Whether it’s Sandy or Katrina, here’s what you can count on
Politicians will grandstand, race their way to be in front of the nearest camera, but any actual help that follows their speeches will be strictly coincidental.
- The saying, “We’re 3 days away from anarchy,” is accurate. The initial stage of shock wears off after a few hours, but reality is still at least another day away for most people. Once they realize how little food, water, fuel, comfort, and convenience they have, all hell can break loose, and that takes about 72 hours, or 3 days.
- No one, almost, thinks to store water. Not even FEMA.
- Those with the least suffer the most. Families with money or even just a credit card can afford to hightail it out of town or buy the supplies they need to get through a crisis. It’s the poorest families, though, who often have no choice but to ride it out and keep their fingers crossed.
- Fuel will be at a premium. If at all possible, store a car tank’s worth of gasoline. If nothing else, it should get you far enough from town to seek shelter somewhere safer.
- Even if you’ve prepared for The Big One, you may have to cut your losses if your home is no longer safe. If there’s no running water, sanitation is becoming a problem (and this happens quickly!), if nearby grocery stores have run out of food, you have no electricity, and the sound of gunshots is becoming common, get out. Pack what you need, dress appropriately, and walk away.
- Disasters happen in diverse places. Even if you don’t live in traditional earthquake, hurricane, or blizzard country, learn how to prepare and survive in those disasters.
- A boil order (for water purification) could happen soon after a disaster strikes. You must have at least 2 ways to purify water, whether by boiling, using bleach, or some other method. The American Red Cross first boils and then uses bleach. Instructions from my book, Survival Mom: The American Red Cross
1. If water is cloudy or contains particles, filter using a piece of cloth or a coffee filter to remove solid particles.
2. Bring water to a rolling boil for about one full minute.
3. Let it cool at least 30 minutes. Water must be cool or the next step in adding chlorine bleach will be useless.
4. Add the required amount of liquid chlorine bleach.
5. Let stand 30 minutes. If the water does not have a chlorine smell, repeat Step 4. Otherwise, it is safe to drink.
- A boil order is pretty silly when people don’t have power to boil the water.
- Many people wait for opportunities just like a Katrina or a Sandy to victimize others. They know that law enforcement will be scarce, and there’s a very good chance that their assaults and theft will go unreported. Prepare for this. I recommend a shotgun and plenty of shells.
- Tarps and plenty of rope could make all the difference in the world between having to leave your home and staying put. Both are cheap and easy to store.
- Power will almost certainly go out. If you’re not ready for living off the grid, at least for a while, then you’re already a victim. Start now to stock up on light sources, communication (2-way walkie talkies are better than nothing), portable fans, and lots and lots of batteries. Solar powered devices are another good idea. Sooner or later, the sun will come out!
- If a disaster happens during the winter, it’s going to be very, very cold without any power. Don’t plan on relying on a generator to keep warm. Stock up on lots of blankets, gloves, wool clothes and caps, hand/foot warmers, and plan on everybody living and sleeping in one room until power is restored.
- Here’s a brilliant rule of thumb: Put a couple of bandaids in your purse before you get a blister. Now apply that concept to being ready for something a lot bigger than a blister.
- Churches, community centers, neighbors, family and friends out the blast zone (so to speak) may end up being far, far more helpful than government agencies. In fact, you can count on it.
- People will panic and do stupid things. If you find yourself having a panic attack, spend several minutes doing the 16-Second Survival Breath.
- Refugees, aka evacuees, are safer traveling in large groups. If you find yourself having to leave home with the clothes on your back and, hopefully, a backpack or suitcase, join with others in the same circumstances and travel to safety together. See #10 above.
- Kids are going to be scared. When the crisis hits your home and your family, all the preparations you have made will allow you to hold your children tightly and say, “We’re going to be okay.”
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