It’s the time of year that need to start thinking about spring and summer storms. We’re fortunate to live in a time when we get plenty of advanced warning of a major storm is headed our way. It could be a hurricane, tropical storm, or severe thunderstorm that kicks up some wild tornadoes.
The government recommends every family have enough food, water, and emergency supplies to last at least three days. That’s based on how long it takes to mobilize aid to a hard hit area. Three days may not seem that long right now, but three days with no power, running water, heat, or shelter is no joke. Imagine telling your children you don’t have a blanket for them to lie on, food to give them, or something as simple as a flashlight when it’s completely dark outside.
Don’t count on the government showing up in exactly three days. Prepare now! Don’t wait until you hear the warning on the radio. It will be too late at that point. Everyone else would have heard the same announcement and will be rushing out to buy the things you need to get by until help arrives.
It can get ugly in stores just hours after one of those warnings rings out. People are crazy and, in some cases, violent. Protect yourself and your family by preparing now.
Sootch gives great advice on how to handle a fragile distribution system during a national or global emergency. In today’s day and age, being prepared is just smart. Don’t be scared, be prepared.
These are the ten things that are going to disappear first when the stuff is about to hit the fan:
Bottled water is going to be flying off the shelves. Don’t wait. Get a few cases tucked away now. You need water to drink and maintain good personal hygiene. You cannot drink the water that comes from the tap after a major storm. There is a good chance the water treatment plants aren’t going to be functional.
If you’re on a well, you may be without power. You’ll want to plan on having a minimum of one gallon of water per day for each family member. It is better if you store a little more than that to ensure you have enough water to wash your hands, dishes, and for cleaning up around the home. If you have pets, store water for them as well.
Batteries are another important item to stock up on now. You will need batteries for your flashlights and radios. Reduce the amount of batteries you’ll run through by using LED flashlights and lanterns. These are extremely bright lights and use very little battery power. Have at least one flashlight for each family member and a lantern on standby.
Having portable battery packs for your cellphones is also a good idea. You’ll want to be able to be in touch with family members that aren’t in your house. Portable chargers should be kept charged and ready to use. Have several on standby to make sure your phone will last a minimum of three days.
Keeping a solar battery charger on hand is also a good idea. These are inexpensive and can charge small electronics. You’ll appreciate being able to keep the kids occupied with their favorite tablet or other handheld game.
Portable generators are going to go fast. While this is a bigger purchase, it’s an investment that can keep your family out of the dark and keep food safe from spoiling. You can expect to spend a couple hundred dollars on a generator, but it’s well worth the cost. Buy one now, get familiar with it, and make sure you have everything needed to make it run smoothly. Make sure you have the oil that’s needed to keep it running. Constant running will require you to add oil every fifty hours or so.
Because this is a high value item, it’s also a good idea to have a bolt and chain to secure it. Generators can help minimize the inconvenience of a power outage. When setting it up, be aware that they tend to be loud. They’re also a magnet for those who weren’t prepared and are willing to steal. Keep it out of sight and locked down. Building a box out of plywood around the generator can help muffle the sound, keep the generator out of the elements, and out of plain sight.
Fuel for your generator and car is another hot item that’s going to go very fast when people learn of a storm headed their way. Filling your car’s tank is a good idea in case you need to escape a storm. You may ride out the storm at home but may need to leave after if the damage is severe. When the power goes out, the gas pumps won’t operate. Keep in mind you might not be able to use a credit card even if the gas station has a working pump. There may also be caps on how much gas you can purchase. You’re better off storing gasoline.
Depending on the size of generator you have and how much of a load it’s carrying, you should plan to use between twelve to twenty-four gallons of fuel per day. It all depends on the size of the generator. You’ll want to give your generator breaks throughout the day, which will save fuel.
You can safely store fuel for six months or up to twelve months if kept in a cool, dry environment. Add some fuel stabilizer to the tanks. Don’t be one of the hundreds stuck in line at a gas station for hours trying to get a couple gallons of fuel.
Plywood should be at the top of your list of needs to survive a disaster. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, buy enough plywood to board up your windows now. Home Depot and other home improvement stores are going to sell out fast when it becomes clear a storm is headed your way. Spend fifty dollars now and store the plywood in the shed or garage. This can save you thousands of dollars in home damages caused by a hurricane. This is something you can store for years without it rotting. Don’t forget to have a hammer, screws, and a portable drill to hang the plywood.
6-Bread and Food Staples
Bread is going to fly off the shelves. Cooking might not be an option during a storm so you need foods that are ready-to-eat. Sandwiches are quick, easy, and require no real clean up after you make them. Unfortunately, bread isn’t something you can stock up on and save for weeks in your pantry. However, you can pop the bread into the freezer and pull it out when there is an impending disaster.
Canned foods along with packaged goods like crackers and jerky are good options too. The goal is to have a supply of ready-to-eat, non-perishable food items on hand.
Tarps are going to be very important as well. If your roof is damaged, you’ll need to do your best to protect the home by covering the hole. Tarps can be used to cover broken windows as well. It can take weeks or longer to get a contractor out to fix your home after a disaster. Your home won’t be the only one damaged and everyone is going to be scrambling to protect their homes with tarps.
A tarp can also come in handy if you need an emergency shelter for your family. These inexpensive items are going to be extremely valuable after a disaster. Get a few stored away now. Have a few bungee cords and/or ropes to use with the tarps.
Trash bags are going to make your world much easier and a lot more sanitary. If you happened to miss out on getting plywood and/or tarps, big black trash bags are the next best thing. The bags can be used to seal up a broken window or a hole in a roof when combined with duct tape. You can protect items like your cameras, laptops, and precious family photos from water damage by placing them inside plastic bags with a tight seal.
They’re also going to be useful when it comes to cleaning up after the storm. You may be using paper plates and plastic utensils while waiting for power and water to be restored. The extra trash generated needs to go somewhere. You also have to prepare for garbage services to be delayed for a while until roads are cleared.
Garbage isn’t only unsightly, it can be a serious health hazard. Try to keep your home and outdoor area clean to prevent pest infestations. Also, a heavy duty lawn bag can be used in a bucket for a makeshift toilet if the sewer system is damaged or you don’t have running water.
Toilet paper isn’t something many people think of when they rush to the store hours before a major disaster. Just because there is a raging storm, it doesn’t mean the human body stops working. Save yourself a lot of trouble by stockpiling the stuff now.
Bleach is going to be a necessary item to prevent your family from getting ill. It can be used to purify water should you run out of bottled water before help arrives. You only need a few drops of bleach to purify a gallon of water. After a storm, there is a very good chance the sewage systems are going to be down. There could be contaminated flood waters surrounding you. If you have to leave your house, thoroughly bleach shoes before going back inside.
Wiping down countertops and bathroom areas is also going to help cut down on the risk of someone getting sick. Sanitation is one of the biggest concerns after a disaster. Bleach has a shelf life of about a year so be sure to include it in your rotation.
Buying these items now helps lessen the hit to your wallet and ensures you have everything needed to get through the next storm. A good strategy is to buy at least one item every week and set it aside in a closet or pantry. A little preparation can go a long way to ensuring your family has what they need until help arrives.