Citizens Assisting Citizens (CAC TEAM) for short is actively engaged in relief for Hurricane Harvey, they are currently finding the small towns and individual people who have fallen between the cracks of the massive relief effort in Texas. We still need your help, specifically as a responder or as someone who can provide a safe haven for responders to sleep, get a shower, etc.
And now we have eyes on Hurricane Irma, which currently is on track to either gut Florida or rip up its east coast and slam into the outer banks. It also may enter the gulf and hit the Florida gulf coast, or it may rake the west side of Florida and make main landfall in the Florida panhandle, Alabama or Mississippi and Louisiana.
The truth is current computer models are conflicting and we just don’t know yet. A week ago I was concerned it might move up the Atlantic and slam into the Delmarva Peninsula. I am still not sure but my current bet is a gulf coast landing. The only good news is it isn’t going to make it over to Texas and do a one two punch on the Houston – Beaumont area.
Personally my best guess now is an entry that hits Key West head on, turns north and strikes somewhere in the Alabama – Mississippi coast. Irma is going to be a bad storm but a different type of storm than Harvey. There will be flooding but not the same scale, it is going to move inland no matter where it lands much faster. Storm surge, wind damage, spawned tornadoes, etc. will be more wide spread. What I am predicting is a lot less flooding but a lot more people with out power, cell phone service, access to water, etc.
I also fear because so much has gone into Harvey there will be an even greater need for help that will go unanswered. Irma formed over the Cape Verde Islands, that means it has had weeks to develop, it is very powerful and very organized. Please if you live on the Gulf Coast or Atlantic Coast monitor this storm, if a direct hit looks plausible in your area, GET OUT! This is a good time for everyone to go over their bug out plans.
From: Steven Harris, Chairman of the Board and Tom Patterson Executive Director of CACteam.com
To: The TSP Community – We need your help, not only in Texas, but maybe for Irma coming in, and if not for Irma, there will be another one in days to years from now coming in.
We need 2 things. We need Safe Havens, a kind of FOB or forward operating base. This is where you notify us that members of our team can come to your place, either to pitch a tent in the yard, or you have a spare bedroom that 6 of them might cram into. They can get a hot shower at your place, someone else can come in and drop off supplies for these guys who are going into the area of disaster the next day. This has proven to be one of the most valuable and enabling things in our response in Texas to Hurricane Harvey.
This is an established best practice and we are going to continue with this and move it forward. We need safe havens all the way from Texas to Maine. Any place that can be affected by a hurricane. We also need safe havens anywhere in the USA because disasters can happen anywhere. So if you are in IOWA, don’t be shy to sign up to be a safe haven.
DON’T WORRY WE WILL CALL BEFORE SENDING ANYONE TO YOUR LOCATION!!! We will call you LONG before they arrive, tell you who’s coming, make sure its ok, and get them vectored into you. There will be no late night surprises for you. Also, if you are in a zone of no power our guys will be self contained and bringing in power and illumination and they will have their own food and water and other supplies. They just need a safe spot. 2 people might arrive in 2 vehicles, but then those 2 team up and go into the zone of destruction in 1 vehicle leaving the other vehicle behind nice and safe at your location.
If you decide to join them….great. If you have stay home with the kids, that is fine as well.
From here on OUT. EVERYONE who is volunteering to be a safe haven or volunteering for CAC *WILL* have a background check done on them. NO ONE showing up is going to be a person with DUI’s or a felon or a drug user and we expect the same from you as a safe haven.
We are switching operations in Texas from one of relief to one of recovery. We have been dropping off water and hygiene kits and food and ice and diapers and now we are switching from that mode, which is relief, over to recovery.
In recovery we are going into people’s homes and helping them rip out dry wall above and below the flood level, opening the walls to be ventilated. Rolling up carpet, helping to take all of this out to the curb along with destroyed furniture etc.
So if you are coming to help you’ll need to bring face masks, like an N95 face mask, eye goggles and eye protection (mandatory) along with hammers and nail pullers, crow bars, sledge hammers, cordless saws all with different blades or corded saws all and other power tools but if you have a generator to power those, please bring it. Oh.. and you’ll need a good pair of leather gloves to protect your hands when working with all of this destroyed or removed items and you’ll need a good pair of rubber gloves because you might be handling muck and stuff that is contaminated.
Speaking of muck, bring flat blade shovels and push brooms and regular brooms and dust pans and everything needed to push out mud from the inside of the house. If you do not have these items, then for stuff like the goggles, gloves, crow bars, hammers, sledge hammers and other basic hand tools we are paying for these, we want you to buy from Harbor Freight first, Home Depot, Lowes or a hardware store second. Harbor freight is the best value for the money. We are also paying for your fuel to come and help.
What we are not paying for, we’re not paying for hotels or motels, generally not paying for meals, but we are paying for any food or water you need to buy to go into the zone of destruction. When you drive down you need to have enough fuel in your vehicle or in cans to drive INTO the zone of help and be able to drive back out.
You need FOOD for yourself and your team and you need your own supply of water. The safe havens do not have to supply these for you. If they end up making a nice chicken dinner for everyone, then that is great. So if you have a tent, bring it. Do you have a house trailer or a travel trailer for yourself to sleep in? Then bring it. Come as self contained as you possibly can.
Does this sound rough, does this sound unfair? Charity is giving of ones self, we are making the funds we have go as far as they can. $100 hotel rooms for a week is not a good expenditure of our funds, plus, if you are in the effected area there are probably no hotel rooms to be had. Either they don’t have power, or they do have power and they are full of people who have evacuated.
CACTeam is about being able to pivot on a dime, being able to be there first. Being there before the Red Cross and FEMA show up plus we help the people that Red Cross and FEMA missed. We have done this over and over and over in Texas and Louisiana.
So make no mistake about this. This could be camping out in a tent in a back yard in 90 degree heat with 85% humidity for days to a week with no shower, limited bathroom facilities and working 12+ hours a day doing manual labor just to help others after you’ve driven for 12+ hours straight through just to get to this location. Yes, we have people coming from Virginia Beach driving to Southern Texas just to help. This is about the worst case you’ll see. Anything else is just better.
You are going to help people save their homes from having to be destroyed because of a mold infestation. You’ll be doing this for people who really can’t afford to hire someone to do this. On the news, the big piles on the curb you see, many of those are $500,000 houses throwing out $5000 couches. They can pay for their help. We’re here to find those who can’t afford that.
So… I’ve painted a little bit of a grim picture for you. Do you want to drive 12 hours just to sleep in a tent and then work 12 hours a day helping others and doing this with limited power and light, no AC etc?
Well tell you what. This will be an adventure of a life time. This will be stories you’ll tell for 20 years. You will get no higher form of satisfaction than helping these people in need. Have teen age kids who are addicted to their smart phone, bring them on down. Show them what it is to work for the benefit of someone else. Get your friends and neighbors together and get in touch with us and come on down. I promise you that this is going to be an adventure.
So… you have a choice. You can stay at home, wake up in your bed, take a shower, go to work for someone else, have nice AC to work in and be nice and comfortable in your freshly washed cloths. Take the blue pill and you’ll wake up tomorrow and not remember any of this and you’ll continue on with your life.
You can drive into the uncertain and the unknown to help others and be out of AC and in the heat and the sun and the mosquitoes and you can do this by taking the red pill and I will personally show you just how deep this rabbit hole goes. We promise to give you nothing but the truth. We can’t tell you what you’ll find in the disaster because you must experience it for yourself to know what it is.
Go to CACteam.com and click on DONATE and the money you donate can literally be in the hands of a CAC TEAM volunteer in an hour or less and turned into baby formula, diapers, wipes, food, water, ice, medicine, fuel and much more.
I’m dead serious. Can anyone else promise you that? That money you give NOW… will be used in less than an hour? And that we will get those items into the hands of people in less than another hour? That’s a hell of a statement. Find someone else who can do that. That is what Jack Spirko envisioned when he started the formation of this group and that is what it has become.
There is also another area you can volunteer to help us with. If you are an expert in this area. We need keyboard warriors. People who can be on our communications net (called Zello) and you can field questions from people in the field and get them directed to the right location. You can call ahead to shelters to see what they need and do general assistance like this for us.
Being at home on a computer with full internet and full home phone or cell phone is very very powerful when we have people in the field. This has worked out extraordinary well for us. We need people to sort through emails, call people back, we need people who can post on Instagram and facebook and twitter and we need people who can edit photos and videos into a formal presentation video for others to see in facebook and youtube about what we are doing with our boots on the ground.
We need help in all of these areas. So if you can be a keyboard warrior for us, make sure to mention it in the comments area when you sign up to be a volunteer. HAM RADIO operators are ESPECIALLY requested to help in this area because Zello is a simplex form of communications and when things get busy we run zello like a Ham Radio communications net. If you’re a ham, you’ll know what I am talking about. If you are not a ham you’ll learn quickly what we are talking about.
Also, people volunteering to be a safe haven or a person going on deployment you get full access to ALL Steven Harris training videos and audio for FREE. This will give you critical skills for you to use when you are deployed. You must be in constant cell phone communications with us, unless there is no cell service, and that was VERY RARE in Hurricane Harvey. We had cell service almost everywhere. We have our own blue force tracker. We can see you on a map with your cell phone running an app called glympse and we are in constant communications by audio with zello from zello.com.
We are very well organized and we have your back. Are you ready? Want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes? Red pill, or blue pill?
I applaud Steven and Tom for being so honest about the situation and the work required of responders. If you want to help…