Last weekend, we totaled a whopping 6+ inches of rain in a three day period. Setting off flooding all over Pittsburgh. The road I live on and the road to get to my road, both flooded. Luckily, we live on high ground and my house flooding is not a concern. But, now with Hurricane Florence on course to slam into the Carolinas and Virginia, it got me to thinking about prepping for a disaster.

Planning to survive in the event of a crisis is something that everybody everywhere should be concerned with. You don’t have to have loads of money in order to start putting a survivalist plan in motion.

In fact, when a crisis hits, studies have shown that it’s often those with less income that fare the worst. You can start your survivalist planning by making small purchases now.

I’m hearing on the news that they are telling everyone to evacuate on the southern east coast and Mid-Atlantic states and it got me to thinking again about those of us with special dietary needs and serious medical conditions. Not everywhere is going to have readily available gluten-free foods. It may be too late to be prepared for Florence, but it’s not too early to start preparing for the next disaster.

What you want to do is to start making what’s called short term packs. These are items that you must have on hand that are essential for survival. Add to these supplies as you go along and in the long run, you’ll end up saving money.

Self-sufficiency is a skill that always pays back in full those who utilize it. People that have food in storage and people that can live off the land – these are the people who don’t have to worry when disasters hit because they know their basic needs are going to be met.

In your packs, you’re going to want to have food that will keep. Nutrition bars, (make sure that they are gluten-free), canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables are foods that will keep for years if you store them properly.

You can also start a garden and grow your own fruits and vegetables. This way, you’ll be able to can the food you grow and stock up that way, too. You can even store some meat for the long haul.

Put together enough water for everyone in your family. You should have a gallon of water set aside for each person for each day that it will be needed. Water will also keep in storage. You’ll also want to have on hand some water purification tablets.

Have the prescription medication that’s needed for each family member. Whenever a natural disaster hits, pharmacies and doctor’s offices are also closed and you won’t have access to medicine if you run out, so make sure you keep a three month supply of the medicine.

You can do this through a mail order pharmacy that will give you three months’ worth of a prescription at once. You’re going to use them anyway, so having them on hand for a disaster is just smart preparation. I will also say that you will want to rotate your medications. Meaning as you get new scripts, use your stockpiled meds and replace with the new ones.

Stock up on baby supplies like diapers, baby wipes and formula a little at a time. Have extra clothing for the baby as well as for each member of your family.

Store toiletries as well. You’ll want shampoo, deodorant, razors, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and toilet paper. Those would be necessities but you can also store luxury items as well, such as lotions and facial cleansers.

Remember if you have pets to stockpile food and water for them as well. If you have to evacuate, please do not leave them behind to fend for themselves or to die. They depend on you for everything…don’t disappoint them in a disaster!

Having a first aid kit ready and set aside is important. Make sure the kit has plenty of waterproof bandages, including wound dressings. You’ll want antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes and Calamine lotion. I also always have a supply of essential oils.

Pack insect repellent, scissors, ibuprofen, aspirin and burn cream. Add to the kit scissors, a surgical field pack, safety pins, wraps for sprains, tweezers and a magnifying glass.

Don’t forget to pack waterproof matches, blankets and sleeping bags. Have the lighting you need, too – such as flashlights like the solar powered ones, candles and kerosene lamps.

An emergency solar radio can help keep you up to date on the latest cleanup and restoration efforts going on in your area after a disaster, so have one on hand. You might want to also invest in a solar powered charging station for your cell phones.

If you were to try to plan all of this at once, these supplies would be very expensive, but by breaking the list down and steadily adding items week after week, your supplies will soon be ready.

What you can do, is every time you go to the grocery store, set aside a certain amount of money that’s earmarked for emergency events. Use that money to stock up only on things you need from your preparedness list.

Spending even a small amount will help you be prepared. Even if all you manage to stock up for is a couple of weeks – over time, you’ll still be better off than you would be if you hadn’t taken those steps.

Preparing to survive through a disaster doesn’t have to be an exercise in gloom and doom – you can get everyone in the family involved.

If you’d like more information on being prepared for an emergency, here’s an article I wrote last year. It goes more in depth into what you may need to have on hand. Emergency Preparedness for Celiacs