Of all our survival needs, shelter is high up on the list. It is shelter, along with clothing and heating, which helps us to maintain our body heat, regardless of how frightening the weather outside might get.
This explains why we all collectively spend roughly one-third of our income on housing, whether that is buying a home, renting one, renting an apartment, or even paying for a trailer to live in.
But what makes a house, or any of those other things I mentioned, work as a shelter?
The recent spate of hurricanes hitting Houston, the Western part of the Florida peninsula and Puerto Rico have given many of us an opportunity to rethink our prepping plans.
That’s as it should be, as we should always be looking to improve, and one of the best tools we have for that is to analyze the disasters that happen, looking for lessons to be learned.
I’ve lived through hurricanes before, as my home is in a hurricane zone, but never as severe as these three have been. More than anything, the big difference that I noticed from these three hurricanes, was the amount of flooding they caused. That made the ones I lived through seem rather minor indeed.
What these hurricanes made me rethink was, not surprisingly, my stockpile. But not what’s in it, rather how protected is it from damage.
One of the big challenges for retiring today is being able to afford retirement. Many of us are in the difficult position of not having company retirement benefits to fall back on. What that means is that all we have to retire on is our Social Security benefits. That’s not all that much.
Having money in savings doesn’t help all that much either. It used to be that if you have a million dollars in the bank, you had it made for retirement. Your million would net you $50,000 per year at 5% interest; but with today’s interest rates, you need five times as much in savings, to net the same amount of income. That’s more than most of us make in our entire life.
The emotions that accompany living through a disaster then surviving the aftermath are many and complex.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to have a few limbs down or maybe lose some screens or a few roof shingles breathe a sigh of relief, but then feel unnecessarily guilty because we got lucky while our neighbors a few streets over are without power or lost belongings due to flooding, or had a tree fall in their car.
Even if we’re without power, many of us would rather stay in our own homes rather than go stay with a friend, especially if it’s a long-term thing.
Part of that is because home is home. All of your stuff is there and it’s still your sanctuary, even if it’s dark and hot. Part of it is also to protect your property. Unfortunately, the vultures circle after disasters and if they know that a household has evacuated, then the home is fair game for looting.