Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Residential hurricane devastation
Residential devastation in the aftermath of a hurricane

It’s that time of year once again. Hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30. Hurricanes can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Although meteorologists make an impressive list of names and do their best to make predictions, it’s really just a crap shoot as to when and where one will hit.

The bottom line here is that if you live in an area that has even the slightest possibility of being hit by one of these God-awful monstrosities you owe it to yourself, your family, and your pets to follow this hurricane preparedness checklist.

Hurricane preparedness is something most homeowners don’t think about until the last minute. Does this sound like you? Do you have an emergency kit? Got the hurricane evacuation route plotted out? Let’s look at a few things you should do to get prepared now.

Shutter Your Windows

You don’t want glass blasting into your home. Do you remember the trip to Home Depot the last time a hurricane threatened to visit? Plywood, batteries, and generators – all gone. So why not buy your plywood to cover your windows now while you can make it easy on yourself?

It’s not so bad. Just measure all your windows to figure out how many sheets of half-inch plywood to buy. While you’re there, pick up some PLYLOX hurricane window clips. These make securing the plywood a snap.

Some storm shutters are designed specifically with hurricanes in mind. Some of them are even motorized which is a great benefit since hiring someone to help with a storm at hand can be problematic.

Call for Tree Trimming Services Now

How often do you hire a tree trimming company. If you reply “never,” you’re in good company! Truth be told though, one of the main reasons trees fall down in high winds is branch density; you need to open up the canopy. The price you pay for annual tree pruning is a bargain compared to the price of a new roof.

For example, I just had a tree service take out three Queen Palms in my front yard and one Maple tree in the back yard. The Palms just never recovered from the hard freeze last winter and the Maple was just old, big, and as brittle as an old woman with osteoporosis. High winds would probably have resulted in mad roof damage.

Put Together Disaster Kits

Hurricane emergency kits are easy to assemble. And mandatory. You’ll need to put back enough non-perishable food and bottled water to last your family and pets a week. This is like the plywood; do it now!

Every time you go to the grocery store, just pick up a can of Spam and a can of vegetables. Start putting them in a storage container in the garage or in the back of your pantry. There’s a lot of high quality emergency preparedness kits on the market.

You’ve seen them; they’re chock full of emergency medical supplies? Buy one. Or two. Or three; you might want to take care of neighbors.

Buy a NOAA Weather Alert Radio

Public notification of weather conditions is the key to knowing what’s coming. Get a weather alert radio to stay in the know. The best models not only work under battery power, but have a crank handle.

While you are at it, get ahold of a small solar charger for things like your cell phone

Arm Yourself

It really doesn’t matter which side of the 2nd amendment rights you fall on. The reality of a post-disaster situation is that there are bad guys wanting to take what you have and possibly even cause bodily harm. At that point the gun rights thing becomes a stupid argument. It doesn’t matter if you have to bug out or choose to hunker down and shelter in place.

Glock pistol and Savage shotgun for home defense
Glock pistol and Savage shotgun for home defense

You can’t go wrong with a tactical shotgun. Even a complete novice can nail a target. Besides, it looks badass.

My go-to sidearms are a .40 cal Glock and a Beretta U22 Neos. The Glock is almost impossible to jam and has incredible stopping power. The Beretta is also adequate for self-defense and small game if that ever became necessary.

The bottom line is this: don’t wait for the weather to be on top of you. Prepare now. You’ll thank me later. You’re welcome.

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Trump and Kim Jong Un Played Chicken; Kim Blinked First

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Kim Jong Un's ballistic missile policy
Kim Jong Un’s ballistic missile policy

This article was updated on 8/18/18.

This morning we awake to yet another chapter in the unfolding global melodrama between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, the unhinged dictator of the hermit kingdom.

Kim Jong Un, or the “Pillsbury Doughboy with a really, really bad haircut” has been very vocal about his plans for the U.S. unincorporated United States territory of Guam. Specifically, he has been threatening to fire four missiles in order to surround the U.S. territory of Guam in “enveloping fire.”

Undoubtedly this is a trick right out of his father Kim Jong-il’s playbook. Rattle that rusty old saber, make a few headlines, and sit back and wait for humanitarian food aid.

Historically, US presidents back down from North Korean threats. For example, as recently as 2009 the Obama administration said that it will not enforce a UN resolution allowing the interdiction of North Korea’s shipping when suspected of illegal arms traffic.  Instead, the US will ask permission to inspect, and retreat when refused. This weakness did not bode well for Obama’s legacy.

Donald Trump is the New Sheriff in Town

No doubt Kim Jong Un imagined this tried and true strategy would keep working with his threat to attack Guam as he sipped 100-year old whiskey and cavorted with his concubines. However he was ill-prepared to hear President Trump warn Pyongyang last week that the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and could engulf the North in “fire and fury.”

Kim’s response after having a look at a military plan presented to him by his senior officers was telling. He seems to have had an uh-oh moment and realized he wasn’t dealing with Obama anymore. This isn’t the former guy that spends his working hours playing on the golf course, this is the guy that owns the golf course.

Kim is now in full backpedaling mode and says he has resolved not to launch the attack on Guam just yet but instead advised the U.S. “to take into full account” whether the current standoff was to its benefit. He also said it was incumbent on the U.S. to “stop at once arrogant provocations against the DPRK and unilateral demands and not provoke it any longer.”

He went on to say, “If the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK, the [North] will make an important decision as it already declared.”

Sanctions Against North Korea Also a Factor

The recent UN-mandated sanctions against North Korea are likely a factor figuring into Kim’s come-to-Jesus moment. Although he usually scoffs at sanctions, this time even Russia and China committed.

China is the real surprise. It is Kim’s largest trading partner and cheerleader. The Chinese customs agency specified that on Monday it will cease processing imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ores and fish at midnight on September 5.

The latest sanctions, considering all the nations that are participating, are expected to block exports valued at more than $1 billion. This is significant since total exports are valued at $3 billion last year.

Over the years Kim has used various means (other than ruthless treatment and starvation of his countrymen) to keep his grip on power. One of these is the state propaganda of the Kim Jong Un as a mystical figure. Perhaps he can use some of that mojo to channel his father and ask for advice.

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8 Tips to Improve Your Home Security

This post was updated on 07/10/20.

Home security is more important than ever. Gone are the days when we could leave the front door unlocked or the garage door open. This is precisely the reason why selling alarm systems and surveillance cameras is such a lucrative business.

There are other methods to foil the bad guys both before and during a break-in or home invasion. Rather that complacently thinking, “It will never happen to me,” consider the following tips. Forewarned is forearmed.

  1. Protect your home from burglars by securing the garage. This is a prime spot for not only grabbing your stored stuff, but there is usually a door leading into the home that is not as secure as the front door.
  2. Ensure that you have defensive “tools” for easy access in all areas of your home. You might keep your pistol by your bedside and that’s great. But keep in mind that you won’t always be able to get to it in an emergency when Billy Badass is blocking your way. Place cans of wasp spray in various locations. They shoot a fine stream for about 20 feet. A shot in the eyeballs will stop the most unruly crackhead. A stun gun or taser in a bathroom or kitchen drawer might save the day.
  3. Have plenty of exterior lighting. Whether you opt for always-on or motion sensor lights one thing is for sure—no crook likes to be seen. They would rather move on to darker environs.
  4. Got a back porch but no guard dog? Put out a big water bowl and chain-on-a-stake anyhow. The very idea of a dog being present is enough to make many crooks move on.
  5. Make it look like your home is always occupied. If you are going to be away, have your neighbor pick up your mail and newspaper daily. Put your interior lights on a timer.
  6. If your circuit breaker box is outside, put a padlock on it. This will prevent crooks from putting you in the dark before they invade.
  7. Don’t stash a door key under the mat, over the door trim, or in one of those obviously “fake rocks.” Crooks are hip to all these amateur tricks. If you must stash a spare key, be more imaginative. Why not put it in a medicine bottle and actually bury it? It’s not like you will need it very often.
  8. Install a Ring Doorbell to alert you to movement at your front door.


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