no idea what), I noticed the sweat is still pouring off my body. And I’m panting. And nauseated. These symptoms aren’t unusual, but are more pronounced than every other afternoon.

Those of my readers who have a clue, unlike me, will notice that I have been suffering from heat exhaustion every single day. But this afternoon it’s bad. Dangerously bad. Here I’m going to pause and recommend another piece of equipment – one that parents of small children already have. A medical thermometer. If you live in an extreme climate – very hot or very cold – get one and practice using it on yourself. In time, we will learn to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia and hyperthermia in ourselves. But, for the short-term disaster, I needed a medical device to tell me to take care of myself.

What I should have done is climb into a bathtub full of cool water and stayed there until my body temperature came back below 100°. And I should have done this every day. But I was clueless. I was used to working in the hot sun – whether in my yard or in my kayak. I was so accustomed to heat exhaustion that I never recognized the danger. After all, in Florida, you just walk into an air-conditioned room, rest for an hour or two, and you’re fine. But when the heat index is in the danger zone …

Fortunately, a friend from St. Petersburg called me on the phone. She could tell – from my slurred speech and lack of focus – that I was in trouble. She ordered me to drive to her house where there was air-conditioning. I thought she was exaggerating, but decided to humor her. I climbed into my van, cranked the A/C to full, and headed out. By the time I had driven three blocks I knew she was right. It was as if I was drunk.

I finished my drive very slowly and carefully.

A couple of hours later, I felt fine. But I decided (at her insistence) to spend the night in air-conditioned comfort. Interestingly, I tossed and turned for hours before falling asleep. I wasn’t used to the A/C.

Friday, September 15 (H. I. 105°)

I arrived back at my house about 8 AM. At 8:40 I sent the following text: “City of Largo just emptied our garbage cans! Duke energy just started working on my street! The excitement is almost too much to handle.”

After a few texts back and forth, I discovered that I was the last of the north county crew without power. Everybody else had had their power restored by Thursday morning. I was glad for them – yesterday had been brutal.

I spent the day working hard at doing nothing. I chatted with neighbors and the power line crew (from North Carolina). There were still some tree problems in the easement. The line crew disappeared about 10:30. I began to wonder if I would get power back – ever.

I sat on my patio, reading, writing, and playing solitaire with damp cards. I had done some experimentation during the week, finding the coolest spot to rest. Sitting in my front (south) yard under the oak trees wasn’t bad – but there was a better spot. My north-facing, concrete patio. Right next to my house, the eaves give about three feet of shade. There are no trees blocking my view of the northern sky. That was the best spot.

Why? The northern sky has cold spots that allow your body to radiate more heat. I’d learned this as a boy; a local dairy farmer had pointed out that, on hot days, his cows always gathered, barely in the shade, on the north side of trees.

About 2 PM the tree crew (from the same utility company) showed up. Two Mexican guys with ropes and a chainsaw. They were impressive. They climbed two trees flanking the problem area and ran a zip line between them. One man hooked himself to the line in a horizontal (plank) position, face up. His buddy, on the ground, used a rope to slide the sawyer from one problem spot to the next.

Wielding the chainsaw overhead, the top man called out ¡fuera abajo! as he sliced branches, working within inches of the power lines and of his own support rope. After only a few minutes, the lines were clear. He unlocked his harness and descended rapidly to the ground, landing on his feet. The two then pulled a couple of unlocking ropes and the zip line came down. Minutes later, they were gone.

At 3:30 PM, exactly 108 hours after the power went off, my lights came on.

My lawn needs mowing, again.


What changes will I be making to my disaster preparations?


The worst problem, in the short run, was a lack of power – for tools, refrigeration, and air-conditioning. I am seriously considering purchasing a portable inverter generator. The biggest problem with a generator – of any reasonable size – is that it will use about four gallons of fuel per day.

Do I really want to store twenty gallons of gasoline, enough for five days, in my backyard suburban shed? Besides, gasoline goes bad, especially the garbage made with corn. I will be stuck with the chore of regularly emptying the containers into my van and refilling them. This is going to require some thought.

I might consider solar – except for the weird laws. If you are connected to the electrical grid in Florida, it’s illegal to use your solar panels during a power outage.


One piece of equipment that I’m certainly going to get – and practice using – is a hammock.

I live in a concrete-block house that was designed before air-conditioning became common. It has lots of openable windows. But it holds heat quite well. Before AC, people used window fans to draw in the slightly cooler night air. Without power, that isn’t an option. And places that are both hot and humid, like the deep South, don’t get very cool at night.

I could have converted the scrap lumber from my downed fence into an open-sided backyard shelter. Something like a Seminole Indian Chickee – they understood long-term survival. With a hammock in the shade, but exposed to the northern sky, sleep would be much more comfortable. I could even have taken an afternoon siesta.

Living without power, long-term, would also require a modification of my lifestyle. People in hot climates tend to go to bed late, when the air has cooled. They also take siestas during the hottest part of the day. If I had done that, I would’ve had no trouble with heat exhaustion.

“Early to bed and early to rise” doesn’t work in the summertime in the deep south.


Storage food is all well and good, but a good supply of vitamins, minerals, and fiber requires vegetables. I do have a garden – but gardening, in Florida, is primarily a wintertime activity. Few things survive the summer heat and sunshine.

What I had thought about doing – but didn’t – was starting some sprouts. I will certainly lay in a larger supply of sprouting seeds – and consume them more regularly. In the Florida summer – or Minnesota winter – that might be valuable for anyone.


The next subject is the first one that most men think about regarding disaster prep: Guns.

During the aftermath, the only thought I had about my guns is that I have too many. With no power to control humidity, they must be cleaned frequently. That’s a big job. The only gun I cared about was my daily carry piece. At the beginning of an emergency, almost everybody is confident that the government will fix things, soon. They act in a law-abiding a manner; most are better behaved than usual.

Only after people begin to believe that things are not going back to normal will firearms become necessary. Even then, I’m convinced that taking a gunsmithing course, and buying spare parts kits, is a better use of resources than buying more guns. Learn to use, and repair, the few that you have.


My greatest realization was the necessity to have a team. For me – and I think most people – survival requires two people.

With two people, much of the outside work would have required only one quarter of the time. A teammate would have noticed my heat exhaustion – and taken steps.

A companion could have encouraged me when I was feeling overwhelmed.

Surprisingly, the food would’ve lasted even longer with two of us. We could have salvaged – by canning – enough food from the refrigerator and freezer to last us another week. We would have had the energy to start some sprouts.

It’s a tough lesson for a loner like me to realize – but people really are more important than things. Without them, survival may be meaningless.


Thanks again to Rick for writing this account and to Living Freedom blog readers (sensible people that you are) for appreciating it and adding comments. In most cases the Amazon links are to the actual products Rick used. In other cases I found suitable ones. But as always there are a lot of options. Enter Amazon through any of those links and no matter what you purchase during your visit, you’ll be supporting this blog.


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 25, 2017 5:29 am

    Thanks again for sharing, Rick. I think a lot of people who believe they are making good preparations for emergencies tend to overlook things – important things – as you describe. I completely agree with you that teamwork is one of the vital things lots of folks ignore or forget.

  2. StevefromMA
    StevefromMA September 25, 2017 5:53 am

    Interesting account, astounding law that you can’t use your own solar during an outage. Cui bono on that one.

    Teamwork is really the most important IMO and the hardest to set up. My 90 y.o. Mom refused the plane ticket out of northern Miami that I got her, stayed with two wtf old people with a generator across the street. Socially tough quarters but power came back in a few days and storm went west, great luck. The HI was 106, unbearable for old folks. It was still traumatic with wind and rain and housing and she will get on the flight next time. It gets tougher to find congenial folks and make new friends as you get older and some of the ones you may know die off. People have their own sets of acquaintances as you hit ” retirement” age, I have found that here up north. I have a spouse but no one else, surrounded by old folks in my development and, having left religion years ago, have no other social network. My suggestion is to ” find Jesus” as a crisis approaches, suck up or fake the dogma, and try to become part of the community to survive s a group.

    JMHCI (just my humble cynical opinion).

  3. ellendra
    ellendra September 25, 2017 6:04 am

    There’s a trick I learned in one of my wilderness survival classes: If you take a lightweight piece of cloth, dampen it, and wear it like a shawl, it will keep you cool even in hot, humid weather. It may look weird, but it’s like wearing your own personal air-conditioner! Tie the ends behind your back if you need to keep your hands free.

    It also helps to cover up at night with a lightly dampened bedsheet.

  4. larryarnold
    larryarnold September 25, 2017 7:23 am

    ”find Jesus” as a crisis approaches

    Yeah. We church people are on to that one. You’ll be accepted, and welcomed. (If it’s a church like mine.) But you won’t be part of the family.

    There are non-religious alternatives:

    We have Dietert Center. ( It’s a senior center/community center/community education/social agency. Club Ed even offers some prepper-type classes, there is support for dealing with dementia, Meals on Wheels, weekly game clubs, weekday noon meals, yoga and other sessions, classes on not falling, and a bunch of other stuff. (Disclaimer: I’m on the board and regularly teach my classes through them.)

    We have about 100 members in our local prepper group, in my small town. There are also a couple of gun clubs.

    Besides our CERT team, a number of other local volunteer organizations help in times of emergency. Some are emergency-oriented, with everything from chain saws to ham radios. Some are like the food bank, helping people all the time but “stepping up” efforts in disasters.

    There are also veteran’s groups, social clubs, and other such organizations around. Just about any group you join can provide support if the members are so inclined.

    No one has to be alone. But you have to decide not to be alone.

    In time, we will learn to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia … in ourselves.

    Don’t count on it. The first symptom is shivering. The second is mental confusion. If you aren’t already taking steps by then, the rest of the symptoms won’t register.

  5. firstdouglas
    firstdouglas September 25, 2017 8:17 am

    As others have mentioned here, I also am finding so many valuable observations in your narrative–especially useful for your clear and honest writing. And so interesting! Thanks again.

  6. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran September 25, 2017 8:38 am

    Thanks again, Rick! There’s much to learn from our AAR!

  7. Ruth
    Ruth September 25, 2017 9:05 am

    IIR (and I’m not a lawyer) the breakdown of the laws correctly, it’s not so much that it’s illegal to use your solar panels during an outage, it’s that it’s illegal (in FL) to have a solar system that’s not grid connected, because they won’t allow occupancy if you’re not grid connected, and a grid connected system HAS TO shut down during an outage or the power workers working on the lines could be electrocuted by the power coming in from your panels (or anyone else who’s been told that the power’s off and it’s safe to venture into an area with down lines). FL does mandate that all grid tied solar systems have to have the auto shut off when there’s a power outage, but I’ve yet to see a power company that will allow you to grid tie without the auto shutoff just for the safety of their workers, making it a moot point. The end result being that FL won’t let you have panels that you CAN use in an outage.

    I’ve often wondered if it would be possible to get away with hooking up the solar panels to a switch, like is used for whole house generators, so that they only kick in during outages and don’t feed into the grid, but you’re technically still grid connected. Course, then you’d not get the benefit of using them the rest of the year. I donno, there’s got to be a work around, but I’ve yet to see one successfully done (which may just mean that someone’s keeping really really quiet about their system, which I can’t blame them for).

  8. ellendra
    ellendra September 25, 2017 1:40 pm

    “I’ve often wondered if it would be possible to get away with hooking up the solar panels to a switch, like is used for whole house generators, so that they only kick in during outages and don’t feed into the grid, but you’re technically still grid connected.”

    Wire the house so that it can be physically disconnected from the grid with the flip of a switch, and make sure the auto-shutoff is on the grid side of that switch.

  9. Tahn
    Tahn September 25, 2017 2:01 pm

    Thank you Rick for your informative article and sharing your “interesting” experiences. A fine piece of writing.

  10. Comrade X
    Comrade X September 25, 2017 2:16 pm

    Thank you Rick.

    I am sending this to family who got out of Dodge down your way but may not be as lucky the next time out.

  11. deLaune
    deLaune September 25, 2017 5:16 pm

    One and All,
    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments.

  12. Claire
    Claire September 25, 2017 7:08 pm

    Thank YOU, Rick, for writing such a straightforward, open, entertaining, and USEFUL account of your hurricane experience. It was a privilege for me to be allowed to publish that.

  13. Arthur Murray
    Arthur Murray September 26, 2017 2:43 am

    If I may, from 20+ years in Florida, toss out some ideas:

    Part 1

    Hammock – great idea, make sure it’s made from a mesh material for ventilation, and put it in the shade, either natural or man-made.

    Shade 1: Solar screening is available in percentage of reduction (60%, 70%, 80%, 90%); 80% seems the most useful for reducing solar gain and allowing ventilation (a solid cloth material acts as a lid on the oven).

    Shade 2: Houses in Florida are, except for the strengthening, built just like houses in the north, meaning roof overhang is inadequate to shade the exterior walls. Hip roofs shade all 4 sides, but extra length of overhang requires more structural strength to resist wind damage – heavier trusses (or doubled trusses, or doubled heavier trusses) with stronger attachment to the walls.

    Generator 1: Mandatory in Hurricane Country because you will lose power at some point. Figure what the mandatory load will be (fridge, freezer, fans, etc) and size for that. The usual response is “bigger is better” but smaller means using less fuel. I got through 3 hurricanes (Charlie -5 1/2 days no power; , Francis – 1 day no power; Jean – 18 hours no power) and a tropical depression (Ivan remnants – 3 hours no power) in 2004 on a 3000 watt quiet Honda (EU3000i, 3K watts surge, 2800 constant) on 2.5 gallons/day. See more below.

    Generator 2: I powered a fridge ( 1100 watts start, 145 watts run), whole house fan (475 watts constant) and three 16″-22″ oscillating fans (80-150 watts each) easily on 3000 watts. FYI, inverter generators will run slower when minimally loaded; I’d estimate RPM was 25-35% over idle when only the fans were on, jumped to full speed when the fridge started). Also see: Welfare and Health in Part 2 of this

    Generator 3: During peaceful times test your fridge to learn how long it can go unpowered before internal temperatures reach food danger point. When temp controls were set to max cold mine could go 5 – 6 hours between power-ups depending on ambient temperature. FYI, when re-powered temps will continue to rise for 15-25 minutes because cooling isn’t instantaneous.

    Generator 4: Non-ethanol gasoline is available, if you keep gas for gen fuel, use that. More expensive, but the equipment will like it better – ethanol attacks the rubber and neoprene carb parts. Either use a stabilizer (I’ve found Pri-G particularly good) or use the gas in vehicles to keep it fresh.

    Generator 5: Thanks to California (CARB) and the feds, current gas cans are beyond garbage. Steel NATO cans – real NATO cans not the Chinese imitations – are the way to go, despite the expense – figure $60-100 each, plus the spouts; FYI, buy extra spouts because nothing else fits NATO cans,and make spout extensions because the spouts are too short to reach most car filler necks (Lowe’s plumbing dept has 1/2″ steel nipples and 5/8″ ID / 3/4 OD clear tubing to make 16″ extensions with. Use safety wire wraps to secure the nipple to the spout and the extension hose to the nipple to make sure they stay firmly attached).

    Generator 6: If yours allows it, convert it to propane and put the largest propane tank you can in the back yard. While you’re at it, add a propane stove in the kitchen and a tankless propane water heater. Yes, it’s $$$ but very useful when without power and a great benefit the rest of the time. Once you cook with gas you’ll hate cooking with electricity. FYI, propane has about 2X the BTUs per volume unit as natural gas. If you’re doing a major remodel or building, look at wall-mounted propane mantle lamps (check RV and rural living web sites).

  14. deLaune
    deLaune September 26, 2017 2:49 am

    And to think–this time last year I was lying on a beach in Georgia.

    Pounded by the surf;
    holding fast, with one hand,
    to my kayak,
    to my paddle with the other.
    Tangled in gear,
    coughing up seawater,
    thankful to be alive.

    Now that I consider it, this year’s “vacation” had some similarities to last year’s. Including lots of learning.

    But this year was better–because Claire inspired me to write about it.

  15. Arthur Murray
    Arthur Murray September 26, 2017 3:56 am

    Some more ideas:

    Part 2

    Health and Welfare 1: Add a 5K BTU window air conditioner to your hurricane kit; pre-fit it to a window well before hurricanes arrive, you may need some adjustments or parts. I fitted a 3/4″ plywood panel to perfectly fit the chosen window, permanently attached the necessary clamps, and added bracketry to accept the air conditioner. It became 3 minute install, and much more secure than just setting it in the window with the plastic extension slides it came with.

    Heat can be extremely debilitating, not to mention life threatening, and it sneaks up on you; having one cool room – or, rather, one room that you can cool (and dehumidify) in 30-60 minutes – provides “retreat space” during the day and comfortable sleeping. Do not underestimate the value of 6-8 hours of restful sleep on your effectiveness the next day. Pro Tip: put a Failed Circuit Alarm (check Amazon) in the room where you’re sleeping, plugged into the AC’s extension cord (FCAs have pass-through plugs) . They screech like smoke detectors when the power stops so if the generator stops (out of fuel, low oil alert, attempted theft, etc.) you’ll be awakened.

    Health and Welfare 2: A countertop ice maker (about $70-100 on sale) is worth its weight in gold when ice is not available any other way; ice water is a critical health and safety issue in high temp conditions. Most produce about 8-14 lbs of ice/day, that’s 1-2 gallons of input water. If you’re keeping the fridge running – and your water supply is still functioning and not contaminated – you can make ice that way, but if you’re on a well, or water supply is contaminated, the fridge ice maker won’t work, and ice trays in the freezer are much slower and more trouble than a countertop ice maker.

    Health and Welfare 3: Lacking electricity for hot water, look at getting a Zodi water heater (check Amazon for other propane-powered brands of water heaters, but I’ve found the Zodi more convenient). Zodi makes a lot of propane-power stuff for camping, 1- and 2-burner water heaters among them. The 1-burner adds about 30 degrees F to water (max temp about 105F) and very cold water can be heated twice by recirculating it to get it to temp. It’s not a rousing shower, but warmer is better than colder, and offers substantial physical and psychological benefits. Since it burns propane, it has to be used outside, for modesty concerns, EMT stuck in the ground with solar screening held to it with spring clamps works in a pinch, or hang it from a rope between posts. Pro Tip: the Zodi stuff uses the 1 pound propane cylinders, so get several extra, and look at “refill adpters” to fill them from 20 lb grill cylinders. My Zodi got passed around quite a bit.

    Security 1: Portable LED floodlights (in 2004 I had only halogen floodlights, now have LED ones which cost more but are much many more betterer) on some sort of portable (but anchorable) stand are extremely handy. With no power, when the sun sets outdoor activity ends whether you’ve finished important tasks or not. Having lots of portable light extends the work day, and it is cooler after sunset and before dawn. Suitably secured (use earth anchors, chain and padlocks) they can be positioned to provide instant anti-threat lighting by simply plugging in the extension cord that leads to them (asssuming your generator is running….). Look at 1/2″ EMT and Beam Clamps (both in the home center electrical dept) for mounting.

    Security 2: Extension cords, lots of them, the larger the wire gauge the better. Tripp-Lite makes excellent 8, 12 and 16-receptacle outlet strips with 15 ft cords, and some are available in 20 amp capacities. Not inexpensive, but worth it.

    Security 3: Extra padlocks, chain, plastic-covered security cables, and earth anchors. Padlocks, properly sized, can secure extension cord ends (properly sized, they’ll go around the cords and not let the plug ends through) to secure stuff outside.

    Security 4: Maglite 3-D cell flashlights in wall brackets. Put one next to to each outside door so you know exactly where they are, and aimed up they bounce light off the ceiling for general illumination.

    Security 5: Aladdin kerosene mantle lamps. Much spendy, but worth every penny, and pure K-1 kerosene in NATO cans stores well for a long time. Coleman makes a couple kerosene mantle lanterns, also very good, but they do require pumping up periodically while in use. For those with money, check out Bryt-Lyt lanterns, and while you’re at it, check out kerosene stoves, and don’t forget extra stove wicks, they are a wear-and-replacement item.

    Fences: Use 4X6 posts (or 6X6), not 4X4s, put posts in 3 1/2 feet deep, concreted (Florida is sandy soil) and hold fences together with screws not nails. A 6 ft privacy fence benefits greatly from the middle horizontal support being a 2X6 (prevents sagging when the fence gets wet and heavy from daily summer rains) and the horizontals held to posts with long construction screws like SPAX star-drive washer head ones, individual 6 ft pickets attached to horizontals with #8 X 2″ stainless square drive flathead screws. Every fence made from pre-made panels from the home center (they’re usually stapled together) disintegrated in Charlie’s 110 MPH winds, my fence didn’t budge. Pro Tip: use 1/2″ gavanized rod as “hurricane latch braces” on gates – drill two 9/16″ holes about 3-4 feet apart through vertical gate frame and halfway into the latch side post (4X6 or 6×6, remember) at a 25 degree downward angle, insert length of galvanized rod. If you’re anal retentive and/or OCD, feel free to do the same thing on the hinge side, assuming you didn’t use heavy hinges; the gate won’t open from the outside, but stays put in high wind.

    Support: Build and cultivate “neighbor relationships” year-round. I was on a 5-house cul-de-sac and during the Hurricane Festivities of 2004 those 5 families plus those of the 2-4 houses immediately off the cul-de-sac and the 3-4 houses behind ours all worked together. We cut each others’ downed trees, patched each others’ roofs, fixed fences, moved food from unpowered fridges to fridges with power, used each other’s grills to cook what food couldn’t be safely stored, shared generator gasoline, watched each others’ kids, etc.

    Evenings we had a couple hours after sunset before the bugs got bad, so everyone congregated in the cul-de-sac on folding chairs around a central kerosene mantle lantern, sometimes beginning at sunset so we could cook on grills. Enough fridges were operating to provide cold drinks, ice was available for the scotch and bourbon drinkers, repair suggestions got passed around, borrowed tools returned and other tools borrowed, work plans for the next day made.

  16. Comrade X
    Comrade X September 26, 2017 8:56 am

    Good stuff Arthur Murray!

  17. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit September 26, 2017 3:27 pm

    Thanks for these wonderful accounts of your experience! Life is far less painful when we can learn from others experiences, both successes and short falls.

  18. Desertrat
    Desertrat September 26, 2017 6:33 pm

    Even gasohol will keep through a summer if you use Stabil or equivalent. But why store it? Have the el-cheapo gas cans and a funnel from a car parts store. (Works fine for my riding mower.) Don’t fill the cans until you get that several-days worth of advance warning of the hurricane’s path. Panic early and beat the rush. 🙂

    I used a generator during Irma. No juice, Monday 7AM-Tuesday 7PM. So, I plugged in a multi-outlet cord and ran my refrigerator and computer. (Land line phone worked.)

    We had a cool front come through and it was cloudy, so heat was not a problem. Small favors from the Big Hodad in the Sky.

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