On “Surviving Emergencies”…

2 Nov

Here at RR, we’ve spent the better part of the last week helping others prepare for disaster on the East Coast of the United States of America.

As I type this (it’s 3am on November 2nd) we’re still manning phones and computers, trying to insure that much needed supplies reach the front lines – getting to families that need them desperately in order to begin recovering from “Superstorm Sandy’s” wrath. .

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you already know that our work goes well beyond helping families build strong, affordable, sustainable housing. Here at RR, “disaster response” is a large part of our mission to insure the safety of families everywhere.

We’ve insured that aid reached places like Haiti, New Zealand, Japan and other locations, in times of need.

People ask me constantly about “preparing for disaster”. They ask me for advice on “how to prepare”.

To survive hardship, you have to stay healthy.

You’ll need calories to burn and water to hydrate you in order to get thru the tasks ahead of you.

People ask why I store food in my house for “unforseen events”;

Recently, wildfires in Montana forced my family to evacuate our home. Local grocery stores were ravaged as families flocked to them to buy much needed supplies, all at once. The end result? Very quickly, the shelves were literally bare. If you didn’t already have it, you were facing over a hundred mile round-trip to try and find it.

Local grocers have told me (after the fact) that they did triple the “normal business” and still couldn’t begin to meet demand.

  • In 2005, Hurricane Katrina – the sixth-most powerful hurricane ever recorded – slammed into the Mississippi River Delta region, destroying almost $1 BILLION dollars worth of crops. It was terrible. I know firsthand, I was personally at “Ground Zero”.
  • Less than two years after Katrina, a “500-year flood” visited the Midwestern corn belt—which, as the US Geological Survey pointed out at the time, marked the second “500-year flood” in 15 years.
  • In 2011, Texas suffered the most severe 12-month drought in its recorded history, resulting in a stunning $5.2 billion in crop and livestock losses. This loss eclipsed the state’s previous record high in crop losses – set just five years earlier.
  • In 2012, record droughts eradicated the nation’s corn and hay crops.
  • August 2012 saw the arrival of  Hurricane Irene, which deluged farmland and destroyed crops from Puerto Rico all the way to Canada, taking a particularly nasty toll on farmers in Vermont and New York state.

And now…  along comes “Superstorm” Sandy. we’ve yet to see what the results of Sandy will be to the nation’s food supply.

This week, Superstorm Sandy hammered the East Coast of America. Between torrential rain, flooding and heavy snow, MANY families are STILL finding it impossible to GET to local stores to “try and buy” provisions. And, if they CAN get to the store, there’s no guarantee that the food they need will be there. Left unprepared, their families go hungry as local first responders and aid groups try to provide them with food and water.

Take all of those weather events and then factor in natural disasters (like wildfires or earthquakes, for instance), the failing economy, rampant unemployment and inflation and you have a potential disaster on your hands as you face the possibility of  “full tables and empty plates”.

Everyone, and I mean everyone… should have a 3 month supply of food stored in their homes – just in case.

I can hear you spitting at your monitors as you read this;

“Yeah, that’s easy for you to say, You can afford to go out and buy massive amounts of food… just in case.”

Um… no. I can’t. My family, like many others in America, lives pretty close to the ground. We eat a LOT of Macaroni and Cheese. If we didn’t plan for emergencies in advance – over time – we couldn’t survive them, I assure you.

Believe it or not, it’s really NOT that difficult to achieve that “emergency food cache”.

Just buy a few extra cans of food every time you go to the grocery store. Wait for bargains and sales and grab what you can. Use those coupons!

Doing this insures that if things get hard – for whatever reason – you’ll have a buffer against hardship. And… you’ll be surprised at how quickly that emergency food store will add up.

And do not forget water.

You need over a gallon of water a day to get through hard times. In my family (presently there are 3 of us at home) we keep a three month supply of water (both in bottles and in “mass storage containers”) of almost 500 gallons of fresh water.

Here’s an example of how it breaks down PER 30 days;

You can do this. You SHOULD do this. When things get hard, and they will, you’ll be glad that you did.

If you need more help with your emergency planning, you can find answers, HERE.

Be smart, be careful, be prepared and be safe.