The title of this article is true, as I write it today, on September 2nd, 2017. It is also true for about 3 months out of every year. What I’m going to say below will be just as relevant in 2020 as it is today. Right now, as people are trying to gather up their lives in Texas; there is is a massive storm in the Atlantic ocean. It’s one of the strongest storms, for where it is in its life-cycle, that has been seen in a long time. The storm is called Hurricane Irma. Meteorologists expect that it will get stronger as it is headed for unusually warm waters.
This storm is massive and has horrible potential. It is too far out to sea to know what, if anything, it will do to anyone. The storm could grow more powerful and make landfall in any place that hurricanes make landfall in the Americas. It kind of seems to be heading towards Florida but it could turn in any direction. If you are one of the many millions of people who live anywhere between Caracas and New York, this storm could be on your door step in the coming weeks.
— Tim Heller ABC13 (@HellerWeather) September 1, 2017
Wait and see?
You might be thinking it’s a good time to wait and see where this storm is going to go. I say this. If you live along any of the coast mentioned above, it’s not a matter of if a storm, like the one at sea now, is going to hit you. It’s a matter of when. The time to prepare for such a storm always now. By the time the weather people are telling you that you are in the path of any particular storm, your ability to wrangle resources will quickly be limited.
Stores quickly run out of food, water, generators, gas cans, diapers, and anything else you either consume daily or need in an emergency. Events like this are what prepping is about. With just-in-time delivery, there is just no warehouse full of goods for you to shop from when their supply chain is cut off.
This is why there are situations where you see tweets of pizzas being delivered by kayak to people who have nothing to eat. When I saw this story, my first thought was, why do people not have food in their houses? How can they possibly already be out of food on August 30th when Hurricane Harvey only hit a few days before? Situations like this are the most important reason why we prep.
As I say in my about us section; TV shows about prepping are focused on the end of the world, that may or may not ever come. I’m focused on the kinds of things all of us will inevitably face one day. All of us will be without power. All of us will see supplies become temporarily short. All of us (at least in certain places) will face the cold. We could all be trapped somewhere, hopefully at home.
THANK YOU to our Oak Lake Pizza Hut team for their out-of-the-car response to deliver hot pizzas all day to the community they serve. pic.twitter.com/Xmkv9XhrKw
— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) August 30, 2017
Things You Can Do Now So You Are Not Caught With Your Pants Down
Prepping for a localized disaster is really simple. Keep things you need in your home and car. Think about the kinds of things you consume on a day to day basis. Of course it’s food. Of course it’s water. It may be other things that you things that are less obvious. I mentioned diapers earlier. What about critical medication? The best way to think about what you need is to do what I did earlier this winter. Practice your preparedness. Try living for a month, with no shopping and no use of a refrigerator or freezer. That will tell you what you need in a way that no blogger can.
A note on water: Think about having a filter instead of having to store huge amounts of water. I purchased a Berkey Water Filter From Amazon at the end of my month with no fridge. I’ve long stored boxes of gallons of water but decided this was just a better route. I can filter water from outside and drink that, if I run out of water. Eventually, I want to get to a series of articles on water filters but I can say the ones in the link above are fantastic.
In addition to regular consumable items, you may want some things to make your life better in an emergency. Do you have a way to light your home? Heat your home if it is winter? Keep you warm if you cannot afford a 2nd heat source? Cook your food if there is no power? What if a winter storm traps you in your car? Can the clothes you have on you keep you warm for hours out in the cold?
Buying Stuff To Be Prepared
As you can see, a lot of prepping is about buying stuff, in advance. You do this so you have it when the supply of whatever it is that brings you life and comfort, dries up. Being without food for even 3 days, is going to be a real drag for most people. Being without warmth for 3 hours can be a life or death situation. There are so many things to buy and I have so much to say about that. I’m finishing up editing a series on Pressure canners. Pressure canners allow for a greater ability to store food that doesn’t require refrigeration–beyond what you can get at the store. Right now, I’m taking a break from writing about survival winter parkas, to write this timely post.
When I started this blog, I started out by reviewing generators. I’m actually not done with that. For a while, I’ve written a lot of general interest articles, like this one. There was my series about living a month with no fridge, for example. With the pressure canners and soon, the parkas, I’m getting back to reviewing products that will make your life better or even possible in an emergency. That is such a large topic, I think it could keep me going for years.
Beyond Buying Stuff
Buying stuff is great and important but it cannot prepare you for everything. Many people in Huston, lost everything they had ever bought in a flood. Being prepared means thinking ahead about circumstances you may face and having a plan to deal with it. It can mean acquiring skills and it also can mean knowing your surroundings.
In the past, I wrote about a strange flood that happened in Michigan, in 2014. This flood really got me thinking about the whole concept of knowing my surroundings. Unlike a hurricane, this flood came out of nowhere. It didn’t even occur to me that there was a danger of a flood until it had been raining for many hours. Maybe weather people knew but they are like Chicken Little, always claiming the sky is falling to get views. This rain wasn’t even a wild storm. It just never stopped.
In the earlier article, I talked a bit about knowing your surroundings. Even things like the Waze app for you phone help with that. If you used Waze, you would not have gotten on the freeways that were flooded and forced to abandon your car to waters that hit 14 feet deep. Waze is like expanding your eyesight to 20 miles. I feel blind if I ever get in the car without it.
I wanted to bring the talk about the 2014 flood to talk about something else: Flood Maps. Driving around in the days after the storm, I saw a pattern. Some places flooded and some places didn’t. My place was totally and completely dry. You could see drive down a street and see that houses at the bottom of small hills were all flooded out and those on top were not. It could have been the difference of 10 houses. Below is a map from FEMA showing areas that are more likely to flood than others. You can see how intricate the drawing is.
Flood zones are something to consider when purchasing or even renting a home. There is a color code for areas protected by levies. Given recent history, and my experience in The Flood of 97, where I worked in a sand bag factory I’ve decided that I never want to rely on levies to keep me dry. Check where you live now. If you find that you live in a flood zone and you don’t have means to move, right now, you can be aware of this when the rains come. You can take evasive action to protect you and your family. Get out and take your food with you, when the rains come. Don’t wait for the government to tell you to do so.
Maybe, if you live in one of these places, you pay a bit more attention to the Chicken Little weather people. A lot of times they seem like Chicken Little because they are warning about things that affect a localized area. You hear the coverage and the weather event didn’t hit you. It seems like Chicken Little but really, the weather event did happen to some people. Some people did get that flash flooding, just not most people. What if say it was 50,000 people out of 5 million? Chances are, your only experience with the flood would be like mine. You saw rolls of carpet and furniture on unfortunate souls lawns. If you live in the zone, you might be one of the 50,000.