Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

In November of 2012, New Jersey was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Places like the Jersey Shore and parts of Long Island, New York were destroyed utterly. Many people in these areas were keeping watch with shotguns while their families slept. There was looting, a National Guard presence, and countless people lived on the brink of a societal collapse. It was literally that bad in many places.

We live about sixty miles inland, and though we did not suffer the ravages that plagued the coast, we were among the last of the towns left standing to get our power back. From the day the storm hit until the day we were “back to normal”, we spent 14 days and nights without power. Like many homes, no power means no TV, no computers, no Internet, and of more importantly in the cold of a New Jersey November, no heat. But that wasn’t the worst of it for us.

We thought that we were prepared, and we were for a few days, after which things changed in unexpected ways. My hope is that someone will benefit from the lessons we learned from this event.┬áThere is a lot of information here, so I’ve split the original 6000 word essay up into smaller chunks. An index of these posts appears below.

When a disaster of any kind hits, and you need to survive in your home (assuming you’ve still got one), there are some real priorities that should be considered. This list assumes that everyone is healthy and able. If anyone in your family or party needs medical attention, that should naturally be your first priority.

Surviving a disaster or emergency in a city may result in very different lessons than those I’ve listed here. Most of the priorities would remain the same, but the details would likely be very different. Either way, I encourage you to study up on disaster preparedness and build your own plan. The point of this post is that we had a plan, and it wasn’t thorough enough.

Here are the lessons we learned first-hand while living through 14 days without power after Hurricane Sandy:

  1. Lessons from Sandy: Shelter and Warmth
  2. Lessons from Sandy: Water
  3. Lessons from Sandy: Tools
  4. Lessons from Sandy: Food
  5. Lessons from Sandy: Power
  6. Lessons from Sandy: Morale
  7. Lessons from Sandy: Light
  8. Lessons from Sandy: Social, Security, and Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoy these posts, and I hope that our experiences help you to avoid some of the problems we encountered during our adventure with no modern conveniences. As always, I welcome any and all comments.


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One thought on “Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

  1. Gary,

    I found your blog and the series on Post Sandy lessons thru the LTG Forum. Very well written, instructive, impactful (is that a real word?). You were prepared, and still you had this level of difficulty. Imagine the situation for most of us who do not prepare. We live our lives turning a valve for water, a switch for electricity, and we don’t expect to lose that. Very sobering and thought provoking, which I suppose was your purpose in writing this.

    Thanks so very much for the time you invested in providing this information. Now I have to start thinking… how to better prepare, for how long, what are the unique issues we will face (we live in Baja, Mexico… not generally cold here, especially in storm season, but there are other considerations).

    Bill Doyle

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