Oct 30

Hurricane Sandy After Action Review (AAR)

We have power Captain,  Warp 2 to the nearest coffee pot!  In all seriousness the power did just return and of course one of my first priorities was to log on here in order to capture my notes from the Hurricane and provide some AAR comments.  As I wrote about earlier we were very fortunate to avoid the brunt of the storm and although there are evacuations, lingering power outages and flooding going on as I type this (within blocks of my residence) my family and I remain relatively unaffected.  We did lose power overnight which lasted throughout most of the day but that’s about it.  I realize there are many others out there who have been forced to endure (and are still enduring) much more in the way of hardship and sacrifice. In the days following the storm they will be able to paint a much more detailed picture about what it took to survive, of that I’m certain.  Still yet I feel I can provide some decent insight relative to some things I would do better, or things I would sustain if faced with this situation again.

Needs Improvement.  

  • Grocery management.  We had days of warning prior to the storm, almost a week in reality.  Due to the power outages many of the items in the refrigerator have gone bad.  What I should have done is gradually reduced the amount of items in the fridge and not replenished them prior to the storm, kind of like you do prior to going on vacation.  This would have meant less spoiled food which needed replacing.
  • Sleep cycle.  I often say there is no such thing as a one man army and everyone needs to sleep.  I should have followed my own advice instead of staying up all night long trying to monitor the storm.  Even a few hours of sleep, possibly with my wife staying up to monitor, would have made my performance this morning much better.  Quite frankly I was dragging and would have suffered greatly if we would have had to BugOut / Evacuate.


  • Alternative light sources.  Once the power went out there were no issues with utilizing alternative light sources such as chem lights, candles and flashlights.  I have found over time that one of the best tools during this time is a headlamp with a white and red lens.  This allows you to keep both hands free so you can work and if you want to stay tactical the red lens works great.
  • General preparedness levels.  I felt that our preparedness levels prior to the storm were exemplary.  We did not have to wade through crowds and stand in long lines for packets of AAA batteries or bottled water.  The piece of mind knowing that you are ready if something happens is like a warm blanket on a cold day.
  • Opportunity to use some supplies.  I did get to field test some of my equipment, not because I had to but simply because the opportunity presented itself (and I like coffee too much).  I broke out the small propane stove and camp percolator kit and brewed up some coffee.  Had the power outages continued I had planned on heating up water in order to reconstitute some Mountain House meals.

Overall things have gone much better than I anticipated and for that I am thankful. I realize there are many others out there who are having a seriously tough time and it saddens me deeply, I hope and pray they can pull through and come out stronger from the experience. I’m sure there will be reviews at all levels of government and ways to improve will be refined and put in the tool kit for the next time. For those who thought prepping was a crazy concept I hope this experience will bring things into focus and maybe cast some doubt on the status-quo of waiting until the last minute to try and prepare for disaster.

Tomorrow I hope to get back on track with the daily updates and articles here on the site. I promise not to rehash all of the same hurricane headlines that are being broadcast on TV 24/7, but I do have an idea on how I can present some of that information. I hope your day goes well and if you were in the path of the storm I wish you the best and hope you came out unscathed.


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  1. GA

    Glad you made it through with no issue. I have a bad habit of sleeping right through the hurricanes and tropical storms we have down here. Darn things always seem to come at night!

    1. PJ

      I’m sure you guys in Florida shrug them off like it’s no big deal! We yanks still have quite a bit to learn I’m afraid :)

  2. Hsien

    Hi PJ,
    Great to read your AAR and get a preppers perspective on how you guys have overcome the Superstorm.

    1. PJ

      Thanks for the comment. I wish I could have provided deeper insight and more “survival” moments but fortunately the storm only hit us with a glancing blow. It was still nice to be prepared, and in any situation one should be able to extract a few lesson’s learned.

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