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Beyond the Storm: Painting a Picture of Post-Disaster Survival

How to survive after a disaster.

What were you thinking?

After all, you have been reading and hearing about all those people and communities agonizing about their predicaments after a disaster; why have you not thought about survival after a disaster?

Looking at past disasters, you will see that there is usually a short window at the beginning. That time might make all the difference between life or, heaven forbid, death. If you use time wisely, you can still do a lot to prepare yourself.

When I listen to the news of the aftermaths of a certain disaster, my experience has shown and led me to believe that most people will not bother to prepare and are now faced with the ‘after a disaster scenario’.

I really hope that you have been taking notes and making positive decisions after reading prepping blogs such as this one.


For The Unprepared After A Disaster: A Mosaic of Hope and Survival in the Wake of Despair

Just in case you are one of those who are not going to take action because ‘It will never happen to me”, should a financial meltdown or some other disaster occur and you haven’t prepared, I would like to give you some advice.

It’s never too late to start prepping; the earlier you do, the better you’ll be prepared. But even at the last minute, there are things that you can do to make any disaster a little more tolerable.

So, what should you do if it is after a disaster strikes and you haven’t prepared at all? Well, let’s think that through a bit.

The prepping time I’m referring to comes in one of two forms:

  • In the case of a natural disaster, like a hurricane, they are the last few days before you know it is about to hit.
  • In the case of a man-made disaster, like a financial crisis, they are the first couple of days after it hits.

During that time prior, the money will still be valuable. After that, money may not be worth anything at all. So, you want to use whatever money you have to prepare yourself.

Supply Yourself Fast Right Before A Crisis

First, you must fill your cars with gas and every gas you can use. Gas will become hard to come by, making it valuable. You might need to bug out, in which case you’ll need that gasoline.

And do not forget that your car may be used to charge that all-important cell phone.

Your next stop should be the grocery store. Stock up on all the food and bottled water you can. Don’t bother with fresh meat and vegetables because you’ll probably lose electrical power. When you do, that food will spoil. Forget about the freezer case as well.

However, making and bagging more ice to help keep what you presently have in perishable food would not be such a bad idea.

You want to stock up on canned, boxed, and bagged food, especially canned. Avoid the aisles that have snack foods, concentrating on things with real nutritional value. If you have extra money, buy every plastic container you can find to store your food.

While at it, stock up on personal hygiene items like toilet paper and soap.

Diapers—do not forget them if you have little ones. They are always on the wish list of many after a disaster.diapers after a disaster

Those things will be worth their weight in gold as soon enough; they won’t be easy to find.

The next stop should be a sporting goods or hardware store. If you don’t have a water filtering system and fire starters, grab them now. You will find some inexpensive and well-working ones in your local Walmart.

You might as well get some basic camping equipment if you have to bug out or your home is compromised due to structural damage.

When you get home, start filling every container with water. Fill the bathtub, too; it’ll hold 40 or 50 gallons, not for drinking but for flushing the toilet.

You will be shocked by how quickly thirst sets in once there’s nothing to drink. If the power is out for too long, tap water will stop flowing. Unless you can collect rainwater, you and your family will be in a serious situation.

Even if the water is still flowing, you could be facing a disaster where the water is contaminated. Boil water alerts happen all the time, and if your communication means are non-existent, the last thing you want to do is drink water that makes you and your family sick, especially if the hospitals are overrun.

So make sure you stock up on water and have at least two ways to purify water.

Then start taking inventory of what you have on hand to help you get through this in the most comfortable way possible.

What should you inventory? The things I’ve talked to you about in all these blogs. If you’re missing something, you can probably still buy it in that window. But you must be quick since everyone else will be doing the same thing.


Notice that I’m telling you to take inventory after going shopping. You don’t have much time; don’t wait to go shopping until after you make a list and check it twice. There isn’t a single moment of that time to waste.

Once you’ve bought everything you need, go through my blogs and try to find what you missed. You might still be able to buy them before it’s too late.

Don’t worry about hanging onto any money. It will probably be worthless, especially if there is a financial crash.

If you still have any money left, go to the liquor store and stock up on small bottles of alcohol. You will probably have missed out on some things in your shopping frenzy, and booze is the best barter item. With it, you can get almost anything in a crisis.

You might want to save some for yourself!

Home Defense Survival After A Disaster

Home defense for survival

With all your purchases stored away and your water containers full, the next thing you should concern yourself with is defending your home.

Looting and crime follow many disasters. Remember Hurricane Katrina?

You want to keep the crooks out while keeping them away from your family.

Make your home as hard as possible to break into. Cover windows with plywood, and if you have a sliding glass patio door, cover that, too. Cut some stout timbers or tree branches to bar the door.

Gather your family together and explain what is going on and why you have taken the actions you have done. Talk about how you will get through the next few weeks or months. Explain what must be done differently so you can all survive.

You won’t have as much of a stockpile by waiting until the last minute, but at least you’ll be better off than those who don’t get to the grocery store before you. Each thing you can do, even at the last minute, will ultimately help your family to survive.

I realize that’s a lot to do in a short period of time. But it was your choice not to start early. Those of us who have been prepping for a while have paid a price. You’ll be paying a very different sort of price.

While you won’t be as well prepared as someone who has spent a year stocking up, you will have something. That will increase your family’s chance of survival. Don’t lose hope; you can still make it through.

You know, some will not even do what I just said. Like those who won’t bother to prepare, some will not even prepare at the last minute.

Whatever you do, please don’t be one of them. Do what you can for your family. At the very least, check out the Family Survival System video here:

Prepping Survival Items To Consider

Let’s investigate items ‘you wished you had after a disaster.’ Many of these things you already have around the house. Knowing where they are before the lights go out would be a good idea.

First Aid Supplies For Survival

Many people have no idea how frail their bodies are. Many of us would be dead now without basic first aid supplies to keep wounds clean and prevent infections.

Remember that injuries tend to increase during disasters because so many people are climbing, performing manual labor, messing around with fire, and consuming contaminated food and water.

If hospitals are overcrowded, what are you going to do? You will have to help yourself with a first aid kit.

In addition, you should also have some extra medications and antibiotics. There was a time when many people died from something as simple as a tooth abyss all because of a lack of an antibiotic.

Sanitary Supplies To Make Your Survival After A Disaster Easier

This is an often overlooked prepping supply because we take such things for granted and do not realize how quickly we may use them up.

You need to keep your wounds and whole body clean.

When the garbage trucks stop coming, trash will pile up in people’s yards, attracting bugs, rodents, and diseases. And when the water stops flowing, people won’t be able to clean up after meals or bathe themselves properly.

Those who don’t know what to do with waste will keep using their toilets and stink up their houses.

And do not forget to stockpile those diapers!

After a Disaster, Flashlights And Batteries Will Be Much Appreciated

First, know where they are so you are not fumbling through the darkness.

Imagine looking out the window at night and seeing only that darkness. Even worse, imagine a pitch-black home where you can’t find anything you need and can barely see the faces of your loved ones.

Not only would that be unsettling, but it could also make you an easy target for burglars. Don’t let that happen, especially when there are so many ways to light your home when the power goes out.

Also, don’t forget the batteries. You will need them for your flashlights and any other electronic devices, such as radios or medical equipment.

Radios For Communicating After a Disaster

Survival Radio

And speaking of radios…..

Having no information from the outside world can be almost as frightening as not having lights. We are so used to having news delivered right to our phones we forget how frustrating it is to be in the middle of a long power outage and have no idea what’s going on out there.

It’s even worse if we cannot communicate with our loved ones. If you care about someone in an area hit by an earthquake or hurricane, you will be overcome with worry until you can get in touch with them. Don’t let that happen.

Look into Ham Radio operation. It’s an easy venue to get into and very much worth it.

‘Food’ For Thought: You Got to Eat For Survival After a Disaster

When was the last time you were truly hungry? I don’t mean you skipped breakfast; now your stomach is hungry. I’m talking about the kind of hunger where your arms and legs shake with weakness, your stomach is in knots, and all you can think about is food, no matter how hard you try to concentrate.

Most people have never actually been this hungry, but they will be after a disaster, and food is hard to come by because the supermarkets are closed.

Grocery stores only have about three days of food on hand, a week at most, so you need to think about a food preparation plan just in case.

Cooking Equipment to Cook Survival Food After a Disaster

Imagine your stomach growling as you stare at a pile of food you can’t eat because it has to be cooked. Although many modern foods can be eaten out of the box or can, foods like pasta, rice, and some frozen foods are inedible if they’re uncooked.

If the power goes out, it will only be a matter of time before all the frozen meat thaws out and starts to rot. When that happens, you’ll wish you had a way to cook without power.

You will need a fire. Not only to cook but maybe to keep yourself warm if you are without power in winter.

Most people never truly experience the cold. They wrap themselves in a blanket and turn on the heater. But without power, you might need to build a fire to stay warm.

This is more important than you might think. Thousands of people die from hypothermia yearly, and that’s during good times!

Do not forget a few fire extinguishers. After a long-term power outage, some people who’ve never cooked over a fire or used lots of candles will set their homes ablaze accidentally. And with no fire department to stop it, the fire will spread from home to home. Entire neighborhoods might burn down.

You may have to bug out of your home if you don’t have a fire extinguisher for such an emergency.

Bug Out Bag For You And Each Family Member

bug out bag

For most people, everything they own is in one place: their home.

But what if your home is destroyed?

What if you got to leave right now?

Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, house fires–all these things are guaranteed to happen somewhere, someplace. You are not immune.

What if your neighborhood is next?

These are just a few reasons why you need a bug-out bag. Even the most experienced survivalists would be miserable trying to bug out without supplies.

Gasoline Will be Needed Before Any Disaster Happens (Try Getting it After)

Gasoline is something we all tend to take for granted. We use it almost daily but rarely think about it (unless the price increases a little), much less where it comes from.

Gasoline disappears very quickly after a disaster. Consider what happens to coastal cities when a hurricane is approaching.

Not only do you need gasoline for your personal vehicle if you decide to bug out, but you also need it for your generator if you own one.

But that is just one type of fuel. You’ll also want to stockpile firewood, propane, isopropyl alcohol, or any other fuel to cook food and keep warm.

Barter Items May Be Needed For Survival After A Disaster

I have spoken briefly about a bartering mindset earlier in this post.

Hyperinflation is the main reason people stock up on barter items, but there are several other scenarios where they could become necessary. Many people don’t have what they really need anymore, so if the power is out or the Internet is down, they’ll have no way to obtain anything because many things will be unavailable.

That’s where barter comes in.

You probably won’t be able to barter at the grocery store, but you could at least barter with your neighbors. If you are desperate for food but don’t have any barter items, they might take pity on you and help you anyway. Then again, they might point their guns at you. It’s better if you have something to trade.

A Sewing Kit For That Survival Need

Kind of like diapers. This is not thought about but sorely missed when you pop a button or tear up those jeans.

If it is a long-term disaster, it’s possible there will not be any clothes left in the stores. More likely, however, you won’t be able to afford them. This happens during economic depressions–many people live hand to mouth and can’t even gather enough money for new socks.

However, back then, people didn’t throw away a sock just because it had a hole in it. They would repair their socks (it was called Darning). They would probably scoff at throwing away a perfectly good sock with one little hole.

If there’s another great depression, people must learn how to start sewing again to repair their torn clothes. And to do that, you will need sewing supplies.

No need to get fancy here; those travel-size kits will work wonders when you need what’s inside them.

Basic Tools & Home Repair Knowledge For Survival After A Disaster

After a disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, you will probably need tools to repair things around your home—hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, shovels, saws, and so forth.

Even if your home isn’t damaged, you may still want to lend a helping hand and tools to your friends and neighbors. You might also want to board up windows to prevent potential flying objects or intruders.

Or you may need an ax for chopping firewood for cooking and as a heating source.

Everyone should have a decent toolbox in the garage or closet. You never know.

And one more thought on tool ownership, tools are no good without home repair supplies.

Don’t forget to stockpile nails, screws, lumber, firing strips, plywood, caulking, wire ties, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and rope.

Gardening Supplies and Tools and Knowledge For Food Survival

After a crisis such as a hurricane or a tornado, you will need to clean up, especially around the outside of the house.

I remember after a hurricane here in South Florida, my daughter’s car was ‘buried’ under fallen tree branches at her apartment. I needed a chainsaw to ‘free’ it up.

Gardening supplies may also be essential during a long-term disaster scenario. For example, if the economy collapses, as it recently did in Venezuela, food shipments could be few and far between or quality food too expensive.

In addition to supplies like rakes, spades, hoes, and maybe a chainsaw, you’ll also want to get plenty of buckets or pots to grow food indoors and keep fresh fruits and veggies on the table year-round.

Is your green thumb non-existent? There are plenty of learning sources for you to get involved in. Start a new hobby long before the disaster hits.

Common Sense Survival Knowledge

Survival for families

Without books or the Internet, people will have difficulty figuring out how to do basic things. They’ll wish they’d spent some more time educating themselves on those basic survival skills they’ve seen online or come from their own neighbors such as you. (I hope)

I know those who believe that a true prepper should commit survival knowledge to memory and practice survival skills regularly so they don’t have to refer to books. I do not completely agree; no one can learn everything. And we all have other things to do.

However, prepping should always be a thought before it is too late. You should not run around with thousands of other panicked people at the last minute.

And besides, what if you just started learning about survival a few months ago, and the disaster happens tomorrow?

Or what if, after an economic collapse, you have friends and family with so many questions you don’t have time to answer them all?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could refer them to your survival knowledge?

As I said in the intro, I don’t expect many readers to learn much from this article. But every now and then, we need reminders like this to keep us motivated. And if you’re not yet prepared, hopefully, this article will give you the push you need to get started.

Here is a list of my blogs on this site.

Here are some DIY Projects you should consider for your survival after a disaster before the disaster.

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