What Did We Learn From 2017?

2017 brought a slew of natural disasters; fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes.  They hit back-to-back, adding a feeling of unease to most of us. Even those of us who were perfectly prepared assessed our situation to see how we needed to adjust. Here is what we learned.

Emergency Packs
Many people are prepared for long-term emergencies. That is imperative.  However, it's also important to be prepared to get out at a moment's notice. Good 72 hour kits need to be kept updated and ready at all times.  Here are some tips to keep your emergency packs ready.
1- Check emergency packs every 6 months. A good time to remember this is when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
2- Have a mixture of MREs, freeze-dried foods, & calorie bars. Calorie bars are the priority, but a mixture of the 3 types of food can help sustain you for a few days.
3- Keep your emergency packs close to you. It's a good idea to have your packs at home and in your car.

Be Creative in Your Preparedness
A customer affected by the flooding in Southeast Texas was grateful to have a heavy-duty blow-up boat on hand. That item went from recreational to necessary when her neighborhood was flooded. She was able to take supplies to neighbors in need.  She assessed her needs afterward and determined she'd also like waterproof waders and/or wetsuits if her area was ever flooded again. She was also grateful for baby wet wipes that the whole family used for bathing. Look around and assess the possible natural disasters and think creatively about what might be helpful.

Prepare During Good Times
Preparedness companies stocked out of many items during and after the hurricanes. Shipping companies had trouble getting orders to disaster-hit areas.   In fact, in 2017, MREs became very difficult to get because FEMA and the US military required extensive supplies, leaving retail distributors without inventory. Once a storm is in the forecast, it might be too late to get your preparedness items.
*Set a monthly budget and stock up along the way so you aren't scrambling when the disaster comes.

Water, Water, Water
Floods, earthquakes, fires, and any other disaster can completely wipe out a safe water supply. It's a good idea to have several types of emergency water sources. Here are some ideas:
1) Pouch water in emergency packs- Pouched water is easily transportable and can be packed in bags fairly easily.
2) Disposable water bottles- Grocery store water bottles can be stored easily and are also easy to transport. They are easy to stock up on and easy to store. Just try to store in a cool, dark place because the BPA in the plastic can leach out into the water when they are too hot. Anoter alternative to plastic is canned water.
3) Long-term storage containers- A large water container with water preserver and a siphon is a great idea to have on hand. 90 gallons will last 1 person 3 months if used for drinking, washing, and cooking.  Start with 1 container and add more throughout the year to ensure your family has clean water.

Be Ready  to Evacuate
Evacuating an area is tricky business. You don't want to evacuate and disrupt your life if it's not necessary, but you also don't want to wait too long. Leaving when the masses evacuate can be just as dangerous as staying in harm's way. Here are some tips to consider when evacuating:
1- Keep all cars gassed and ready. Some people never let their cars' gas tanks dip below 1/2 full. Traffic and gridlock can drain gas tanks quickly.
2- If possible, leave early. Booking a hotel on the outside of town can give you the flexibility to go to work and function for a day or two when you're not sure what is going on, but can also help you be outside of the worst parts of traffic if you do need to evacuate.
3- Again, make sure you have emergency packs in your car.