The older I get, the more I believe the saying, “Expect the unexpected.”
The last few years have shocked Americans time and time again. Many of us have experienced things we could never have imagined, such as forced virtual schooling across the country.
But it’s taught us that emergency preparedness includes expecting the unexpected.
We can’t simply stock up on canned foods because we may face disasters that require a different set of emergency supplies.
Just take a minute to read the latest headlines:
- Shoppers “astounded” by thinning grocery store supplies: “It's just empty shelves”
- 7 tornadoes confirmed after New Year’s Day storms in Kentucky
- I-95 shut down due to winter storm, motorists stuck for 15 hours on highway
- Closures, pivots to virtual mount as Omicron overwhelms schools
- North Korea claims success after second hypersonic-missile test this week
- 3 people missing and nearly 1,000 homes destroyed in Colorado wildfire
- Avalanches shut down I-90 near Idaho-Montana border
Additionally, the disasters we faced in 2021 were deadlier and costlier than in years past.
According to Forbes, January 10, 2022:
- “The United States faced 20 weather disasters with economic losses that totaled $1 billion last year […] compared to an average of 7.4 annual billion-dollar disasters since 1980.
- These colossal events generated about $145 billion in economic damage, almost triple NOAA’s annual average of $51.4 billion since 1980, making 2021 the third-costliest year for natural disasters in over four decades.
- The three costliest disasters last year were category four Hurricane Ida in August ($75 billion), surprise February cold temperatures that caused power outages in Texas and the central U.S. ($24 billion) and a spate of wildfires in California and other western states ($10.6 billion).
- Some 688 Americans died in 2021’s disasters, the sixth-highest death toll since 1980 and nearly double the average of 361 deaths per year over that period — including 229 deaths in droughts in the western U.S. and 226 deaths during the February cold wave.”
Preparing for emergencies means thinking strategically about everything you may need in every type of disaster.
Use this list of possible emergencies to stock your pantry and pack your go-bag.
According to NCW Life, “[The] 2021 national wildfire season was the longest and most destructive. […] The number of wildfires nationwide and the acres they burned both set records in 2021. […] The wildfire season also saw a record number of days of high fire danger this year. […] Overall, there were 48,487 wildfires that burned more than 6.5 million acres.”
The recent firestorm that ravaged a suburban area in Colorado is a perfect example of why everyone should prepare for a possible wildfire.
Stock up on fire evacuation masks and blankets to help you get out of your home quickly and safely.
2. Interstate Winter Weather
A winter storm the first week of January 2022 left thousands of motorists stuck on I-95 in Virginia for 15 hours or more. The winter storm event led to extreme delays, multiple car accidents, and stranded drivers. In addition, many were forced to sleep in their vehicles overnight in the cold temperatures. Many ran out of fuel.
[Related Read: When Disaster Strikes While in Your Car]
3. Contaminated Public Water
America isn’t a third-world country, so we expect to have clean running water whenever we want it. But, this isn’t the case. Water contamination in America is a real issue. Whether it occurs from chemicals making their way into our water supply or old pipes breaking down, there is a real possibility the water you are drinking isn’t safe.
Even more worrisome are the cyberattacks on water supply facilities in the U.S. in 2021, with hackers specifically altering the chemicals in our water supply to harm us.
Invest in water filtration systems to ensure you can always have safe drinking water.
4. Nuclear Missiles
On January 12, 2022, Fox News ran the headline: “North Korea claims success after second hypersonic-missile test this week.”
Fox News explains, “Hypersonic weapons, which fly at speeds in excess of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, could pose a crucial challenge to missile defense systems because of their speed and maneuverability.”
Remember that North Korea isn’t the only country America has to fear. Reuters reported in 2021, “China, in the midst of a rapid nuclear weapons buildup, will soon surpass Russia as the United States' top nuclear threat.”
In other words, there is a real possibility that nuclear missiles may be launched at the United States in the future.
One way to prepare for nuclear threats is to purchase Anti-Radiation Tablets (or potassium iodate), which is an FDA-approved drug that prevents the thyroid gland from absorbing the radioactive iodine that is released in a nuclear attack.
5. Natural Disasters
In addition to increased wildfires and bizarre winter storms, there has been an increase in other natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tornadoes.
The December 2021 tornadoes were the deadliest in Kentucky history.
Also in December 2021, King 5 ran a headline that read: “Swarm of more than 50 earthquakes off Oregon's Coast.”
According to the news article, “The swarm of earthquakes in the Blanco Fracture Zone off the Oregon coast is part of a larger active system of faults, underwater volcanoes and actively spreading ridges that raise the risks of a large earthquake along the coast of the Pacific Northwest.”
Know the threats where you live and prepare.
6. Civil Unrest
In June 2020, several blocks in Seattle, Washington, were taken over by rioters and demonstrators, and the six-block section was declared a “police-free zone.”
As a result of the continued protests, Seattle lost a significant number of policemen and women.
This is just one example of many types of civil unrest Americans in large cities witnessed recently.
If you live in an urban environment, you need to prepare differently from those in rural areas.
[Related Read: Urban Prepping: 5 Survival Tips for City Dwellers]
7. Chemical Emergency
Two jet fuel spills took place in the Navy’s Red Hill Reserve outside of Pearl Harbor in 2021, sickening children.
According to Fox News, “The Hawaii Department of Health reports that starting Nov. 28, the first of about 500 total complaints began pouring in. People near the leak reported a ‘fuel or chemical smell from their drinking water.’ Families have since reported a range of illnesses and small burns and irritation on children’s bodies. […] The Navy has begun the daunting task of flushing the water out of the 93,000 homes and buildings and then testing the water in each structure. […] People will not be able to return home until Hawaii’s Department of Health ultimately rules the water supply safe. There is no timeline or estimated completion date.”
Unfortunately, chemical emergencies happen more often than we realize. Therefore, staying aware and having access to clean water or emergency drinking water pouches and shelter is critical.
8. Cyber Attacks
In today’s society, most things rely on the internet. When it comes to emergency preparedness, this means considering what will be affected if there are cyberattacks.
In addition to hackers attacking water supplies, cyberattacks have essentially held companies hostage, such as the Colonial Pipeline event in May 2021. This ransomware attack led to the shutdown of the pipeline, which caused a gas shortage in the Southeastern United States.
In other countries, hackers have managed to take the power grids down, which means this is a possibility here, too.
Invest in solar power tools and never let your gas tank hit E.
Sadly, terrorism is a real threat to Americans, whether homegrown terrorists, radical groups, gangs or terrorist threats from abroad. Should you find yourself in a terrorist situation, you need to know how to get yourself out of the situation safely. One way to protect yourself is to act as a gray man – staying aware of potential threats and blending in without drawing attention to yourself.
In addition to foreign terror threats, VOA reports, “U.S. national security and law enforcement agencies are battling what they describe as a ‘significant jump’ in threats from domestic terrorists.”
[Related Read: Why Becoming a Gray Man May Save Your Life]
No matter your feelings around COVID-19, we can all admit that it made things difficult. From schools shutting down to supply chain disruptions and empty grocery store shelves, we were reminded of how important it is to have emergency supplies and backup plans.
Don’t be caught unaware. Prepare, friends. Stay alert!
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply