Friday, September 6, 2019

Hurricane Dorian AAR*

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
(*After Action Report)

As you probably know by now, Hurricane Dorian skipped Florida entirely. This was good news for me, as I made the decision not to evacuate based on its projected route -- I figured that, at worst, we'd get a glancing strike from a Category 1 which all houses in Florida are built to withstand -- and I'd have felt pretty dumb if it had changed course and/or intensity and hit us harder.

Still, I learned a lot from my first ever Hurricane Bug-In, even if nothing happened, because the mere act of readying my preps pointed out two things that they lacked.

A Wingnut Driver
I talked about hurricane shutters last week, and my house has the metal kind which attach via bolt and wingnut. "Fast installation" is a bit of a relative term, as it took me two hours to cover up 6 windows. Something that would have sped that up some is a wingnut driver for a drill; I had previously been using my hands to finger-tighten them, then using pliers to torque it down. A drill would not only screw the shutters down faster, but also more securely.

I have since bought one at the local hardware store for around $10 (you can order one from Amazon for $11 plus Prime shipping)  and that will definitely make taking the shutters down much faster and easier. As an added bonus, if I ever need to drive in some eyebolts this will do that, too.

An Off-Grid Way to Recharge Batteries
As I was was topping off my rechargeable AA and AA batteries, I realized that I lacked a way to recharge them if the power stayed off for any amount of time. Fortunately for me, my friend the General Purpose Egghead (listen to his segments on the Assorted Calibers Podcast for good advice on batteries, flashlights and HAM radio!) sent me a "hurricane care package" which included a Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus battery charger!

The Guide 10 can charge both AA and AAA batteries via a mini-USB port. This gives me a variety of ways to charge them:
  • With a Nomad 7 solar panel (I bought an older model years ago on closeout prices)
  • With a hand crank, such as with the Lighthouse 400 lantern (bought on clearance at the same time)
  • With a conventional power outlet

What's more, the Guide 10 acts as a power bank, meaning that I can plug a USB cable into it and use the batteries* to power anything which takes a USB charger, like a cell phone or mp3 player. This gives me a great amount of versatility when it comes to charging what I need in a grid-down situation. Thanks Egghead!

* It can even technically do that with alkaline batteries, although that's discouraged since the higher voltages of the alkaline might damage the charger. 

There's a saying in the military that "No plan survives contact with the enemy." I'd say there's a corollary with prepping, in that "No preps are 100% ready for an emergency." A near-miss by a hurricane showed me some flaws, and I'm pleased to have discovered them now instead of when it was too late to do anything about them. Review your preps regularly to discover things you've overlooked!


  1. There are a couple of things that I learned from your post. The wingnut driver/eyebolt driver? I had never heard of one, or even seen one. I will be either making one, or buying one, at some point. For ten bucks, it might be a little high if I only use it a couple of times, but I have some similar items that I think I can repurpose with the help of a grinder and my vice. I mean the one that is bolted down in my shed, not one of the vices that I pretend I don't have.
    The goal zero battery charger, I think that you might be able to charge it up with one of those cigarette lighter plug things, that have the female socket for the USB plug. Then plug it into you car accessory socket, and charge it up.

    1. I think you mean a vise? ;)

      As for the car port charger, you are absolutely correct! I have an adapter for that around here... somewhere....


The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to