People are stocking up for different reasons, but the end play is the same: in time of adversity you need to have options, and this premise requires forethought for your specific threat albeit: the GRID collapse with loss of electricity, water, food store delivery interruptions, insurrections, major weather damage, or homelessness. Having been there and done that I want to discuss the small items we tend to overlook.
A recent clip in the Discovery Magazine this month commented on the weevil in your grain stores. It seems that research has shown that the weevil feces, “ very tiny turds”, has caused cancer in mice. Could this be passed on to you? I do not know about this new find but the C02 method and sealing the bucket with Gamma Seals as we discussed before seems more important now. I want to note that I had difficulty getting my gamma seals on the buckets until Diane said, “ Why don’t you use a rubber mallet?” “Duh!” So as would be expected I could not find my rubber mallet. Back to “Big Lots”, where they had them on sale for a dollar. Of course a small mallet is available, as are big mallets in any hardware store- Try Lowes and Home Depot.
Using an indelible Scripto marking pen to write dates on the canned goods is necessary to affect a rotational plan and THROW OUT any can that bulges. Also, as much as I love my electric can opener I did not have a manual can opener, necessary when there is no power.
I was thinking about hygiene for the apartment dwellers. Since there is no water pressure you need to stock up on some 3-gallon jugs for flushing water. I use Kitty Litter pour jugs and always have some flush water on hand until I can run generators etc. One only needs to lift the toilet lid, refilling the tank with the water jug. Unfortunately the 1-½ gallon toilets require a good flush and I recommend keeping your old 3-gallon flusher. More on that when we talk septic service and digging wells.
You will also need some hand wash water in the same containers, with 3 drops of bleach in each one. We do not bleach water flushes however as most people have septic tanks and bleach kills your septic service. Drinking Water can be had in gallon containers from stores of your choice. Even with our set up I keep a couple of cases of drinking water in storage. My well pump could die and it would be a few days until I fixed it.
Hand sanitizers are a good idea to have on hand when water is not available. We use it after washing our hands in the sink with soap and water singing (at Diane’s request for me): Happy Birthday –twice to ensure complete cleansing time.
No dishwasher today, so we have a backup of plastic diner throw-a-way plates and plastic eating utensils. All this goes in a big heavy-duty trash plastic bag.
Dinner by candlelight is romantic and a goodly supply of candles on hand is important. Candles can also be used to start charcoal and wood fires. Save your stubbiest and we will talk about that on our Camping article. Over time, buying a few each month you can stock up on many candles. Since they are flammable and dangerous we store them in the big round popcorn tins.
Matches are often forgotten. The white tipped strike anywhere matches, aka: Kitchen matches are also a fire hazard as mice easily chew them and start fires. You are advised that the SAFETY Kitchen matches are better. Farm supply stores may still hold the old time kitchen metal match holder you mounted on a wall. You will need many boxes of safety matches- the big ones now, not the cigar lighter size. Store them in a big popcorn can, with some rice to absorb moisture and place it up high, sealed with duct tape away from the children. Not in the attic.
Since the refrigerator does not work without power you have the option of cleaning out the perishables and eating them first, or buying a generator-see my articles in the archives on generators. Generators will not be available when the power is out. Plan ahead. For the apartment dwellers there are several new SMALL generators that are quiet and may work for you. Another option is a small portable 12 volt DC /120 volt AC refrigerators by NorCold. Expensive yes, but they work well for storing cold necessary medications.
Cooking food is optimal, and we think of cooking today in wood stoves, but who has them in an apartment? During crisis times you will use the fireplace, a charcoal grill, or a small camp stove. I think that a small propane camp stove backup is the easiest, cheapest and most reliable. Secondly I would consider a heavy duty closing lid charcoal grill and roaster that you can lift and move around as a serious option. These CANNOT be used inside the apartment kitchen, as the fumes are toxic and the fire hazard is great. You must use this outside. Having a few bags of charcoal is handy but a charcoal cooker you can use wood chips, branches and such for fire outside.
Cook in the cans and save your pots. Save the cans as they may have use later on to make candleholders, cups and for measured pouring, tin can cookery.
Do not forget a large size fire extinguisher for accidents in hot melting wax, combustion fuels, and forgetting to monitor fires properly.
Taking a Standard First Aid Course from the Red Cross or local Fire Departments is important. Do you really know what is in your First Aid box-much less how to use it? Most likely you will have burns, scrapes, cut fingers and headaches.
Always, and I repeat myself for you- keep your gas tank in your vehicle full at the end of the day. We have found that we always “top off” on the way back from our monthly trips to the big city as you never know when you have to get up in the middle of the night and rush to the Emergency Room-or elsewhere. While I am mentioning topping off, keep your “Bug Out” kit in the VEHICLE TRUNK. Once I had left my pick up truck full of junk to haul to the dump and I was overloaded. Then one of the girls had to be rushed to the Emergency room and that old truck barely made it up and down the hills. Learning Lesson: Unload-keep a full tank.
A good household flashlight is solar powered that can be found at: http://bogolight.com/ This works well if you keep it sun side for charging. Also when you buy one of these, a second one is promised for indigenous people in Africa where it is a twenty-mile walk for a cup of kerosene.
Lest we forget- toilet paper and paper towels. We order ours from www.Amazon.com, and it is shipped to the house by UPS that saves time and squeezing those big boxes into a small car. Storing it at home means space. Also mice love soft tissue. We have an upstairs cat that guards the paper products. We also have a downstairs cat that guards the kitchen. Metal storage cabinets keep mice out of stored items.
This summer means a vacation. I suggest camping. To really learn outdoor primitive skills you need to focus on actually doing it. The children will love it. The husband will love fishing and chopping wood- the wife will love learning to cook over a smoldering smokey campfire. You will learn about what you need to know for a “Bug Out”. West Virginia offers some beautiful primitive sites with few if any people. It is time to commune with nature. Bring your wild herb, bird and snake books. Purify all campground water. None of the beautiful streams are safe-purify it.
I am no longer active in Scouting, and my views on shelter and such run to the smallest possible and lightest of any camp gear that I have to carry. For the pack in people think working with an 11 lb pack and a 1 lb axe. Vehicle campers carry more conveniences. Trailers offer more options and creature comforts but in an Emergency there are lots of trailers on the road and few places to pull into. Maybe you have a friend already ensconced in a retreat you could go to.
Lastly do not forget adequate pet supplies of food and water. Make a list.
COPYRIGHT: 2009, Back2theLand, Mark Steel