Not long ago I was feeling pretty good about my food storage and other preps, perhaps even a bit smug, until someone asked, “Are you stocked up on potassium iodide tablets?”
“What??” was my incredulous response.
After some research at I discovered a significant gap in all my survival preparation. I had not considered how my family would survive a nuclear blast. How foolish of me to overlook that contingency!
The truth is that it’s impossible to prepare for every possible scenario. There are just too many variables. To make the task more manageable, set a seasonal preparedness goal. Right now it’s summer in Texas, and oh so hot! Preparing for a summer evacuation or crisis is different than for other seasons. If a sudden emergency happened during the summer, how would you need to be prepared? What are your summer survival plans?
The basics of summer survival
First on the list, make sure there is plenty of stored water in each vehicle. This is true for any season, but especially so during the summer. If there is the possibility of a disruption in your home water supply, buy and fill 55-gallon water barrels. One barrel per person would be a good rule of thumb for a three-week supply of water.
To ensure your water is safe from dangerous microbes, follow these instructions for water purification. If you live in a rural setting or spend a lot of time camping and hiking, stock up on water purification tablets also in case you have to rely on a possibly contaminated water source, such as a lake, pond, or stream.
Food is an obvious second priority. The food in your Vehicle 72 Hour Kit should be safe in high temperatures. In fact, do a quick check to make sure everything in your kit is safe when it’s hot, including any medicines. Double check any canned items for signs of expansion. An explosion of Spaghetti-O’s in your kit will not be a pleasant surprise!
Warm temps also bring the very best summer fruits and lots of them. It’s an ideal time to buy in-season fruits and veggies in bulk and get busy canning and/or dehydrating. New to canning? Tomatoes are in season and are super easy to can. In fact, I cut my canning teeth, so to speak, on tomatoes using these simple instructions. Since your kids are out of school, you have additional slave labor! Take advantage of it!
How about the temperature in your food storage area? Ideally, it should be cooler than 70 degrees, which may be difficult during summer months. Our long-term food storage is meant to be long-term, and it would be a shame to end up with ruined food because your storage area was too hot. If you’re unsure of your pantry’s temperature, keep a thermometer in there for a few days and check for temperature fluctuations. Above all, never store food of any kind in your garage or outbuilding unless it’s well-insulated.
If you’re thinking there’s no way you could possibly keep your food storage pantry cool enough, and dry enough, if you live in a humid area, then a small, portable air conditioner could save thousands of dollars of food in terms of preserved nutrition and flavor. Here in Texas, I have lost good food to rusted cans because of the high humidity and wish I had purchased a dehumidifier like this one. Both of these small machines will go a long way to insure that your food is protected from two of the enemies of food storage.
Beyond Food and Water
The clothing items in your 72 Hour Kits should reflect summer temperatures in your area. Include a light-colored cotton long sleeved shirt for each person to help ward off sunburn and overheating as well as a floppy, brimmed cotton hat. (This is the exact hat I own.) Why a cotton hat? Unlike most straw hats, they can be rolled up and stored just about anywhere, they’re lightweight, and the fabric will absorb sweat. As long as you’re out shopping for floppy hats, look for children’s summer clothing in the next size or two larger. When next June rolls around, you’ll already have clothing in the right sizes for your kids.
Hypothermia is something you probably won’t need to worry about over the summer, but sunburns, heat stroke, and breathing problems abound. Polluted city air is often exacerbated by warm temperature inversions. If someone in the family has breathing problems of any type, be prepared with the appropriate medication and breathing treatments ahead of time. If you had to suddenly evacuate or couldn’t leave your home for a period of time during the hottest part of the year, what types of over-the-counter and prescription medicines would you need the most?
By the way, this book about emergency evacuations has all the checklists and tips you’ll ever need, written by me — someone who has lived in hot weather states her entire life!
In my part of the country, powerful thunderstorms blow in every summer, just like clockwork. They’ve been known to hit power lines and even major transformers, knocking out the power for large sections of the city. That’s exactly what this person experienced. If your electricity should go out for a few hours, days or longer, you’ll need a plan for coping.
A top priority is keeping the food in your fridge and freezer from spoiling. Follow these excellent directions for keeping your cold foods cold. Once you’re sure your frozen steaks and veggies are safe, you’ll need to stay cool yourself! A portable Misty Mate fills the bill for staying cool no matter where you are. It’s a great product, and being a swim team mom who sits out in the heat every day, I should know!
Get Out of Dodge
Finally, do you have a plan for getting out of town quickly? Remember the horror stories from Hurricane Ike in 2008? Cars were overheating along the highway, and it took hours to travel just a few miles. If your area was being evacuated this summer, what other routes are there?
Being stuck in a world-class traffic jam in the summer isn’t just inconvenient, it could become a death trap. Spend some time studying maps of your area and marking various routes from Point A to Point B. If necessary, have maps of any neighboring states. Then, on a pleasant weekend, when you have some time on your hands, actually drive one of those alternate routes.
Again, I highly recommend Emergency Evacuations: Getting Out Fast When it Matters Most as your best resource for planning out evacuations.
There’s nothing like a re-con mission to determine if the plans you’ve made will work out!
Summer is no time to be unprepared, so get started now to make sure you’re ready.