I’m not the foremost expert in this area, but I am the type of person that researches and reads a lot of information to educate myself and learn new things. This subject was a wakeup call during the Hurricane Katrina storm. As a survivor that evacuated with family, I saw firsthand the need to be prepared and ready for an emergency. Yes, we had water and other essentials needed to ride out the storm until reality set in and we realized that maybe we should hit the road as this storm was unusually large and could in fact hit our area.
The first thing most need to understand is that when you live in an area that is prone to these type of storms, complacency sets in and yes you prepare but the mindset is such that we have dogged a bullet all of these years that chances are history will repeat itself. So, off to the market we went. Off to the gas station, etc. Put up all of the hurricane shutters and battened down everything and ready for the storm. Living where we did, we were hit with the eye of the storm passing over our Parrish. If we had not left, we would have been part of the victims left as gator bait. Reality did not set in until we had arrived at our final destination and watched the devastation on TV. As things became real, you are faced with many problems and decisions to make. We had 12 people, 3 cats and 2 dogs traveling with no temporary place to go. What do you do?
As the destruction unraveled, we concluded we could not return home for some time. So, my oldest daughter and her family said, “ hey come up to Alaska and wait it out with us”. Hmmm, Alaska was not even on the list, but we had little options and decided to hit the road for the last frontier. The drive was interesting to say the least. 14 hour driving days, hotels, restaurant food was the least of the issues. Traveling with family should be a fun experience, however, this was not for fun and the nerves were on edge to say the least.
When you’re wiped out and only have a few things with you, things come into perspective and you go into preservation mode. After about 9 to 10 days of this we finally arrived in Alaska only to realize that our party of 12 would be staying with my daughter her husband and 3 grandchildren, oh yes she was 8 months pregnant. Yep, all this in a 3 bedroom apartment and us.
So, let me set the picture for you. You have arrived in a state that you have never been to before, your entire family is stressed to the point of getting away with murder and you have no job, no clothes, nothing positive in the foreseeable future. Also, you’re living almost on top of each other with the nerves on edge. Life is good!
Life is a funny thing. You don’t really give yourself enough credit when the chips are down and things seem unbearable. The truth is that when things get tough, most people rally and get things together. My family did just that. After some time, we decided on what we planned to do. My small family decided to plant our flag and become Alaskans and proceeded to look for work and get a place of our own and just start over. The remaining family would divide up and more than likely return home when things calmed some. Each night we would meet as an entire group and have dinner to just be together and discuss the day’s events or get any updates from home.
What does this have to do with being prepared? I’m getting to that now. We learned that you can never be prepared for everything, but you can at least make things a little more tolerable. All of the gadgets and survival stuff is cool. But, it’s our wits and knowledge that will keep us alive when things look grim. I learned that patience and family are essential to survive as these things are what make life worth living. Patience for the days when things just don’t go your way and you can’t start a fire or catch any food. Family, for the assurance that things will be ok and we will give it another try tomorrow. We have since settled as Alaskans and started a new life here. We have practiced and prepped for disasters of all kinds. Part of living here is that prepping is a way of life and these folks have perfected making lemonade out of lemons. In such a harsh environment sometimes, they flourish and prosper, just like we did. We plan to continue our journey prepping and planning. We just do it from another point of view as we have survived a situation that was horrible and learned from that experience.
Good luck and happy prepping!