Unusual hurricane tips I learned by listening to Zello channels.

I’m keeping an axe in my attic from now on.

Image courtesy Pixabay

Sure you can google hurricane preparedness but what do you do with horses during a storm?

Hi guys, I recently learned about the Zello walkie-talkie app and how it is being used to keep people in contact with each other during hurricanes. So, I tried it out. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only can you set up a channel for your own contact lists to keep in contact with family and friends, there are also large channels set up to disseminate storm related information e.g. which bridges are closed, or how to get to a shelter. I definitely would advise you to install and use the app, the local information is priceless and the ability to contact help and family is a godsend. The link for IOS is below, but there is also an android app available.

Mixed in with the updates and prayers for safety, I came across some really useful tips for hurricane preparedness. I’ll share them below. Please note, I am only relaying these, don’t take them as Gospel truth, I’m not an expert but they made sense to me.

Questions asked in the channels are italicized, the answers follow.

What do I do with my horses? I have a ranch and the hurricane is headed my way!
Horses don’t swim. Let them loose and tag them appropriately so you can recover them after the storm. You can write your information with a Sharpie on the horse’s belly.

Ok, I googled this one, horses can swim but they have to be taught or have to ‘get the idea’. Translation: If you’ve never taught your horse to swim or the horse has never swum before, assume it can’t swim. I’m not all that confident writing your info on the underside of a horse is par for the course but there it is. As for letting them loose, well. That’s what they said, you might want to contact someone better informed.

A better approach would be to contact animal rescue organizations in the area well ahead of coming storms. You may be able to move them (including livestock) to safer locations before disaster strikes.

We’re trying to evacuate but we came up on barricades across the road. What should I do?
Don’t try to go through barricades. Don’t drive through flooded roadways. If you’re caught going around the barricade or, if you need rescuing, there is a fine for every person in the car.

Ok, that one I didn’t know. Good heads up though, the fines are exorbitant.

Do I need identification to get into a shelter?
Shelters are not expected to ask for your citizenship information. This is a humanitarian crisis. If your residency is in question but you know you have to evacuate, get out of Dodge! Get to a shelter. Keep in mind if you evacuate, you may need proof of residency to return to your home.

Also note, pets need to have their documentation to be accepted at pet friendly shelters. Records of shots, e.g. Rabies must be available to ensure the safety of other animals. You don’t want to get to an animal friendly shelter and be turned away.

I want to evacuate but I have no place to get shelter, what do I do?
AirBnB has an ‘Open Homes’ program set up for situations just like this. Contact them and see if they can help.

Do you have any advice for people who plan to hunker down and ride the storm out?
1.Try to get to high ground as much as possible. Keep your food and electronics e.g. phones dry. Switch off your phones as much as possible to preserve charge.

2. Don’t drink or enter the water on the ground. This means no fishing off your roof tops. Don’t swim in flood waters.

3. Don’t try to save pets that get caught in the flood, you can risk your own safety in dirty flowing water.

4. If you’re caught inside and flood waters are rising, try to go up. Get to a second floor. Be extremely cautious if you get into your attic, water can trap you especially if you have a metal roof. One group member suggests keeping tools in your attic e.g. an axe; you may have to escape onto your roof top should waters rise that high.

5. Keep a white sheet with you. White sheets are recognized as a distress signal and will attract the attention of any passing helicopters/rescue vehicles within visual distance.

6. Write your name and address with a permanent marker on your arm. Morbid yes but if you’re riding the storm out…

7. Sleep fully clothed and wear sturdy shoes while you are sleeping. If there is a tornado or a flash flood you will need to move quickly. Don’t waste time getting dressed.

What happens if I have an emergency during the hurricane?
Emergency teams will not risk their lives during the hurricane. Not only that, cell phone towers may be down and dialing 911 might not work. You will have to wait out the storm.

Alternatively, there is a group of tough guys called the Louisiana Cajun Navy, willing to provide hurricane relief after the storm. You can also find them on Zello in real time (LCN Emergency Response 2018). Try to get on their channel to give them your information.

If you use the Zello app, and have wifi or cellular data, you might be able to join help channels there. One of the channels I listened to, listed EMTs and Nurses among the members. It may be possible to ask for simple first aid directions -but this depends on being able to use the app. It would be better to evacuate and not need to have that kind of assistance during a disaster.

What happens if I don’t have cell service and I want to give my family information like where I’m headed or where I will be?
You can change your voicemail message on your phone so that people with your contact information will know your whereabouts. You’ll need to do this before the storm knocks out the cell towers.

Who will help with repairs etc. After the storm?
Many people come around after storms and offer to do repairs . Do not engage with them unless they can prove that they are associated with FEMA. Ask for IDs. FEMA id is termed ‘FEMA Affiliate id’. There are also workers associated with FEMA with a different id called a DSW id. This stands for ‘Disaster Service Worker’ id and these workers are approved by FEMA.

These are some of the tips I came across but for more information, consider installing the app and joining the hurricane preparedness channels. Much more information is available online and in the groups. The moderators and members there provide an amazing level of dedication, service and willingness to help others in distress. The American ethos of rising up together to meet challenges is perfectly displayed among these folks.

Also, if you have unusual or helpful tips, I’d love to hear them.

Hope this helps.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

Just the guy next door. Glad to meet you. Pull up a chair, let’s chat. I do stir the pot sometimes. Reach me on discord. https://discord.gg/WzBncbFave