A few months back, along with the rest of Texas and the Gulf Coast, we prepared for Hurricane Harvey to make landfall. The grocery stores were running low on bottled water in our area, but everything else was pretty plentiful. After all, we’re about 4 hours from the coast, so the worst we were going to see was some heavy rain and winds. Maybe power outages for a few days, but nothing catastrophic. Unfortunately, I can’t say that for the areas closer to the water though.
I decided to fill the gas tanks on our vehicles, top the extra gas cans (the gas was getting old anyhow), and make a quick grocery run for some perishables (meat, fruit, veggies and such). If it would be a few days without power or having access to the store, I at least wanted to have some good meals for the first few days, before having to resort to dry or canned food.
Well… It was a complete madhouse.
If you’ve been through any sort of natural disaster, the days leading up to it are pretty interesting to say the least. Everyone (and their mother) feels the need to stock up on all the crap they should have bought and had on standby. This creates a bit of panic, as the shelves in the stores start to deplete, which causes more turmoil. People who didn’t need a 40lb bag of beans from Costco, now NEED SEVEN, along with a damn pallet of water and a bunch of other crap they might need to “Survive” the next few days. Don’t get me wrong here. I certainly don’t fault these folks for trying to be prepared, but the last minute rush to pick up supplies that have been marked up, or are now in high demand, seems like a desperate attempt at preparedness. A little bit of pre-planning can go a long way.
Next time you’re in the grocery store, pick up an extra case of bottled water… or better yet, a few gallon jugs of it. You’re much less likely to crack open the gallons than the smaller bottles. The mindset that “it’s just one bottle” or “I’ll pick up more next time I’m at the store” often pries us away from keeping bottles on hand for emergencies. Stockpile it out of sight, and just keep building your supplies. You’ll have a good amount in no time. Or, if you have enough room to store a few 55 gallon drums, all the better.
Canned food is another great thing to have tucked away. It lasts damn-near-forever, so having a few days’ worth is not hard to do, and can help tremendously in a pinch. It’s relatively cheap, easy to store and good insurance to have for a short term emergency. It does take up a fair amount of room though, so using it for any long-term disaster planning isn’t fully conducive. I’d recommend freeze-dried food in that case.
Either way, the one you really need to do leading up to an emergency is top off gas. In the case it takes a while to get the pumps back online, you still want to be able to get around.
Outside of the necessities of water, food and gas (in that order) a few additional items that can help out are:
- Firestarters (matches, lighters and duraflame type bricks)
- Batteries, lanterns and flashlights (LED ones are much more efficient)
- Generators with premixed gas. You can keep your fridge and freezer going for a long time.
- Entertainment: Boardgames, cards, books, any other games to get you and your family’s minds off the situation. Everyone is so glued to electronics, a day without an Xbox will seem like an eternity for some kids.
- Firearms & ammo: None of this is any good if you don’t have a means to protect it. Disasters can bring out both the best and worst in people, so just be prepared in that manner as well.
The list can go on forever, but these were the items that I stocked up on, and even though the damage to our area was miniscule, I slept a lot better knowing that we had ourselves covered in case it got any worse or lasted longer.
If you ever have any questions on the great disaster preparedness items that we sell here at Gear You Need, we are always happy to give you some friendly advice about what you might need, as well as which products are some of our favorites.
Thanks, and stay equipped.
Gear You Need