Lessons Learned From Hurricane Sandy


The best way to prepare for a variety of emergencies is to learn from lessons in the past. I came across a list of items by Frantz Ostmann with lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.


  1. The excitement and coolness wears off around day 3
  2. You are never really prepared to go weeks without power, heat, water, etc. Never!
  3. Yes it can happen to you
  4. Just because your generator runs it, does not mean its producing electricity.
  5. If you do not have water stored up you are in trouble (A couple of cases of bottled water is “NOT” water storage)
  6. You should have as much fuel as water: a. Propane, b. Gas, c. Kerosene, d. Firewood, e. Fire starter
  7. Even the smallest little thing that you get from the store should be stocked up.. (spark plug for the generator, BBQ lighter, etc)
  8. If you are not working, chances are nobody else is either
  9. I was surprised how quickly normal social behavior goes out the window. I am not talking about someone cutting in line at the grocery store. 3 people were killed at gas stations within 50 miles of my home.
  10. Cash is king (all the money in your savings means nothing)
  11. Stored water can taste nasty.
  12. You eat a lot more food when you are cold
  13. You need more food than you think if your kids are out of school for 2 weeks
  14. Kids do not like washing their face in cold water
  15. Your 1972 Honda civic gets to the grocery store as well as your 2012 Escalade… but the Honda allows money left over for heat, food, water, a generator, fire wood, a backup water pump, you get the idea
  16. The electrical grid is way more fragile than I thought
  17. Think of the things that are your comfort, your escape, a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of milk and a ding dong before bed, etc. Stock up on those too. You will need that comfort after day 3.
  18. You quickly become the guy in the neighborhood who knows how to wire a generator to the electrical panel, directly wire the furnace to a small generator, or get the well pump up and running on inverter power or you are the guy whose Master’s degree in Accounting suddenly means nothing.
  19. A woman who can cook a fine meal by candle light over the BBQ or open fire is worth her weight in gold.
  20. It takes a lot of firewood to keep a fire going all day and into the evening for heat.
  21. All the food storage in the world means nothing if your kids won’t eat it.
  22. You might be prepared to take care of your children and their needs, but what about when the neighborhood children start to show up at your door?
  23. Some people shut down in an emergency. There is nothing that you can do about that.
  24. Your town, no matter how small is entirely dependent on outside sources of everything.
  25. In an emergency Men stock up on food, Women stock up on toilet paper.
  26. I was surprised how many things run on electricity!
  27. You can never have enough matches
  28. Although neighbors can be a great resource, they can also be a huge drain on your emergency storage. You need to know how you are going to handle that. It is really easy to be Bob the guy who shares on Day 3, not so easy on Day 11. This is just reality speaking.
  29. Give a man a fish he eats for that day, teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry again.. Now I get it.
  30. All of the expensive clothes in the closet mean nothing if they don’t keep you warm. Same goes for shoes....
  31. You cannot believe the utility companies. They are run by politicians!! Or so it seems
  32. Anything that you depend on someone else for is not avail anymore.
  33. Quote “A man with a chainsaw that knows how to use it is a thing of beauty” lol
  34. Most folks don’t have any emergency storage. They run to Wal-Mart and get water and batteries and then fill their tubs with water. That is it. A lucky few will get a case of ramen and a box of pop tarts. That will be your neighbors supply. (Especially if you live outside of Utah)
  35. Fathers, all the money you have ever made means nothing if you can’t keep your kids warm
  36. Mothers, everything you have ever done for your kids is forgotten if your kids are hungry
  37. You really do not want to be the “Unprepared Parents” The kids turn on you pretty quick
  38. Small solar charging gadgets will keep you in touch. Most work pretty well it seems
  39. Most things don’t take much power to operate: Computers, Phones, Radios, TV, Lights
  40. Some things take a ton of power to operate: Fridge, Toaster, Freezer, Hot plate, Microwave
  41. When it gets dark at 4:30 pm the nights are really long without power
  42. Getting out of the house is very important, even if it is cold outside. Make your home the semi warm place to come home to, and not the cold prison that you are stuck in.
  43. Someone in your family must play or learn to play guitar
  44. Things that disappeared never to be seen again for a very long time: Fuel of all kinds, Matches/lighters of any kind etc., Toilet paper, Paper plates, plastic forks and knives, Batteries, didn’t really see a need for them. (How about flashlights??? I guess), Milk, Charcoal, Spark plugs (generators), 2 stroke motor oil, (chainsaws), Anything that could be used to wire a generator to the house, Extension cords, Medicines (Tylenol, Advil, cold medicine etc)
  45. There was a strange peace to knowing all I had to do each day was keep my family safe, warm, and fed, but my peace was someone else’s panic.


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