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Getting Prepared Week 18: What if all is lost? Lessons learned from the recent tornadoes.

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: October 5, 2020
Getting Prepared Week 18: What if all is lost? Lessons learned from the recent tornadoes.

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Tornado over Oklahoma Town Union City, Oklahoma, USAI am finally back home after a week long hiatus to the big city.  Traffic, dirt, noise . . . yuk.  Anyway, I am very thankful that I have my quiet little cottage here on San Juan island.  Enough personal stuff; it is time to get back to the business of prepping.

The horrific storms sweeping through the southeast have not gone unnoticed from my place here in Washington State.  As with the Japan quake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown  (which, for some reason is no long newsworthy) the massive destruction to homes and the fabric of normal life are gut wrenching.  I keep thinking about the folks who  thought they were prepared:  plenty of extra food, water, auxiliary power and cash to get by in the event of a crisis.  They too lost everything.

So once I again I raise my hand and say “What happens if my home is swept away along with all of my precious preps?”  Now that is one heck of question, especially since we personally (oops, here I go again with the personal stuff) have made so much progress this year in preparing our little homestead to be self-sufficient.

Below is a list of the lessons I have learned from this latest disaster in Alabama, Tennessee and other areas of the Southern United States.

1.  No matter how much time and money you have invested in preparing your home for disaster, the investment will be moot if an earthquake, flood, or tornado sweeps it away in its entirety.  It is absolutely critical to have someplace else pre-planned, thought out and ready to go just in case there is nothing left.

On the drive home on Monday morning (the creative juices really roll at 5AM), SurvivalHusband and I decided to put together an emergency bin of food, water, supplies and cash) that will be stored away in the crawl space at my brother’s home which is about 100 miles away.  This serves a two-fold purpose:  he will have supplies for his family if he needs them and/or we will have some supplies we can get our hands on if we lose everything due to a disaster. Call this our backup plan.

2.  A single bug-out bag (or as I call it a GOODY bag – get out of dodge yesterday bag) is not enough.  In addition to the well stocked bag hanging on a sturdy hook in the hall closet, we need one in the car, and another located at a different venue.

I know, shame on me for not putting together a bug-out bag for the car.  But to tell the truth, I rarely go anywhere by car, preferring to walk, bike, or use a scooter.  Still, the car may become a get away vehicle and, as the folks down south learned, there simply may not be time to even think about grabbing anything except the keys.

Also, taking a hint from Jeff at The Retreat, we are going to explore finding someplace where we could safely bury some emergency supplies, including copies of important documents.

3.  In addition to paper copies of important documents, a small, easy to carry compilation of documents in an electronic format may be the only thing we have in our possession when the SHTF.

I am adding a USB flash drive to my first aid kit, emergency bins, and GOODY bag.  I also plan to carry a flash drive with my keys (although I need to figure out the encryption so my data is safe if they get lost or misplaced.)

We need to add to the list I compiled in Getting Prepared Week 2: Documents, Cash and Limited Personal Items.  One missing component is a copy of all of our medical/drug prescriptions.  My thought is that even though the prescriptions themselves may  be out of date, they will at the very least provide a clue to emergency medical personnel that might be called in to treat us.

See below for a great deal on flash drives.  You can purchase a 4GB Flash Drive at

4.  The stress of crisis can not be underestimated.  By effectively dealing with daily (work, family, financial) stresses, we can become better prepared to the traumatic stress of WHAT IF?

Remember when we talked about taking time each day to chill out?  That means single tasking whether watching TV, reading a book, doing a crossword or just cooking a nice meal.  Re-commit to taking an hour a day to doing something that is not stressful, even escapist.  This is very difficult for me personally but I have tried, really tried, to single focus on something relaxing each and every day for the last month.

5.  Helping others cope will heal our own distress as we shake our heads in disbelief over the tragedy we see unfolding around others.

S.H. and I will be attending our first local Red Cross meeting next week.  We both are anxious to learn more about the human side of basic assistance and feel that the hands on approach will pay huge dividends in terms of our own life experience.  Click here to find a local chapter near you.

Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!


Backdoor Survival Tip of the Day:  I no longer use fabric softener.  I now prefer to take a simpler, more natural approach to my cleaning plus the thought of a layer of chemicals in my sheets and on my clothing – well, that just turns my stomach.

Still, I have a Costco sized package of dryer sheets that I do not want to waste.  I have found that they are dandy static and dust eliminators when used on my electronic gear including my laptop, TV, even my eBook reader.  This even works with used dryer sheets so you can give this a try even if you still want to use the dryer sheets in your laundry.

From the Bargain Bin:   I don’t know how long the sale will last but has the Kingston 4GB DataTraveler USB Flash Drive.  That is a steal.  I purchased a few for my various emergency bags.  I will load them up with copies of important documents, emergency contacts, and medical prescriptions.

From last week:  I found a number of pepper sprays.  Think about getting one for the lady in your life for Mother’s Day.  I thought that this one was pretty neat since it comes on a key chain.

Be prepared with emergency supplies from Emergency Essentials®.  You do have plenty of water, don’t you?

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2 Responses to “Getting Prepared Week 18: What if all is lost? Lessons learned from the recent tornadoes.”

  1. Gaye,
    another good use for bounce brand dryer sheets,
    cut them into 1″ strips and slide them into your sleeves, and collars
    fir bee repellant, learned that from the Roche harbor resteraunt when they cater on the docks, the girls used these.

  2. Gaye, I agree with everything you said. Having an extra bag in the car and one at a relatives house is a very good idea. I already have one in the truck but need one for my sisters house too. Sadly we forget very quickly about what happened in Japan and elsewhere. The American Red Cross is a very good organization, I volunteer there when I have the time. I also contribute money when possible because they always need that for supplies and such. Thanks for the link-back to my site. It’s a nice little prepper community we have.

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