Caches for Tornadoes and Other Disasters

Caches for Tornadoes and Other Disasters

This week, a cluster of tornadoes hit the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and damaged as many as 650 homes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people who’s lives were impacted/wiped out by this set of tornadoes.

This brings up a problem that most preppers run up against at some point as they’re buying preparedness supplies and laying them up in their house…what happens if the house goes away and everything gets wiped out at once? It could be from a tornado, hurricane, tsunami, flood, industrial accident, wildfire, or even a robbery or a band of marauders after a disaster.

You’ve not only got your survival supplies to keep safe, you’ve also got important legal ownership documents and documents that prove to strangers that you are who you say you are.

There are two components of this that you should think about and the actions that you take are going to be based on where you’re at in your preparations.

First, we’ve got identity and legal documents. I believe you should have multiple copies of these regardless of your situation. You can make copies and store them in a safe deposit box, scan or photograph them, encrypt them, and store them online, or scan/photograph them, encrypt them, and store them on a thumb drive that you keep in your vehicle(s), at work, and/or with relatives.

I can tell you from experience that this one act is a much bigger deal than you may think. Let me share a couple of examples…

A few months ago, I got a phone call from our security company saying that our home alarm was going off. While I was concerned and headed to the house immediately, I also had immediate comfort knowing that all of our important documents were backed up in multiple locations.  It ended up being a false alarm.

A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to get on a plane to come home and heard reports of several major tornadoes headed towards our city. Again, it would have been horrible to lose our house, but we were comforted by knowing that we had multiple backups of everything that we’d need if our house got destroyed.

Second, we’ve got survival and preparedness items to think about. When you’re just starting out, you don’t REALLY have that much to lose, even though everything you have is precious. Specifically what I mean is that you don’t have enough to lose to add additional expense and complexity to your life in the form of keeping your stuff in multiple locations.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you get to the point where you have six months of food and supplies stored up and you’re continuing to buy more. Something that you might consider doing is taking 3 months of your supplies and stashing them somewhere.

Where you store your supplies is going to depend on your personal situation, but it might be in a storage unit, in an RV, at a hunting lease, in a barn at your parents, or even buried somewhere.

The options for where to put your stuff are almost limitless, but you want to try to pick a place that would hopefully survive if your home got destroyed and vice versa. In other words, if you live next to a mini-storage facility, you might want to use a mini-storage that’s a few miles away so that a single tornado wouldn’t be likely to take out both places at one time.

If your home is in a floodplain or on the coast, pick a place that isn’t likely to flood. If you have a very long commute to work, you might want to pick a location that’s close to your work. If you are dead-set on bugging out and not staying in your home after a disaster, pick one or more locations along your planned bug out path.

(Some people think that I’m anti-bugging out…that’s not exactly true. I simply believe that it’s foolish to have bugging out as your ONLY plan since so many things have to go perfectly right in order to be able to successfully bug out of an urban location after the masses have started trying to get out of Dodge after, or in anticipation of, a disaster. It’s great to have a bugout plan…just make sure you also have a plan in place in the event that you can’t bug out.)

I can tell you from personal experience that having stuff stashed away from the home makes the process of leaving in a hurry MUCH faster. I am comforted in knowing that we can wake up in the middle of the night to a raging fire, get out of the house with no more than ourselves, and know that we would have the ability to hit the ground running the very next day.

We’d have a certain amount of shell shock, and there would be pain and frustration, but we would have food, clothes, and all of the documentation necessary to prove that we were who we claimed to be and owned what we claimed to own.

One of the biggest drawbacks of having your survival and preparedness gear in multiple locations is that you increase your risk of having items stolen. RV’s, mini-storage units, your parents’ barn, and most other locations probably aren’t the most secure.

The tradeoff is that if you have multiple locations and one gets hit, you won’t get wiped out. I’ve gone this route, and have had a location broken into and stuff stolen. As painful and expensive as it was, I simply stopped using that location, found another one that was more secure, and started replacing what got stolen.