Computer Geek and I have been watching old episodes of the TV series Jericho. Although it no longer airs on TV, we have been watching past episodes courtesy of youtube.
The show chronicles the events in a fictional town in Kansas—Jericho--after nuclear bombs have gone off in many U.S, cities. We like watching it because recent events in the news have sparked our interest in what happens after a disaster.
We all looked on (or experienced directly!) the chaos that ensued after Hurricane Katrina. People fought each other—sometimes to the death—over water, food, diapers, toilet tissue and other necessities. Grocery stores were looted and people braved the mad crowds just to obtain food for their families.
2005 New Orleans wasn’t the only scene of mass panic. Blackouts, snowstorms, floods and earthquakes also inspire the worst in humans as they converge upon stores and gas stations attempting to get their share. In the show Jericho, the panic leads to the murder of the grocery store owner.
For many years now, I have been a believer in being prepared. I certainly don’t want to encounter desperate people in the grocery store after a disaster. Hungry people make decisions they wouldn’t normally make in times of calm.
We try to keep enough food and water on hand to get us through a crisis. Ideally, we try to have a six-month supply of necessities. We hope that this will enable us to get through any disaster, including job loss, with minimal discomfort.
Because we are a one-income family we certainly can not afford to invest a lot of money into our preparedness efforts. So how do we do it?
One week at a time.
Each week, we focus on a new item on which to stock up. I have four different lists I consult, all obtained from the Internet, so that we can make sure we are not lacking in any given area. I no longer have the source of these lists, but I am certain they probably came from LDS (or Mormon) websites, since they are the experts on preparedness.
To help my readers in such an endeavor, every Friday on my sidebar I will post a new storage item of the week. If you follow this list for one year, at the end of that year you should be adequately prepared to avoid the grocery store scene during times of chaos and panic. Every time we go to the store during that week, we make sure we pick up some extras of whatever item was listed.
There are however, things you can do every week, regardless of the storage item of the week.
Each week, check the sales at your local grocery store for items that are deeply discounted. Always stock up on these items----you don’t need to wait for that item to show up on my list.
Always be concerned about stocking up on water. The other day I came home at lunch to discover that my landlord had shut off the water due to replacing a water heater in another unit. I wasn’t panicked because I knew I had water in storage if I absolutely needed some before the water got turned back on. We store water very simply in empty juice containers. (Do not use milk containers—they tend to leak over time.) I rotate them out by using the older ones to water plants.
If you use liquid laundry soap, keep the plastic container when you are through. Don’t rinse it out, but fill it with water and mark it as “Cleaning Water.” This will help you clean clothes and dishes in a pinch. [Idea obtained from a lecture I attended given by preparedness master Jim Phillips.]
Some have asked me if I feel it is unethical to have these things on hand during a time of mass need. They wonder if it is considered “hoarding.” I tell them that it is more unethical for me to be one more person at the grocery store during a time of need when I could have avoided it. Trust me, the people at the store during a panic will be grateful I am not there. They’ll be really happy if you’re not there either.
If you can afford it, by all means do a search online for a one-year storage list and go shopping right now. If you are like me, and can’t financially swing such a massive purchase, then tune in here every Friday for the storage tip of the week. Any comments you have as we go will be much appreciated!