Episode-2089- Mike Centex on Hurricane Harvey and CAC Teams

Mike is a PermaEthos founder and MSB member, a past presenter at TSP workshops and more recently a new Citizens Assisting Citizens team member when he found himself at ground zero of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, TX.

Upon hearing the “Get Out, Get Out, Get Out” warnings from Jack Spirko, Mike, knowing he was based in a high elevation, flood free area, set up the first CAC Team safe haven/FOB in Houston the Day Harvey made landfall. He and his entire family spent the next 10 days coordinating CAC Team efforts to direct rescuers, donations and supplies, safely, to the accessible locations in need around Houston and the Beaumont/Port Arthur area. Having lived in the area a lifetime, his knowledge of the area and roadways was extremely beneficial to CAC Team responders coming in from out of state.

With the assistance of Steven Harris and the entire CAC team nationwide, Mike and his family housed CAC responders, maintained constant contact on current needs and impacted areas, personally accompanied delivery of over 5,000 pounds of donated supplies to Houston area evacuation shelters.

Mike monitored flooding and road conditions around the Beaumont impacted area and he helped the CAC Team to guide additional tons of supplies to CAC responders on the ground in and around the flooded areas of Beaumont. At the same time, Mike’s Wife and children assembled 100’s of emergency hygiene and disaster cleanup kits on their dining room table, that were immediately distributed to flood victims in the Humble/Kingwood area of Houston.

Mike Video Chronicled the events from the day before landfall through the aftermath on his YouTube channel “Mike Centex Life”. Mike journaled extensively during the disaster and has learned many valuable lessons on how best to respond, communicate, and manage internal and external operations in the middle of an ongoing disaster area.

He also shows how clear communications with those coming into a disaster area can make the difference between delivering the supplies needed by victims and not showing up from a multi-state commute with prom dresses and winter coats for victims of a summer hurricane.

As Mike Tyson is famous for quoting, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”.

When you unwittingly find yourself at ground zero of a disaster, you’re going to take some serious punching and plans will fall apart everyday. Mike’s current mission goal is to teach preparedness minded people on how to duck as many of those punches as possible, while in the operating in the eye of the disaster.

Resources for today’s show…

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12 Responses to Episode-2089- Mike Centex on Hurricane Harvey and CAC Teams

  1. What is the radio/scanner Mike mentioned?

  2. What was the inexpensive radio mentioned on today’s show and does anyone have a source showing how to set it up as a scanner like the guest talked about?

  3. If you are only interested in monitoring emergency channels you can download 5-0 police radio scanner for your smart phone. There’s a free and paid pro version available.

    If you want to monitor and learn more about Ham radio and GMRS radio communications, the Baofeng is an inexpensive way to test the waters. Remember you will need a license to transmit on most of the channels. The you’ll also need to buy the programming cable to get the most out of the radio. I posted a video of actual rescue calls happening real time on my YouTube channel. There’s a link at mikecentex.com. There’s also tons of tutorials for the radio on YouTube. It’s a great tool but there is a learning curve!

    Thanks again Jack and all at TSP for having me on and letting me share my Houston experience!

  4. Jack,
    First time FB poster so if I screw up any protocol I do apologize. Another great interview. So many people have no clue what real aftermath is like and having someone like Mike share his piece of it hopefully gives folks a lot more to think about. Much of it would be beyond the imagination of regular, decent folk.

    He did back away from one of the big three (in my experience) and for good reason. One should be very aware of the continued affect of nature, ready to help themselves and what other they can, but they also need to really think about what people become when “all is lost”.

    When Katrina hit I was in the LA Army Guard and we were there before the storm trying to bus folks out (if they would go….we never forced anyone to leave) and remained there for 6 months afterwards. We did everything from security to clearing houses to cleanup and aid distribution. I also spent much of my “off” time just talking to people and doing whatever I could above the standard for kids I came across. That was the hardest part. Something like Katrina and now Harvey breaks a person to one of three things in my opinion.

    A sheep: Not in the typical sense but rather in the way that one has lost pretty much everything save (hopefully) their loved ones. They tend to not really help but also not hinder. They will shuffle from shelter to shelter following the instructions of authority. Their main focus seems to be collecting themselves, processing what is going on, and letting others provide the majority of their needs.

    The honey badger: This group tends not to take any s*** as is said about the animal. They have been beaten just as much as the sheep, but they lace up their boots, grab whatever tools they can find, and start to help. They are typically more prepared but sometimes they need charity as well. I’d say, as did Mike, that the majority of your listeners fall in to this category which says a lot about you as a mentor.

    The wolf/snake/pathetic pos that…….you get the idea:
    These gems of society view catastrophe as an open invitation to do as they please. Some are content to float giant stolen tvs down a flooded street in an also stolen boat, but some take their sickness to other levels. Lots of times drugs and females are involved. Lots of elderly folk have some kind of prescriptions and I have seen too many times the aftermath of what the wolves do to them before they steal whatever drugs they can. I will not elaborate on the female (of all ages) part as I am sure it is understood. This is society at its worst.

    I mention this only to suppliment the accounts already given and with the hope that should anyone encounter a situation like what is happening now, they might be able to view it with a little more clarity and caution. You know, that whole preparedness thing.

    I also think that Mike’s idea of having a group of folks on standby to house volunteers is an excellent one. I would happily open my south Louisiana home to workers should that need arise. Sorry this is so long. Enjoy the hell out of your vacation Brother. Y’all have certainly earned it.

  5. Thank God this response was different than Katrina. I think that event spurred many of us into a greater preparedness mindset.

    I forgot to mention that if any TSPers would be willing to assist CACTeam by providing a base for us to set up operations at your town’s next disaster, simply go to CACTeam.com, click on the volunteer tab and just fill out the basic info. Then we can keep your name and zip on file and if there’s a need in your community, they can contact you and talk about a plan for basing at your location. CACTeam is big on discussing the full shelter plan with you before ever sending someone, so no one is going to just show up. If you want to join CACTeam great, if not, no problem. Just having your knowledge of the area, resources and advice on best strategies to assist in the disaster will help them guide tons of relief supplies to your neighbors. Local intel was everything in this crisis and it made a big difference in my community, so thank you to all who donated to CACTeam or supported the nationwide network during operations. And thanks to Jack for dreaming up the idea. We’re not done yet and are distributing more food to impacted families in Houston this weekend. We’ve also got teams who have been moving in and out of Florida with truck loads of relief supplies. Stories being reported back from flooded areas are heartbreaking. Our only limitation has been not having more volunteers to help.

  6. Those church groups which muck out homes do an awesome job. I love how the various groups work together. I helped one day with a north Louisiana group last year. The work has to be done quickly and you can’t hire enough people to save the homes in time. I picked up a few friends and drove down.

    The group organizing the muck out was one of the baptist ministries which asked for help from other churches. They had a system in place, safety videos to watch. Meet at a local church, eat a breakfast if you haven’t, pack your own sack lunch from their supplies, come back, shower off and put one clean clothes before heading home. Maps with homes marked which needed help, groups organized. (I guess it would be different if showers not available. There were retired people who made a mission out of mucking out houses. They go from disaster to disaster, often with little time at their own homes. This wasn’t from a tornado nor hurricane, just rain, tons of rain, in an area which usually handles a great deal of rain.

    I saw a guy in his 70’s swing a sledge hammer all day, breaking up tile out of bathrooms, etc. He never stopped, maybe a 5 minute lunch. His group said he continues like that every day. The more which gets done the more homes which can be saved. Keep in mind, it is hot, no AC, smelly.

    The home we worked on next to a bayou was on higher ground, she had never been flooded before. In cities all the moldy sheet rock, cabinets etc are thrown to the curb. Rural areas you had needed to have a dumpster. This lady, as the water started to rise and she expected it to reach her house, got on the phone and reserved dumpsters, and got on the list for help. We filled up at least 2 semi sized dumpsters. She was so very very thankful. She had a dry room above her garage which several of her neighbors slept in for a couple days before anyone was able to get into the area by road.

    I was amazed at the support which came out. How various government entities from neighboring areas helped each other out. We had the red cross and a couple other groups come by, bringing red beans and rice, other food, water, seeing which neighbors still needed help.

    If anyone has a chance to help with such a effort, do so! It is an eye opener.

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