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Putting survival skills into motion

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Being an outdoorsman (or person as we are persuaded to say now) is often based on simple survival skills. Hunting? It is what was needed for food and defense. Fishing? Yet again, it was what was needed in order to provide sustenance. Hiking? A way to follow a path or trailblaze one in either the pursuit of game or to provide transportation for a nomadic lifestyle. Camping? The means of providing shelter for oneself and others.

Depending on when you read this, there is a good possibility you have or are having to put certain survival skills to use.

Hurricane Florence is aiming toward the Carolinas at the time of me typing this column. There are three distinct possibilities at this stage of the game as well. Of course, when you read this, the game will be a little further along. Whether the storm hits the Cape Fear region and stalls, hits the Cape Fear region and pushes toward Charlotte and the mountains, or hits the Cape Lookout area and heads toward the Triad, we will all face similar fates.

In the last 22 years, much of North Carolina and South Carolina has at least seen a part of three different 500-year floods. Yes, a millennium and a half worth. Yet, here we are, about to experience what is promising to be worse than those three.

Potentially, we have the following to look forward to: The strongest winds North Carolina has ever seen lasting for as long as four days. Fran, Floyd and Matthew came and went. Florence may decide to wear on our hospitality.

Rain totaling as much as 2 feet in select areas, with rivers and water sheds tripling flood stages over the period. Dams that survived or were rebuilt following the storms of the last two decades may not make it through this final onslaught. It doesn’t matter how far from the coast you are, as we have already seen this year what happens when lots of water finds places like the Triad and Triangle. We have also seen how the coast is changed in just a few hours of tidal swells, rough currents and epic winds.

In all likelihood, we will have what seems to be our normal “come in the dead of night” type hurricane, such as Fran and Floyd. However, upon daybreak on Friday, the storm will not just have left remnants with occasional gusts. Instead, we will still be experiencing peak winds and rain. Power will likely be out. There will be no cellphone coverage to check on loved ones and no driving around to see the aftermath.

Do not go to the store and purchase milk, meats and other perishables. In fact, it may be best to eat and drink these perishables prior. Go back to the days of your childhood and become friends with Chef Boyardee once again. Not only will the canned foods such as ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, and such last, you can get by without added water that needs to be conserved and without heating.

Go ahead and have all washcloths and towels washed and dried. The washer and dryer will not run without power and this way you won’t have to constantly reuse them for several days.

Make sure you have enough pet food for at least a week. You don’t want your furry loved ones to go hungry and you don’t need to share people food in times of conservation.

Fill containers with water and even fill the bathtub with water. This provides water for drinking and cooking (containers) and for cleaning (bathtub).

Charge any rechargeable batteries now. Batteries such as for the laptop and tablets can provide at least some reprieve for entertainment, and batteries for drills, blowers and even saws can be used for you and neighbors that may need help.

Fill the fuel tanks for your vehicles and the propane tank for your outdoors gas grill. The vehicles can provide momentary air conditioning if power goes out, and of course, transportation if possible as well as radio alerts. The gas grill can be used to cook, obviously.

And lastly, stay alert. The winds will mask a variety of sounds and noises, even the breaking and tumbling of large trees. Keep and eye out for you and your neighbors.