There are plenty of people talking about the end of the world lately, doomsday preppers on TV talking about all the scary scenarios that they fear are coming soon. Most of them are probably well off base with their dire predictions, but that doesn’t mean a little disaster preparedness isn’t worth some investment of your time and money. Every year, thousands of people are forced from their homes by flooding, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, financial difficulties, and many other catastrophes, both manmade and natural. Thousands more lose power, water, and gas for long periods of time without access to help of any kind.
photo by: lindemhcz
Preparation can make all the difference between crazed panic and calm determination when something goes awry. Don’t scramble when the time comes. Plan ahead instead. You don’t have to go out and buy a bunker, three year’s supply of food, or start stockpiling ammunition to be a little more ready for what the earth or mankind may throw at you.
Start by creating a 72 hour kit. Many people also call them bug out bags. These contain enough food, water, and supplies to get you through three days, including a change of clothing, some warm ones if you live in cooler regions. You should have such a bag for each person in your family and don’t forget your pets. Here is a pretty good checklist to get you started.
You can alter this list to fit your needs and lifestyle, like by adding some essential oils, witch hazel, and apple cider vinegar to the first aid kit. Choose healthy, organic foods as much as possible and quality filtered water. There’s no reason to eat poorly just because the apocalypse has started. Dehydrated food works well because it is light and makes meal prep easy. Canned foods weigh more, may have BPA, and contain a lot of sodium. If you use cans, don’t forget a can opener though you can also open cans by rubbing the top against concrete until you wear down the seam. Then simply squeeze to pop off the lid.
Heat, light, and a means to cook meals becomes pretty important when power and gas go out, especially in winter. You don’t need much and you don’t have to sacrifice your ideals either. A little butane burner doesn’t use a lot of fossil fuels to heat water for your meals. You can also rely on an alcohol stove or rocket stove. These don’t take much fuel to get the job done either. You will also want a good flashlight per person. It can get pretty dark when an entire city is out of power.
Your 72 hour kit should also be mobile. Many people put them in backpacks or use small luggage with wheels. You want to be able to grab it and throw it in the back of a car, but you also want to be able to walk with it if that becomes necessary too. Gas stations don’t work very well without power either or traffic can become impossible to navigate during panicked evacuations.
Once you have a 72 hour kit set up and ready, it’s time to think about food storage and other preparations. A lot of preparation relies on using common sense and some forethought. If you know a storm is headed your direction, gas up the car and stock your pantry before it gets close. Most people wait until the last minute or after disaster strikes to do these things. Once again, if the power is out, gas stations and grocery stores shut down too.
There are many ways to keep food storage natural, organic, and healthy. Much of the foods that keep well are plant-based superfoods anyway. Seeds, whole grains, dried vegetables, dry herbs, spices, beans, lentils, and brown or wild rice are all pretty common in any long term food storage. Quinoa, chia, nutritional yeast, and kelp are less common, but really should be used much more often.
Quinoa and chia keep well, taste great, and are superfoods packed with nutrients. Protein, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals abound in these seeds. Sprouting seeds is another great way to get the most out of your food storage. It takes very little water, but unlocks a large amount of nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants. Sprouts can be done in a pinch by placing seeds on a paper towel, misting them with water, folding the towel over the seeds, and setting them in a warm dark place for a few days. You can put the towel inside a plastic bag to retain the moisture or mist them several times. Don’t eat sprouts if they start to mold though.
Kelp, dulse, and other sea vegetables can be found dried in sheets or in flakes. These contain vitamins and minerals that might be hard to find during any type of disaster. An all-natural multivitamin is another good idea to have on hand to help supplement your body’s needs, especially when stress, lack of sleep, and limited food lead to deficiencies. Nutritional yeast contains a good dose of B vitamins to keep your brain functioning well and your mood from slipping. Spices and herbs also contain a ton of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. They make your doomsday meals better and many can double as medicine, like cinnamon, clove, turmeric, and ginger.
Start building your food storage with these staples and add to it with things you already use and enjoy. All it takes is a couple extra items each time you go shopping to begin adding up quickly. Buying something you like and use now is very important. This makes it easy for you to rotate stores so they don’t go bad or go to waste.
Don’t forget to store water too. You can’t make it very long without it. Use glass bottles if you want to avoid plastics. Stored tap water should be rotated every 6 months while bottled water should be rotated once a year, but check the date on the container to be certain. In almost any emergency, you will want to fill up your bathtubs before the water stops or gets contaminated. This adds to your water store. You can also use water from your hot water heater and the back tank of your toilet. Turn off the water heater before you empty it, and boil any water if you are unsure about contamination. It may sound gross to be drinking water from your toilet tank or your less than clean bathtub, but it’s better than going thirsty.
It’s always a better option to be prepared than surprised. No matter what the cosmos throws at you, be ready for anything, stay safe, and eat well while you do with just a little organizing and prep-work beforehand.