Thursday, March 5, 2020

I Knew Most People Were Helpless, But...

...this is ridiculous!

Look, folks, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to properly stock your home for storable essentials. I'm NOT talking full-on prepper, but just what you might need to whether a few weeks without access to stores and restaurants.

It does NOT mean stripping stores of bread, milk, eggs, and toilet paper - which is the Southern Panic Mode Norm. It it what happens when a 1/2 inch of snow is forecast.

I used to think it a joke - after almost 15 years in the South, I just shake my head and sigh. 

Saying, "Bless their hearts!"

More useful than milk would be keeping a small container of dried, powdered milk on the shelves. And putting a few bags of flour - bought when on sale - in the freezer. Why the freezer? Kills any possible insects. That storage can last for years. With flour, water, and yeast (another thing to freeze), you can make your own bread, if needed. It's easy, fun, and you can master the skill really quickly. Kids enjoy helping with the process, too.

Same with other long-term storage - powdered eggs, soups, tomato sauce. You can buy at a good price, and keep them for a long time.

Add in some off-grid way of cooking, and you're set.

Skip the freeze-dried foods in big cans, or the MRE-type packages. Usually, we're not expecting Armageddon, civil war, or long-term holing up in the family homestead, battling off the enemy hordes intent on taking our stuff.

Nah. It's short-term, usually. A couple of days, before power is restored. A few weeks, riding out the quarantine. A few months would be rare - although, not impossible. There was an ice storm a few years ago, that took out power lines for a wide swath of New England. Some areas had their power down for months.

Generally, the rural folks are aware of these possibilities. They prepare, even in good times. It doesn't take much - buy a few extra cans when they are on sale - beef stew, tuna, canned meat, and odds and ends that your family enjoys. We like corned beef hash, and always mean to stock up. But, we usually raid those stores when we get the hankering. It seldom lasts.

Get a cookbook or two. If the power goes out, you'll be glad you have offline access to recipes.

Same with medical/first aid supplies. Set aside a container for them, and make a checklist. Check it a couple of times a year.

It used to be easier to buy your prescription meds ahead of time. Try asking your doctor for a 90-day supply - generally, they can be delivered to your door at no extra cost.

Yeah, toilet paper. Buy two cases, and replace once you're down to only 1 case. Find sources of lighting - candles, flashlights. Buy a solar cell setup, and make sure you know how to use it. Also, a generator, bought off-season, is something that you will seldom need, but will thank God you have if you do.

Radios - both battery-operated, and ham-type personal handheld - are on my list. If you don't know how to use the personal radios, find out. In a crisis is not the time to learn.

Did I miss anything?


Ed Bonderenka said...

I had a friend who went Y2K prepper.
Bought a defensible compound.
I asked him how many coming up his farm drive he was willing to shoot?
You are right about the short term.
Generator, propane canisters, food in the freezer and a few cans of gas.
Candles and a supply of the meds you need, like the large 90 day bundles express scripts et al send.

PopRock said...

yes,nobody ever talks about emergency denture cream,it's really hard to eat without teeth....just sayin.

Coffee Man said...

Yep, its slowing.....if you trust the Chinese to actually tell the truth.

Mark said...

Water. City water will probably continue to run, but if it doesn't, you need to have some on hand -- or at least know how to store it.

We had a major ice storm the first winter after I moved into my current house (first time living with a well). Power was out for a week, and I didn't have a powerful enough generator (yet) to operate the well -- no electricity meant no water. Fortunately, there is 50 gallons sitting in the water heater. People should know how to get to it.

Or have something to store water in if you have a little lead time to prepare. Even filling the tub before water service stops will help (at least for cleaning and sanitation). A few cases of bottled water should be kept in reserve for drinking and cooking.

Bailey said...

So many of the various public policies, emergency measures, and personal decisions being taken right now are being predicated on the premise that our good friends The Chinee are being forthright, upfront, honest, and factual.

I find this indefensible.


Just had the propane tanks for the generator refilled. Perfect timing. We also use it to cook.

Mark said...

I know this is an old post, but as we in the US go into isolation mode (i.e., social distancing), I'm seeing something else that people seem to be ill-prepared for. It's not a physical/tangible item, but a psychological one.

I have been quite surprised to see how many people and families seem completely unable to survive without constant stimulation from group activities. Sure, most (or many) of us are social creatures, but people should be able to get by at least a short while on their own.

Sadly, this does not seem to be the case. Only a couple of days into the call for social distancing, I am hearing/reading comments from all too many folks about how bored they are,and how they are longing to get out and meet with friends -- and actually saying that they are going to do so. And parents are wondering if they should let their kids go out and meet with friends, because the kids are going stir-crazy without them.

To me, this is another form of neglect in preparing for any disaster. We demand constant interaction with large groups; parents and schools even force kids into multiple organized group activities. Instead of sitting down with a book or video, people have to go out to coffee places to sit in large groups even to do things like update their Facebook status. It seems today's society is completely unprepared to deal with the social consequences of not being able to get out and about.

This "psychological preparation" -- practicing to be alone, for lack of a better term -- seems to be sorely lacking in society, today. And we're seeing the results of this as people complain over being bored, parents complain about kids going stir-crazy, etc.

I don't have a solution, but simply providing my observations after reading a couple of days' worth of Facebook posts.

Note: Like Fran posted earlier, this isolation is something I've been practicing for a long time. I'm quite content to be at home with my lovely wife (although her level of content is not as certain) -- I have many projects and chores to keep me busy... being bored is not in the cards for a very long time (if at all).