Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Surviving the Storm

As an ex-disaster relief worker, I know quite a bit about surviving big storms. I’ve actually worked 10 hurricanes and been in 5 hurricanes. What happens is that they bring thousands of relief workers into the area ahead of the storm in case roads are washed out and airports are closed. So that puts us in the eye of the storm but its one of those dirty jobs somebody has to do.

If we’re having a big hurricane season, then you might also have to be evacuated right along with the local population when a new storm is making landfall. That happened a few times in 2004. I was in South Florida for months. I was evacuated at different times when Jeanne and Ivan made landfall.

Hurricane Frances hit first. Then 3 weeks to the day later, hurricane Jeanne hit the same exact city on the eastern coastline…a little town called Jensen Beach. I was staying at the Parkview Motel in Jensen Beach for months. They got some damage from the first hurricane but survived the second one okay. I like to think God stepped in and saved that hotel so I’d have a place to stay…ha ha! Because it was honestly RIGHT in the Eye of both hurricanes and they were big ones…made landfall right in the Category 3 or 4 range.

Anyway, I always post lots of disaster survival stuff on my blogs and Facebook. The thing is that people rarely listen…it’s like they think the advice is for someone else, so here it is again and it’s for YOU:


Every spring here in North Texas, we have major storms that cause major flooding and a few people always drown from driving into standing water. What a stupid way to die!!!

Good Lord!! If you’ve decided to relinquish your life, then do so to save someone else’s … Like give away all your organs or save a child from an oncoming bus. But don’t just drown for NO REASON cause that would be freakin’ ignorant…okay, I’m done with that rant!

Survival Tips
-Plenty of clean drinking water-You can live for several weeks without food, but you must have water every few days
-Canned goods, packaged foods. I love MRE’s. You can buy them online.

-Have a plan. This depends on where you live and whether your city is more prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires or hurricanes. Think about what you’d do if something happened. Make your family discuss this. Take notes about good places where you could evacuate to. A million people had to be evacuated during Katrina. Most of them had no place to go. They became Hurricane Gypsies. Please see my poem below written in New Orleans in November of 2005.

The last thing is to use your good old God-given common sense! This is such a basic thing that you’d think you wouldn’t have to remind people, but you do! Last spring, we had really severe flooding and about 30 people drowned during a 3 week period.

This one woman sticks out in my mind. She was a young, pretty Christian mother with 2 kids. They were staying in one of those lake houses along the Guadalupe River. During the night, a flash flood came. This is very common and you should avoid rivers in south Texas during spring unless you’re there to canoe or kayak.

Anyway, the flood waters washed the house where they were staying off its foundation and into the river. Instead of searching for a way to save herself and her 2 kids, the woman sat down and texted her sister and said good-bye. All 3 drowned that night.

These days, people seem more interested in filming whatever’s happening, texting or facebooking…instead of saving themselves. Your first priority has to be to get to safety. Later, you can take pics, text and Facebook everyone. Use your skills and any resources at your disposal to save yourself and/or family.

Usually, if you can stay focused and not panic, you can survive. I’m not especially smart, strong or skilled but I’ve survived a good many disasters in my lifetime. Us humans, we seem to have lost that innate ability to survive. We often relinquish our lives for reasons that make no sense. Don’t die that way! Make sure your death has meaning.


Souls at unrest
For their grandmother’s chair
A blanket they’ve had since childhood
A picture the eight-year old drew.

Searching for photos
Of picnics and barbecues
Of Weddings and births.

Searching for papers
Meaningful things.

Rummaging thru debris...
Nasty, muddy relics,
The stench of death
Still lingering
In what was once a home.

Hurting, angry souls
Crying out to no one.
Souls whose dreams
Are filled with turbulence.

Lost souls
With no home
No place to lay their heads at night.

People with only memories now
Of a wonderful life they once enjoyed
And nothing more.

All that remains
Are gnawing fears of tomorrow,
Agonizing thoughts of what will be.

Lonely, lost vagabonds
In search of a place to call home…
The Hurricane Gypsies.

"Written for all those who survived and for those who didn't."

Carolyn L. Sorrell – Copyright October 2005 – New Orleans – All Rights Reserved

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