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A Survivor's Story
This is a discussion on A Survivor's Story within the Survival Forum forums, part of the General category; A guy I've "known" online for many years posted this personal story elsewhere a few days ago. Vern Humphrey is ...
02-15-2008, 06:43 AM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
- Upstate NY
A Survivor's Story
A guy I've "known" online for many years posted this personal story elsewhere a few days ago. Vern Humphrey is a retired Army Major - three combat tours in Vietnam.
A Survival Story
On Tuesday, February 5th, Super Tuesday, I was stationed in the Stone County Clerk's office in Mountain View, Arkansas. I am a County Election Commissioner, and my duty was to supervise the primary election. My wife is Assistant Director of Nursing at the local nursing home.
We had warnings of storms and tornadoes. Late in the afternoon, we heard that the town of Clinton, about 25 miles to the southwest, had been hit by a tornado. Then we heard other towns, closer to us had been hit. At 6:00 PM I directed poll workers to lock down the precincts and evacuate, and to return after the storm had passed.
At 6:30 PM, the tornado tore through the eastern part Mountain View. All the electric power in the county went out. Cell phone signals were lost. We retained landline communication with most of the county, but could not make long distance calls, nor could we contact the eastern section of the county.
The county hospital was hit, only the operating room remaining intact.
Patients were evacuated to the nursing home. Roads were blocked for days with fallen power lines, debris, and so on.
I won't bore you with how we had to recover ballot boxes and voting
machines -- but it took seven days to collect everything and get certifiable results. In the meantime, the county was cut off, with no power. This tornado tore a half mile to a mile wide swath through the state, 123 miles long!
My wife and I put our personal survival plan into effect, moving into our
basement, heating with a wood stove, cooking on a Coleman stove, lighting it with a Coleman lantern. We survived in comfort until the power went back on at 4:00 PM on Monday, the 11th. This is hardly the first time we have put our survival plan into action -- the county has had two tornadoes and two ice storms in the last 12 years.
Here are some tips:
Make a plan -- a realistic plan.
a.. Start with a realistic situation -- not TEOTWAWKI, but one based on actual survival incidents where you live. Here it is ice storms and
tornadoes. They have two similarities -- long term loss of power, and
physical isolation (due to trees and power lines down on the roads.)
a.. Develop an outline plan -- this plan, sometimes called a "Long Term
Plan" is a statement of what you plan to accomplish.
a.. Resource the plan. Acquire the things you will need. If you cannot
afford some things now, plan to acquire them later. This is sometimes called a "Mid Term Plan."
a.. Execute the plan -- the execution plan is the "Short Range Plan."
Don't wait for a tornado or earthquake -- take some vacation time and put your plan into action. If you plan to walk from Atlanta, Georgia to
Nantahala carrying your gun safe and Dillon 550B reloader, you might want to try that before the disaster strikes.
a.. Evaluate your execution. Make notes of what worked and what didn't work. Make a list of the things you wish you had, and plan to acquire them.
Stress the elements of survival. I won't list them in any particular order,
because one element may be critical in one situation, but not in another.
a.. Shelter. This is where you will live. You may have to live there for
days, weeks, months, or even a year or more. A cave or tarp under a tree is not a satisfactory long term shelter. My shelter is my basement -- fully finished, with reinforced concrete walls, two steel girders running the width of the house, and two exits -- basement stairs and double doors to outside. It is furnished with a hide-a-bed sofa, and there is an 8X12 "machine room" where the HVAC, water heater, and so on reside. There is room enough for a large gun safe, a freezer, shelves containing canned goods, batteries, etc.
a.. Food. We have enough canned goods to last us a month in the "machine room."
a.. Water. We are on a rural water system, so no need for a pump. We also keep a gallon of bleach in the machine room so as to be able to purify creek water if needed.
a.. Heat. The temperature was in the 'teens this time. The basement stays at 55 degrees year-round, so the wood stove was adequate. This is characteristic of underground shelters, and makes them especially desirable.
a.. Power. We keep a 1.35 KW generator in the machine room, take it
outside and run it to keep the freezer from thawing.
a.. Light. My wife and I have flashlights everywhere -- in the truck, in
the car, in the bedside tables, in the machine room. We also stock candles, oil lamps, Coleman fuel (2 gallons) in there. Our Dual Fuel Coleman lantern will burn regular gas, too.
a.. Cooking. We keep a Coleman Dual Fuel camp stove in the machine room.
a.. Communications. We keep a hand-cranked radio. We may add a
transmitter-receiver after this experience. Fortunately, telephone service (at least within the county) has never failed us.
a.. Sanitation. We have a half-bath in the basement, and with gravity
water and a stove to heat it, we were able to keep clean. However, not everyone was so fortunate, as I noticed when working closely with others during the emergency.
a.. Transportation. We have 4X4s, and keep 10 gallons of gas in cans in
out outside shed. We also have tire chains.
a.. Tools. Forget "survival tools." The most important tool is a chain
saw. During the last ice storm, we had to cut about 20 trees that had broken or bent over blocking our 1/4-mile drive. We had a couple on the 0.6 mile common road, too.
a.. Protection. I am always armed (except in polling places -- dang it!).
I keep firearms spotted in the house where I can get to them quickly, as well. Of course, our isolation (3 1/2 miles down the county road, 0.6 miles down the common road, and a quarter mile down our drive) also offers protection.
a.. Community. We worked together to help save and provide necessities to our neighbors. They would do the same for us, if needed.
02-15-2008, 07:33 AM #2
Some solid advice there!"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity" --Sigmund Freud