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The Importance of Self Sufficiency (Especially in Disasters)

When people learn that I take time to prepare for disasters by storing a little extra food and water, they always insist it is a waste of energy, time, and money.  I won’t be able to convince everyone the value of being self sufficient in times of disaster, but I can share with you the benefits I’ve personally learned.

My husband and I live in Florida for two years, and one summer was particularly bad for hurricanes!  I mean, we got hit over and over again.  I was lucky to get paid time off, but my husband was not paid for the time he was required to take.  We didn’t have a lot of money in the bank as we were a young couple just starting out in life.  Each hurricane that came made things more challenging financially, so buying things when the product’s price was at a premium (assuming the product was even available) wasn’t going to happen.

Before the first hurricane, we went to the store to stock up.  There was NOTHING on the shelves.  The water was completely gone, chips, canned foods, etc were all mostly gone.  We got a couple days worth of food and returned home.  We didn’t have much water, so we filled the bathtub and random containers we had just in case the water went out or was undrinkable.  This was our very first lesson in being prepared.  After the hurricane, we learned they were handing out water and food downtown (which takes gas in the car, which costs A LOT after a hurricane if it’s even available).  We ventured down there to find out they were all out.  Nice.

We learned after that.  Once the shelves were restocked and life got back to normal, I stocked up on water and various canned or boxed goods for the next time.  We were hit with 4 hurricanes that year, each taking power and water away from us for at least 3 days.  Once we didn’t have water for 2 weeks.  2 WEEKS!  No way to bathe, wash clothes, drink, etc.

It doesn’t even need to be a natural disaster.  We have man made problems too.  Here in Grand Prairie, TX there is water emergency as a main pipe is broken and needs to be repaired.  Residents there are without water.  Or it could simply be a loss of income.  My husband lost his job 4 months ago… for the first two months he was denied unemployment.  Scared to use savings, I used our food storage to lower our food costs.  Or perhaps market forces cause peanut butter costs to soar (which we saw last year).  I had no worries, since I had plenty of peanut butter saved until the market costs stabilized again.  You don’t have to become a crazy hoarder or learn to can (although I did make these pickles a few weeks ago, delicious!) just purchase a little extra each week when you go grocery shopping.

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The moral of the story… plan ahead to take care of yourself and don’t rely on the Red Cross or the government to take care of you when disaster strikes.  Just having a week’s worth of food and water will give you peace of mind when things start to escalate in the weather or in the political realm.