Millions Languished for Days
Good Thing It Was Short!
The electorate has embraced bigger government to look after their problems and their needs. Too bad more voters didn’t pay closer attention to the fate of those who trusted government emergency planners to take care of their needs in the wake of Hurricane Sandy!
Of course, our Northeastern neighbors were lucky that as a category one hurricane, Sandy was comparatively mild. But for unprepared residents, the second great danger of a storm like Sandy – or any natural or social disaster – is the aftermath…
…especially in the Northeast, where residents got a rude awakening of what happens when regulators make construction too expensive for decades. Many got a bitter lesson in the total fragility of the aging power grid and other neglected public facilities.
Most people in the region chose to presume that FEMA would look after their interests in a pinch. So when they crawled out of their homes after the storm passed, with hands stretched out to Uncle Sam, most were sorely disappointed! Instead, they had no choice but to queue up in long lines for piddly handouts, if they could even find relief.
We can ALL learn from this, because no one is ever perfectly “ready.” Preparation is a process, one that never really ends.
Getting started sooner is great. Late is still good. At minimum, now is a time to start thinking inward, toward the betterment of your personal preparation situation.
Learn the lessons of Sandy and act now, because most will forget. Millions of sudden government dependents were faced with days of no access to power, gas, food, or water… much less Internet or TV access! Within 36 hours of Sandy’s passing, reports were already coming in of people digging through grocery store dumpsters, desperate for food.
36 hours and society begins to fall apart like a house of cards! Imagine 10 days, or 20, or 30.
Escape from the messy areas can be difficult – gas lines could be brutal and rationing imposed. A bioterror emergency or some other major event? Do you really want to rely on FEMA?
At one point, FEMA announced it had run out of bottled water but assured everyone another shipment would arrive within three days. The first lesson Sandy taught us, sometimes you have to evacuate and you must be ready to do so before the need arises. You should also be prepared to shelter in place.
You CANNOT Depend
on the Government in an Emergency
In some cases, Sandy swept entire homes away. People who lost their houses lost everything, including any food, water, and clothing they had on hand to help them weather the crisis. But so many people who didn’t lose their homes also had nothing on hand to get them through.
Imagine how much easier it would be for charities like the Red Cross and government agencies like FEMA to get supplies to those in dire need – those who lost everything – if the rest of us just had even three days of food and water on hand to handle our own basic needs.
If the news stories that came out of Staten Island and Queens after Hurricane Sandy don’t bring home all that we have shared with you about the importance of prepping, we don’t know what will.
The Bare Necessities
Basic Water Reserves: During a crisis, your access to clean drinkable water that won’t make you sick can become a very pressing concern, very quickly. Emergencies like Sandy often knock water treatment plants offline or break water mains. That means the water coming into your home isn’t safe to drink. You have to boil it before using it.
Give yourself a buffer by storing at least three days of water for you and your family. You can buy gallon jugs of drinking water for an easy quick-start to your water reserves.
You should also consider having a way to treat your water. Should you need to collect water from a questionable source, being able to treat it could preserve your health. Iodine pills, a carbon pump filter, or a small UV treatment system are all good options. You can always boil water to make it safe, but treating water by boiling is fuel-intensive, so it’s better to have another treatment system handy. Then you can ration your fuel for cooking.
Back-Up Power and Fuel: If you don’t have any water on hand, you’ll have to boil what you collect. If the power is out, this may be tough to do, unless you have fuel and a stove. A small camp stove and a propane cylinder can be invaluable for cooking food and boiling water during an emergency.
Sandy made it very apparent how much we depend on gasoline and that gasoline is awfully hard to get when the power is out. If you regularly have to travel by car to get to work, to the store, or to reach medical treatment facilities, you should build up a gas reserve. This may not be an option if you live apartment building. In that case, make sure you have an alternate transportation plan should you need to get somewhere during a crisis.
A Way to Stay Warm: Once your water needs are taken care of, the next thing you’ll need to worry about, depending on the season, is staying warm. An indoor heater can take care of this worry. So can warm clothing and sleeping bags.
Basic Food Stores: Food is always a concern after a natural disaster. The federal government recommends that every family keep at least three days of food on hand. You know that we recommend much more. Most disaster cleanup efforts take more than three days. An economic downturn can last for months. A three-to-six month store of food can keep you and your family feeling secure during most types of crises.
Medicine Reserves: If you or a family member depends on any kind of prescription drug for basic health or for survival, you should plan to have at least a three-month reserve. If any of your medications require refrigeration, you should plan to have a back-up battery for your freezer, so you can make ice to keep your medicines cold even during a power outage.
Be Ready to Protect Yourself: Looters and thugs seem to come out of the woodwork after a disaster like Sandy. People in Staten Island had to defend their homes with baseball bats. If you’re prepared to shelter in place, you need to be prepared to protect yourself in the event that someone tries to raid your home. A handgun is a good deterrent, provided you’re trained to use it. Taser weapons, pepper spray, and good locks can also help drive off would-be looters.
Empowered to Lend a Hand
The great thing about taking these steps to prepare to shelter in place is that you’ll put yourself in a position to help those around you. Instead of waiting around for a government official to give you water, food, and medicine, you’ll have already taken care of yourself. Which means you’ll be able to pitch in with the cleanup efforts and help put your neighborhood on the road to a faster recovery.
Disasters rarely come with more than a few days warning, and that’s in a best-case scenario. You never know when things are going to fall apart – when the power is going to shut down, when the flood waters are going to rise, when riots are going to start. That’s why you should prepare now, so that when disaster is looming, you’re not left scrambling. You’ll simply be ready-for-anything.