You’re not a doomsday person. There is no major collapse coming or any major issue that you can see in your area of the country that would require you to store up food and supplies even for the recommended 72 hours. You have some cans of unknown veggies in your cabinet that you think could help you make it through a rough spot. Some food in the freezer if things get a bit tight money-wise. The refrigerator thinning quickly until your next paycheck. In short you live paycheck to paycheck not really concerned about tomorrow’s food. If all else fails there is Taco Bell or McDonald’s to cover the gap.
Today I would like to question that comfy spot you have built. I would like to encourage you to think of a VERY plausible situation that would change your world in a heartbeat.
The major storm coming takes a last minute turn and puts your home in the cross hairs. That recently happened to my house the weather report went from ‘a dusting to and 1 inch’ up to ’3-5 inches’ and in the end we got 6 inches. Weather is fickle and it’s the number one reason why you might be stuck in your home without the ability to get out for days.
Think of New Hampshire a year or so ago. There were people that were iced into their homes for almost 2 weeks! That’s with National Guard, police, and all state workers going full force 24/7.
When I was a child an ice storm ripped through my section of the country. It left all the utility workers out and working 24/7. It took days just to chip the ice off our cars and the walkway to the car. Right as it looked like life would resume. Another ice storm roared through. The temperature dropped sharply afterwards. No power. No way to ever get to a shelter. Nothing but what we had in the house. I believe the whole ordeal was 9 days of mostly no power, heat, and only the food we had in the house before the storm hit. It is an unpleasant time that stands out vividly as a hungry, cold, miserable experience.
This could happen to you.
Let’s say you get the heads up that the ice storm that was going north of you just shifted. The ice storm will start in about 2 hours. You have minimal money. And no prep at home.
time- 2 hours to prep
people in home- (lets go for the average) 4 people
1) Plug in ALL your rechargeable items immediately!
2) Go gas up your vehicle!
3) If you have prescriptions that MUST be refilled within the next week and a half. Call them in. You can get them faster by talking to the pharmacist directly and telling them your concern of being caught at home without your needed medications.
4) Go to a store where you can get ALL your items at once and quickly.
Your goal is to have your shopping done and be on the way home before everyone else descends on the store.
Alright you are ready to go but what do you get? Remember you have a large possiblity of losing power and having to totally take care of yourself and family for several days. Time to get serious and basic!
There are several areas of the store you need to focus in on. Grocery, Non food supplies, and Pharmacy areas.
Grocery: This changes as per what you already have in your home. I am giving you a general list you can adjust to what meets your needs.
-Potatoes (can be wrapped in foil and placed in a fireplace for a warm filling meal)
-Eggs (easy to cook even over a fire)
-Ground meat (low grade meat gives you more meat for less money)
-Water- “The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.”
-Drink mix that doesn’t require adding sugar (keeps down the fumbling in the dark and makes for a nice change from water)
-Baby formula/food/diapers/snacks as needed
-Canned fruit to finish a meal
-Hand can opener
-Toilet paper/feminine pads…you DON’T want to run out!
-Zip-lock baggies/trash bags to keep your area clean (like dirty diapers) and keep food covered (such as you meal is done and you put extras in a zip-lock baggie to set on the porch in the freezing weather, then you reheat tomorrow.)
-Bleach (great for keeping the bathroom clean and bacterial free, also with great care can be used to sanitize water. NOTE: They are talking DROPS of bleach per gallon!)
-Radio (battery operated)
-Batteries for above flashlights and radio!
-First Aid Kit (you can get a simple one for about $15 premade for you)
-Pick up all those prescriptions you called in earlier
Finally thing you have to consider is how to keep warm. Running out to get a generator and run off it is very impractical and most likely impossible. Generators are expensive and you need to work with them to use them correctly.
If you have a fireplace you can buy bundles or wood. Borrow wood from a neighbor. Look for wood to use in the area around your house (given the time restraints not very likley.)
You can also use propane heaters or kerosene heaters. Please be very cautious about ventilation.
Another thing to do when you get home to keep the heat in is to close off all non used rooms. Line doors to the outdoors to prevent drafts. Close curtains to keep the wind and cold out.
In a wind storm where we lost our power and ability to get out of the house due to electric lines down everywhere for 4 days. My kids had a blast building a sheet fort. The opening was towards our fireplace so the heat went in and kept the play tent nice and warm.
Just because you haven’t done any preparing doesn’t mean you can’t get through an emergency situation. If you decided to start with a minor amount of stocking your pantry now, you would be much better off in a future emergency.
Think ahead and start your prudent pantry today so you aren’t in a rush situation in the future!