A Case for Emergency Preparedness – Empty Grocery Shelves

Home gardens are more popular than ever, but can they sustain the homeowner’s family in a time of emergency when the demand for commercial supplies exceeds demand?

Case in point: Hurricane Harvey

Harvey makes landfall tonight (8/25/17) or tomorrow morning (8/26/17). If landfall occurs at high tide, there can be extensive flooding far inland. The next high tides at the Texas Gulf Coast are at 8:00 pm tonight and 8:00 pm tomorrow morning.

On September 15, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall. The timing was coincidental to high tide, flooding Bridge City, Texas. My wife and I worked with recovery teams to restore that city. Most of the residents were ill-prepared for disaster. Renters were hardest hit because none we met were insured.

Here’s a photo of the bread aisle in a Kroger store near Alvin, Texas in advance of Hurricane Harvey.

Bread Aisle in Kroger in Alvin as Hurricane Harvey advances on the Texas gulf coast 8-24-17
Photo credit: Pastor Ray Jensen | 24 August 2017

 Are You Prepared for Such an Event?

FEMA recommends a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit. You can upload the FEMA Emergency Supplies List via this link.

If disaster strikes either suddenly or while you are away from home when it hits, will you have time to return home, will gas stations, grocers, and pharmacies be open for business?

Preparation is easy | Unpreparedness can be very unforgiving

FEMA advises: “Just as every home should have a smoke alarm, every home should have an emergency supply kit packed and ready at the start of hurricane season…An emergency preparedness kit will make your stay away from home during an evacuation more comfortable, ensuring you have foods you like, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, entertainment and even treats during a stressful time.”

What’s the purpose of FEMA?

“FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.”

Sensible and Affordable Preparation

My wife and I have multiple preparations to address short-term and long-term post-disaster survival.

Go Bags

We have one Go Bag each we built ourselves and two more we purchased from COSTCO 5 Day Survival Pack - Wise Companyfor $40 each.

Food Pantry

Our food pantry features bottled water and canned food items, enough for several weeks. View all the products available from Wise Company’s website. The COSTCO price is about half the website price.


There are two small gasoline-powered generators, the larger to power our freezer and refrigerator, the smaller to provide lighting and to be able to open the electrically-operated garage door.

We developed a habit of maintaining at least one-half tank of fuel in each vehicle. Remember: If a major event knocks out electrical power, you will not be able to purchase either gasoline or diesel.

Ready Cash

As with motor fuel, loss of electrical power means no cash withdrawals from your bank. Estimate your cash needs and gradually set aside that amount and securely conceal it from burglars and thieves. If you purchase a small safe, be sure to secure it to the structure. Thieves are known to steal the safe.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Learn how to safely respond to man-made and natural hazards
  • Help organize basic disaster response
  • Promote preparedness by hosting and participating in community eventsFEMA CERT Logo
  • Prepare “go bags”, small backpacks with essential items: medicines, first-aid kits, emergency clothing, and other items you and your family may need to carry you over until temporary residency can be found.
  • If you were to lose 40% of your retail food supply, do you have a backup pantry to feed your family?

What Can YOU Do?

FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program trains volunteers to prepare for the types of disasters that their community may face. Through hands-on practice and realistic exercises, CERT members:Join City of Rockwall CERT Serves Rockwall and Heath

My wife and I received this training in 2015.

city of rockwall CERT logo

Here in Rockwall County, the Office of Emergency Management provides this training. Think. Prepare. Act.

rockwall cert training september 23 2017 announcement


Submit your questions via a reply to this posting and I will promptly answer. Or call the Rockwall County Emergency Management office via Phone: (972) 204-7080 or Fax: (972) 204-7099.

John White
Rockwall, Texas
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