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10 Things That Will Run Out After A Natural Disaster

Updated on July 22, 2009

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.

#1 Electricity

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.

#2 Food

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.

#3 Water

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!

#4 Fuel

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!

#5 Batteries

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.

#6 Ice

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.

#8 Charcoal

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!

Emergency Preparedness


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      this is full of information that any one can and should use. as to previous comments about living on a fixed income and unable to buy extras...I can understand that I am the mother of thre beautiful daughters one a baby one a toddler and the other an infant and my husband only makes about 1800 a month and after all the bills are paid and diapers and for that only leaves me about 250 for food shopping really only about 200 because I use that 50 to buy stock up items. and even then I buy some things in bulk and put most of it in my preps. My reasons for stocking up aren't that the worlds coming to an end or the governments corrupt or anything like that. I mean I do have my theories on all that but my reason is because I know what its like to be hungry as a child and young adult that I don't want my kids to ever live through the pains of hunger. I mean once a moth I by a fifty pound bag of rice for about 14 dollars and a 25 pound bag of beans for 15 dollars and I buy generic spam and extra canned veggies. and other preps that I know we might need. my family cant eat fift pounds of rice in a month so it gets devided into what we eat and what gets stored. so even if you live on a fixed income or limited you can choose to go without those packs of soda and chips and candy or out to eat in favor of buying what you and your family will need in way of supplies. it may be hard but its all about choise

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thank you for some other informative website. Where else may just I am getting that kind of info written in such an ideal means? I've a venture that I am just now working on, and I have been on the glance out for such info. kkdcdcfkckdd

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Great post.

      First of all, you are right, it is our personal obligation to learn to take care of yourself. This is not the job of government, no matter how rich or how poor. If you are rich enough to have internet, a computer or new anything, you can build an emergency supply. You can do it cheaply by simply purchasing a few extra cans of tuna, noodles, rice snd beans when you go to the store.

      I know people who are severely diabled, some who live on welfare and some who don't, who have built emergency supply kits. It is a matter of priority.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      One thing I have always made a priority is stocking up for baby. We have had several kids so I know appox how many packs of diapers to buy in each size. We also stock up on formula to make it through the first year. We do both as soon as we find out we are expecting. Sadly many people do not. But if you think about it both kids and adults can eat a wide variety of food a baby can not. Its also a wonderful piece of mind to know your never running to the store at 3 am for anything. a good rule of thumb is 5 to 7 packs of newborn, 7 packs of size 1, 7 packs of size 2 and at least 20 packs of size 3. If you need more diapers you will know well in advance.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Much of what is talked about here has been taught year after year for decades through our church leadership. We must prepare and take responsibility for ourselves and when we are prepared we can help our neighbors get prepared. You have to make it a priority for yourself, your families and communities. Great information and time will show how well we understood these messages.

    • profile image

      Bob parkinsin 

      6 years ago

      Fully care I'm the richiest man in teh world!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It would be nice to think that the government will be there, but unfortunatly that doesn't happen and even if they plan on getting there, it takes time, a lot of time. I witnessed it in Florida. But at any rate, you can do this alittle at a time if you start today. Eventually you will have a nice supply. The key is not to procrastinate while your upset that someone won't be there to do it for you. Besides it will feel a thousand times better when you know you did it for yourself. I was not able to afford to go and buy a lot of things all at once when I was dealing with the threats of the hurricanes. But little by little I ended up with enough to help us get through when the real deal came along. Just glad I had stepped up my game in the earlier days. Good luck

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      In the end, it is ALL up to us to see to it that we are supplied. It is also our responsibility to be ready to defend what we have. The lessons of Katrina can not be ignored. Preparedness is ALL up to us. The government doesn't have the reasources to take on a mega disaster expeditiously, if at all. Expecting the government to take care of you is both rediculous and naïve. In rality, it may be government that we have to save ourselves from. Think about that. Before it is over, we may be running from the government. It has happened before; it is happening now in other parts of the world and it CAN happen to us. If you don't think so, you need to read history.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I agree with Keirston. Our government is broke and anyone that places their future and life in their hands is not thinking. Yes, times are tough but even someone on a limited budget can at least start stocking cheap stuff like beans and rice and water. That's all that a lot of poor people in South America have to eat most days and they are glad to get it.

    • profile image

      I'm Prepared 

      7 years ago

      Chip, Chip, Chip!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Chip, I'm sorry, but you are the one who is wrong. It is not the governments job to take care of you, nor is it anyone else's job. Unfortunately it is not anyone else's fault if you are unable to take care of your children. We should help widows and orphans, and that is all we should be obligated to. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't help each other, but it should be our choice and we should not have our hard earned money taken from us, to give to someone else in need.

    • profile image

      Chip Davis 

      7 years ago

      Well you are just plain Wrong in some of your Concepts. Some of us are disabled and live by the government and can't afford to buy extra food,gas batteries what ever much less two weeks worth.We live month to month just trying to pay the Light bill,rent , mortgage and if your like me getting less than 1000 dollars a month with Kids you are broke two weeks after your paid.

      We are in the middle of Irene diasaster . the larges Natural diaster in History day 6 no phone ,power ,water or food . The Government WORKS FOR US ,WE DONT WORK FOR THEM AND THEY ARE THERE BECAUSE WE PAID TAXES JUST FOR CASES LIKE THIS .

    • Etherealenigma profile image

      Sandra M. Urquhart 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Hi Sam,

      You had no space for comments on the other hub, so I'm commenting here with the hope that you can remedy this situation and questions.

      On this hub: 7 Survivalist mentioned #10 cans without telling us what specifically they are, how to use them and seal them, and where they can be purchased. So I'm completely at a loss on that.

      Also, you said: "What you want for long term storage are the #10 cans. These have your choice of many meals including Chicken Ala King, Beef Stroganoff, Spaghetti and Sauce, Beef and Chicken Stew and many others."

      My question is, am I cooking and storing these foods myself in this #10 can, or am I purchasing the can with these foods already in them? I'm totally confused, as your article does not make this clear.

      Additionally, you said: "To prepare these meals, all you do is bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add to the bag if you're using the packaged meals or add the food to boiling water if you're using the #10 cans. (you take out the amount you want from the can, normally 1 cup. Don't put the water in the can!)"

      If you are using packaged meal? When did you bring this up? What plastic bag? Does this bag come in the #10 can, or do we put one in there? You completely lost me on this.

      Also I'm adding the food to boiling water? Stew? Those foods you mentioned? I'm adding to boiling water? Why? Wouldn't that totally liquefy them and ruin them because they are already in sauces? How do these plastic bags come into play with scooping from the can?

      Like I said, I'm lost here. I understand cooking or boiling food in a plastic bag, but that is not what you said, so I'm not thinking that is what you are talking about, and since you left no space for comments, I have to address you here to try to get answers.

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      May everyone who reads this hub, heed your advice. Preparedness saves us from more anxieties in times of emergency. Thank you for sharing this.

    • sibajar profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub. I don't think people realize how important it it to properly prepare for an emergency or disaster, before the need ever arises.

    • profile image

      Survival Man 

      9 years ago

      Great article! The world would be much better off if people could exercise a little common sense...

    • Dottie1 profile image


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      I always worry about my parents living on the Gulf Coast of FL especially since I watched videos of the distruction of Hurricane Charley when it passed through their neighborhood unexpectingly in 2004 and no one was prepared.

      My parents were visiting family in New England at the time but sadly returned to see their neighbors in chaos, some left with no home from the aftermath. Lucky for my parents, the hurricane only tore down their backyard fence and lenai. It was a miracle when compared to their neighbors that their house was unharmed.

      Thank you for this article SamSurvivor and your most recent one '7 Survivalist Foods every family should stock up on'. At least now when talking to my parents I have a checklist of how they need to prepare for such a disaster.


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