Last week, I talked about food, water, meds, and storage, so you’re off to a good, basic start. You’ve probably thought of a few other things you might need, too, especially depending on your particular situation.
Let’s start with fuel – how, after all, are you going to cook that food you’ve stored if there’s no electricity? “I have a gas stove,” you might say; that’s fine – but your exhaust fan won’t work and most gas stoves/ovens have an electric start, so you’ll have to light the burner/element. No problem – but you better have a lot of matches in your storage closet!
Alternatives, of course, are wood, charcoal, and propane. Think of it as going camping – and if you have to leave your home, you might very well be camping! You can stock up on all three of these, depending on where you live and the resources at hand.
For instance, we have about 30 trees in our yard and a very nice wood lot. Plus, we have a propane grill, two firepits, and a gas grill we converted to charcoal. If we had to leave, of course we couldn’t take it all – but we also have a place to go that has plenty of trees. The odds of having to go on the run, immediately, are probably pretty small, so we’re in a nice spot at the moment.
Start your own woodpile, covered, hidden, whatever you think best. If you don’t have access to fallen limbs and trees, go buy some a little at a time or find a place that you can, with permission, cut your own. Pick up some charcoal, especially when it’s on sale, and put that in your closet/garage/shed. Propane can be stored, too, but make darn sure you go about it in as safe a manner as possible. Won’t do you any good if it blows your supplies (and maybe you!) to kingdom come…
Back to those matches – yes, you need a supply. Waterproof is good, but of course you wouldn’t need to use those all the time. Get some of both. Small, easy to store, you can’t have too many. And fire starters (unless you’re very accomplished at striking rocks together or rubbing two sticks for a spark) – dryer lint is easy enough to stuff into a baggie and takes up very little space. If you use glass jars for food storage, the baggies of lint can double as a cushion when you pack up. Candle ends work well, too – an old Girl Scout trick. Wrap them in a little wax paper, twist both ends, and you have a great fire starter.
When it comes to cooking, we seem to have a collective mindset that tells us that more food is good; but in a SHTF situation, it’s not. First, you want to conserve your resources. There may come a time when there isn’t enough food to even fill you up, so you better prepare your stomach to deal with less. That also means not stuffing yourself into a food coma. You want to be able to move fast if you have to, and be alert, not sluggish.
Plus, there are bound to be leftovers – how are you going to store them? You certainly aren’t going to throw them away. Refrigeration will be at a minimum, so you’ll have to eat what you cook at the time. You’re going to have to learn to cook less food. Go check out the US food pyramid – if we followed that, especially in the meat department, we’d probably all be a lot healthier anyway.
And to survive, you have to be healthy. Plan a well-rounded food cache so you can get all the nutrients your body needs. Start now, don’t wait. Start scaling down a little – most people can stand to lose a few pounds at least, and it’s good training. Less is more, just make sure that your food is packed with vitamins and protein. Many people are better qualified than I to advise you on this, look around the Web a bit.
The last thing I’m going to cover today is rather personalized: miscellaneous items. These are things like baby supplies, pet supplies, your own specific needs and wants. If there’s something you can’t live without, stock up now. For me, it’s orange cappuccino, and yes, I have a supply at hand – obviously, I’ll eventually need to give it up as it simply won’t be manufactured anymore, but for now…
Think about all the items you use in a day’s time, and buy some extra next time you go shopping. Certain things will wear out, like socks and underwear, and if you have small children, their diaper sizes are going to change. Keep all this in mind.
You get up, you drink COFFEE. You use the BATHROOM. You throw in a load of LAUNDRY. You cook BREAKFAST. And so on and on, throughout the day. What products do you use? Can you do without? Can you make them yourself, or a reasonable facsimile? Make a list. Make another list. Start getting ready for… whatever.