Today I want you to think about what may happen the first 72 hours after disasters or unforeseen emergencies happen where you live. Here’s the deal, I want you to picture life in 24-hour increments.
I have broken the three 24-hours in sections below so you can picture what will most likely happen within 72 hours after any disaster in any city, county, state or country. It’s plain and simple, let’s get started.
If possible get together with your neighbors to purchase walkie-talkies and set them on the same channel and test them monthly. The old kind we used at Disneyland years ago no longer cut it.
They may not be useable because they will not go through blocks of houses. This is the brand an emergency search and rescue guy recommended to a class I taught a few years ago. Walkie Talkies
72 Hours After Disasters
1. The First 24 Hours
The first sign may be a loud noise or it’s very quiet as in too quiet outside. The lights may go off or the heater or the AC goes off abruptly. If it’s during the day it may not be as disturbing as it would be at 6:00 P.M., for instance. The sun has just gone behind the mountains and it’s getting very dark outside. And in your house.
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 officials 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.
I am talking about water, food, shelter, first aid supplies, tools, cooking devices, etc. The most likely situation is that we 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 may have been cut off or is now contaminated.
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 regarding this issue and how to deal with it: Emergency Toilet For After A Disaster 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 Hours
Some people have gone through their bottles of water, emptied their food pantry, or freezer to eat whatever they have available. Remember, every family member needs at least one gallon of water per person per day, according to the American Red Cross.
I disagree, but I’m sure you know by now that I recommend four gallons of water per person per day. One gallon will not be enough for cooking, washing clothes, or bathing. 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 Hours Will Not Be Fun
Do 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 of 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 may not have change. Exact dollar amounts will be needed.
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 me.
3. The government will have to step in and help us.
4. God, or whoever you pray to, will take care of me.
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 Disasters:
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 heirloom seeds you can keep planting year after year if you save the seeds).
6. Basic staples you have stored like flour, sugar, honey, oil, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
7. Skills like bread making, learn to make biscuits and crackers.
8. Skills-handyman stuff
9. Skills-quilting and sewing will mend clothes or make clothes for us.
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 (be sure and have a way to purify your water). Turn off the water to your water heater before the water becomes contaminated if you hear about a water problem.
16. Fuel for car and cooking
17. Learn to make soap and laundry detergent.
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.
If and when our economy crashes you may not have that Social Security check, retirement check, paycheck or pension check in the mail or deposited, think again.
People keep telling us to pay off our houses, pay cash for cars, stay out of debt and be prepared for the unexpected. Have cash, precious metals and things to barter. It’s human nature to think that disasters only happen to other people living elsewhere.
If that is the approach you’ve taken up to this point in your life, think again. Disasters can come our way in many forms, like getting sick and unable to work, losing your job due to layoffs or company closures, accidents happen, whether in your car or at home doing projects.
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. Disasters and emergencies come in many forms and at any time.
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. May God bless you and your family to have the means to be prepared for the unexpected one step at a time.
My favorite things:
My Book (available in every bookstore online or in the world): Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation