My brain is always working overtime when I think about what will happen after a disaster. I believe in God and I am not afraid because I feel I am prepared in many ways for any disaster. Now if the disaster takes my house in an earthquake I have a plan B in place if I am still alive after the earthquake.
But there are some things we should all be doing to be prepared for anything that might happen after a disaster. Being prepared before a disaster is critical. I have some tips below with suggestions of how to be prepared before a disaster.
What Will Happen After A Disaster:
1. The First 24-Hour Period
We will check with neighbors to see who is okay or hurt. If the disaster is big enough we will have limited county or city agencies to help the entire area in the short term. It’s not going to happen. Period. We need to be ready to take care of ourselves in many areas of concern.
I am talking about water, food, shelter, first aid supplies, tools, cooking devices, etc. We most likely will lose electricity. If we use gas to heat our homes that will probably not be available. If you think you will be able to turn on the water faucet, think again, the water supply we have may be cut off or contaminated and the pumps to bring that water to you may not have the power available to run them.
The sewer lines most likely will not work either. If you don’t have a portable toilet you better get one this week. Not next week. I will not share my portable toilet with anyone. I know it sounds selfish, but I want my neighbors to know that right now.
I hope they have a good shovel to dig a hole for their own toilet, just saying. Here is a post I wrote: Emergency Toilet by Food Storage Moms. These are cheap and everyone should have their own emergency toilet, or some black garbage bags, kitty litter and duct tape to use inside their home toilets.
2. The Second 24-Hour Period
Some people have gone through their bottles of water and their pantry or freezer to eat whatever they have in their house right now. Remember, every family member needs at least one gallon of water per person just to drink according to the American Red Cross.
I disagree, I suggest four gallons of water per person per day. That’s really not enough for cooking, washing clothes or bathing, etc., but can provide some water for hygiene and to keep you properly hydrated. You will want some baby wipes for what I call spit baths. This is the day you hope you were caught up on the laundry. If not, you will at least want clean underwear.
Here is my post about an emergency washing machine: Emergency Washing Machine by Food Storage Moms. Of course, you can use a sink or washtub as well. You shouldn’t just plan on using the bathtub because first of all the water lines might be cut. Second, the sewer lines might back up into your house if you try to drain the water.
3. The Third 24-Hour Period
It will not be fun. You know those BLACK FRIDAY sales that happen after Thanksgiving? Well, after a disaster if the roads are driveable the grocery stores will have lines out the door due to rationing the water and food.
Trust me, I will NOT be in any grocery store after a disaster. I do not do Black Friday sales either. I don’t like the pushing and shoving at the stores. Man, just think how the crowds will be looking for water and food. YIKES!
Utah, where I live, is ranked #4 for states with personal gun ownership. People get mean when they are really hungry or thirsty and they need to feed their families. Just something to think about.
The grocery store shelves will be empty or a bottle of water could cost $20.00 and the store will not have change. Exact dollar amounts will be needed. PLEASE keep your gas tank at least 1/2, preferably 3/4 full and have several small bills, like ones, and fives.
Before A Disaster Some People May Think:
1. Why do I keep hearing the phrases get prepared, be prepared and are you prepared?
2. Sometimes people may think nothing will happen to them.
3. The government will have to step in and help us.
4. God or whoever you pray to will take care of you.
5. I can’t afford to buy extra water or food.
6. I can’t afford preparedness items.
7. I don’t have time to learn skills.
8. My neighbor is prepared, I will just go over there.
9. My house is too small to store anything extra.
My Favorite Bartering Items For After A Disaster:
2. Hard liquor
3. Cigars (do not store cigarettes-they go bad)
4. After a disaster coffee drinkers will barter for instant coffee (Starbuck’s might not be open)
5. The food you grow in your garden (get organic seeds-you can keep planting year after year if you save the seeds)
6. Basic staples you have stored like flour, sugar, honey, and spices
7. Skills like bread making
8. Other Skills-handyman stuff
10. First aid supplies
11. Chickens and eggs (as long as you have the food to feed them)
12. Meat (grass-fed animals will be a premium)
13. The skill of hunting for animals to eat (learn how to preserve them)
14. Trading your canned food items (you need to know how to can and preserve your garden)
15. Water and food
16. Fuel-for car and cooking
17. Learn to make soap and laundry detergent Laundry Detergent Recipe
18. Lemonade mix, hot chocolate mix or good old sugary Tang, if they still sell it (these will make water taste better)
19. Cooking oil, any kind will be sought after
20. Cooking devices for outside cooking with fuel
I am not saying run out and buy everything on this list. We will all need the skills to help each other. We must all be able to bring something to the table in order to help one another. We are responsible for ourselves, no one else is going to take care of us.
You may have the best plans to make your home safe and secure, but your neighbor may have a fire disaster just waiting to happen by storing dangerous fuels in the garage or on the side of the house. If their home goes up in smoke yours may be next based on wind and ashes.
I read an article this week about a drunk driver that drove through the front of a home, nearly killing the occupants. They were lucky the car didn’t burst into flame. You may think that disasters only come in the form of flood, tornado, hurricane, earthquake and other causes we call Mother Nature.
Sure, we need to think of these and be prepared, but more often than not it’s the surprise events outlined above that bring the most heartache and challenges to families.
Do your homework and be as prepared as your time and finances can allow. You’ll be glad you did, and so will those living with and near you. The next time you see a disaster, you may start thinking about the first 24-hour period, then the second 24-hour period, and then the third 24-hour period and how you’ve taken the steps to be prepared. If you’re not ready it’s time to start, today. May God bless this world.
Comments from readers:
Tami: True story. I lived in Virginia and after hurricane Isabel, in 2003 the majority of our state lost power. Some places just hours, but most up to a week and some longer. We were out for 6 days. We had a boil order on our water for 3 days. (Our water plant had no power either to clean the water although we did have water). We were advised to not let any water drain as the pumping stations also did not have power. (sewage was backing up into the streets- those had flooded as well) So toilets were flushed once or twice a day only and dishwater got thrown outside. Lines at the few stores open(some with power and some without) were wrapped around the buildings with people searching for ice, food, generators, etc.
Carin: Having lived through a Hurricane, the run on the stores happened just beforehand and although people wanted to exhibit southern grace, it was difficult. We were without power for a week. We had water and shared with anyone with a container. We lived like kings compared to our neighbors. We shared a lot of what we had. We lost the contents of our freezer…which was an expensive lesson. Although tragic, it was overall positive for our family….because we were prepared.
Tedd: It is better to be prepared and safe. Always check and listen to the radio and communicate with your friends and community, always be alert.