Letter Re: Preparedness at Your Workplace

Mr. Rawles,
As a regular reader of your blog, I have seen little mentioned about one obvious “bug in” solution that most people overlook, which would be their office or work site. This will not work for everyone but please allow me to provide you with my own experience.

We have a small warehouse/office operation of about 2,000 square feet. There are 2 offices, a basic bathroom, and a small room previously used as a lunch room for the employees of the other tenant. These rooms take up about 400 square feet of space from the total 2,000 square feet. The warehouse also has a mezzanine area above the office rooms for about 400 square feet of extra storage.

Our small warehouse is located about 20 minutes outside the downtown core of a major city. In a SHTF scenario, people will be driving away from these industrial areas trying to get home. Also, government control will be focused on high density population areas of the city, not the industrial areas on the outskirts of a city.

In our warehouse I always have on hand around 3 months worth of food. How do I store it without being noticed? Well, I simply build what I call a rolling work bench. I build a plywood box that is 48” square and 30” tall and stores my “tools” in it. I use the flat top as an actual work bench during daily use. I put heavy duty caster wheels on it for easy movement. I put locks on the front door of this box so nobody else can access it (people accept the explanation of locking your tools up). The box itself is light enough (once emptied of contents) that I can lift it myself onto my pickup truck with the extra rope handles I built into it.

My boss now knows what I am doing. I’ve been working with him for five years and he’s starting to see the light of being prepared as I’ve gradually got him thinking about it. It’s one thing to talk about it, but when I showed him my “stash” in the warehouse he got very interested! He had no idea that such a large amount of preps could be “concealed” in what is literally a 4’x4’ rolling, portable, plywood box that he thought was a work bench (and it is a work bench/table). He was amazed that I had taken it upon myself to “prep” the warehouse at my expense. I could see he was thinking about what to do at his house without alarming his wife and daughter. We all know that “prepper education” takes time.

I’ll describe some of the contents of my warehouse prep box.

  • A 45 lb, 7 day bug out backpack with pellet gun & other defenses.
  • Two“grab-n-go” emergency 5 gallon food buckets (my own design).
  • Large Rubbermaid container with bulk food items. Too many to list.
  • Another container with food, clothes, and various cooking utensils.
  • Other items include extra fuel, guns, and more food.
  • Coleman stove and several cans of fuel.
  • Small propane bottles with accessories.
  • Rope… lots of it. – 2 coils each of 100 feet.
  • Tools… folding shovels, small axes and multi-tool knives
  • Three different types of sharpening tools.
  • Portable Rocket Stove which I made myself.

As I look into the storage box, I’m sure I’m forgetting something on the above list. Anyway, this is just a picture of what I store where I work, all in a 4’x4’ plywood box on wheels that everyone thinks is my tool crib and work bench. – A Prepper in Alberta

JWR Adds: Beware of storing packaged foods and volatile fuel or chemicals in the same space. Otherwise, you may end up with ramen noodles that taste like white gas.

FWIW, back when I worked in the corporate world, I took full advantage of my locking file cabinets. The back one-third of several of the lower drawers held nondescript-looking brown cardboard boxes that were full of preparedness gear and food. I also took advantage of the dead space in my cubicle walls. At one of my jobs I had my office on the 11th floor of a 14-storey office tower. I kept a gas mask, a Swiss seat, a couple of oval carabiners, and 150 feet of kernmantle rope in my office. I felt ready for fires, but I wondered how I would explain all of my gear if I was ever "shown the door", on short notice.