Prepare For The Unexpected
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Prepare For The Unexpected

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Do you sometimes ask yourself, “What’s this prepare for the unexpected” warning all about? Well, the only way I can explain why I feel it’s a warning is that if you look around the world, good and bad things happen everywhere, but we tend to hear more of the bad stuff. Prepping for When Flooding Strikes

Prepare For The Unexpected

It could be a flood, a severe ice storm, or a car wreck that disrupts traffic for hours. It could be a tornado, a hurricane, an out-of-control fire, severe winds, a tsunami, or a power outage. I have been reading several statements about current events in different forums. They are all concerned about world events, the challenge is getting people to listen and understand potential hardships. I remember seeing a young mother say, “I’ve been told to be prepared for ten years, and nothing has happened where I live.” She is one of the lucky ones.

Today I want to present some ideas about potential unexpected event situations that can be part of our future. We can spend volumes talking about how to prepare and that’s what this blog is all about. It just seems many of us don’t really understand what can happen and how it could cause us potential problems on so many levels.

Prepare For The Unexpected

We’ve lived in a few cities, and something has happened in every location during our stay there: excessive winds, flooding, tornadoes, ice storms, and more. I learned how to fill sandbags very quickly. I’ve seen homes demolished before my eyes, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do except stay away and go to safer, higher ground.

1983 Farmington, Utah Flooding

I remember repurchasing a home in 1983 in Farmington, Utah. The weekend we moved in, some warm weather caused the snow in the mountains above us to melt extremely fast, as in flooding. The city had never had floods like that. A city called Bountiful, a few miles to the south, had flooded and washed away roads that same weekend. In the middle of the night, families were evacuated and had to get help from friends and family to save their homes.

The wall of mud that came down the mountainside destroyed several homes. No one had flood insurance because the city had never seen floods like this and didn’t live in a “flood plain.” They have since built a series of water catch basins to collect the excess water flows to help minimize any future flood damage to the area.

It was a Friday night, and Mark and I had just moved into a home we built in the Farmington area. Saturday morning, we started hearing sirens to evacuate and helicopters overhead telling us to leave our homes. Well, we were down trying to sandbag a home and remove as many items as possible from another home just down the hill. Keep in mind that we have never met these people. It’s surprising what your body and soul can do when you feel the need to help other people. It’s just a natural thing to do.

Read More of My Articles  Moving Forward After a Disaster

St. George, Utah Floods

You may remember seeing St. George, Utah, on the television with pictures showing floods a few years ago. They too had never experienced an emergency situation like this before. Homes slid off into the Santa Clara River across town from our home. We had a home in Washington, Utah, very near St. George. When we were on a visit to family in Salt Lake City, I called a neighbor to ask how our neighborhood was doing. Our area was fine but in Santa Clara, Utah, they were in trouble from the flash flooding. Trying to be lighthearted, Mark will often say, “This is sure a funny way to run a desert!”

Today, I am more worried about contaminated water and major power outages. I’m prepared for every scenario unless, as I have said before, my house crumbles after an earthquake hits our area. Southern Utah is gearing up for 350,000 to 500,000 people to head to the area from Southern California and the Las Vegas area when natural disasters strike.

Those states will run out of water or food because the roads may not be driveable, and they only have one way to go, and that’s to Utah. Once they hit our area, we will not have enough food or water for all those people, if they can make it. Utah’s advantage is the snowfall; it produces water for the state and other states. We also have several aquifers that other states don’t have.

Not every year does Northern Utah get the snow needed. Mother Nature decides on the weather, so we must also prepare for droughts. 12 Reasons Why You Should Prep

Evacuation Plan

This is why creating an evacuation plan for your family, wherever you live, is critical. If the states run out of gas for cars and trucks or have zero electricity, those gas pumps won’t work. Now what? Please keep your gas tanks 3/4 full. What if the traffic is 20 miles long? Will your car have enough gas to get you to the next town? How far is the next city, town, or county?

Some people like an electric car, but I fear a power outage. A significant power grid hit. If you haven’t read “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel, there are NO fantasy stories in his book. It’s the real deal. Please read it now. Our three power grids are antiquated: 1. West Coast Grid, 2. Texas Grid, and 3. East Grid. These three power grids deliver power to parts of Canada and the states we all live in.

Will it be better to stay put in your home? Please talk with your family and bring up scenarios that you may encounter unexpectedly. It happened to Mark, me, and several friends. Over the years, we’ve seen and experienced things that we never thought would happen to our neighborhood, community, and city. For the most part, we were ready, and others weren’t.

We have always been grateful we worked to develop effective planning for unexpected emergencies. Be sure to be the family on your street that is prepared. You’ll be so glad you did, as will your family. You may have enough to help others on your street, but it’s more important to share your ideas and plans so others can learn from you and implement their family preparedness plans. Flooding: Everything You Need to Know

Your Preparation Plans May Come Into Play Without There Being a Disaster

Difficult times can come your way when you least expect it. Back in 1966, Mark lost a brother-in-law to open heart surgery. His sister was left to raise eight children and she was only 38 years old.

Read More of My Articles  11 Ways You Can Prepare for a Wildfire

In 1988 Mark’s brother was involved in a three-wheeler accident and spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic. His wife had to go to work to support the family.

Neither of these events was expected, yet they had major effects on family life and well-being. We are all subject to illness, accident, job loss, divorce, or the loss of a loved one. The key is to have plans in place for safety nets to protect us. That’s why we have health insurance, car insurance, life insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and other protections to help cover financial adversity. My compliments to you if you are a planner and look ahead.

Besides various insurance coverages, we need an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, often called a rainy day fund. We need to plan for short and long-term challenges to cover all family members and even our pets. We also need to implement backup plans as part of our action plans since circumstances change. As we and our children age our contingency plans need some flexibility so we can have the best possible outcome.

Review the Posts in My Archive to Get Preparation Ideas

Please store water: 4 gallons per person per day. We need water for hydration, cooking, personal hygiene, and some limited laundry chores.

We must store food: Write down what you eat daily and store enough food for three days, seven days, and thirty days or more. Learn how to buy in bulk as your space and finances allow. In a disaster scenario, the grocery stores will most likely be closed or the shelves will be bare. Use your talents and time to learn how to grow food, preserve the food you grow or buy, and effective ways to store foodstuffs for future use safely.

Have important documents in a safe place. Make copies you can put in a binder in case you need to evacuate. They would include birth certificates, passports, health records, insurance policies, emergency contact lists, and more. Again, check my archive for vital information.

Store other critical items like toilet paper, flashlights and batteries, chargers for your electronic devices, blankets, changes of clothes for every family member, etc.

Consider buying my book and studying it together: Prepare Your Family for Survival.

Final Word

Please meet with your neighbors and work together to prepare for the unexpected. This means you talk to each other and share your skills and what YOU can bring to the team. I just discovered a nurse about one mile from my house. She will probably be called to the hospital to work after an unforeseen emergency, but it gives me peace of mind knowing we have two nurses in the neighborhood. God bless you in all you are doing. Stay safe, keep a positive outlook, and keep prepping. May God Bless this World, Linda

How Much Water Should You Store For Your Family

American Red Cross


Copyright Images: Flooded Road AdobeStock_165861017 By Steve, Fallen Power Lines AdobeStock_509007615. By Valmedia

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  1. Good advice here Linda, just because it has ” never happened ” does not mean it will ” not ever happen ”
    Hurricane Erma hit mid south Florida followed by a tornado, i was the only person that was prepared for a disaster. I was able to help my neighbors for a short time, but i could not do it for an extended period of time, every one needs to do this for themselves.
    I have had some people kind of laugh at me for storing food and a lot of other survival items, but they didn`t laugh when the power was out for 3-5 weeks.
    Good article Linda, i just hope people listen and act on this.

    1. Hi Hearl, I love your comment, I was the only person that was prepared. It was a blessing you could help your neighbors for a short time, but I hope they learned from Hurricane Irma!! I totally agree everyone has to be able to take care of themselves. This is why I keep writing, people like you keep me going. God bless you, Linda

  2. Linda ~ This cannot be said enough but unfortunately, people who “preach to the choir” tend to get shut down more often than not.

    Preparing for the unexpected can mean much more than the “big” things like weather related disasters, earthquakes and such. It can mean the “bread winner” in the family being laid off, injured or becoming sick to the point of not being able to work for long periods of time. That is one of the main reasons that when my daughter and son-in-law wanted to get married (they were both 20) I told my son-in-law that it was imperative that he convince my daughter to go to school for a skill that could be used in those events. I told them that they needed to be prepared for the 3 Ds: Disability, Divorce and Death. Of course, she said that they weren’t going to get a divorce no matter what and I said good. But expressed how they need to be prepared for ALL events. One incident with my SIL’s work (he is an electrician) when he found out the hard way that the homeowners had done some work on their own and he was not privy to how to shut off ALL the electricity. He was knocked off his ladder and the tool that he was using at the time was destroyed because he hit a live electrical line. That could have been much more devastating.

    So, prepare for the unexpected: natural disasters, man-made disasters and personal disasters.

    1. Hi Leanne, we really do need to be prepared for the unexpected. I love the 3 D’s!! What a great idea!! I’m so glad your SIl is okay, wow, scary! Hugs! Linda

  3. While this is not your article on portable toilets, my story is relevant to your message to prepare and to do it sooner than later. Our septic tank was ruined and replaced. When Irma hit Orlando, the overflow tank came up out of the ground. The reason was that the people who installed it did not make sure it had some water in it to weight it down properly. And then there was a problem with the pipe going to the tank and the pump. Things worked alright until last weekend when the tank became full and my father called the company to come empty it and then we’d see what we could do from there.
    Because of their neglectful manner and stupidity, we learned only after 4 days of not being able to use our toilets and water as usual, that there is a filter that one only need to dig up and rise clean. This would have prevented the problem, but we were never informed.
    After 2 days of driving to stores to use restrooms, I mentioned bucket toilets and THIS TIME my father was onboard.
    I was glad, so were our two guests, but I found the seat to be small…. like it was meant for a child rather than an adult. They were not very comfortable.
    Before hurricane season, I plan to remedy this problem. I am going to recommend we build a couple of toilets with a regular seat.
    This event served as another lesson that one should never hesitate to put their preparations into action because when problems arise, you are usually caught unaware and with your pants down, so to speak. Excuse my cheeky joke.

    1. Hi Frank, I’m so glad you mentioned this today about the toilets. I’m rethinking my short-term toilets with the buckets. They would be fine for a day or two and maybe a week. I’m so glad you figured out what was wrong with your septic tank. I like your cheeky joke! We need to be prepared for the worst! Great comment! Linda

      1. A slightly better option are the commodes meant for housebound folks who can’t easily use the toilet due to mobility issues. In a long term event you can take the small bucket out and just use a 5 or 6 gallon pail with a trashcan liner and a lid. We have one for my mother-in-law who can’t get her walker into the bathroom on the first floor, but it may end up being a family thing if the need arises.

  4. The day after Christmas in 2015, there was a tornado (well several) that hit here in N TX. My mom’s home wasn’t damaged,praise God. But, she had no power for several days. She was also taking chemo treatments at that time and was very ill. I had a propane heater, propane camp stove for cooking and several lanterns. We also had plenty of water and easy to prepare food.I was able to charge my cell phone with a solar charger and I listened to weather on my car radio. I had left my emergency radio at my home.I have since bought her an emergency radio. Most of her neighbors went to stay with relatives. And would check on their homes once a day to see if the power was back. We did not have to leave and we were very comfortable. I was so happy I was prepared. being able to make my mom comfortable in her own home when she was so ill was a great blessing to both of us. I don’t understand why people refuse to think things can’t or won’t happen when all the signs are there. I do not live in an area prone to flooding. My home sits on a pier and beam foundation on a small hill, there is an 8 foot drop from one end of the property to the other. So where one end of my house is 2 foot off the ground, the other end is over 5 foot off the ground. We are in the country and surrounded by trees. My greatest fear is fire, not flooding. That’s why we have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. And my next greatest fear is tornadoes.While there have been several in my direct area, we have been blessed to not have been directly affected. But I know there is a chance of one hitting here. I don’t kid myself by saying it won’t happen. So what I guess I’m trying to say is, if there are some out there reading this, and you are on the fence about being prepared, now is the time to start. Linda has many great posts on that subject. I beg you to get prepared now, it’s better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it. Love and God Bless all.

    1. Hi Judy, it’s people like you who keep me going. I love your line: it’s better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it. That’s very powerful if you think about it. The good thing is you and I have done everything to be prepared for the unexpected. There is always a chance something may hit our home or neighborhood, but we are ready. And that’s a good thing, girlfriend! Linda

  5. Linda, I remember the floods of ’83 in Bountiful Utah, Salt Lake, and Spanish Fork Canyon when the earth soaked mountain up by Birds Eye, just fell down! It created a natural dam, backing up the Spanish Fork River. My 2nd baby had just been born and I was stunned at the terrible flooding everywhere. Below the fallen mountain a few miles down the canyon is where my parents lived. The flooding earlier caused the bridge over the river to be destroyed and the people had no way to cross that raging river! Many had a few days of food, but my dad had always been into preparedness and had a lot of toilet paper and other needed items besides food put away. One of the lessons learned from them going through that was when in a serious disaster, you don’t have the time or the mental/physical energy to soak seeds, grind flour, make homemade bread etc. – the things normally done. There needs to be food you can quickly put on and heat up or grab on the go. The whole community was fighting mudslides and trying to save each other and their homes. Some did end up needing their basements dug out as they’d filled totally up with mud. The neighbors were the ones who showed up with their shovels once again. We all learned so much going through that.
    Dad returned home one afternoon exhausted after helping save another neighbors home. Covered in mud and hungry, he pulled up to the house. But a neighbor’s face, further down the lane came to his mind. He backed up and drove over to his home, finding him alone fighting a sudden river of mud heading straight towards his home. Dad told us to always have a shovel and work gloves in our trucks and experiences like these are why. He grabbed the shovel and helped him get a good trench dug in record time that diverted the mud, barely missing his home. There wasn’t even time to call for others to come help.
    Linda, thank you for speaking out and sounding a voice of warning! These things CAN and Do happen! We need to be prepared. And we can!

    1. Hi Tana, oh my gosh, thank you for this great comment. I love you dad’s tip about the shovel and gloves. I got emotional reading about the mud, you really cannot imagine the feeling you have of not being able to do anything when the river of mud starts rolling and you shovel as fast as you can. I totally agree with your dad on having food you can just heat up. We were worn out digging and hauling clothes, boxes, furniture, etc. The sandbags are heavier than they look on TV. Let’s keep telling the world to be prepared before they need to be. I LOVE your comment! Linda

  6. Your story about the mother who hadn’t had an emergency after 10 years of prepping made me chuckle about Covid-19, since it started at the very end of 2019 and early 2020. Unless you studied the Spanish Flu of 1918 it was easy to think a pandemic would never hit the USA.

    Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, reality likes to throw a curve ball a you….

    It’s why we prepare for what we can think of and learn to be adaptable for the occasional curve ball.

    Thanks for bringing this article back up. I appreciate all you do to educate folks about what we need to be ready for, especially the unknown!

  7. Thank you for posting this. It’s good to be reminded to get off me duff and stop being complacent. I’m afraid the Hubs was of the mind set and I quote Nothing’s going to happen, The Government won’t let it happen, end quote.Don’t get me wrong He’s a good guy(wouldn’t have made 50+ years) and 98% of the time we are in sync but I think the shut down and the shortages (food TP, etc) we are still seeing to some extent has changed his mind.He no longer questions what I am doing.In fact, He’s increased the size of our garden( without me asking) so we are growing a few more things other than the usual toms, peppers and lettuce . Can’t wait till the “crops” come in, we will be very busy.

    1. Hi Kathy, I understand how it takes a little push I guess you could say for family members to understand why we must be prepared. I have family members I’m sure who think I’m doing things a bit overboard. But I must do what is right for me. I can sleep at night knowing I do not need to depend on ANYONE, especially the government. I LOVE hearing about your garden, your harvest will be a blessing, I’m sure. You go girl! Linda

      1. Thank you. I’m hoping they will come in good as we are trying a few new veggies like beets,peas and carrots. We also have 3 different types of squash and ONE zucchini plant that DH picked up by accident. Hopefully the zucchini won’t go bonzos on us as we’ve heard it can be VERY prolific LOL.

  8. I was 27 with three small kids when my 32 year old husband had a major heart attack, often called the widow maker. I had to keep working while Tom was in intensive care for 28 days, so we wouldn’t lose our insurance. Sometimes I don’t know how we got thru it. Our families didn’t help. But here we are 45 years later, and my concern is still his heart and the 90 degree temps……from an area known for snow!! One day at a time.

    1. Hi Chris, oh my gosh, that is so young for a major heart attack! Oh my gosh! Sometimes our stamina kicks in when we think we have nothing left to give. You did it, girl! Insurance is tricky and we can’t afford to lose it! Hopefully he doesn’t shovel the snow! Linda

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