We have all seen the footage of the victims of Hurricane Katrina running through the local stores and looting supplies, supplies like plasma televisions, laptops and all the beer they could carry. Obviously, I cannot recommend this course of action. Having supplies like food, water and medicine beforehand is without a doubt the best way to prepare for this scenario. A looter puts his or herself in a very dangerous situation. Local law enforcement may not be available to protect you in a widespread disaster and walking out of the local mega mart with armfuls of valuables could lead to other looters taking supplies from you forcefully.
If you do find yourself in need of supplies after the disaster has hit, and if you are lucky, you might still have some options. During a deployment to south Texas during hurricanes Dolly, Ike and Gustav, my National Guard unit was tasked with setting up several points of distribution sites or, PODs. In conjunction with the Red Cross, we were able to get much needed food, water, ice, and medicine to thousands of people from the local community who were in dire need.
It is better to be prepared. At a minimum, remember to have the following:
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First Aid Kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust Mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Handing out supplies at a Point of Distribution
Remember if you have access to transportation, and local authorities are recommending an evacuation, I would strongly suggest that you do it. It is far better to have fewer people in an area that is affected by a natural disaster. Consider taking back roads however.
Try to be prepared.