Who would have thought that 2017 would bring a slew of disasters? As the country was still dealing with flooding in Texas, another hurricane hit Florida. Then there were earthquakes, then wildfires in California, and then a hurricane that decimated Puerto Rico. All of this, with the constant threat of nuclear war, put a lot of the country on alert. The Ready Store was inundated with orders- as were other preparedness businesses. Interestingly, this was after months of lagging orders across the industry. Some people had become complacent during the good times.
We know that the time to prepare is when things are good. It was fun to talk to customers during the hurricanes who were fully confident in their ability to sustain themselves because they had been preparing for years. However, it was equally disconcerting to try to get supplies to unprepared customers who were watching the storm come in.
Here are some lessons we learned from the disasters of 2017.
1- Prepare now. Not as the storm is in the forecast, not at the beginning of hurricane season. Now. Inventory, just as in grocery stores and other retail places, only lasts so long. Freeze-dried food takes days to process. Some items are packed seasonally so they are fresh when they are freeze-dried. The turnaround for preparedness suppliers is longer than other industries. If thousands of people order at once, it's going to take a while to get food out.
2- Update both emergency kits and long-term storage.
- Emergency kits are needed to get you out of your home fast.
-Long-term storage is necessary for those who are without power or access to food and water for long periods of time. Residents in Puerto Rico were without supplies for weeks. Rescuers found people in Texas who were trapped in their homes for weeks without contact with anyone.
3- Evaluate Regularly. Did you know that MREs are only good for 1-5 years? Calorie bars last 5 years, too. Freeze-dried food lasts 20-30 years. Look at what you have at least once a year and restock as needed.
4- Diversify Your Preparedness- Just as you'd never put all your money on one spot for future emergency needs, you need to recognize that different disasters require different needs. Those affected by flooding needed their water and food storage high above the main floor. Some disasters send you below ground. Have storage in upper rooms, lower rooms, cars, etc. Make sure you are ready no matter where you are.
5- Learn From Other Disasters - You watched the news. What did you see from the coverage? Those in the fires used resources like swimming pools to survive the fires when they weren't given adequate warning to escape. Texans used rafts and kayaks to check on neighbors. Take note of what others did to survive and prepare using their experiences. This may mean figuring out how to evacuate before the height of an evacuation.