3 Day Short-Term Disaster Preparedness Checklist for Hurricanes
There are an endless number of hurricane and other disaster scenarios. This time we’re going to create a list for a situation where:
1. You don’t have to evacuate
2. You’re without access to roads, shops and power for 3 days.
This is an “ideal” scenario in as much as the
1. time frame is limited to 3 days
2. we assume no serious damage to property, or personal injury
3 Day Short-Term Disaster Preparedness Checklist – The Main Points
Have a mechanical, as in non-electric, can opener, and a spare one too.
This will prevent you from dumpster diving for food, and begging the neighbors for the absolute necessities.
That’s all there is to it really.
Everybody knows this yet many don’t take action.
I think this is because “a bag of cans” is not very descriptive to many of us.
Disaster Preparedness Can Plan
Here’s how I choose canned foods for my disaster preparedness checklist. It is based on my experience in Japan and it’s not complicated. It will prevent you from having too few cans, and going gaga from eating the same things over and over again.
I divide my cans into three big groups, and and break down the second group further. Then I mix and match for variety.
1. Combination foods
Stews, chilis and pastas in sauce are typical examples. Everything that is made of more than one ingredient and is intended to be a meal on its own. Campbell’s Chunky soups that go here too, those are filling and can serve as a meal.
I stock 1 can per person per meal.
2. Simple foods
Cans that only have one ingredient.
I break these down further into 4 groups, and stock 2 cans per person per meal.
- Vegetables provide for vitamins, minerals and fiber. You’re not going to get fresh veggies in a disaster situation, so canned vegetables are important. Mushrooms are not vegetables but they’re also a good source of fiber, so this is where I group them. (They also have Vitamin C, D, B6.)
- Starches, typically potatoes and yams supply carbohydrates. They also supply vitamin B. Corn is usually eaten as a vegetable but has high starch content, so I put corn in this group.
- Beans, green peas, soybeans, lentils and contain fiber and protein. Any kind of beans will do, stock what you like. Are you into Asian food? Bamboo shoots are also high on fiber and protein.
- Fish, chicken, beef, pork, and other meats, for protein and fat. Tuna and some other fish supply essential fatty acids too.
3. Optional Foods
You can do exceptionally well, especially on the short term, without any of these. The point here is comfort. Include as many or as few as you see fit. I stock one per day.
- Fruits are a simple food, and taste great. They’re a source of carbohydrates, fibers and vitamins A and C. They’re useful as dessert and comfort food.
- Soups in the usual watery variety are usually not filling enough to be a meal on their own. Regardless, they’re great for having an occasional 2 course meal. An exception are “chunky” soups which serve as a meal on their own and are in group #1.
- Pickles are great for comfort and some of them for vitamins and folic acid as well. Do you have a favorite? It never hurts to have an extra can or two.
Further Considerations for Choosing Your Cans (for Hurricane Disaster Preparedness Checklist)
Using 1 combination food, or 2 simple foods per person per meal results in 3 to 6 cans per person per day. Three times that for 3 days translates to 9 to 18 cans per person. That’s quite a big bag. This is why cans may not be the best for a 72 hour to-go kit.
Be careful to select a balanced diet. Even if you love spaghetti loops or tuna, you’ll grow tired of it quickly if that’s all you eat for days on end. Consume plenty of fiber to have healthy bowel movement. If it’s just 3 days, try to avoid MREs as well, for the same reason. Using the items on your emergency preparedness checklist should not have undesired side effects.
Other Recommended Items for Your short-term, at home Disaster Preparedness Checklist
1. More water. 0.5 gallons per day per person is the absolute minimum and is strictly for drinking to keep you from thirst. Everything else is extra. Cooking, sanitation, cleaning is on top of that. 1 gallon per person per day will give you a little leeway. That is what the FEMA’s disaster preparedness checklist recommends. In any case, the more the better. Don’t forget to add more if you have pets! There is no such thing as too much water.
2. A renewable source of light. Solar or motion powered hand-crank lights are always preferable, but for 3 days, even standard cheap battery operated lights are fine. Keep an extra set of batteries handy.
3. When power is out there will be no TV. The laptops may work as long as the batteries last, but Internet is likely to be down. Mobile phone networks are likely to be down as well, or overloaded if up. The radio is your best connection to the outside world. You don’t want to miss the important announcements. Just as with the lights, hand-crank or solar radios are the best. You should expect to be OK for 3 days with battery operated ones too.. just keep an extra set or two of fresh batteries.
4. Surplus toilet paper and alcoholic beverages – the two most powerful barter items. Chances are you’ll need something you neighbors may have.
5. Wrench, pliers, multitool, Leatherman, etc. You may need to turn off the gas or utilities if there is damage to the pipes.
6. Something to spend time with. You’ll have a lot of time on you hands suddenly. Good, printed books, cards, board games, etc. Laptops, tablets and phones with kinetic or solar chargers are also an option. A Kindle will last 3 days easy. Just make sure it’s stuffed with good books.
7. Plastic bags. As my wife puts it, you can never have too many plastic bags.
What’s on your short-term disaster preparedness checklist? How do you choose your cans? Let me know in the comments!