Here’s everything I needed during (and after) Hurricane Ida
After Hurricane Ida hit the Louisiana Gulf Coast devastatingly, I returned to New Orleans with 40 gallons of gasoline strapped in my truck bed.
Although untouched by the storm, the high winds and rain caused thousands of damaged homes across the city, including ours. My girlfriend and I evacuated before the hurricane, but returned a few days later with a car full of emergency equipment, food, and tools to begin the cleanup and damage assessment. We lasted almost a week without power, and you know what? I’m pretty sure we crushed it.
But my success is not due to being a libertarian, off-grid end-of-the-world preparer or a QA follower who doesn’t believe in the MAGA end times. I am a 31 year old writer who often covers our nascent dystopia. You might think that you live in a place that will never have a problem like Ida, but trust me on this: you could be wrong sooner rather than later.
So how do you even begin to make sure you have the essentials to deal with our increasingly frequent urban disasters? Even the least offensive professional prepper sites can still be big and intense. It’s easy to think that you’ll have to use up your savings, alienate your friends, and spend all your time building a bunker to be truly safe.
Fortunately, none of this is true. In fact, this healthy, sane, and honest introductory guide to city readiness should be enough to get you started on the basics of closing the hatches until a sense of (relative) normalcy returns to your city. The following was more than enough to get me through my first full-fledged urban crisis, as well as a few things I wish I had at the time. It’s by no means exhaustive, but it should point you in the right direction. Starting with…
Medicines and health supplies
Ibuprofen, and a lot. While there’s always an unfortunate risk of injury from a seizure, luckily you’re more likely to deal with ordinary headaches from stress, tension, and dehydration (we’ll talk about that). further away). Along with a standard first aid kit and medication, you should make sure you have all the prescriptions well before a situation arises. Although pharmacies were among the first places to reopen after the hurricane, it was one less thing to worry about in order to put our lives in order.
Generators and fuel
This is where things started to get complicated for us after Ida. We, along with thousands of others, suddenly found ourselves in the generator market after hearing from city officials that New Orleans could potentially be without power for up to a month. As always, this knowledge sparked two things: A) a mad race for gasoline and B) a frantic search for a generator.
Now, depending on the type of urban environment you live in, a gasoline generator may or may not be a feasible option for you. First of all, they can get extremely expensive, are heavy as hell and need to be installed at least 20 feet from your home to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Everyone, including incoming rescuers, will pick up generators before and after an emergency. In our case, I had to travel three hours north to my hometown of Mississippi to get a generator and refill the aforementioned jerry cans without waiting countless overtime in line at a gas station.
If you can use a generator, however, I highly recommend that you continue with the investment. You can also go for a portable powerhouse like a Goal Zero or Jackery 1000, but for a real emergency a gas generator will likely offer more flexibility.
All. From them. Of all kinds too, including tiny AAAs all the way to big D. Rechargeable lithium ion options are also extremely useful, especially if you have access to some form of power plant like a generator, or even if you are sitting down. in your car for half an hour at a time using its cigarette lighter / USB ports (you’ll appreciate the air conditioning). In addition to batteries, make sure you have already charged all your necessary electronic devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones, as well as several power supplies for last resort.
Instant mashed potatoes
Ok maybe not only mashed potato powder, but damn it, is this stuff tasty. Make sure you always have a section of your pantry shelves reserved for non-perishable, shelf-stable foods. In our case, that meant a lot of baked beans, peanut butter, so called potatoes, boiled rice in a sack, and beef jerky. We were lucky this time around since New Orleans’ water supply system was not compromised, but obviously it won’t always be.
A few water palaces and / or gallons of water are essential, regardless of your local infrastructure. And by ‘crucial’ I mean legitimate life and death scenarios here, okay? You can also invest in some water purification methods like a life straw or something similar, if you really want to double down.
Speaking of liquids, hydration is your number one priority, so try to vary your sources so you don’t get bored of plain water. I bought a Stanley Percolator for morning coffee, and aside from the caffeine needed, its aesthetics and function made things at least a little more enjoyable and interesting.
Depending on the time of year, you might be dealing with much of your urban crisis in the dark, whether it’s the winter months or just evenings without any form of electricity. Make sure you have rechargeable lanterns (couldn’t recommend this one enough) as well as candles and flashlights and preferably a solar powered weather radio. Obviously, it’s good to have up-to-date alerts, but you’ll find yourself with little to do once the sun goes down and the exhaustion of the day sets in. Having the radio on helped calm things down for us, which was much needed on many evenings.
So this isn’t the sexiest subcategory, but it’s one of the most crucial, for pretty self-explanatory reasons. You should already have documents like your social security cards, birth certificates, passports, and any additional ID stored in a centralized and secure place at all times … right? Of course you do, and if you don’t, take this moment to do it.
Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, check to make sure everything is in order and in the same place. If you need to evacuate quickly, you really gonna want those with you in case things work out really risk. Here, check out examples of my social security and birth certificates below for reference …
I laugh. But certainly make sure you have some extra real money with you during a crisis as well. Not a debit card, not a crypto wallet – cold cash. Things can get weird during a social collapse. The money should still speak, in most cases.
Looking back, one of the things I wish I had throughout the ordeal was a sturdy travel safe for all that personal documents and money. Even if we had evacuated without them for some reason, it would have been a great burden on our minds to know that at the very least, our social security cards and passports were stored in a waterproof, fireproof, and locked up container. so that we can come back.
Zello, can you hear me?
Despite all the promises from the telecom giants regarding emergency coverage of your phones during crises, I can tell you from firsthand experience that these promises can be largely meaningless. With power lines and internet connections cut in Ida’s wake, phone calls have become patchy at best and often downright impossible. Apps like Zello, which replace reliable two-way radios, have become extremely popular in these scenarios. Essentially a walkie-talkie app for your smartphone, Zello can work with any device that can connect to some sort of network link, even in a miserable 2G situation. This option makes it possible to organize mutual aid and keep family and friends concerned in the event of an emergency.
Boots made to walk
And, much more importantly, wade through. No matter how careful you try to be with a post-crisis cleanse, your lower limbs are going to get dirty. Case in point: The lid of our elderly neighbor’s trash can (full of trash) flew off during the hurricane, filling the thing with horrible trash water. The thing literally weighed hundreds of pounds, so the only solution was to punch holes to allow the liquid to drain out. I didn’t want to ruin my normal everyday boots, and the only alternatives I had were a pair of flip flops.
While I didn’t perish from some sort of brain-eating amoeba or mutated staph infection, a good pair of wading boots is high on my holiday wishlist this year.
A new normal
Acknowledging that storms like Hurricane Ida are our new normal rather than outliers does not make you a prophet of the Apocalypse – it makes you a responsible member of your community, as a certain degree of preparedness for difficult situations. urgency is a civic duty. Sadly, the disastrous effects of Hurricane Ida on places like New Orleans and New York City will recur in the near future, but the sooner we are all honest about this fact and what it means for society, sooner we can adapt to be as safe and ready as possible.