Ten Items to Stockpile for Natural or Political Disasters
Even if you don’t fear economic meltdown, war, or tyranny, nature doesn’t care who’s in control of the government. At this writing it’s 12 days after hurricane Sandy struck the Northeastern United States, and there are still hundreds of thousands of people without food, water, fuel, heat, and electricity. In this article we’ll discuss ten items to stockpile right now for natural or political disasters.
It blows my mind that with all the warning people had, so many of them still failed to prepare. Certainly, in a disaster of this magnitude, there would be some in dire straits even if they had stockpiled their supplies — the stock could get washed away, or it might burn, or they’d have to abandon it. But so many failed to prepare, or prepared so inadequately, because of a mindset of dependency.
Don’t be a victim! You can’t depend on FEMA. Government policies for “disaster relief” violate universal laws of economics and actually aggravate shortages following disasters like Sandy and Katrina. Politicians never learn, but you can! The first step is to provide for yourself and those in your care. The next step is to build a survival network with your extended family, neighbors, church, and community at large. With just a little preparation and planning, you’ll be well fed, warm, and dry while clueless, desperate government dependents are clamoring for someone to “do something.”
This is not a comprehensive list of emergency items. The specific priorities you attach to these items will vary depending on whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area, the climate, and economic conditions prevailing in your area.
Note: I have linked to some of the items for your convenience, but be sure to double-check the price before you buy them. I’m watching the price of some of them, like the flashlight, rising rapidly over the last few days. See my statement about product recommendations.
Top Ten Items to Stockpile for Emergencies
- Water and Non-Perishable Food. Keep at least 1 gallon of water per person per day. In addition, you should have a Big Berkey Water Filter. This way you can filter several gallons of water everyday, in case your municipal supply is contaminated. Canned goods can be eaten without cooking. Also have dry goods in case cooking is not a problem — consume these first, and save the canned goods.
- Flashlights and Batteries. Give priority to flashlights that use common batteries, like AA, instead of the exotic batteries that may be hard to find. This one is a great value because it is waterproof, floats, and uses AA batteries: Dorcy Waterproof Flashlight. Batteries have a long shelf life, so stock up plenty of them.
- Candles, Matches, and Lighters. A single flame will light up an entire room enough to keep you out of the dark, and large ones will provide a couple of hours of light for weeks. Keep your matches in a waterproof container. Use lighters as a backup.
- Clothes and Blankets. I keep my clothes in a compression dry sack from Outdoor Research. That way if a tornado blows off the roof, I’ll still have dry clothes.I know $33 might seem like a lot, but this is the bag I trust to keep my emergency clothes dry. It comes in several sizes, but the 10-liter sack will hold enough stuff for one person. Give priority to wool — it will keep you warm even in damp conditions. I have a wool hat, wool socks, wool sweater, a pair of pants, a neck gaiter, underwear, gloves, and a waterproof, breathable nylon jacket with a hood.
- Portable Stove or Camp Stove.Propane stoves or liquid-fuel stoves can be used indoors if properly ventilated. I highly recommend a dual fuel type like the Coleman Sporter 2. It will burn either Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline. Solo Stoves and Kelly Kettles will burn any available wood or charcoal, and are good if you can cook on a patio or balcony. Give yourself options.
- Alternate Heat. You need a backup in case your primary heat source goes out. A fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene or propane space heater will knock the chill out of at least one room. I prefer the radiant kerosene types.
- Liquor, Coffee, and Cigarettes. Even if you don’t drink or smoke, these make excellent barter items. Also, alcohol can be used as a disinfectant. Buy the cheapest stuff you can find, and give priority to plastic bottles, which are resistant to breaking. Vodka and Everclear are good choices. Keep coffee and cigarettes in waterproof containers.
- Guns and Ammunition. A .22 rifle, a .45 caliber handgun, or a 12 gauge shotgun are good choices. Be sure you have plenty of ammo.
- Medical Kit. Your medical kit should include first aid basics, plus an additional supply of whatever regular medications you take. Ask your doctor to prescribe an emergency supply. While you’re at it, request additional prescription items such as antibiotics and narcotic pain-killers. This kit from Adventure Medical Kits is light and watertight.
- Tools. Just the basics here: hammer, screwdrivers, a knife, multitool, tape and glue, rope and twine, and a pry bar. Be sure you keep this kit untouched until the emergency. That way you know it will always be there.
Additional Items to Stockpile
- Toiletries. Toilet paper will be very missed if you don’t have any. Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and shampoo, which can double as a body wash. Hygiene and morale are key ingredients for surviving a disaster.
- Rechargeable Radio. This will be a great way to learn where to find donated supplies, and to get news of the outside world. This is one of the best radios under $100: Kaito Voyager Pro.
- Books. You can read your bible for a lifetime and never figure it all out. Your favorite fiction genre will keep your mind active. Be sure to pack a few novels you’ve never read, in addition to some old favorites. The complete works of Arthur Conan Doyle are endlessly re-readable. Of course, a good survival handbook is a must-have.
- Storage Supplies. Sandwich bags, plastic zipper bags, garbage bags, and grocery bags will be extremely handy. If you’re wandering the streets and come across some canned sardines and a few tools, whip out a plastic grocery bag or a garbage bag to carry the stuff back home. Scavenging will become a way of life.