Some of the things I will mention might have been covered before, but it never hurts to mention them again. Some readers might have missed them.
I can tell you from experience that people will tease you about your preparations, but when something happens they will come calling. My own brother borrowed my new-in-box chainsaw and my [12 VDC] jump starting [battery pack] to light up the area so that he could saw in hours of darkness. I told him to keep the jump pack charged. Several months later I got the chainsaw and jump pack back. The saw will not start and the battery is dead in the jump pack. I just held my tongue. They are only possessions. But it goes to show how stuff loaned out gets treated.
I did have a real cool setup until about six years ago when a water leak turned into a [household] mold. When the mold showed up we were told to immediately evacuate. We left with just the clothes on our backs. The second company yanked everything in the house out leaving just a shell. This took several months. We had been told it would only take two weeks. In meantime insurance company didn’t pay anyone. So a second company took all our stuff. When it was returned, we found that many items had been pilfered. After six years, our lawyer finally told us to settle but this never covered all our losses. Now we have several judgments against us. God has watched over us. We had a roof over our head and food on our plate. I’m telling this story to show how you never know what can happen.
We had a year supply of mt house food from nitro-pak, a great company. Second company took it to their warehouse where not environment controlled heat up to a 100 degrees F and cool down to 10 degrees F.
I had a three-way generator [carburetor] set up. This is a little more expensive, but it gives you options. The carburetor can use propane or natural gas or gasoline. I had it set for propane. I had a 500-gallon tank put in the back yard and a line run tom genset. With this setup, you can store more fuel, and not worry too much about it going bad. It also was hooked to the main power. If needed I could throw a switch. That was for down the power line safety for anyone working on the power lines. My main concern was for the well pump. You can’t live without water.
Some things that might have been over looked are hats to wear when going to bed in the winter. If you’ve seen the older movie about Scrooge, the hat he was wearing when he went to bed wasn’t for looks. It was for keeping warm and preventing body heat loss. Remember that you lose more heat from your head than other places on your body. In the winter, when our power has gone out we do a thing I call tenting. It is where you either pull covers over your head or leave a small hole to replace air and keep in your body heat when you exhale. You can make something to go over the end of the bed if the power failure lasts longer than a few hours.
Save old bottles, there is always a use for them. Pump bottles are good if you can buy stuff in bulk, like hand sanitizer or wash. Make sure you clean the bottles out and let them dry before using. Two liter bottles can have many uses. You can cut them up and make panels to nail down and maybe make a small greenhouse. Ideas are only limited to the imagination.
You can buy hand warmers at WalMart or Sam’s Club. These can come in real handy. We had a real bad ice storm and we went to my wife’s parents house because they had a fireplace. We took our dogs and some sleeping bags that were rated at 30 degrees F, plus several blankets. We were less than 10 feet from fireplace and it was cold . Most of the heat went up chimney. I opened a hand warmer, shook it and in a few minutes it was warm. I place between my knees and went right to sleep. My wife didn’t want one and was miserable all night. Guess who was also made miserable? Yep, misery loves company. She shook me awake about every hour and told me, “I’m cold get more wood on the fire.” She had both dogs with her. The hand warmers don’t have a flame or odor and are very safe to use. Depending on what brand you get, they last from 6 to 12 hours.
Condoms. I could say enough said, but they are also multipurpose. They can be put over a gun barrel to protect it. They can hold liquids as a last resort, and just about anything that you can think of.
Stuff for foods like salt and pepper. Your body needs salt, and pepper will be hard to get. Plus any other spices you might like or need. Eating the same old food everyday gets old real quickly.
Bug nets or mosquito nets. They are not just for outside use, but inside to cover your bed at night. If power is off, most likely the windows will be open to cool off the house in the summer. Bugs have a nasty way of getting in. You can inexpensively get soft netting from eBay. Some are ready-made to cover beds. At Lowe’s hardware, in their door screen section, you can buy rolls of screening and make your own inside or outside net. Get the smallest mesh possible like “No-see-um” netting.
Now that things are starting to get back to normal in our lives, we are replacing everything. If you are about broke, or on a tight budget, here are some ideas. Since I can’t afford the Mountain House foods and they [presently] are not available [in #10 cans] anyway, I buy [wet-packed canned foods in the large Number 10 cans (one gallon) at the grocery store. They are date stamped and most last almost two years. I can buy most at less than four dollars a can.
Get canned meats like beef stew and corned beef hash, canned ham, Spam etc. As of today, those are dated to expire in 2011.
Stuff like powdered Gatorade or the single serve tea packs are good. Gatorade has sugar. The tea uses Splenda. Get Splenda at Sam’s Club if possible because they are cheaper there compared to the grocery store prices. [JWR Adds: I have some serious concerns about Splenda and most other synthetic sugar substitutes. See the recent SurvivalBlog letter on diabetes, for details]
Other things that might be missed are razor blades and aftershave. I don’t want to shave without them. Remember that preventative care is better than acute health care(if its available.) You will need other toiletries too.
Every time you go to store pick up a few items. Getting two cans of soup here and extra toilet paper there adds up tremendously. All these items can be used to trade with. Buy in bulk when you can. At Sam’s Club get the big bags of disposable razors. If people come knocking you can give them one, or trade. Sometimes acts of kindness go a long way to settle down people with an intent on harm or who are belligerent.
Don’t forget some forms of entertainment, like books for reading. The most important book is the Bible. Trust in the Lord, He will see us through. – Tim G.