I grew up along the Texas Gulf Coast, and have an ingrained habit of being ready for power outages due to hurricanes. I talk about how growing up here affected my semi-prepared lifestyle in this blog. Every year, June through November (Atlantic Ocean Hurricane Season), we always had a little extra charcoal tucked away for the grill. We also had a full tank of gas in the car and oil for the hurricane lamps. We weren’t extreme about it and our readiness just kind of blended into our general lifestyle.
But now there is the added danger of continued extreme weather conditions due to climate change that have already lead to hurricane season starting before June 1st for the past six years straight. Unfortunately, the rest of my family has since become complacent. They only survived each storm through luck and privilege, forgot the difficulties the storm caused once it was over, and consider each one to have been “just a fluke”, as if it wont happen again. They’ve forgotten about the life-saving importance of being prepared.
Learn and Plan Ahead
After watching my mom stay and weather both Hurricanes Ike and Harvey while I lived in another town, we are now in the same house. In the 15 or so years she’s lived in this house there have been at least 5 natural disasters that affected her. She admitted to me she only made it through those storms because an old family friend who lives nearby was kind enough to drop off a spare generator. She also had the financial and locational privilege to buy prepared food from the few restaurants still functioning near her. And she was very lucky that during the recent Texas winter storm she never lost power. Despite these occurrences, she is not prepared for another disaster.
Prepared Not “Preppers”
I mentioned last year that we bought a solar oven to ease our carbon footprint. We had other motivations of course: camping use, and to keep the heat out of the house in the summer. The one I kept quiet about was because I believe in being prepared.
You’ll note though that I don’t view us or refer to ourselves as “preppers”. Just like any group of people, those who are prepared come in all flavors. I dislike the general association in most media with the, “I got me and mine. You can suck it,” mentality. We survive with community and mutual support, not hoarding and vicious behaviors.
How We’re Preparing for Hurricane Season
Because Rimakej and I strive to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, preparing becomes second nature. We had bought a few 7 gallon water blocks to ensure everyone had water to drink during our handfasting on our previous land. Then we started using them on camping trips. Now we keep them full to have a backup of water for whatever interruption might occur. Such interruptions happen more frequently than expected, but I rarely notice since our supply has that cushion. We also make sure to rotate the water we have stored to maintain it’s freshness. This does not mean just dumping it down the drain when it’s too old. Don’t waste water! Instead, we keep track of when each container was filled, and use the oldest water to water plants, for cleaning, or filter it to use as drinking water before refilling the container again for storage.
We buy in bulk and cook in our solar oven. We also have a small battery bank for recharging our phones. Plus we sprout, ferment, and usually have dehydrated fruits and veggies on hand. But I prefer to live our life in a way that uses these things often. Familiarity and comfort with recipes made from stored items reduces the stress of a disaster. Regularly cooking with stored items means we frequently eat what we store. This gives us the ability to continue enjoying our usual comfort foods during a disaster. Don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining good morale in a stressful situation. Even just having a plan can eliminate anxiety. So monthly pantry checks are also a good practice.
What’s your favorite recipe from your preparedness stash? Feel free to share in the comments below!