Wes Massey, my friend and fellow survival instructor, narrowly missed the devastating storms and the string of twisters that slashed their way from Oklahoma to North Carolina and Virginia earlier this month. And Wes, being the nice guy that he is, volunteered to help a friend near Fayetteville, North Carolina, who was less fortunate and suffered some of the storm’s fury.

After a full day of chainsaw work, Wes had his friend’s house and driveway cleared of timber, limbs and smashed wooden fences.

It can be tricky, cutting down a normal tree on a normal day. Imagine how much more unpredictable it can be to cut up pieces of trees that may be under tension, or cracked, or ready to “Barber Chair.”

So this brings into focus the truth that sometimes the disaster doesn’t kill you, but the aftermath could. And on that theme, here is a quick mayhem checklist for you to consider.

• Know where your gas, water and electrical “Shut-off’s” are – BEFORE disasters strike.

• After a tornado, hurricane, flood or earthquake, have someone inspect your home who is QUALIFIED to look for structural damage.

• If your house has sustained damage and you have gas heat or appliances, sniff for gas leaks inside your home and outside too.

• If the power is out from the calamity, turn off your main breaker until power is restored to your area.

• Keep a 72-hour supply of water and food per person in your home, plus flashlights, first aid, and other disaster supplies – before trouble strikes.

• Have a battery powered radio so you can stay alert to post-disaster news and instructions.

• Just because you saw somebody operate a chainsaw once, DOES NOT mean that you are QUALIFIED to operate this deadly piece of machinery.

What would you add to (or subtract from) your personal mayhem checklist? Please let us know in the comments section.

Photo: Mark Gstohl