Article – Why there are no Red Cross shelters in New York City

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the Red Cross held several emergency training sessions for shelter volunteers (I attended a November 2 session), telling classes that they needed to plan for a three-day stint away from home and be able to lift heavy loads.

But that shelter operation never came to pass, and volunteers were told that the Red Cross would not be needing shelter workers. In the meantime, images of New York City’s many devastated neighborhoods filled nightly newscasts; and the housing situation for many New Yorkers grew increasingly dire. The city has estimated that between 20,000 and 40,000 residents could be homeless or forced to live in unheated homes with no running water or power. The conditions are particularly deplorable in the high rises that dot the landscape near the waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens. About 5,200 Staten Islanders have applied for FEMA housing, but according to the New York Post only 24 or so have been placed.

Criticism has rained down on the Red Cross for not providing places for this mass of displaced people to live, but it seems that the aid organization is not permitted to set up shelters in the city due to a snarl of red tape.

 

This doesn’t surprise me. In a political/union heavy environ like NYC it’s a “Brazil”-like experience getting anything done.

Most NYC public schools are old WPA projects from the first third of the twentieth century. They are built like fortresses and usually have very large fenced yards. Excellent staging areas if you don’t mind cancelling classes. Virtually all of them were designated (and stocked) as fallout shelters back in the day. The hurricane hasnt been invented that could knock one down. Fabulous resource, too bad it’s caught up in the usual morass of inefficient local government.

Moral of the story is, even if there are groups predicated on disaster services, and they get to the scene, and local governemnt has plans as well, there’s no guarantee anything is going to get done. You’re far better off preparing on your own.

Which, really, brings me to something I’ve been curious about. Everyone is related to everyone in NYC. Big Catholic, Jewish, Italian, Irish families with relatives spread all over the place….why are these people not staying with relatives? I can understand wanting to stay with your stuff to rpevent looting, but thats a choice. These people in four-story walk-ups complaining about no elevators, no heat, no water, etc…why don’t they head over to their cousins or uncles place and crash in their basement for a week or two?

Car rental, Walking Dead, economic recovery

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Buddy of mine in NY is learning a few things about post-disaster mopping-up that I never considered. For instance, think about this: the insurance guy comes to your house, takes one look at your car, and doesn’t even say anything other than “Yeah, that things toast. We’ll cut a check for you in the morning.” Now you have no car, but a nice check coming to go pick out another. What do you drive in the meantime? Well, your insurance also covers rental, right? So you call the rental agencies and thats when you discover that every car within fifty miles has been rented and the waiting list reads like a phone book.

So…next time you might want to rent a car in advance of things. If your car doesnt get washed out to sea, you can always cancel the reservation.

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Latest episode of Walking Dead: not gonna miss her at all.

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Since the nation douled-down on four more years of Carter II, I’m pessimistic about an economic recovery in the near future. (Or, an economic recovery that doesn’t require something drastic to jumpstart it.)

Really, I anticipate no major changes in anything we do around here in regards to the election results. About the only thing different will be a bit of an emphasis on securing more gun-related items and countering further economic malaise. Otherwise, business as usual.

As I expected, calling most of the major magazine and AR manufacturers and vendors was an exercise in futility. Most simply had their phones go straight to voicemail. Most of the answering messages started off with “Due to higher than normal call volume…” and ended with “..delays of six to eight weeks.”

Theres a few dissenting voices I hear from, from time to time, saying I have nothing to worry about…between the administrations lack of movement on gun control (cough*fastnfurious*cough), the Heller decision, and whatnot theres no signs that new regulation is in the works. Well, if that’s true (which I dont thin it is), then wheres the harm in putting two, three or seven more Glocks and AR’s in the safe, hmm?

Article – Queens residents arm themselves in the post-storm blackout from looters

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

I love the picture of a Queens resident getting his Daryl Dixon on.

When night falls in the Rockaways, the hoods come out.

Ever since Sandy strafed the Queens peninsula and tore up the boardwalk, it’s become an often lawless place where cops are even scarcer than electrical power and food. Locals say they are arming themselves with guns, baseball bats, booby traps — even a bow and arrow — to defend against looters.

Thugs have been masquerading as Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) workers, knocking on doors in the dead of night. But locals say the real workers have been nowhere in sight, causing at least one elected official — who fears a descent into anarchy if help doesn’t arrive soon — to call for the city to investigate the utility.

Kudos for at least having the bow. Minus fifty points for the staged picture that all but says “come arrest me for showing off in public”.

I dont know what its like now, but when I turned 18 in Brooklyn the first thing I got was my ‘rifle/shotgun license’. Right after that I think I immediately went to Carnival Sporting Goods on McDonald Ave and bought a Mossberg 500 pistol grip shotgun. Or maybe it was a Chinese AK. It’s been so long I can’t recall. My point being that unless things have changed a lot since then, getting a ‘real’ defense gun isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Handguns (legally) were a bit tougher, and I never did get my NY pistol license. But there was a time I had a few shotguns, AKs, and even a lovely HK93A3 tucked away in my bedroom.

Nowadays, of course, it’s a different story. And the funny thing is, while we are tremendously well-armed for this sort of thing we live in an area where this sort of behavior doesn’t happen on a scale like that….probably exactly because most folks here are so well armed.In the post-Sandy environ I suspect a stuby little pump gun with a tactical light and an assortment of shells would be just the ticket.

 

 

Article – Staten Island Borough President: Don’t Give Money to the Red Cross

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Staten Island Borough President: Don’t Give Money to the Red Cross

At a press conference this morning on Staten Island, a host of local officials, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, gathered to highlight the needs of the hard-hit borough in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And, although many pols spoke, no one was more impassioned than Borough President James Molinaro, who called the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and even urged the public to cease giving them contributions.

“Because the devastation in Staten Island, the lack of a response,” Mr. Molinaro said to explain his comment to NBC after the press conference. “You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here….They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”

Hey, you know who should be on the front lines fighting and helping the people? The people!

I know it’s easy to Monday morning quarterback something like this, but this hurricane didn’t drop down on them without warning.  See this? Hundred and fifty bucks. It will hold a weeks worth of food, water filter, flashlights, batteries, clothes, toiletries, camp stove and fuel, radio, medical supplies and every other item a person would need to keep them going for about a week…and still have some room left to spare. (Or, you might wanna get two.) Waterproof, airtight, rugged, durable and all but hurricane-proof. You don’t even have to screw with it….just load it up, rotate the contents once a year, and tuck it away somewhere you can get to it so it’s there when you need it. When the winds and rain stop and you’re standing in what used to be your house you can unpack it and be in a position to be a ‘self-rescuer’…which is nanny-state talk for ‘someone who can take care of themselves’. And once you can take care of yourself you’re in a much better position to take care of others.

Imagine five or six guys, or two or three families, who were all on the same wavelength. Each one having a box like that for each member of the group or family. Now you have a team of people who aren’t worried abut how they’re going to eat, wash their hair, or take a crap. While everyone else is whining about ‘wheres the .gov?’ they can actually, you know, get stuff done….dig out their rigs, set up a radio network, help their neighbors, whatever.

I should go surf the LDS websites and see how the Mormons are faring out there. I don’t know if the heavy-urban ones are as prepared and organized  as our western-rural ones but if they are, boy, there’s a crowd who you aren’t going to see on the ‘victim’ side of a Red Cross food line.

I recall saying that Katrina was going to be the benchmark for modern American disaster planning and armchair-quarterbacking for the next decade or so. I’m waiting for the comparisons to begin. I know its only a matter of time before the usual suspects start saying that because of the ‘flavor’ of NYC, they got a better response than ‘chocolate’ New Orleans.

 

Article – New Yorkers in fuel scramble as storm-hit pumps dry up

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

New Yorkers in fuel scramble as storm-hit pumps dry up

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Drivers and homeowners scrambled to secure fuel for their cars and generators in the U.S. Northeast on Wednesday as storm-hit gasoline stations started to run dry.

More than half of all gasoline service stations in the New York City area and New Jersey were shut because of depleted fuel supplies and power outages, frustrating attempts to restore normal life, industry officials said.

Reports of long lines, dark stations and empty tanks circulated across the region. Some station owners were unable to pump fuel due to a lack of power, while others quickly ran their tanks dry because of increased demand and logistical problems in delivering fresh supplies.

No sympathy. If youre smart enough to buy a generator but dumb enough to not think about where the next tank of gas is coming from then you probably deserve what happens to you. Some of the best money I ever spent was on these babies:

Wish like hell I’d bought more but I did what i could with what I had. That and a nice jug of PRI-G and I’ve got enough gas stored for most emergencies.

Right on schedule….

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Hurricane Sandy Looting, Fights Plague South Brooklyn

Water that had risen six feet high hadn’t completely drained away from the streets of Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., yet looters had already rifled through the remains of vulnerable shops on Mermaid Avenue.

At about 8 a.m. on Tuesday, workers arrived at Mega Aid Pharmacy to find that not only had Hurricane Sandy obliterated the building’s interior the night before, but thieves had broken in and gone through more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items. Most of the stolen goods were prescription meds.

“The water went away and these people started walking down the streets and just robbed stores,” a frustrated worker at the pharmacy, who wished to remain anonymous, told HuffPost Crime.

I grew up in Brooklyn and I am shocked..shocked I say!..to find there is looting going on here. Especially in that neighborhood. </sarcasm>

Naturally, in that environment, anyone who prepares against this sort of thing is considered a paranoid survivalist and, more importantly, is now a target for their generator and fuel. I fully expect some interesting stories and after action reports to start popping up on arfcom, Glocktalk, etc, etc.

Also, since it’s NYC, the good guys are usually without guns which makes fending off a bunch of looters a tricky exercise in melee tactics. Bouncing some rubber buckshot off the ground and into their legs would probably dissuade everyone real fast and keep the paperwork to a minimum.

Article – Storm sets off frantic rush for supplies across East Coast

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Anyone NOT see this coming?:

Storm sets off frantic rush for supplies across East Coast

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Good luck buying lanterns, generators, propane, or – if you are really unprepared – rain boots and batteries in areas in the path of Hurricane Sandy as it bears down on the U.S. East Coast.

The approach of the gigantic storm, which is expected to come ashore on Monday night set off a weekend scramble for supplies from Virginia to New England, causing long lines at gas stations, bare shelves at hardware and home-supply shops, and a run on bread, bottled water and canned foods.

“It’s been crazy. We’re the only one open who still has gas,” said Karen Tripodi, a customer service representative at Cumberland Farms, a gas station and market in Newington, Connecticut. “They’re coming in for propane, ice, water, milk and cigarettes.”

 

My wife, a former resident of North Carolina, pointed out that when hurricanes would approach people would rush out for bread, milk and eggs. “It’s like they all suddenly want French toast!”, she observed.

As Ryan over at TSLRF pointed out regarding the ideal level of preparedness , “Somewhere between getting ready for a short term natural disaster and Red Dawn is about the right place.”

Our own level of preparedness has been steadily marching along. So much so, in fact, that a trip to CostCo was called for yesterday for yet another set of steel wire shelving. We have, for now, plenty of shelf space for more stuff. Do we need more stuff? Eh…some yes, some no. I took advantage of the opportunity to re-inventory things. 95% of the spreadsheet was accurate…there were a few items that were off by one or two. I also switched at least a half-dozen items from DNI (Do Not Inventory) to ‘inventory item’ status. DNI’s are things that we bought a bunch of but don’t plan on buying more of or replacing. For example, the missus finds a product she likes, and buys a case of it….halfway through the case she discovers a better product. The remains of that case go into storage as a DNI and the new product she likes becomes an inventory item. Hey, it works for us.

I have at least one friend whose house is, I believe, sitting right in the muzzle of Hurricane Sandy and Im interested to find out how he fares. Anyone from the east coast with interesting stories, feel free to tell ‘em in comments.

 

ETA: Gangs Plan Hurricane Looting Spree Via Twitter

It appears Rule #870 may be in effect ;)

Derecho?

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

You learn something new everyday. The new thing I learned was the meteorological term “derecho“, which is Spanish for “you should have bought that generator before you needed it”.

Apparently parts east of here, especially the Washington DC/Virginia area were slammed by the meteorological effect known as a ‘derecho’. Succinctly, its a tornoado that blows in a straight line, not swirly.

The media is kicking out the usual post-disaster photos and soundbites. People discovering that, surprise surprise, when the electricity is out the gas stations can’t pump gas. When trees fall, electricity goes down. When roads are blocked, traffic stalls. You know….Basic Preparedness 101 boilerplate……….

We had ourselves a little gust-fest the other day here in western Montana. Nothing as grand and powerful as what happened back east, but enough to remind folks that sometimes the wheels fly offa things pretty suddenly and when they do you have to be ready to step up and deal with it on your own.

You would think that after the countless billions of dollars sunk into ‘readiness’ programs, especially in the DC/NoVa area, they’d be able to get the roads cleared and the lights on much faster.

The moral of the story, naturally, is that when crap like this happens little things like stored fuel, a generator and some simple pre-planning can mean the difference between living life normally and sweltering in an uncooled apartment as you call your boss and tell him you’re missing work because your car is outta gas.