Every single one of us has been in a situation where the weather forecasters and civil authorities have warned of an oncoming crisis. It might be a winter storm, a spring flood or a wildfire. It might be a hurricane or a minor pandemic. All you know is that a crisis is brewing and you better be prepared.
For the experienced prepper, there is comfort in knowing that you have plenty of food, water and supplies to get you through for the short term. You have candles, flashlights, batteries and light sticks. You have a extra blankets and the means to cook without fuel. And of course, you have a bug-out bag.
But imagine a scenario where a disaster is brewing and you have a bit of notice. There is a possibility, however small, that you might be stuck indoors and in your home for two weeks, possibly longer, without access to common services such as power, sanitation systems, and access to the local supermarket.
Put on your thinking cap – what have you forgotten? What has been overlooked? And what can you pick up at the last minute to insure your safety and comfort?
While there are lots of lists floating around telling you what you need and what will disappear first, there is not much out there that addresses those items you might want to consider at the last minute – things that will be useful but of no interest to the mad mob of folks who have done diddly-squat to prepare.
Today I present a list of the last minute prepping items I will seek out when I have some advance notice of an oncoming storm, disaster or crisis.
7 LAST MINUTE PREPPING ITEMS
The Clorox Company acknowledges that their bleach product has a one year shelf life beginning with the day of manufacture. Allowing a few months for those white jugs to make it to the supermarket, it is best to assume that the jug of bleach you purchase at the supermarket will have a shelf life of about nine months. Extreme temperatures will reduce this period to about six months.
Now understand that what I am referring to is the use of bleach as a disinfectant. It has been my experience that old bleach works just fine for whitening your laundry. But it simply does not make sense at all to stock up on bleach for survival and preparedness purposes.
With a storm brewing, this is the first thing I would purchase as I top off my last minute, short term emergency preps.
2. Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Sure, as an experienced prepper I have a good supply of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. But once a #10 is opened, it’s 25 year shelf life is reduced to one or two years. So if a short term disaster is predicted, I will want to pick up fresh vegetables and fruits that require no refrigeration.
Let the frantic mobs go after the canned goods. I will take the fresh stuff since I am already well stocked with canned and packaged items.
3. Over the Counter Remedies and Prescription Drugs
With my survival first aid kit nicely packed and tucked into my bug out bag, I will head over to the first aid section of the drug store and pick up some extra over the counter items such as eye drops, throat spray, and bandages. If I have refills remaining on my prescriptions drugs, I will get those too.
Of course if things get really serious, I still have my well stocked kit but for just a few days or a week or two? It will not hurt to pick up some extras while I can still get them.
4. Cooking Oil, Peanut Butter and Other Short Shelf Life Items
These three items have a very short shelf life. Have you ever opened up a bottle of cooking oil or jar of peanut butter and stepped back due to the overwhelming rancid smell? If the power is going to be down for awhile, it might be nice to have a fresh supply of these items so that you have no surprises as you try to cook and eat while waiting out the storm.
Another short shelf life item to consider is yeast for baking bread – outdoors if necessary in your cast iron Dutch oven over an open fire.
5. Wine and Spirits
You may or may not have a long term supply of spirits. If you do partake of an occasional drink, why not pick up a few extra bottles to see you through? For years, folks in hurricane-prone areas of the United States have had “hurricane” parties where families and friends wait out the storm.
In an adult environment, it is common to have a cocktail or two at these parties. There is even a famous drink called the “Hurricane”. Heck, why not?
6. Aluminum Foil
You can use foil to fashion cooking utensils or to line your pots and pans before cooking so that you do not have to waste precious water cleaning up. If you do cook on you pans directly, a crumpled up piece of foil can be used as a handy scrubber to remove the crust. You can even use foil to create an impromptu Faraday cage.
Let’s face it. You are going to be stressed so accept that. Get yourself some chocolate – okay a lot of chocolate – and ride things out while indulging in your favorite chocolate treat. My favorite is the Endangered Species dark chocolate bar with cranberries and almonds.
If chocolate is not your thing, then perhaps some cookies or graham crackers or just this once, some seriously unhealthy packaged caramel corn.
THE FINAL WORD
This list of seven last minute prepping items represents my list and more than anything, is shared so that you can start thinking about your own list of last minute preps. Personally, the first and the last items – bleach and chocolate – should be on everyone’s list.
I leave it up to you to think about the other things that you may need. Perhaps there are some tools or utensils that you were waiting to purchase. Or a heavy duty sleeping bag or hiking boots. How about some FRS radios?
You might also want to read 5 Things You May Not Have Thought of When Planning for an Emergency for some other ideas.
The challenge today is to think about the prepping supplies and gear that either have a short term shelf life or that are still on your to do list. Keep this list handy and located somewhere accessible so that if you have the luxury of some advance notice, you can pick up some uncommon last minute preps.
Plus some chocolate, of course.
Read other articles by Gaye Levy here.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!