Blowout

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Moana Drifter
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Blowout

Post by Moana Drifter » Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:23 pm

Election night 2004, I was yanked out of a deep sleep at 1:30 AM by what sounded like a 747 landing on the roof. My first thought was, “tornado!” but as I ran down the hall to grab the kids out of bed, I woke up enough to realize that the roaring sound was coming from down the road, and it was otherwise perfectly calm with none of the other symptoms of a tornado, like winds, blowing debris, or mean old ladies riding their bicycle in the air past the window. My wife and I got dressed and joined the neighbors out in the street discussing what the cause could be.

After several minutes, the guy directly across from us decided to go see if he could find out what was going on and drove off down the road towards the sound. He came flying back about 30 seconds later and said that he got about ¼ mile down the road, smelled natural gas, and was getting the hell out of there. I figured something bad had happened to the pipeline compressor station down the road from us and decided bugging out was not such a bad idea. Especially with it being election night, the possibility of terrorism was on my mind, but OTOH, this is Houston and petrochemical stuff blows up all the time. We called my parents on the other side of Houston (about an hour away) and told them we were coming, put the kids in the car with some blankets and took off.

On the drive to my parents’, we flipped the radio between a couple of “all news” stations trying to get updates, but all we could get was redundant election coverage, with the exception of a single report that mentioned “flames shooting into the air visible from miles away.” Finally, at about 10 minutes away from my parents’ house, the radio reported that the all-clear had been given and people could return. We called my parents, and turned around and drove the almost hour back again. We later found out that a 40” pipeline attached to the above mentioned compressor station had ruptured.

Lessons learned:
1. Have a plan. We were fortunate that I have family fairly close by, but other than that were completely unprepared for anything that might have happened enroute. Especially with the terrorism possibility, the only defense we had was my EDC pocket knife and a wimpy tire iron.
2. Just because the SHTF for you, doesn’t mean anyone else gives a rat’s ass. While our area was one spark away from near immolation, everyone else on the planet was paying attention to the election and that is where the news coverage was.
3. Don’t depend on the normal news to tell you what is really happening. The “flames shooting into the air” was a complete fabrication. The rupture never caught fire. I don’t know if the radio station made it up, or just quoted someone else who made it up, but it never happened. Alternate news sources can also be more informative. A neighbor who had the same idea as us went as far as the Target parking lot where they pulled over and talked to a wrecker driver. The wrecker driver was monitoring a police scanner and told them the pipeline had already been shut off and they were just waiting for the gas to dissipate before the all-clear. They made it back into bed over an hour before we did.

southalabama
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Post by southalabama » Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:08 pm

As a result of a hurricane I learned a valuable lesson, when widespread SHTF you and your family are on your own. It took a week to get relief into town. Rural areas are not high priority.

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raptor
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Post by raptor » Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:35 pm

You did the right thing. You had a plan in place. You made a decision, opted for the most conservative course of action and reacted quickly. +1

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phil_in_cs
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Re: Blowout

Post by phil_in_cs » Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:54 pm

Moana Drifter wrote:2. Just because the SHTF for you, doesn’t mean anyone else gives a rat’s ass. While our area was one spark away from near immolation, everyone else on the planet was paying attention to the election and that is where the news coverage was.
That's a very important point. You were in the evacuation area, and no one bothered to tell you.

You did well on this.
Don't confuse a belligerent and aggressive attitude with the strength, training, and conditioning needed to prevail in a fight. How do you know you have the Will To Win, if you don't even have the will to train?

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