When my county announced the evacuation order with Hurricane Irma coming on fast, I had the good fortune to be in Illinois teaching a class:  had “pre-evacuated,” as it were, and personally escaped the worst of it.

The house got some external damage, but nothing breached walls or roof with wind and rain. On our end, it could have been a whole lot worse.

Being prepared is A Good Thing even when you yourself aren’t there.  Power is still out, and will be for a while. (Last one was eight days or more; I experienced it as more of an adventure than a disaster.)  That time and this, I was one of the lucky ones.

But with some help from good friends we were able to get the contents of the freezer to a church that has been feeding people a whole lot less lucky than we, a great many of whom are sheltered in our community.  When another friend with seven young kids was desperate for a generator, we had one to lend him.  When yet another friend’s SUV picked the worst possible time – the middle of a monumental Florida hurricane – to go belly up, my personal SUV (with full tank ‘cause I knew Irma had us in the crosshairs before I left for Illinois) was waiting for him at my place to use for the duration.

Me? I’m flying tomorrow to Houston, where the devastation of Hurricane Harvey remains very fresh.  (Yeah, I know.  Why Houston now? Because…reasons. Will get back to you on that.)

Condolences to those less fortunate than we, and best wishes to all who had to go through it.

And for those who didn’t have to go through it, learn and reinforce the lessons of those who did.

Preparation ain’t paranoia.

The recent monster hurricanes have done much to reinforce the wisdom of self-reliance that the Duffy family so long ago, and since, instilled into the Backwoods Home values.


  1. Good preps. For first time, I had to think Bug Out myself last week. Columbia Gorge fire, moving a steady 1mph westward, got to 6 miles from mi casa. Plan A, had a few hours: can take a lot of stuff. Strap up, head out to RV pad, hit starter on my 1972 M35a2. Not run in 11 months, it fires, but engine runs away. Stopcocked it quickly, but evidently broke something on fuel-control end of injection pump when I did so. Down to trusty Mazda mini pickup. Got BO gear down to fitting that vehicle. Sat by to wait for Level 3. Never got to Level 2, wind behind fire died off. God saved me. I’m thankful.

    HE has more plans for YOU, too sir. Let no one wonder why we prepare.

    George Schneider
    Multnomah County, ENF, Retired.

  2. Waiting on transport, next stop Tallahassee, then…?
    Going around the room yesterday:
    “Mr. Drang, why are you here?”
    “One: help my fellow Americans.
    “Two: so they’ll come up to the northwest to help when we need help.”

  3. Incomplete AAR. “Strap up” meant Ruger GP100 6″ on hip, 5 speedloaders on belt. CETME Modelo-B in truck, 1 battle-day ammo in mags in two shoulder-bags. Diesel: full tank plus 30 gallons in cans, water, 28 gallons, 6-man tent + 2-man. 30-days dry rations, several stoves, fuel, clothes, etc. Chainsaw, Honda genset, hand tools, 2 pair boots for each of us. List goes on.

  4. Good luck in Houston, Mas. Sorry that I can’t see you there, but I no longer travel for my continuing education requirements (which I’m hoping to be able to stop altogether in the near future) and we also have family in town (ironically, from Houston).

  5. Preparation is always good

    Since my days as a young small town cop in the 80s, thirsty for real life advice to supplement academy and FTO training, I have always found your writing to balance martial skills with common sense advice.

    As an old guy not in the biz anymore, I still find your views relevant and welcome. Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. RIGHT ON!! It’s good, no, it’s great to be a prepper. Because you had taken care of yourself first, you were able to help others.

    Watching the Texans and the Cajun Navy rescue people, and then even animals, during Hurricane Harvey, was the best thing I’ve seen since the Seal Team Six Raid to get Bin Laden! I’m proud to be in the same country with those great people!

  7. I’m really glad to hear you all weathered Irma in good shape and are helping out those who didn’t. I keep hoping more and more folks will heed the preparedness idea and not look on it as paranoia!

  8. I did in fact, think about you and yours during this storm. I wondered how someone can make safe, everything in the safe, during a storm of this magnitude.

    And your generosity is commendable!

    I’m not sure of the TOS here, but am posting a link to the less informed here, as a “just in case you didn’t know”. http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/08/what-to-do-with-firearms-and-ammunition-affected-by-flood-waters/

    I read everything with a grain of salt, but being informed and prepared for the possible, worst event known, is good preparation. Stay safe.

  9. Your the best Mas. Glad you were prepared and damage was minimal. My west coast Friends use to laugh at me because all through the year I would stock up on canned goods and water and to make sure my generator was in excellent working order and I had plenty of fuel to get through the after effects of nasty storms while living first in Central Florida and then in your neighborhood up north.

    I never had to be one of those folks in panic mode because I was always ready.

    How generous of you and Gail to help out your friends and neighbors with what you had. You’ve always been a class act. Stay safe. Damn hurricane season isn’t over yet.

  10. As much as I appreciate the kind words, I can’t take any credit. My saggy old butt was far from the danger and safe in perfect weather. The point I was trying to make was that being prepared can sometimes help others, not just ourselves.

    The credit goes to my friends on the ground where it happened who ventured out into the storm to get stuff to folks who needed it.

    Particular kudos to Drang, who posted above, and those like him. He was too modest to mention that he is traveling thousands of miles to risk his butt for strangers in trouble. THAT is a shining example of the best American values!

  11. Being a resident of a southeastern state myself, I am always 90% ready for hurricanes and other disasters, natural or caused by man. The only thing I need to do before an emergency is to fill several 6 gallon capacity water containers I keep in a backyard shed. Know neighbors who have swimming pools and have a good pump type water filter available.

    Not being a wealthy type, I have several weeks of canned food on hand and rotate it regularly, buying newer stuff when it’s on sale and eating the older grub once in awhile, so it doesn’t affect my healthy, low fat diet too drastically. MREs and freeze dried foods are great if you can afford the expense. I also buy a new large bag of dog food whenever I open one, so there’s always a good supply of eats for my four legged buddy. I have a big inexpensive bag of dog food and one for cats in my garage in case a friend or neighbor needs food for their pets. If they’re not needed in a few months, I donate them to the local humane society and get fresh replacements. Several packages of various sized batteries and a half dozen 5 gallon fuel cans with stabilized gasoline are also handy and rotated every year. I may purchase a small, camping type power generator.

    However, do not go around telling folks what you have, as people can get desperate in hard times and may decide to take your stuff or tell their shady acquaintances about your stash. Give your friends and neighbors good advice concerning disaster preparation, but don’t provide details about your supply of goodies, especially firearms and ammunition. Share what you can afford, but remember your own family comes first.

    Also, donate all you can afford to Al Gore and the Clinton Foundation so they can work on a solution to global warming and eliminate all hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, tidal waves, premature hair loss, etc.

  12. Thank you Frank S., that was my first thought also. Don’t know how I missed the move, unless Mas never shared it on these pages.

    Glad you dodged the major damage and were willing and able to share with your friends and neighbors, Mas.

    While I understand some folk’s stance on not sharing supplies with those who fail to properly prepare, I personally know that would be a very difficult decision for me. Much like standing by and not taking action when someone is being attacked and I have the means to stop it. Someone looting or attempting to take by force is a completely different subject. Preventing that would be a fairly easy decision.

  13. Boy scout motto: “Be prepared”. As someone who still works and brings home a paycheck and who has been laid off several times in my career my standard answer to someone who thinks being prepared with food stores and such is “If I get laid off, I don’t have to spend much money on food. That helps a lot!”. As far as the rest of the preps, I now have 2 more examples of Mother Nature bringing out the best and worst in people.

    Glad your place didn’t have much damage. I have a brother in Florida I haven’t heard from yet and his kids who have families of their own (some of whom I have heard from through FB).

  14. Dennis: Part of my daily prep plan is to have enough water and food with me to supply, at least for a day or two, one or two people who may be without, especially in a remote area. The number of unprepared people who venture out into the Arizona desert, for example, and immediately get into serious trouble, is amazing. Cell phone dead spots are common, and having five gallons of water per day per person per outing as a comfortable level is by no means excessive. Just two quarts per person per day can mean survival, though. Everybody ought to have a compact hiker’s GPS with them, too, plus extra batteries. Getting stuck in a sandy wash can be a virtual death sentence in the summer, when nobody else is going to be passing by.

  15. Good reminder. No matter what part of the country one lives in, there can be ‘urgent’ conditions. I live in Birmingham AL, and while we are far enough inland for hurricanes to degrade to windy rain, we can still have tornados AND the biggest potential emergency in my opinion, a winter event that leaves heavy ice conditions that may kill power and transport. The accompanying cold makes preparation essential, ESPECIALLY in here in the Southeast, where cold events are not generally high on peoples’ risk radar.

  16. Off thread. St. Louis officer just acquitted in last years shooting of black man.


    Different twist as it was a trial before the judge (bench trial, no jury). Prosecution partially based on excited utterances by officer over the police radio during high-speed chase, and attempt by prosecution to prove recovered gun was planted by officer.

    Protests in progress.

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