It was called the “No Name Storm” and the “Perfect Storm”. Yes, It was the same one they made the movie about. I had worked the midnight shift at my Nuclear Power Plant and just got home and crawled into bed, it was also my birthday. As I had left work, I had to drive through about a foot of water for about 3 miles because the Gulf of Mexico had been pushed inland.
I had been in bed about 5 minutes when the Yankeetown Florida Fire Department called and ask if I could rescue people in Yankeetown with my air-boat. My reply was yes but they would have to supply gas because I knew most gas stations fuel tanks had been flooded with salt water or the stations were limiting gas. The reply was no problem. It took me about 20 minutes to hook up the air-boat and meet the fire department at the Yankeetown women’s club. The Yankeetown fire Department was flooded. Immediately, one fireman and I took off down “Riverside Drive”. In most instances, we did not have to go into a house to search for people because they were standing on the front porch waving us over to pick them up.
After picking up a few people and taking them back to the Yankeetown woman’s club, the fireman had to go with the ambulance. A lady with the fire department ask if she could ride along and film the efforts. She boarded and we took off again. Her film was placed in the Yankeetown School Library and as far as I know it is still there. Later, she left and I was going around by myself when I came across a lady in her 80′s in chest deep water holding her little dog. This was across the street from the Yankeetown Boat Company. All in all, on my boat we rescued about 15 to 18 people. All the individuals were 60 years of age or older, one had a broke arm, and if I remember correctly one had some broke ribs.
It really surprised me how “tough” these people were because most were aged, very wet and cold. They were all very thankful. My oldest son had also used his 18 foot Jon-boat to rescue people. He also had a fireman on his boat and during that morning, they had gone into a house to check on an individual. The man was laying in bed, hooked up to an oxygen bottle and the water was soaking his mattress. Later that day, I thought back and remembered the following: The Yankeetown fire department firehouse was flooded, the Yankeetown Coast Guard Station 1st floor was flooded, the Florida State Marine Patrol air-boat was on scene approximately one hour after I arrived. My son, with his Jon-boat, was on scene before the Marine Patrol air-boat showed up. I did not see any other law enforcement people around except those blocking off roads.
This is not to say they were not busy because they were, its just that Levy County is a big coastal county and there was so much to be done. The first people/group to offer the Yankeetown school blankets, food, and additional shelter was “Scooter Haven” a local motor cycle club. My point being this: If you wait on any government officials for your rescue, you just might wait a long, long time. Common sense means they have to handle things in priority order meaning you might have to wait. Another thing this proves is when a disaster occurs you will probably have an increased risk of injuries like the two individuals that I picked up with the broke arm and fractured ribs. A Prepper controls his (or her) own destiny and relies on others only as a last resort.