"Home storage should consist of a year’s supply of basic food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel. After this goal is reached, emergency and expanded storage is desirable." (Barbara B. Smith)
Getting this post ready, I had to smile as I remembered a food storage fair that was at church. The fair started like a crisis had just happened and we were to go to the shelter. It really was a very large room that they taped off for every family to have a section.
The fair started with a mock breaking news disaster and there were two families that heard this bulletin, one family grabbed their 72-hour kit and left. The other family were to grab things around the house and got things like a hairdryer and other items that would not be able to work with the electricity down but they were frazzled and couldn't find batteries in the dark for the flashlight and so it went they were unprepared.
Then we moved to the above mentioned shelter.
Each section had a family and they were all stages of preparedness. Some were wet with no towel so they would ask us if we had a towel - nope, we didn't, so they were cold and wet. This went through every family but the funniest of all was this family, they had a very old emergency kit the wife had on a pair of jeans that were clearly ten sizes too big for her and she told everyone she'd lost a little weight lately but the clothes did not fit. The kids had on t-shirts way too small and long pants that were almost down to their knees, it was cute. And they opened a very, very old can of dehydrated fruit of some unknown kind, it was very nasty looking. They kept trying to share it with us...no way.
Then we came to a family all comfy with their camp stove set up. They were fixing a meal they had and cots set up and clothes on that fit, they had toothbrushes and toothpaste. They were very well prepared. It was to make us all think and get our 72-hour kits up to date. But I will never forget that lady holding up those pants with one hand and offering us the nasty stuff in the can.
We have had many many disasters since then, even a pandemic, and for us here in the Midwest a Derecho which we had never heard of before, though we learned quite fast that you really need to be prepared to be on your own for a spell. Our town did not have ice in till the day before we got the power back on so for anyone to benefit from using it in their refrigerator or freezers was too late as it was day eight into having no electricity during the hottest time of the year.
I learned to take a shower by using a flashlight which I sat in the center of a roll of toilet paper to keep it setting so the light pointed up, this not at all a fun thing but better than when the water main broke and no way was I going to shower in what came out of that tap.
So every emergency has its own challenges. No, we cannot be prepared for everything but being prepared for some things is better than not being prepared at all. And having a huge widespread disaster is way harder than having just a crisis more localized like our town water main issue, but each has challenges. With the town water issue, surrounding towns did not have the issue so we could go purchase water or get water from friends.
The Derecho was widespread, it cut a 70-mile swath through the center of our state, most of the way horizontally through the state so no electricity during the hottest time of the year and with the damage of a devastating tornado that large it meant everyone was in it. People who were helping also needed help.
We will not stop having disasters, they will keep coming. The only thing we can do is prepare and be ready to help others when we can.
While we had water, I could fix meals on the stovetop only and could wash the dishes. I was extremely exhausted from the damage clean-up in that terrible heat. We were thankful for every bit of help we got. It was like a hurricane that was 70 miles wide that sustained the strength most of the way across the state. There was no government help and because it was so vast there was no state help as well. People came in from other states and other countries to help string wires for electricity.
So do the best you can to prepare when you aren't under duress. Learn what you can from people who went through their disasters. For example, I learned from those who had a very bad ice storm and were out of power for weeks. One lady said her floors drove her nuts because she couldn't vacuum them. I kept this in my mind and when I saw a carpet sweeper at a yard sale I bought it for 75 cents and yes, it has earned its keep.
So learn from these things and prepare what you can while you can, it helps it not be as bad as it could otherwise be.
Gus and Missy say to please also remember your pets in your preparations.