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Near the edges of the tornado, some houses escaped with sig- nificant damage but survived, yet cars parked in front were tossed around like confetti.


following week, delivering fuel, food, water and help where I saw a need. During that time, I learned a great deal about personal preparedness and the tools and attitude you need. During the rescue efforts dogs


were used extensively and a few sur- vivors were found up to several days after the strike. I learned rescuers drill holes in concrete walls and let the body dogs smell. If they smell humans, they dig, if not, they leave it and move on. Saves time.


Things I Learned I confess Suzi and I were well pre-


pared with emergency supplies, fuel, propane, a whole house generator, chainsaws and tools, even the tractor. Suzi and I have always felt strongly about that, and it’s paid dividends in the past during emergencies. Both our primary vehicles are 4x4 trucks and if you live anywhere short of a big city, you can’t go wrong with one. Hav- ing the right equipment handy (hand saws, digging, prying tools and such) is critical and allowed us to move fast and help. I got my neighbor’s gen- erator going right after the hit, made sure our elderly neighbors had water, and made sure our own house and stuff was secure and undamaged. All power was out to most of Joplin and surrounding areas. But we were able to function as a safe base of opera- tions for many because we were pre- pared — and had that generator. My neighbor said I could use his


trailer for my tractor if I needed it in town, and I phoned the propane sup- ply company the next day to see how supplies were if we needed them. They said they could deliver. Our 500-gal- lon tank (about 70-percent full at the


WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM


time) can run our generator for about two weeks, running 24 hours daily, but in reality I turned it off now and again. We have well water, septic and with the generator would be fine for most of a month if needed. However, a refrigerator only keeps


food safe for about three or four hours at most, and a well-stocked freezer (if it’s full it keeps the cold better) can last about 24 to 48 hours or so. You’ll have to run your generator for a few hours, every few hours, to keep the refrigerator cold. A good trick is too keep a few-gallon milk jugs filled with frozen water in the freezer. If you loose power, take them and put them in your refrigerator. That will help keep things cold much longer. Our 20KW generator burns about 1 gallon of propane an hour under light


to moderate load, so do the math and see how that matches your own needs and buy a generator accordingly. The thing to remember is to be modest in your power use. Don’t run the air conditioner unless you have to, and do laundry and chores when the gen- erator is already running charging batteries or operating the appliances. Cell service saved the day during


the disaster, but it got swamped fast and we lost enough towers that peo- ple in town could talk to each other, but couldn’t get calls from outside of the city; or could not call outside of the city from inside. Good, high- power, hand-held radios would have been great for keeping your family in contact. We use commonly available GMRS radios around our land


That’s actually a car, completely shredded by the 200 mph winds and being pummeled by debris — amazing forces.


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