Since you never know when an emergency is going to happen, I stay stocked up and prepared year round. I have a specific cabinet set up with canned foods, cereals, powdered milk, water, pet foods and other necessities. Anything that doesn't come in a water proof container gets put in one and labeled before going in the cabinet. Everything in there is arranged by month/year. Every 3 months I rotate everything out and restock.
Instead of buying bottled water, which can get awfully expensive when you're buying a lot, when I finish with a 2 liter soda bottle, I wash it out good, then bleach the inside good to sanitize it. After it's been rinsed good, I fill it with water and label it. I can stock a lot more water this way without spending a fortune on buying it. I keep a minimum of 50 two liter bottles of water. This way I don't have to worry about not having enough to cook with, drink, or wash and clean with if we lose water.
As I rotate the water, I put some on a separate shelf for use for cleaning with. That gets rotated only once a year. The rest all gets rotated every 3 months. Everything in the cabinet is dated with the rotation date so there's no mistake about when to do it.
In a spare bedroom (since I don't have a basement or garage), I keep a kerosene heater (kerosene is kept in the shed outside), spare batteries of all sizes, flashlights of all sizes, battery powered lanterns, blankets, battery powered radio TV, and DVD player, books, pens, cat box and litter for my cat.
I also have a 12v stove and coffee maker that I can plug into the cigarette lighter in my car to cook with. This way we are all set in case of loss of power for an extended amount of time.
By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC
Very, very practical and useful ideas but I have to mention that unless the soda bottles are made out of glass please use vinegar instead of bleach to disinfect because plastic absorbs chemicals of any sort and there's no way to remove them even with an extemely good washing :-(
I would not suggest using milk jugs for water unless it is only for a few weeks. These jugs will eventually leak. Trust me, I know. I had stored water for a survival and was sad to see about 6 months down the way that they were leaking.
Also, lds.org - (family - food storage) has great ideas for storage)
This is an excellent article. Even without emergencies with the skyrocketing fuel and food prices this can help a lot. Plus by stocking you can buy almost everything when it is on sale (about every 10 to 12 weeks the same type of items go on sale). Thanks
The 12v appliances are great unless you are without power for a long time. I have a propane skillet, lanterns and a stove, and there are a lot more items that run on propane in sporting good stores. We live in the country so we have a 500 gallon propane tank but you can get the little bottles or even better you can get an adapter pole that goes on the top of a 5 gallon tank with an orifice on the top, for your lantern, and two on the side with hoses to run to your stove, heater etc.
Good article. I live in an area subject to fire, water & earthquakes, so am a great believer in the subject the author posted here & interested in the comments. I would reduce Any plastic for containers of glass, metal or natural substitutes. Plastic is bad for you & the earth. Use your wonderful brains to find alternatives. Bleach kills almost everything, you included. Take care, what you put in the water, soil, & air, there are others that live on this earth too. Recycle your food items, by asking if a local homeless shelter would consider using them for the meals they provide. Happy preparing!
Very good Idea. We had hurricane Isabel in our area and a lot of people were without power and water had to be boiled for at long as three weeks. We only lost power for one day because we live in an old house on an old street and are on the same power grid as the street lights on the major road at the end of our street. We got our power back within 12 hours. All the new houses and neighborhoods surrounding our street, had no electricity for one to three weeks. I have always stored many gallons of water in our basement. It's a habit I picked up when we still had well water. Everytime we lost power, we also lost electricity to run our well's pump.
Your idea is great, but I would worry about stocking water for a long time that is not in glass containers, plus left too long is going to become stale.
Great post! May I suggest you separate your supplies and create 72 hour kits, just in case you can't get to your emergency supplies immediately. Keep your 72 hour kit somewhere easily reached. If there are more than one in the household, keep the kits in different places too for the same reason. Think earthquake, fire or any number of disasters which might block you from reaching your kit.
There have been many ideas posted for storing water, here's 3 more. I keep at least 3 gallons of water in my freezer. This will help keep things frozen if my freezer isn't full all the time, It also, provides ice packs for spontaneous meals (away from home) which can be packed up quickly in coolers.
I also started with pop bottles, but for various reason, some of which have been listed, I changed to large pickle jars. I ask for the boxes these jars come in... for storing since they have traveled that way to get to the store, then it must work well enough to store in my home. Plus, since vinegar is antibacterial, I don't worry about something which might be in the water. As back up, I bought some individual water bottles which have internal filters (these are in my 72 hour kits). I also have stored some older water which will work for non edible use.
There is so much material about disaster preparedness, as one poster suggested, check out lds.org / providental living and for sure check the Red Cross, also consider pets and those with special needs, keep a 30 day supply of meds plus prescriptions or those receipts in with your 72 hour kits. Great topic!
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It's been recommended that American's have a few weeks worth of food on hand in case of disruption of services. Let's work on a stocking up list? What things were you glad you had when a trip to the store was difficult due to storms or power outages?
I always stock up when items I know I will need to buy are on sale. That way I quite often have the ingredients I need either in the cupboard or the pantry rather than having to run to the store when I need a quick meal or add to one for company. Also it is good to have extra for emergencies. Things I have found it essential to stock up on are:flour, sugar, pasta, tomato sauce, tomato paste, olive oil, canned tuna, chicken and corned beef, canned soup - tomato, cream of mushroom, canned broth, catsup and mayonnaise, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, canned fruits and vegetables, dried beans, rice - Susan (09/27/2001)
Susan's list had most of the items we stock up on, one thing I would stock up on for sure would be bottled water. We are on a well, so I don't think we would have to worry too much about contaminants in the system, but if the power were to go out, our pump wouldn't work. - Cindy Mace (09/27/2001)
Things I like to keep on hand out here in the country for power outages, too much snow, etc. Tuna, Mayonnaise, Bread, Canned Chili, Canned Chicken, Soup Makings (vegetables, broth, etc.), Sausages. We have a wood stove for heat and can heat up chili, bake potatoes in the coals and roast sausages. On top we can also boil water, make soup, cook cereal. It's also easy for us to heat things up outside on the propane fueled barbecue. Necessity is the mother of invention. - Lynn (09/27/2001)
From experience, forget anything that has to be mixed, soaked, boiled or 'prepared'.1 - For an emergency pantry, stick to canned foods that can be eaten without heating if necessary or already prepared foods that keep without refrigeration and come cry-o-vac'd. If you don't have gas for cooking a small Sterno stove can be a very big help and they fold down for storage.2 - Matches, preferably wooden ones if you can find them anymore.3 - LARGE plastic garbage bags, besides holding the garbage, they can be used as ground cover under bedding, as raincoats, (cut holes for head and arms) and for warmth if necessary under clothing.4 - Bath tissue and paper towelsThat's my list of absolute necessities. - Rose B. (09/27/2001)
Daisy just reminded me to make sure to add animal supplies and water to stocking up list. Our pump is electric and we have power outages so I have jugs of water on hand. If it gets funky, my plants don't care and besides lots of times the stores run out of what my beasties like so I have to stock up.Now if I just knew where to put all of it...Oh yeah, don't forget batteries and bulbs for flashlightsA wind up or battery clock2 hand operated can openers (one for people and one for pets)Medications and first aid and other health supplies.Also keep a spray bottle of water and baby wipesin bathrooms for no power personal cleansing.It's also good to have cereal that's good dry out of the box or bagPowdered and canned milkLiving my entire life in hurricane zone I know how to gather just not where.Clear plastic sheeting ,a well stocked heavy duty stapler and duct tape are needed too. - Linne (09/28/2001)
We live in the middle of the blizzard belt and have gone a week without electricity. We have a kerosene heater that we used. The top of it served as a cooker with a big pan. In between times it warmed water for my tropical fish! They loved their 'hot' showers and we never lost a one!! In the "cold climate" have plenty of blankets, candles, or kerosene lamps, flashlight and good batteries, a battery radio, and also prescription medicine. Water is also a good idea. The food list has pretty well been covered. - Jela (09/28/2001)
There have been a lot of useful items listed already. The following is my 2 cents worth.To be self-sufficient we have oil lamps, candles and flashlights, kerosene heaters, propane gas fireplace and wood fireplace, propane BBQ with two tanks, a supply of water for flushing toilets. We have a lot of canned goods that can be eaten without heating and a manual can opener. We generally keep a couple of milk jugs frozen with water so they could be used in an ice chest for a short term fix; when melted can drink it. A battery operated radio incase of a national disaster.Syd Barr (09/28/2001)
I just think this is great for people to start thinking of what they need to do ahead of time. We have a special place in a closet just for hurricanes, etc. I grew up, up north and learned to have extras in the pantry for blizzards. Even if you don't have room cases of extra food, how about under the beds. I really think there have been some great ideas in this site. Yes, we have been through some storms where the heat was gone. You learn to put on more clothes and don't forget little sweaters/coats for your little animals too. Make sure that if you take any medicine daily have your medicine refilled to get you by, don't wait till you are almost out. You could be in trouble. One thing to keep on hand is rice. This is very filling and I always keep extra in my freezer, jars of cheese to make mac and cheese and cans of fruit juice. I go to the dollar stores for stocking up on batteries, paper plates, plastic silverware and powdered cream. I've found they are a lot cheaper. If you drink coffee you might want to stock up. It may go up in price as it is not grown in this country and it may be hard to get. How about a coffee pot that is not electric, one like we use to use on top of the stoves. I want to thank all who have listed different things. I have been doing this for years but have now listed new things on my stock up list. - Joann (10/01/2001)
I have begun on collecting things that are particularly well-suited to disasters, and are also of value for every-day use.- Radio with solar/battery/hand-crank power. - Flashlight -- same options. - Extra manual can opener -- I always did hate the electrics, and when I wore one out in just over a year, I decided I'd never own another. - Batteries that can be recharged either by AC or solar collector.- A big organizer for all those batteries. - Additional storage space for canned foods. - Dry foods -- there ARE ways to collect water.- Water purification products. I prefer iodine to bleach -- tastes better. But it has to be REAL iodine, not mercurochrome, which you should NEVER put in food or water. - Five gallon buckets. To save water in, including recycling gray waste. - Solar power calculators. When the batteries in the game boy die, we'll play with the calculators!Board games more family fun without power.Wood and kindling for my fireplace. - A dandy device for warming food with just a tea-light candle.- Candles. Extra wicks to reuse wax from larger candles. - Books. I can't imagine life without them. They are my grip on sanity. Naturally, a few are about surviving -- like Robinson Crusoe, and the Foxfire books. And books of jokes.- Red Cross First Aid guidebook.- Seeds. For planting, and for sprouting. If a distribution system disruption lasted awhile, I could at least grow peas and lettuce. ~Rose B, mother of three, in NC (10/02/2001)
*Wonderful ideas submitted! My Mom, a farm girl, insisted that wooden matches be wrapped in aluminum foil (which can be used for other needs) and a coil of fishing string. I suggest clear containers so you can see your position on everything dry, like cereal/dog food, etc. If I had time to live life over again, I'd get a down comforter/down filled coat. I choose vitamins and minerals then put them in the blender to make powder - add just a trace to dishes where it won't interfere with the taste. Don't like the idea of paper/disposable plates - a set of lightweight transparent set from a Dollar Store could be considered. Also, there is campers' tp available - however, a friend tried different toilet papers for discentigration and found that Albertson's house brand disentigrates as fast and a lot cheaper.
Grab yourself a pan that can be put into the oven/on a grill.
*Soapstone woodburning stoves (household) are not only beautiful, but self cleaning. They come in several colors; the glass doors self clean; with a catalytic converter they can be used even on 'no burn days' because they consume their own smoke; children will not burn themselves by touching these stoves and they radiate heat wonderfully. We'd get discarded wooden pallets, break them to where they fit (not anything fancy - nails and all. Just scoop out the ashes and nails at the same time - FREE HEAT!
*Being a rockhounder, we found that pineapple-grapefruit juice was the only thing that would quench our thirst (water didn't work) when we were in arid lands looking for fossils.
*Living on Monument Hill near Colorado Springs, we learned to keep a small supply of things in the car - not the trunk which you may not be able to reach if there was an accident: crackers, hard candy, flashlight, jug of water, small blanket, COINS for pay phone, LIST of important phone numbers such as family, friends, medical personnel, employer addresses; insurance policy numbers, RX numbers for medicine, map, etc.. Be sure to (1) have a copy off-site in the care of a trusted person and/or safe deposit box and to disguise the information stored in the vehicle to look unimportant such as a package with a few stamps as though it is ready to be mailed to prevent opportunists from stealing your identity.
Also ensure that everyone named in your will, living will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, etc. has a copy of your original document - prevents identity theft and relatives turned opportunists from grabbing your stuff and running; and tell those involved where the originals are kept. In order to save space, could put in a CLEAR plastic bag and suck out the air by using a vacuum cleaner .
Also, buy at least one 'space blanket'. If trapped in the vehicle, use one to line the inside of windshields and the other for yourself (learned that from land surveyors).
May it never come to this, but in the meantime, enjoy life, have fun while also being prepared.(04/09/2004)
Someone said about wooden matches, "if you can find them anymore". Check out WalMart unless you live in the wilderness...grin. They carry a two or three pack of boxed matches that are about 4" long, and a four pack of boxed small wooden matches.
In lieu of powdered or canned milk, I would strongly suggest finding "Parmala". I know the ACME grocery store and WalMart carries it. The milk comes in all types, i.e. Skim, Whole, 1%. It's the real deal in a waxed carton about the size of a short brick. The shelf life is marked as being usually 3 months unrefrigerated, but I just used one that was marked best if used by or expires (can't remember which) May 5, 2004. It's now August and it tasted just fine. Chilled is best if you can manage it.
By B.J. Peters
Having lived in the woods for 7 years and experienced everything form hurricanes to tornadoes, power outages and contaminated water, I have learned a few things along the way.
Our reserves contain the following:
We always grow radishes, it only takes a few weeks for them to grow. We plant some weekly and we eat the radishes, our guinea pigs eat the tops, we also grow ginger, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and greens on a year round basis. In pots we grow herbs which are used for medicinal and culinary purposes.
In the house, we recycle free publishings, and keep shredded papers in an old laundry hamper. the shredded paper is used for bedding for our guinea pigs but can be used for a quick start for BBQ grill fires( line the bottom of the grill with the papers, then place charcoal on top). Living in Florida, we also use seashells in the fire because they hold heat for long periods of time and that reduces the amount of charcoal that is needed. (learned that form a homeless man, thanks pete). Then we use the ashes, you guessed it, in the garden.
In the kitchen, we store empty water, juice and milk jugs. just before a storm hits we fill them up and add 2 drops of collodial silver to the water (obtainable from any good healthfood store) it purifies the water and when consumed, helps maintain your digestive system. We keep dozens of cans of tuna packed in water, oysters packed in veggie and olive oil, canned hams, chickens and potted meat. we also keep matches and several fire lighters first in plastic bags, then put them in plastic containers with lids. flash lights and the batteries are kept in the freezer. We also keep some charged up. (Family Dollar sells chargers for 10 bucks, that's the cheapest I've seen and it really works or I would have taken it back). We keep candles in a drawer in a gallon baggie then wrapped in a plastic shopping bag. paper plates are kept in plastic as well, they go on top of the cabinets with something decorative in front of them to keep them out of view. Disposable cups are kept under the sink along with a sharpie to write our initials on them and when we use them, keep the cups for seedlings for our garden. Plastic silverware ( which are kept from out dining out or delivery orders for free) are kept rolled up with a napkin, then placed in plastic bags and baggies in with the pots and pans in the back out of the way.
We keep on hand enough food ( now this is only in the kitchen) to last 10 people 10 days. all non perishable. now this contains, noodles ( the 3 min ones) soups/ low salt, the canned meats, peanut butter and jelly, crackers, Velveeta cheese, mayo, mustard, relish, pickles, condiments, spices, tons of sale for many uses, vinegar, jerky, and we dehydrate foods such as carrots, peas, bananas, onions, celery, parsley the list goes on and on. The dried foods are kept in canning jars and lined up on the top of cabinets. tie pretty string around them and they become decorations along with your reserves.
In the book case, we keep a few candles, games, books, and other things to entertain ourselves, behind the books we keep a battery operated clock, a flash light and lamp oil. we also keep a first aide kit., under the book case we keep, in a one gallon baggie, important papers: birth certificates, ss cards, id's etc., just in case we have to leave. Behind the book case we keep a suitcase with 3 changes of clothes each, along with a first aide kit and a 2 man tent. beside the book case, in 2 large vases that we use for artificial plants, we keep empty journals except for phone numbers and e-mail addresses. and a bible. In the suitcase is also the family bible.
Spread throughout the house is canned food, blankets, first aide kits, personal hygien supplies, pet food is kept in one cabinet, flash lights,and tp.
We have a carpet sweeper ( on electric) because things still have to be cleaned and empty jugs for water and plastic totes ( just in case we have to collect rain water, it's happened before)
We prepare inside and out top to bottom. we even have things stored under the house and in the attic.
My mother always said prepare for the worst and the best will happen. and prepared from the outside in makes you prepared from the inside out.
I feel that due to the change in our times, stocking up with food to last a few weeks is insufficient.
Instead stock up with food to last months, then have a means to plant a survival garden. In this way you will have a renewable food source in the event of a disaster that will result in loss of commercially available food.
I have created an urban survival website that aids people who are unfamiliar with how to survive when the local Walmart's shelves go bare.