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When a major hurricane strikes, basic government services often shut down and citizens will be left to survive a hurricane’s aftermath on their own.
Looting and panic sets in. Survivors often walk around dazed by what they see and what they have lived through.
In the days and weeks to come, many more of those initially surviving a devastating hurricane may ultimately succumb to dehydration, disease, infection, or violence.
Fortunately, large Category 5 hurricane landfalls are rare in the United States.
However, even slightly weaker storms can do a lot of damage to life and property.
There are a few steps to take to protect your family and improve your chances of surviving a hurricane.
1. Have adequate stores of water, and a means of treating other water sources
Water is heavy, and takes up a lot of room, so it is difficult for most families to have the minimum requisite amount of water on hand for emergencies.
However, everyone should have enough water on hand to provide a gallon a day for each family member for at least a week.
Beyond that, water filtration systems and the ingredients required (iodine, bleach, filters, heat sources for boiling water) are vital.
2. Store 30 days of non-perishable food
When planning your food storage requirements, count on each person in your family needing at least 2,000 calories for daily survival.
Sure, you can live on less, but in the aftermath of a disaster you will be expending more energy making repairs, helping neighbors, searching for food and water, etc. and you will require a higher caloric intake.
3. Be able to defend items 1 and 2 to survive a hurricane
Having an elaborate food and water storage plan won’t help much if you cannot defend it.
Security will become increasingly important, and if you plan to survive a hurricane and its aftermath, you better be able to hold your ground.
If you are in an area where guns are still legal, buy one, learn how to shoot, store and clean it safely, and stock up on 1,000 rounds of ammunition per caliber, minimum.
If you are anti-gun, or live in an area where they are illegal to own, consider an alternative to guns.
4. Have some cash on hand
After the Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado outbreak some years ago news reports told countless stories of people being turn away from local grocery stores, because they could not process credit/debit transactions.
Many stores and gas stations were operating on a cash-only basis because of power and network outages.
I recommend keeping $500-$1,000 in small bills, enough to pay for gas, groceries, fuel and/or a hotel room in case you have to grab the bug out bags and leave home for a few days.
5. Stockpile basic medical supplies and medicine
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, many survivors of the original event ultimately die from the infection and disease that runs rampant in the squalid conditions that follow.
To survive a hurricane is one thing, but surviving long-term after the event is quite another.
Without clean water and proper sewage treatment options, diseases causing diarrhea and fever weaken an already stressed immune system, leading to life-threatening undernourishment and dehydration.
Have plenty of over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication, fever and pain reducers, and any extra, unused prescription antibiotics stored safely in waterproof bags or crates.
While it is impossible to be 100% prepared for every event, these five steps will provide a basic foundation of preparedness that should increase the chances of your family surviving a natural disaster.
The most important lesson is to begin your stockpile now, because by the time a disaster is bearing down upon you, it will be too late.