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Hello my Fellow Patriot. Cade here.

For anyone who has not experienced the incredible force of a hurricane, let me paint a picture for you.

Imagine sticking your head out of the sunroof of your car…while travelling upwards of 150 mph. Now imagine in addition to the tremendous blast wave of air, there’s debris of all kinds flying at you like bullets. That’s what a CAT 5 hurricane would feel like. 

Hurricanes begin as tropical storms over the warm moist waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans near the equator. (Near the Philippines and the China Sea, hurricanes are called typhoons.) 

As the moisture evaporates it rises, until enormous amounts of heated moist air are twisted high in the atmosphere. The winds begin to circle counterclockwise north of the equator or clockwise south of the equator. The relatively peaceful center of the hurricane is called the eye.  

Around this center, winds move at speeds between 74 and 200 miles per hour. As long as the hurricane remains over waters of 79F or warmer, it continues to pull moisture from the surface and grows in size and force. When a hurricane crosses land or cooler waters, it loses its source of power, and its winds gradually slow until they are no longer of hurricane force – less than 74 miles per hour.

Hurricanes are categorized by strength: Categories 1 – 5 

  •     Cat 1 starts at 74 mph 
  •     Cat 5 in excess of 156 mph

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

I can think of no greater example of preparation and prior planning increasing the odds of survival than for someone who lives in a hurricane zone.  I experienced my first hurricane while living in Charleston, SC and as with any life-threatening situation, it was ALL about preparation! 


Get that TV or Emergency Weather Band radio on and continuously monitor the situation.  Hurricanes can be very unpredictable and information regarding its strength and path that is even just 30 minutes old could be a death sentence. Stay informed, so you can stay ahead of it. 

Securing Your Home Checklist

I learned the hard way that even something as stupid as having hurricane shutter bolts that were 1” to short turned out to be a big deal.   

  • Hurricane shutters or pre cut ¼” plywood to cover windows
  •  Roof straps
  •  Remove objects outside that can blow away (chairs, tables)
  •  Keep nearby trees trimmed
  •  Place jams on doors
  •  Know how to turn off your electricity and gas

Equipment for 3-5 days Checklist

  • Medication
  • First Aid 
  • Water – 1 gallon per person/day
  • Non perishable food
  • Battery powered radio + extra batts
  • Sleeping bag
  • Emergency Contacts – printed and in a zip lock bag or laminated
  • Water purification supplies (chlorine, bleach) – assume that most of the water in the area will be contaminated from the storm.
  • Flashlight and Chemlites 

Vehicle Checklist 

  • Full of gas (try to never let your gas tank go below ½ full)
  •  Good windshield wipers
  • Check spare tire 
  • A map showing several evacuation routes

Pets are often not allowed in emergency shelters so make sure you have a plan for them.

Should You Evacuate?

Deciding to evacuate can be tough. FEMA offers these guidelines to help you decide when to evacuate with the rule of thumb being – sooner is always better.

  • Listen to weather broadcasts and evacuate if directed by authorities to do so
  •  Evacuate if you live on the coast, in a floodplain, near a river, or near an inland waterway
  •  Evacuate if you live in a mobile home or temporary structure
  •  Evacuate if you live in a high-rise building
  •  Evacuate if you feel you are in danger

You should have several evacuation route options and have driven them ahead of time! People are going to be scared, highways will be grid locked with vehicles. The obvious route may not be the best one. Get to the highest ground you can reach away from the coast and other waterways. 

Make sure you have an out-of-town emergency point of contact that anyone in your family can call in case you are separated.  

Hold your position

If you were unable to evacuate and are going to have to stay put, move to a lower floor room in the middle of the house. Ideally this room has no windows and no external walls. You can further bunker in by using mattresses and blankets and position yourself under a heavy table.

Caught Outside 

If you find yourself in a situation where you are outside you should abandon your vehicle and find shelter immediately: into a ditch, cave, or rock outcrop.  Your greatest danger is being struck by flying debris so stay as low to the ground as possible.  Crawl from cover to cover until you find suitable shelter. Once there, try and find something you and cover yourself with.

Don’t Be Fooled: It’s Not over Yet

If all goes quiet don’t assume the hurricane is gone.  You may be in the eye of the storm and if you are it will be only a few minutes before the violent winds return blowing the opposite direction.

The parallels between a nasty hurricane and combat are unlimited. Knowing when to hold your position or move. When you have to stop and fight or bunker in.  Knowing that if you get hit by any objects flying everywhere your day will be over.  Having the right gear to stay alive. Preparation and rehearsal are keys to success. 

And just as with combat situations, preparation, training and keeping your wits about you are everything. So you’ll always be a survivor, not a statistic!

To your survival, 

Cade Courtley

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