Do you have a preparedness or food storage experience, tip, recipe, product review, etc.? Become a guest blogger on Preparedness Pantry and earn a $20 Emergency Essentials gift card! Click here for details.
Preparing for Hurricanes
A few years back, my family experienced a hurricane. At the time, my fourth child was only 6 months old. My husband was in the Coast Guard and we naively thought we were prepared for any emergency - we were wrong. When you live in a hurricane prone area, there are so many false alarms that you can get numb to the warnings of evacuation. Many times they suggest you evacuate and the hurricane ends up hitting another area. This time, the hurricane was coming and by the time we realized it was going to hit our area, it was too late to evacuate or prepare. The week before it was supposed to hit, I tried to make hotel reservations in a more inland area but every hotel was booked in my state as well as the surrounding states. There was nowhere to go.
Being a military family from the Northwest, we didn't have friends or family that lived outside of our immediate area so there was nowhere to go to stay with friends. We made the decision to hunker down in our home rather than go to a shelter. Since we didn't live on the coast, the only damage we expected would be from rain and wind.
I went to the grocery store only to Replace the shelves empty of all the essentials and the store full of people, like me, trying to stock up. I was shocked! I had never seen grocery store shelves completely empty with hundreds of stressed people - except in movies!
The hurricane came a few days later. We watched TV and I talked with my mom on the phone up until we lost electricity. The hurricane was loud and wet and a little scary but our home remained intact with minor damage. We were lucky, trees missed our house but hit our neighbors homes.
The next day, we wanted to drive around town to survey the damage but we couldn't get out of our own neighborhood in a vehicle because the roads were covered with large trees that had yet to be moved. People who had lived there for years went outside with their gas motored saws and started cutting trees to make way for vehicles. We worked together to move debris to the side, careful to avoid power lines, so that we could get out. We couldn't get far before having to drive creatively around the trees and roads that were impassable.
We found the whole city was without electricity. Restaurants were price gouging their food to sell, cooking up on grills outside before it spoiled. By the time it was our turn to get inside the restaurant, food had run out so we went back to our hot, humid, and dark home. For two weeks, we lived on peanut butter and jelly. We were lucky we still had running water. I don't know what we would have done without it.
I learned many lessons that week - mainly, that I was not prepared. We are now living back in the Northwest in earthquake country. I realize that if we had a major earthquake that cut off my water and electricity and blocked the roads to get out, I'm still not prepared. I'm working on putting together an emergency kit that would be especially helpful during these types of emergencies.