Natural disasters are a part of life; that’s why it’s important to know how to prepare for the after-effects of natural disasters.
Let’s say a hurricane has just come through. You’re without power, and there’s a few feet of water running through the streets. A few trees are down, but you made it out alive.
Most prepping heavily considers how to prepare for the actual event. However, few preppers recognize the importance of preparing for what happens next – the aftermath.
This article mostly covers preparations for the aftermath of a hurricane. However, you can apply to this advice to other disasters, such as earthquakes, fires and floods.
How To Prepare For The After-Effects of Natural Disasters
Basic Emergency Kit
Everybody needs a waterproof emergency kit on them at all times. This ensures you have all the materials you need, and that they’re all in one place when it’s time to use them. Plus, since none of the items in it expire, it ensures you’re not running to the store to fight over that last bit of supplies.
Every family needs at least a couple weeks’ worth of non-perishable food ready to go. These foods can be in frozen, freeze-dried, canned, or dry (such as rice and beans). Make sure to have a manual can opener (versus electric) so you can open everything you need to.
Also, make sure to invest in a proper camp stove and cookware. In the event you have to evacuate your home, this will help you boil water and cook your food.
Don’t invest in bottles of water if you can help it. These aren’t great for the environment, they’re less efficient to refill, and they take up a lot of space. Instead, opt for gallon-size jugs of water. These are much more efficient to refill. Opt for a gallon of drinking water per day, per person.
Keep in mind that the above is just for consumption. You’ll also need water for cooking, bathing, and brushing your teeth.
One more thing – even if you’ve got running water after an emergency, that doesn’t necessarily mean your area’s water treatment plants are up and running. For this reason you’ll want to count on boiling all water for sanitation purposes until you hear otherwise.
As a backup, it’s important to invest in a water purification system that can help do the work for you. Some companies (like Berkey) make large, free-standing filters for families. There are also options that connect to your tap, and filter out the water coming out of your faucet. We recommend considering both options to prepare for either a bugging-in or bugging-out scenario.
Have a flashlight for each person living in the home, along with lots of batteries. Solar-powered flashlights can also be a great option.
Electric lanterns are another necessary option for lighting up your surrounding area (such as a campsite). Charge all electronic devices fully (phones, tablets, etc) beforehand and conserve the batteries (such as putting them on airplane mode) as much as possible.
Gas & Power
To the best of your ability, keep the gas tanks on your vehicles full. It’s helpful to stock up on some extra jugs of gasoline in case of emergencies.
Generators can also be very handy for keeping things running (such as ensuring your refrigerator keeps your food cold).
Here’s a list** of some other essentials you’ll need to prepare for the aftermath of a natural disaster:
- Books, cards, board games, etc.
- Cleaning supplies
- Face mask to prevent breathing in smoke/debris
- Batter-powered radio
- For pets: Food, water, bed, toys, medications, leashes/muzzles (when applicable)
- Identification Documents: Social security cards, birth certificates, passports, etc. These should be stored in waterproof containers (such as Ziploc bags)
- First-aid kit
- Hygiene products (shampoo/conditioner, body soap, comb, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, feminine products, dry shampoo)
- Clean clothes
- Clean socks and underwear (bring lots of pairs of these!)
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Hand-crank radio with news stations and weather/emergency reports
- Appropriate work gear, clothing and equipment (cleaning up debris, etc)
** This list is not comprehensive. However, it should give you a good starting point
Be Careful Of Flooded Areas
Take great caution around flooded areas. Downed power lines + water = a dangerous combo. Avoid flooded areas and puddles. Steer clear of downed powerlines – they may still be active.
Gas lines may have also been broken, so it’s important not to light a fire until you’re sure it’s safe.
Severe flooding can also cause a variety of health risks, so don’t wade into the flooded streets.
If your property has incurred damage, you’ll want to take pictures for the insurance company.
Listen to your emergency radio for updates on power lines, erosion, traffic collisions, downed trees, etc. You’ll also want to avoid driving as much as possible until these can become cleared.
Keep in mind the aftermath of a natural disaster can take anywhere from days, to months, to even years. Plan accordingly and get everyone in your family on the same page so they know what to do (and what to expect) in the event of an emergency.