Hurricane Ian was the third costliest weather disaster to hit Florida.
Ian made landfall on Cayo Costa, Florida with sustained winds of 150 mph. It was the first Category 4 hurricane to hit southwest Florida since 2004.
Frank K. was a resident of San Carlos Island when Hurricane Ian hit the area. San Carlos was one of the hardest-hit areas.
Before the hurricane hit, Frank and his wife boarded up their home and decided to ride out the storm in a three-story office building where they worked.
Frank’s wife said, “We have been through several hurricanes before, and we got complacent thinking we know how to prepare.”
As the storm battered the area, Frank and his wife stayed put in the office building.
“I assumed I’d get a foot or two of water, fine, right?” Frank said.
“But then it rose so quickly, we’re talking within minutes. I was like ‘what’s going on?’ And we’re on the first floor, I was like ‘we got to go to second.’”
Eventually, the water receded but the couple was left to survive on their own for days. With no internet connection or cell service the couple had no choice but to wait for help.
Thankfully, they had food they had stored in the office building.
But one thing they lacked was a stove or a way to cook the food. So, the couple built a fire pit to cook food.
They boiled potatoes and whatever they could find to eat.
Eventually, first responders reached the couple and drove them to their house. The entire community the couple had lived in was destroyed.
Many people are prepared to cook during a disaster, whether they know it or not.
Whether with an outdoor grill or a small survival stove it’s something many people have.
But there could come a time when you need to improvise the way you cook.
For example, your grill might run out of fuel, or you might need to leave it behind in a bug out scenario.
So, here are a few ways to cook food when you have no choice but to improvise.
If you are staying in a fixed location for an extended amount of time it could be worth building a clay oven.
Especially after heavy rains or floods, when the ground is saturated, it can be easy to dig up the clay for this method.
A clay oven is an arched structure made from sticks and clay, with a flue opening for ventilation.
The easiest way to construct a clay oven is to build it with sticks and then pile on layers of clay until there is a thick wall.
After the clay has completely dried you want to start a fire inside the oven. When the fire burns down add flat rocks for a surface to put the food on.
Then close up the front and wait. The cooking time will depend on the food and how hot the coals are inside.
Sticks over a fire:
Most folks have cooked hot dogs or roasted marshmallows over a fire. It’s easy to do.
The best thing about cooking over a fire with sticks is that you can find sticks in most places.
From fish to small animals, they can be cleaned and skewered on a stick.
You can sear the meat in the flame to keep the food moist. Plus, you can put more sticks at both ends of the skewer to keep the food cooking.
Simply rotate it so you don’t have to stand there and hold the stick the entire time. This will be one of the easiest ways to cook when you have no other option.
Another easy improvised way to cook is to build a tree stump stove. Ideally, you want to find a hollow stump with a flat end.
On the hollow end, you want to build a small fire. The other end should be flat enough to place a pot or whatever you want to cook.
The fire will heat the stump and cook the food. You can also add a hole to the side of the stump so you can add fuel to the fire and allow it to breathe.
Of course, the wood slowly burns as well so it might work a few times before you need to find another stump.
Now, when bugging out or preparing your home for a disaster a small stove should always be part of your gear.
However, there could come a time when your stove runs out of fuel, or you need to improvise cooking methods.
These ideas will give you a backup option when you have no other way to cook food in a survival situation.
But what food?
In an emergency, where power is out for extended time, the food in your refrigerator and freezer will need to be used up quickly to prevent spoilage.
In that case, you’ll need to use your stockpile of survival food.
Sadly, many people have less than three days’ worth of food in their home at any one time, and no real survival food stored.
This is a dangerous roll of the dice.
That’s why I have over a years’ worth of survival food stored at my home and bug out location – and I’m always building up my supply.
I recommend you start with at least 1-3 months of food and build up your supply as you’re able.