Natural Disaster Preparedness Takes Planning

In this post, we will look at what we need to do for Natural Disaster Preparedness. The products we will review here are things you need to survive any man-made or natural disaster. The better you are prepared the quicker you and your family can recover. Your preparation is a matter of life or death.

Stock up on what you will need

FEMA recommends you have three days supply of food, water, and medicines stored in a go-bag to use when you have to evacuate. After the storm, you will be in recovery mode. You will need to be able to live off the grid for three to 14 days. The better prepared you are the faster and more comfortably you can recover.

Water:

You need a gallon of water a day per person I recommend you get enough collapsable gallon water jugs to store what you need. Fill them just before a storm is forecast to hit you. You can store water for up to a year.

You can get water filters in the form of straws or pumps that can filter out 99.999% of the bad stuff. Use them when drinking from any surface water or even wells that could be contaminated. The trouble with straws is you have to lay on your belly or scoop the water out of a puddle with a cup and use the straw with the cup.

A better solution is a pump and a filter. It can produce water a lot faster than trying to suck it through a straw.

Food:

You need long term storage foods. 25-year shelf life is ideal. I want my food to be grown and processed in America. I don’t trust the sanitation standards of foreign countries. I buy most of my supplies from Numanna

Medicines:

They are harder to stockpile. They have a relatively short shelf life and insurance companies will not pay for you to have even a month’s supply. I try to buy a three months supply at a time. That way I have at least a months supply at least 2/3 of the time.

Pets:

Don’t forget your pets!. They have to eat and drink too. If you have to evacuate, your pet will have to be caged. Pet shelters can be few and far between. All Red Cross shelters require your pets to be caged.

Sanitation:

A clean and sanitary camp is essential to preventing disease. Be prepared to concentrate human waste. Double bag feces and use cat litter to absorb urine. A five-gallon bucket, lined with a plastic bag and fitted with a toilet seat can serve as a good emergency toilet. Of course, a Porta-A-Potty will let you do your thing in comfort. Be sure to include the physical hygiene and general cleaning supplies you will need.

Camping:

In Hawaii, 8 out of 10 homes will be destroyed by a Category 3 hurricane. I plan to camp on my property to protect it from looters until my stuff can be secured and I can arrange better housing. If your situation is similar, get your camping supplies and take the family camping. It will help put your family in touch with nature and help you refine your camping techniques so you know what to do in an emergency.

Cash:

The banks need electricity to operate. You will need cash to buy whatever essentials you don’t have. Be sure your money is small bills. People probably will not be able to make change.

A realistic look at preparedness.

How much you can store in your home will depend on its size and configuration. Homes in Hawaii don’t have basements and most of our garages are open and cannot be secured. Storage is a major problem. Know where you can put it before you buy it. Small, light, and compact is the name of the game. Square containers store more compactly than round buckets. Containers designed for stacking can be stored in the corner of a closet Go here for a review of what I think are the best storage containers

Think about how you will secure your supplies. You don’t want to come home to find all you carefully planned supplies scattered all over the neighborhood. I think the best place to put my supplies is in my car. I may have to dig my car out from under what is left of my home but it should keep my supplies intact. How much I can store will be constrained by how much I can secure.

Don’t make the fact you have supplies too obvious. Starving people will be desperate. They are going to take what they can get.

How much you can prepare depends on your budget. A disaster always impacts the poorest among us the most. I have friends who have bought a property which has an old WWII bunker on it. They have outfitted the bunker to shelter their extended family for a month.

People whose budgets allow them to do so build homes that can withstand storms, earthquakes, and fire. If you live in Southern California you build a “fireproof home” with fire-resistant landscaping. If you live in the midwest, you have a storm cellar or build part of your home into a hillside. In Florida, you build your home on stilts and design it to withstand 150 miles per hour winds and a twenty-foot storm surge.

If you cannot afford to build a disaster-resistant home, you do the best you can.

My home will be destroyed by a category 3 hurricane. I have a choice of finding a friend who lives in a high rise condo or going to a hotel. Evacuation is not an option when you are surrounded by water.

Shelter

Hawaii has identified public shelters that can provide for about a third of our population. They plan on 10 square feet per person. That is the size of an army cot. None of those shelters will withstand a Category 3 hurricane.

Emergency Management recommends you shelter in place, or if your home is not safe, find a friend who lives in a reinforced concrete building. Whatever you plan to do, do it early. Public shelters will be overflowing and traffic will be gridlocked.

Risk Analysis

Risk analysis is a combination of how likely an event is likely to happen and how much damage will result when it happens. How you react to the potential of a disaster depends on your personal assessment of the risk.

In Hawaii, urban areas will be without electricity for a week or more. Those living in rural areas may be off the grid for months. When there is no electricity everything grinds to a halt. Stores, banks and filling stations are closed. When our harbors and airports are damaged, we will not be able to receive help from the mainland. We have less than 5 days supply of food on the island and most of it requires refrigeration.

Most people take an “it will never happen to me” attitude. When a hurricane is forecast, they rush to the store and find the shelves empty.

Most of the deaths in Puerto Rico occurred from illness after the storm. Don’t let it happen to you. The better prepared you are the better you will be able to help your family recover quickly and in relative comfort.

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