I still remember my friend, Adam’s, story about when he was trapped in New York City during Hurricane Sandy – one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the U.S…
People in the city didn’t think “it would happen to them”, but when the 115 mph winds and massive flooding hit, the storm was blamed for 233 deaths and power outages affected more than 8 million residents.
At the time, all travel was blocked out of the city and Adam was forced to stay at a downtown hotel with some friends.
Here’s a picture he took (below) when he finally stepped out of the hotel to find residents sifting through dumpsters, looking for food, and crowding around a couple of stores that somehow (magically) still had electricity and:
Adam told me all about how people reacted after the storm gave way and there were a LOT of “lessons learned” you can take away from his experience:
1. Get Creative With “Food Hoarding”
Hopefully you’re stocked up on some survival food that can help you weather a long-term power outage when the food in your fridge bites the dust.
Since Adam was visiting, he didn’t have a stockpile of food so he went down to the local grocery store to see what he could round up.
What he discovered was a mob of people quickly grabbing every last bottle of water – and even fist-fights over the last scraps of food on the shelves.
Rather than chance getting attacked over a box of Frosted Flakes, Adam found that the local ethnic grocery stores (he found an Asian market) had very few people inside.
He was able to find all the fresh food he needed and without the threat of a mob looting spree!
Lesson Learned: Map out where your local ethnic groceries are in your area and consider them as a last-minute addition to your current food stockpile when choosing to shelter-in-place during a disaster.
2. Guard Your Food (From Friends!)
As you’d expect, none of Adam’s friends were as prepared as he was when the hurricane hit.
But you can damn well be sure they knew ADAM had food… and that’s where they headed to huddle up through the storm.
Not only did they feast away on his food, but they didn’t even think about WHAT they were eating so, rather than beginning with perishables, they ate the longer-lasting canned goods instead.
Lesson Learned: If your friends know you’re “prepping”, you can count on them showing up at your door when a crisis hits and they’re hungry. You may have a hard time turning them away so be sure to have a “decoy stash” of food you can share… but then a “super-secret stockpile” that NO ONE else knows about!
I personally like “survival bricks“ because they store water and food (even ammo) air-tight and can be hidden – or even buried – in places no one else will find them.
3. Beware The “Electricity Warlords”
Oddly, one of the worst things Adam experienced was the lack of communications caused by the hurricane.
News reports of people dying were hitting the nation and with the power-outage, Adam wasn’t able to let his family know he was safe.
Adam wasn’t able to call out to his family, but found that he was eventually able to get a text message through right before his phone went dead.
What’s funny is that 8 million people were without power, yet a few convenience stores somehow had electricity and a few other places had generators.
But get this… those stores and “electricity warlords” were charging people $70 to charge their phone for 15 minutes…
… and people were standing in line for hours just to get their chance! (The picture above was right from Adam’s camera.)
Lesson Learned: Even when phone lines are jammed, you may be able to get a text message through to let loved ones know you’re ok – or coordinate with them to link back up. But the key here is that you have to “own” your own electricity and not rely on the “wolves” of our society who look to prey on other people’s misfortune.
I use a simple “pocket solar light & charger” that can save you from having to depend on others to keep your communications up – even if you were stranded out in the wilderness and could get to a signal! The one I have is basically 4 survival tools in 1 and keeps your phone charged up and ready for when you need it.
It’s perfect for your vehicle (if you’re stranded on a back road or in a snow storm)… bug-out bag (for maintaining communication with others when evacuating)… and at home (when sheltering-in-place and need lights and charging capability).
It’s always best to learn from other people’s mistakes, right?
Hopefully you’ll learn from Adam’s… and take action now to avoid these same dangers!