A disaster preparedness list is not only a crucial element of self sufficient living, but also pure survival. Hurricane Katrina should have been a wake up call for every single American. Our government is simply not equipped to take care of us in the wake of a disaster, and as far as I'm concerned, they shouldn't be. That's our job.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, or what's more likely in our neck of the woods - ice storms - are natural disasters that could leave you without power for days, sometimes even weeks. If you live in the country, your well won't run without power so no power means no water. And those are just the natural disasters. Then there are potential man-made disasters as well. Rioting, terrorist attacks and the most frightening of all - an electro-magnetic pulse.
It is absolutely essential that you have sufficient water, food, medicine and personal items such as toilet paper, diapers and feminine hygiene products on hand to last you for three weeks at the very least and preferably longer. Ideally, you should have enough of these items on hand to last you for at least six months.
If disaster struck tomorrow, you'd certainly be glad you did, but let's face it; few can afford it. Instead, make up your disaster preparedness list and make it your goal to collect at least a few of these items each month. Always buy more than you need. Rotate what you have so that the older items are at the front of your shelf where you'll use them first, and the newer things are at the back.
The average human can live without food for up to three weeks. But if we go without water for three days we will die. So obviously the first thing you must invest in is enough drinking water to last you and your family members for up to two weeks. At the very minimum, you should store one gallon per person per day or 14 gallons per family member. For our family of five, being prepared means we should always have 70 gallons of water on hand.
Once you have sufficient water stored, you should next start storing food. Start with bulk grains first and then move on to gathering other types of food. It seems silly to say it, but be sure to store the type of food you are used to eating. For example, if you buy a 50 pound sack of wheat, then be sure to find lots of whole grain recipes and start eating them now. That way, your family will be used to them if a disaster strikes. Even after you buy that 50 pound sack, continue to buy wheat and other food on a regular basis and rotate, rotate, rotate. An important part of being prepared is having food on hand that isn't stale. You can buy bulk wheat and other dehydrated foods for a good price at Sam's Club or online.
Once you have sufficient water and food on hand, you should start laying in a supply of fuel items, such as kerosene, gasoline, batteries and candles. A solar powered generator would also be a great thing to have on hand. All of these things will be crucial in being prepared should the power go out.
Keep at least a three month supply of toilet paper, diapers, feminine products, soap and other personal items on hand as well. It's an important part of being prepared. You never know when you will be unable to reach a grocery store, either because of financial reasons, inclement weather, or other disaster.
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