Saturday, September 22, 2018

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - More than three days

It is cold here today, which would be very welcome if the heat index had not been nearly 100 degrees on Thursday.  One feels every muscle ache as they grow older and Mother Nature plays such tricks.  Living in the Midwest, you would think I would be used to such weather extremes by now.  ;)

Other than the falling-off-the-cliff temperatures, I am beyond ready for the coolness of true Autumn.  I was born to hygge.  (Can I make that a verb?)  Bring on the cold weather cooking and baking!

The title of today's post actually is not about cooler temperatures but being prepared for whatever nature may bring.  While watching scenes from Wilmington, NC this week and trying to imagine what it would be like to have a city that size completely cut off from roads coming in or going out... it reminded me of Katrina.

I don't know if you read very much of the Emergency Preparedness information put out from the government before Hurricane Katrina.  I did as an Administrator on a preparedness forum.  The government's suggestion was for each household to have three days worth of food and water on hand.  Their assumption was that by three days, the government would be there to rescue you.

Then Hurricane Katrina happened.  Every expectation of government assistance was shattered as we watched people dying before our eyes on national TV.  Not because of a war but right here... in a major city... on our own soil.

Though the Category 5 hurricane became a Category 3 when it hit landfall, the winds and the water rushing in to totally unprepared parts of the city was shocking. Over 1200 people died because of Katrina with most water deaths caused by the breach of the levee system.

However, they had been warned.  Experts had predicted that New Orleans could easily be flooded from a hurricane for a very long time.  I haven't studied everything that happened and why it happened as there was a lot of finger pointing and name calling and the Truth is somewhere in all of the arguing.  After the fact. 

Not to mention the shooting and looting and the breakdown of polite society.  It happened as we watched through the lens of the TV news. It was the Wild West in the Gulf before the military was brought in and along with it the order that comes with a military takeover.  At least when the General in charge is a good man and the military is on our side.

The biggest change after Katrina that I saw directly (I am certain there is a lot that happened behind the scenes) was the Emergency Preparedness information provided by the government.  They now suggested at least one week's worth of food and water in each household.  Some of the publications suggested up to three weeks instead of three days.  I don't remember reading as much about a government rescue after that hurricane, either.

So what does a hurricane have to do with someone who lives a couple hours outside of Chicago? What does the roads being cut off from food trucks going in and out of Wilmington have to do with most of us?  It is this... such events were in the realm of possibility but they still shock us when we see them happening.

There were a lot of lessons learned from what happened in Katrina and the residents of areas suffering from disasters since then have been the recipients of the wisdom and the advanced preparation. 

For individual households, I think the biggest lessons learned from Katrina are... 1) disaster situations can happen without warning, 2) we can become a victim of a natural disaster even when we least expect it, and 3) three days of preparation supplies are not nearly enough to keep us from being a victim.

Watching what has been going on in North Carolina has reminded me that I have put off purchasing some extra water way too long.  Should the power go out due to any storm, so does my ability to draw water from our well.  Fresh water is essential for people and pets. 

I prefer the gallon sizes (approximately) of water for general use, sometimes I can find containers that hold approximately two gallons.  Any bigger than that and I have trouble carrying them.  I also have a couple cases of regular individual bottles of water to use but in a long term water emergency, they do not provide large amounts of water but they do supply a lot of trash to be picked up later. We have had not one but two water emergencies since living here.

For being able to filter water available from rivers, creeks, etc., I highly recommend the Big Berkey.  That is what we have used for nearly twenty years.  We invested in one when we had the available funds and we haven't been sorry since then.  They are especially good if you have access to water that just needs to be purified.

I'm doing some more pondering that I will write about soon but if there is one thing I hope you do, if you haven't already... add bottled water to your grocery list.

Mentioned in this Blog Post
Big Berkey water purifying system... here.  (It is also linked to on the Amazon Widget for a few more weeks.)


Carol said...

I am a firm believer in that we should always be prepared for an emergency. We have plenty of food available and yet, I guarantee you we don't have water. We do have an outdoor water spigot though so we could get water.

Vee said...

I don’t have enough water either. Used to, not now. Now I must haul it myself and water is heavy. I have a story about this, but haven’t found the time nor the will to tell it. 😏 Thanks for keeping us thinking about this important topic.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I need to stock up on water too!

Suzan said...

Water. is one of my favourite things to stock. I live in a hot humid climate and we have had flooding episodes post cyclones during my lifetime. The drinking water became contaminated more that once. I like to have a week's supply of fresh water. We have a 2000litre tank but due to sporadic rainfall the water is not potable. So I need to store and rotate fresh water. Yes, water weighs a lot when it has to be carried. I always try to ask my adult son to help.