It continues to astound and amaze us that so few people could weather at least three days in a system-down situation. Even FEMA urges people plan for 3-day crisis – it’s elemental.
You see, a pattern of poor national preparedness repeats itself in every hurricane, natural disaster, or other significant emergency. You can set your clock by it.
The human conduct (or should we say misconduct) associated with these natural disasters can make matters much more dangerous. Fist fights over the last sheets of plywood at Lowe’s… gridlock and road rage on major roadways… looting during periods of power outages or emergency services overload… it’s a toxic soup of Mother Nature’s fury and civilization’s dark side.
Whether the emergency lasts 24 hours, 3 days, a month, or longer – you need quick and ready access to clean drinking water, shelter, hygiene/first aid, and food at the very least.
A Hurricane Hasn’t Directly Hit Florida in Nine Years…
Could That Change This Year?
No hurricane has made landfall in Florida in the past nine years. And the odds of a hurricane hitting south Florida in any given year? One in seven.
Changing weather patterns could increase the possibility of a hurricane hitting Florida and other areas of the U.S. Atlantic coast this hurricane season.
Weather forecaster Evelyn Browning Garris said in a recent interview, “Last year  we were hit by [hurricanes] Irene, Lee… but then in September when La Nina came into place the hurricanes stopped hitting the U.S… There is no La Nina [expected] for the next hurricane season. So that means there is nothing steering the hurricanes away from the Gulf… The tropical Atlantic is still very warm so we can expect a busy hurricane season… with nothing to steer the hurricanes away from the Gulf.”
If you’ve ever been caught in the path of a hurricane (or even seen news coverage of such horrific events), you know how fast things can go from bad to worse. As the storm approaches, emergency essentials like batteries, flashlights, water, and food disappear from stores shelves in a matter of hours. People wait too long to evacuate. The power goes out, emergency response services are overwhelmed, and you are on your own.
This scene isn’t unique to hurricane damaged cities, either. It happens in tornado country, after floods, earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, snow storms, and even social unrest.
Four Vital Cornerstone Items Needed to Survive Any Short-Term or Long-Term Emergency:
Water: The bare minimum recommendation from preppers, emergency response agencies, the Red Cross, and others is one gallon per person per day.
Beware, however, if you’re in hot, humid, or dry climates, at high altitudes, or expending a lot of physical energy you need more water, at least two gallons per person per day.
Shelter/Dry/Warm: Your home and car can serve as shelter against the elements in many grid-down situations. Another simple option is a tent. During the camping off season you can often find four person tents on sale for under $50.
Other supplies to have handy are sleeping bags and blankets, and extra clothing like sweaters and jackets. If they’re waterproof that’s better.
Big plastic trash bags can serve double duty by cutting out three holes and turning it into a quick waterproof poncho. In addition, stretching out the bags on the ground or above head can give you a bit of respite against moisture, water, rain, and dampness.
No matter what, you need something that helps you light a fire fast. Waterproof matches, flint and steel fire-starter, and/or lighters. In an urban environment be careful with potential natural gas leaks and other chemicals that can explode. Always build a safe and controlled fire, and if you’re indoors, make sure you have adequate ventilation.
Hygiene/First Aid: In a minor and short term emergency staying clean helps lift the spirit. Yet, at a fundamental level you want to avoid illness and disease.
Keep your utensils and cups clean when preparing food and water. Keep your hands clean to avoid spreading or contracting disease.
Remember that soap can be used as shampoo, and vice-versa. If all you have available is strong detergents, use a lot less or water it down.
Make sure you have a stocked first aid kit and look it over every six months to replace any expired or soon to expire items.
Food: Canned food, packaged food, meals ready to eat are the foundation to most experienced preppers food security plans. Make sure you have a manual can opener and review your stocks periodically for expiration dates and rotate out expired or soon to expire items.
Often these are not the healthiest foods to live on, but in emergencies these are the most convenient. For better nutrition, dry foods like pasta, beans, rice, and grains (oatmeal, quinoa, etc.) last long, don’t need refrigeration, yet make wholesome meals.
Quick tip: when you use water to boil pasta, vegetables, meat, or most other foods you can get double the use by drinking the left over water as a broth. For instance, in times of plenty most homes toss out the left over water from cooking pasta. There’s nothing wrong with it though, and in an emergency, you could drink it like a light soup and get added sustenance.
With each trip to the store you take, you should buy a few extra things for your prepping needs. Put together the supplies you need to cover you for at least three days. Once that’s done, build up for a week and then expand from there as your budget and space allows.