10 Things That Will Run Out After A Natural Disaster
If you one of the lucky ones who've never lived through a natural disaster, count your blessings! I've lived through two hurricanes (Ike and Rita) plus Tropical Storm Alyson on the Texas Gulf Coast. When I was a kid, we were unfortunate to have lived in the path of two tornadoes.
If it was one thing these natural disasters taught me, it's that there are certain things that will be in short supply or simply run out afterwards. It's never to late to start your emergency preparedness plan.
For the life of me, I'm not sure why people don't stock up on the necessities while they can. A lot of people think it can't happen to them. Or, that they'll have plenty of time to run down to the Grocery Store or Hardware store and stock up before a Hurricane hits.
Here are the things I learned the hard way that will be in short supply or run out after a natural disaster.
During a Tornado or Hurricane, you can expect to lose your electricity during the storm. In the case of Hurricane Ike, we didn't get electricity back for two weeks. I don't know if you've ever lived in South Texas during the Summer, but it gets really hot!
Generators couldn't be found anywhere for the first few days after the storm. I called all the big box stores and hardware stores for hundreds of miles away and they were all out. The few that did make it in to stores like Lowes and Home Depot had huge lines waiting for them.
Get a good generator early and make sure you have at least a weeks worth of fuel on hand. Store it safely and rotate it out to keep it from going bad. I woiuld have a dedicated supply if I were you.
We walked into a Wal-Mart Super Center right after Hurricane Ike hit. I've never seen shelves in such a big store so empty. I simply couldn't believe a big store like that having hardly nothing on their shelves, it was truly eye opening. Luckily, we had a good supply stored up or we would have gotten hungry pretty fast.
You should have two weeks of food stored up for every person in your family. I prefer more like a month because you never know how long you'll be out, or how long the STORES will be out of food!
Canned and dehydrated food keeps best and are easy to fix with no cooking. Always rotate your stock and eat the oldest fod first and replace it with fresh food.
Next to food, water ran out quickly. Our local water plant's electricity went out 2 days after the storm and didn't regain power until we did. Fortunately we had stocked up on water, but many of our neighbors didn't.
We used our stored water for drinking. We had saved water in the tubs. This we used for washing dishes and flushing toilets.
You can buy the plastic 5 gallon water jugs at Wal-Mart to store water in. You'll need about a gallon per day per person. Try to have at least two weeks on hand, more is better!
Fill your bathtubs, swimming pools and anything else with water before the storm. This water will come in handy later on. In the case of a tornado or earthquake, it's best to have way more water stored up than you'll think you'll use. People do not stop and think how much we use water for and hardly ever store enough!
Gas stations around our area started running out of fuel even before the storm hit. Afterwards, those few that did have fuel didn't have no electricity to pump it! People were driving two hours away to buy gas for their generators and their personal vehicles.
As I said earlier, you'll should have about two weeks of fuel for your generators and vehicles. Make sure you only store it in approved containers. Not doing so can be very dangerous. It would be sad to survive a natural disaster only to lose your life in an explosion or fire!
Here again, many people waited until the day before the storm was scheduled to make landfall before getting batteries. Many waited too late because they were all sold out. After the storm, the few stores that had generators and were open sold out of batteries quickly, if they had any to sell at all.
You should keep a good supply of batteries in stock. By a good quality brand such as Duracell. It's also a good idea to get some rechargeable batteries and buy a solar powered recharger. You'll need a lot of batteries to run your flashlights, camp lights and emergency radio. You can never have to many batteries.
I'm sure that in some areas of the U.S. with mild climates, ice would not be considered a necessity. However, in the South and parts of the Midwest, we like our ice! After Ike, ice was at a premium. In fact, ice and water were the first things given out at the Centers. If you have a way to keep ice or make ice after a Hurricane or Tornado, you'll have many friends!
Of course, this will require that you have electricity to operate your freezer or propane if you have a gas operated fridge or freezer.
#7 Coleman Fuel & Mantels
Fuel for Coleman lanterns and stoves ran out before the storm hit as people made a mad dash to get whatever they could get their hands on. Both the 1lb propane bottles as well as the White gas were gone and none to be had for nearly a week or more.
It's a good idea to stock up on whatever type of fuel your lantern or stove uses. Buy plenty! If you have the propane lanterns or stoves, you might want to get an adapter so you can use the 20lb bottles of propane.
Oh yea, these were also snatched up before the storm. Stock on them as well because many people with gas grills had no way to heat their food.
People who had planned on using their charcoal grills to heat food were sadly disappointed when they went to get bags of charcoal and found none. People snatched these up early.
Luckily I had 10 large bags of charcoal and had no problem. I shared a few bags with my neighbors who had none but I never told them how much I had. It wasn't my fault they failed to stock up!
By the way, get the good quality charcoal like Kingsford. Also don't forget lighter fluid. This went just as quick as the charcoal.
#9 Baby Formula
Fortunately we didn't need baby formula but everyday we'd hear on the radio where some family didn't have any formula left. In desperation, they called the radio station begging for anyone to share some they had.
This is nothing more than gross negligence! If you're not motivated to save your own butt, at least think of your baby! This includes stocking up on diapers, baby wipes and other things you're baby will need.
And just in case your neighbors are as responsible as you, and you have families with babies in your neighborhood, you might want to get some to keep on hand for them. Yeah...I know...
#10 Common Sense
Actually I think common sense may have went out the window BEFORE the storm made landfall. People were quick to start blaming the government for not having food. This not only happened in Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Ike, but it happens after every natural disaster.
For some reason, people think the U.S. Government is supposed to take care of them after a natural disaster. This isn't true. You and you only are responsible for your welfare.
It took FEMA at least 3 days in some areas to get Centers open. A lot longer in other areas. In fact, religious groups like the Southern Baptist and Mormons were the first to arrive and open up Centers that gave out food, water, ice and hot meals. They were on the spot long before FEMA.
I saw people nearly get into fist fights over bottled water and bags of ice. People cut in line and then tried to take more than what they were given.
Since the traffic lights were out, nearly everyone treated them as 4 way stops. But not everyone. There were countless accidents as drivers blew through intersections without slowing down. Just because there was no light there they thought they didn't have to stop.
There were also people who died of carbon monoxide poisoning because they ran their generators indoors. Never run a generator inside your home. This also goes for propane heaters that are not rated for indoors, and most aren't.
In short, you should have an emergency preparedness plan that includes food, water and fuel for at least two weeks. Even the U.S. Government states that every family should have emergency food on hand. Although they say for 72 hours, I'm telling you that you'll need at least two weeks and possibly more.
No matter how hard the Government tries, they can't save you from yourself all the time!