If I talk about emergency preparedness, how prepared are you is the logical question? I have asked a few people how they feel about preparedness. Some of my questions to friends were like “do you store water?” Other questions have been “how do you feel about food storage” or “how long could your family survive on the food you have stored?”
Well, as you may imagine, the answers were all over the board. Here’s the deal, I really try not to be on a soapbox screaming from the rooftops to tell everyone to get prepared. But, it’s something I feel strongly about, and want to help others catch the vision. We have to be realistic and recognize the government can’t take care of all of us after a minor or major disaster, at least not right away, so it’s on us to do as much as possible to be self-sufficient and well-prepared.
Like anything else that’s a little complicated at first, but important, planning and follow-through are critical. I’m hoping today’s post provides a helping hand, particularly to those new to the preparedness journey.
Emergency Preparedness-Make A Plan
American Red Cross & FEMA
The local American Red Cross is a well know organization that steps in during most disasters. That help may help in a week or two, possibly a month. But their resources are limited. Even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the federal agency given the task to provide support during major emergencies and disasters can’t be everywhere and provide everything needed. We must be self-reliant, that’s it. Period.
I’m not a doomsday prepper and I don’t believe in zombies. I know a lot of people do, but I don’t. My life has always been focused on being prepared for whatever comes my way. I have been lucky, my husband has never lost his job. We have never had to live on government help.
Mark worked three jobs so we didn’t have to take out student loans to get him through college. I ironed clothes (I doubt my daughters even own an iron). I’m thinking about this as I write this statement. I babysat kids and cleaned homes to help generate some income with four daughters undertow. Mark and I never thought anything about it.
We just worked hard, and we still do to this day. It’s a way of life for us. I understand people need occasional help from the government. I get it. As long as it’s short term and doesn’t become a way of life or lifestyle, as I call it, I understand.
Living Off The Government
It’s when I hear about families who have been living off the government for ten or more years when they could have tried to do it on their own that I get ticked off. Let me emphasize, “could have tried.”
As you know, Facebook sometimes tells us more than we want to hear. Some people almost boast about the fact they are living off the government going on 12-15 years now.
Wow, my mom could have used some help as a young single mom with three daughters. She was too proud, she worked and we worked to help her. This is why it’s so critical to have food storage and water stored. If you or someone in your family loses a job or becomes ill such that they can’t work, are you prepared to feed your family?
Being prepared is a way of life for me and for my daughters. I can boast about my daughters because they are all hard workers and survivors. They are also self-reliant. Of course, all families have a few hiccups, and I’ve had a few as well.
Texas Boots Quote
I love the saying from Texas, “I put my boots on and got back in the saddle.” I don’t know where I heard that quote, I believe it was a movie. I use it all the time because I know I’ve had to put my boots on and get back in the saddle a few times.
It’s life, but I know I can survive anything. My daughters can survive anything because they are strong women.
I swear, it was from others’ example to us, but also we grew a garden and we “canned” every food we could get our hands on that was free or cheap. I know work teaches kids how to be self-reliant.
Please note: a few years ago I “pressure canned” chicken for the first time while earning my Master Preserver Canning Certificate. It was a really fun class!!
If you have a disaster or unforeseen emergency in your neighborhood is anyone prepared with water, food, gardens, first aid kits, cooking devices, fuel, or general preparedness skills? I am extremely worried about where I live. I can’t take care of everyone on my street, it’s not going to happen.
I’ll be willing to cook meals with help and share food and water with other residents, particularly older adults and children. My fear is the lack of both on my street. I know possibly seven families out of my subdivision that is prepared for a disaster. I would love to move where there are like-minded people, but economically it’s not going to happen.
I’m concerned for the truckers and their safety if the roads are shut down and the people are trying to loot the trucks because the grocery store shelves are empty. People get mean and crazy when they are hungry and their kids are crying for a drink and something to eat. For the survival of your family, please get prepared for the unexpected through an effective emergency plan.
Even with somewhat limited resources, families can put together a plan and learn how to execute that plan to their benefit. It’s called emergency management on a family-sized basis and it’s doable. No matter what the natural disasters or the types of emergencies are, we can look out for ourselves, have an in-house coordinator, and stand tall with our own emergency response team, in many cases.
Sure, we’ll need additional resources from outside the home in many cases, but we can also weather the storms in so many instances.
Emergency Preparedness-Make A Plan:
I quote from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Preparedness is “A state of adequate preparation.” The key word here is “adequate,” meaning enough supplies stored to keep your family hydrated with water, fed with healthy food, kept warm with blankets, and fuel sources to not only help keep them warm but also to cook or just heat up food. Also, having first aid supplies at the very minimum so your family can be prepared for an unexpected accident or injury.
Please start today if you haven’t already to follow some of the suggestions/guidelines below as outlined in many of my posts in my archive:
- Water, one to four gallons per person per day minimum WaterBrick 3.5 gallon with Water Preserver.
- Food – start with a two-week supply and add to that inventory going forward. Start with one can or one case at a time.
- First Aid supplies – every family needs a first aid kit as part of an overall emergency kit. We aren’t talking about a lot of medical equipment, just the basics of bandages, gauze, and some over-the-counter medication supplies for things like burns, diarrhea, nausea, ointments, splints, prescriptions, etc.
- Blankets, extra clothes, hats, scarves, boots, and gloves for every family member are critical in any emergency supply kit. It’s also good to have an emergency car kit in case you have to evacuate.
- Cooking devices with fuel stored. Many canned goods are fine right out of the can, but being able to warm up the food will warm hearts too.
- Emergency binder holding your important documents. If you have to leave your home, who knows where that evacuation route you planned will eventually take you? You may need to identify yourself and others and make contact with your banker, doctor, CPA, insurance agent, and others. As part of that binder, be sure to include emergency contacts so you aren’t scrambling for information.
- 72-hour-kits, at the very least. Your disaster plans should include what others call a bug-out bag. No matter what you call it, having supplies for your functional needs for at least a 72-hour period can make all the difference in case of a sudden emergency.
- Pictures of family members so you can post pictures if you get separated after a disaster. This should be one of the easiest tasks in your planning process. If not, you aren’t taking enough family pictures. LOL
- Make a plan with your family today so all members know where to meet if you are not home when a disaster hits. We hope we can shelter in place, but if officials direct you to evacuate to another facility, or even to family or friends, knowing where to meet to start that trip is critical.
- Buy 90-day prescriptions, if possible (they are usually cheaper if you pay cash, ask your doctors for refills). Those meds may be for current health issues, but you may also have some to maintain disease control with antibiotics to minimize health risks for your family. Prevention is the best cure they say.
- Communication, talk with your neighbors to have a walkie-talkie on the same channel. I only have three families linked with my channel. No one else sees the need or has the desire to get walkie-talkies (think Pandemic, I will not leave my house) Walkie Talkies
- Flashlights, please get one for every family member. Trust me, you will need them. I like the solar-powered flashlights that I keep charged by placing them on my window sills. I consider this one of my best practices since I don’t have to worry about an extra batter or two for each unit.
- If you have a small business, you also need to consider the needs of your workers as part of your response plan in case of a workplace emergency. You aren’t always home at the time of a disaster strike, and you can’t count on emergency responders to be part of your support network since they’ll be dealing with so much with limited resources.
- Be sure to include the needs of your pets as part of your planning process. They may need many of the same things you’re setting aside to benefit your family during power outages, floods, and other emergencies.
As I’m writing this I’m thinking about the people in Seattle in the early months of 2019. As the month of February started in 2019 the thought of snow warnings seemed crazy. Seattle can be cool temperature-wise, but they seldom have heavy snow storms. This time there were areas around Seattle where they received over 20 inches of snow over just a few days during a severe winter storm starting on February 3rd and running through February 11th.
The city wasn’t prepared to clear all the main streets and highways, let alone the thousands of side streets in residential neighborhoods. Not only were families unable to get out of driveways and streets, but the trucking companies couldn’t get to the local stores with all the supplies we take for granted when we go shopping.
Airline flights were canceled day after day because of the ice and snow accumulations. This is what they called a 50-year storm since they hadn’t seen this much snow accumulation since 1969, the year we first put a man on the moon.
My readers are used to me talking about how often we experience power outages no matter where we live and that being prepared for the next one only makes sense. We so often assume that the utility companies and government agencies that supervise them are aware of potential risks to our power grid system and are doing all they can to make sure they stay functional since we rely on them so much.
The state of Texas proved that assurance to be faulty based on a severe ice and snowstorm event that took place in February 2021. Not many people know that Texas has its own power grid, one of just a few in the entire U.S. During the second week of February, weather forecasters reported a pending blast of very cold air and related winter weather headed to a large portion of the state.
Texas often gets cold temperatures and also experiences winter storms, but seldom do they see both at the same time. Cold days and winter storms usually don’t last more than a few days, and people are geared to turn up the heat, stay home and off the roads, and shelter in place. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) could see from weather reports coming in that this event was going to be anything but normal.
They ordered what they called rotating outages, something we hear taking place in California during heat waves so the need to shut down various areas due to the demand for power can be passed from one neighborhood to another on a rotation basis and avert the challenge of any one area taking the brunt of a power outage. The challenge with the Texas grid system is that the power wasn’t rotating and the grid was deemed unstable.
Thousands of homes were left without any power to heat them causing pipes to break, and even prompting people to die from hypothermia and actually being frozen to death. State health officials indicate that 246 people lost their lives, with over two-thirds of the deaths from extreme exposure to cold.
With the cold air, demand hit record levels, but the actual supply of power available tended to fall. There was a period where almost 50% of the state’s power generation went offline. It was the “perfect storm” since wind turbines couldn’t run due to the frozen precipitation on the turbines and the generators running on natural gas couldn’t get the gas because of the cold temperatures in the pipelines supplying the gas.
We all need to consider how we can heat our homes during extreme temperatures and take the necessary steps to protect ourselves.
Generation Cold Front December 2022
Now, my mind is racing about this Once in a “Generation Cold Front of December 2022”! Many in the weather reporting field called this storm one filled with chaos across the 48 states. This was leading up to the busy travel Christmas Holiday weekend, causing the cancellation of thousands of flights around the country.
The weather reports talked of anticipated multiple feet of snow, particularly in northern New York. The snow was accompanied by freezing rain, subzero temperatures, power outages, and the related deaths that come when people can’t heat their homes and they don’t have the resources set aside to stay warm.
There have been reports of terrible road conditions, prompting traffic backups, multiple car pile-ups, and again, related deaths. Some places like Denver, CO saw rapid and severe temperature drops in a very short time, even as short as one hour. Some locations reported a drop of 50 degrees and more during the day as the storm swept across the country.
Consider what those stranded in their cars were trying to do to stay warm and safe for hours on end, waiting for roads and accident debris to be cleared. Many of you have heard me harp about keeping your gas tanks over 75% full all the time and putting together an emergency car kit so you have food, water, and warm blankets ready to go during events like this. As stated throughout this post, it all takes planning and follow-through, but it could mean saving lives.
Sometimes you have to see, read or hear articles before it really hits you that these needs are real and may save lives. This is the article I hope helps just one family do what they should be doing. Make an emergency preparedness plan, today, not tomorrow, and make sure all of your family knows and understands what needs to be done, don’t take it all on yourself.
May God bless those who have prepared for the unexpected. If you can move where there are like-minded people, seriously consider it, or figure out how you can get those close to you to gather together and work on a common goal to get as many families prepared for the unexpected as possible. Do it now! May God Bless the World, Linda
Copyright Images: Fire Trucks AdobeStock_79142551 By ftfoxfoto