Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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After a Hurricane: Feeding the Family

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After Ike, I was amazed that many people who I encountered were not prepared for feeding their family. Here are some tips.

Do we forget easily what life is like without the conveniences of electricity? Apparently so, or maybe it is a case that many of us have not experienced life without our modern appliances. I would have thought having coolers (ice chests) as common sense, but I met several people who never bought one. Nor did they have canned foods to create a meal. Others forgot that water may not be available. I found people who did not foresee how they would prepare meals too. I love to cook, and I spent quite a bit of time making sure that my family had healthy meals during that time. In part, I believe that it is a lack of knowledge, so this may give you some ideas of what to do after the hurricane hits.


I fill up the bathtub, buckets, and drinking containers with water before the storm. Water enters your home through pressure, but that pressure is created by pumps run by electricity at stations. You may have water through your faucet after the storm, but that can soon end. If you have a water heater tank, the water in that tank can be used for cooking and drinking. There will be a plastic bib at the bottom of the unit used for draining (water comes out of this bib slowly if there is a build-up of minerals in your tank). Water from the faucets after the storm should be boiled for safety.


I discovered that many vegetable gardeners faced the same problem as mine; the hurricane destroyed most of my vegetables, so do not count too much on your garden. There are canned meats, stews, and fruits which are not too bad in a pinch. Canned vegetables are not always too good, but with some herbs from the garden they become palatable. My herbs survived quite well. Since canned foods have already been cooked, you only need the energy to warm them, not cook them through. This year I am attempting to keep fewer frozen meats. I threw a lot away after Ike.

The amount of energy needed should be a concern. I ran into neighbors who did not have the means to cook all of their foods properly. Rice and potato preparation can take more energy than other starches. Couscous and bulghur can sit in heated water to cook. Heat the water to a simmer; take it off the heat; place the couscous or bulghur in it to sit for five minutes off heat covered. Tabouli can sit in water to soften before eating. There are other grains typically found in the Middle Eastern section that can be prepared with little heat. If you need milk, condensed milk can be mixed with water to make milk.


I have an electric oven and cooktop, so I relied on my barbecue to fix meals. This is a propane unit with a burner for pots, so it was quite convenient. Make sure that your tanks are full before the storm, and store them in a secure spot. A propane grill is an investment, and you do need to cook outside when there may be rain. Ovens and cooktops which run on natural gas can be used after you have lost electricity. Those appliances do need electricity to light, but you can light them with a match. You should have no worries using natural gas when the power is off. Remember to keep matches handy. Solar ovens, which I have written about before, may not be helpful. Rain and clouds are common after the hurricane. Charcoal babecues will heat up water for the starches mentioned above, and you can buy a small unit quite cheap. These need to be used outside too. Another fact to recall is that you need light for food preparation. Lanterns for camping can help. Light is a safety issue. You should see what you are preparing.

Those are the basics, and I hope it has given you something to think of when preparing your own home. < ! -google_ad_section_start- >Camping supplies, like lantern, grills, or even prepackaged dried foods, should be part of your survival kit. Take a look at local stores which specialize in camping goods to find items that can help you. < ! -google_ad_section_end- >Keep safe.

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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