What provisions to make in anticipation of a crisis?
It is possible to find endless lists of tips or products to stockpile on the Internet to have enough to last you through a crisis, but if you take the time to think about your approach you will find that they are not always wise, that they don’t fit your personal needs and/or that you don’t have a 100m² shed to store all the provisions that are recommended to you.
One of these extravagant lists I found was on an American site made me laugh, it recommends 100 things, including “bring books” and storing popcorn. Because it’s well known, when everything goes to hell, you have time to eat popcorn while reading The Count of Monte Cristo.
Let’s be careful not to foolishly apply the instructions given in such lists without considering their context and relevance to our personal situations.
No one has a magic formula for survival, and no one can think of everything and prepare for every eventuality.
The first question that many people who want to prepare themselves ask is “what should I buy?".
The answer is simple: there is no standard answer to this question. Making provisions in a crisis means stocking up the products that we consume and use on a daily basis, and this is different for everyone.
Of course, storing goods in advance isn’t only useful in a crisis: when you haven’t had time to go to the supermarket for X or Y reason, you’re happy to find products already in your cupboard.
The idea here is not to store tons of useless products, but on the contrary to build up a useful reserve of everyday products useful to help out on a daily basis as well as in the event of a serious problem.
This is why I urge you not to fall into the marketing trap of survivalism.
The needs of each individual change according to a wide range of factors, to name but a few: gender,
- family status,
- where they live,
- eating habits,
- physical fitness and endurance,
- general health,
- psychological state,
- financial means,
- evacuation capacity, etc.
It is, therefore, better to proceed in stages and ask ourselves the right questions rather than buying at a high price 6 months’ worth of food supplies that don’t suit us, a war arsenal that we will never use and 100kg of useless camping equipment.
Likewise, including family members in this reflection is important to gather more points of view and to review all the materials needed for each one.
Stockpiling products in a crisis should not be a selfish but a collective effort.
An excellent way to detect which systems you and your loved ones are most dependent on is to behave as if there is no supermarket or energy in your home and list what you can no longer do.
Once this list has been drawn up, you can look for alternative ways of meeting the needs concerned in the event of a crisis or emergency and make your provisions in a coherent way.
The satisfaction of our main physiological needs is mainly ensured by the large food distribution chains. There we buy our food, water, toilet paper, and other everyday items related to hygiene and the maintenance of our homes and vehicles.
Which products disappear first during crises?
Here is a non-exhaustive list of products, most of which are indispensable and which we commonly buy in supermarkets:
- Foods with a long shelf life (pasta, rice, canned food, etc.)
- Vegetable oil & vinegar
- Water & milk
- Salt, sugar, honey, spices
- Coffee & tea, filters
- Garbage bags
- Lighters & matches
- Bleach and disinfectants
- Toilet paper & diapers
- Sanitary napkins & tampons
- Soap & detergent, toothpaste, daily hygiene products
- Para-pharmaceutical products (bandages, disinfectants, creams, etc.)
- Batteries & Chargers
- Candles & lanterns, flashlights
- Pest Control Products
- Fuel & gas bottles
- Miscellaneous tools
This list is also the list of products that will disappear most quickly in the event of a crisis and a breakdown in the supply chain or a panic buying rush.
In concrete terms, this means that they will become scarce, expensive and difficult to obtain and therefore constitute the bulk of the items to be stored in anticipation of a crisis situation.
Supermarkets use just-in-time procurement to reduce storage costs, avoid product shelf life and increase margins by adjusting supply to demand.
A conventional supermarket contains enough food and basic necessities to supply its catchment area for a maximum of 72 hours (3 days).
In the event of a break in the supply chain, the shelves can be expected to be empty after 36 hours (1.5 days) at best.
Many choose to ignore this risk and think they can get what they need at the last minute, without relying on the hordes of panicked people and rioters who will rush into stores at the same time to get the same items.
Don’t wait until the last moment to stock up on supplies, especially food and water. Crises don’t warn before they happen.
Whether it’s a prolonged power outage, a total economic collapse or a pandemic, you need to have enough to sustain yourself so that you are not deprived at the worst possible time.
Emergency preparedness: list of products to be stocked in anticipation of a crisis
Good organisation and daily hygiene are of paramount importance for our mental and physical health.
Stockpiling useful supplies is decisive for survival when medicines and health care structures become scarce or disappear.
A simple cut that is not properly treated can turn into an infection and then sepsis and death.
Improper storage of waste or excrement can contaminate water and lead to an epidemic, which in turn will cause other disasters.
Our modern environment seems to us reliable, civilised and protected from the problems of countries like Liberia or Haiti, but the reality is quite different.
Only a few weeks of chaos separate us from their fate. And if they are used to acting to survive, this is not the case for the population of a country like Australia.
While each person can be in a specific situation, the physiological needs are the same for everyone and certain products are unavoidable, especially common medicines and hygiene products.
An interesting point to note in this list is the interdependence of the products among themselves: without lighters or matches, it is impossible to start the stove;
- without salt or batteries, it is impossible to make bleach;
- without a charger, it is impossible to recharge the batteries and operate the flashlights or the radio;
- without tools, it is impossible to repair or obtain the above-mentioned items if necessary;
- without water, it is impossible to survive, etc.
Sanitary stock: storing medicines and hygiene and health products
Toilet paper is a product that we pay no attention to and that we gladly waste on a daily basis. Yet it is an absolute luxury.
Surviving without it is possible, but who would want it?
Indispensable for hygiene and morale, recent conflicts and disasters have shown that it is quickly becoming unavailable or available in small quantities and at exorbitant prices.
Toilet paper can and must, like drinking water and rubbish bags, be stored in pharaonic proportions: whatever happens, it will not be lost.
260 rolls, or approximately 1 year’s consumption, is a minimum. Prefer models with classic tubes rather than those that dissolve in water, cardboard makes an excellent firelighter.
Here you can find Toilet Paper and tissues at low prices allowing you to build up a stock very quickly.
Garbage bags, like for toilet paper, are essential for hygiene. Not only do they provide clean storage for food waste, but they also help maintain good hygiene in situations where toilets are out of use or out of reach.
Garbage bags come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses and can have many uses (to block a broken window, to collect and carry water, to protect the head, feet or hands, to serve as a makeshift shelter, to protect documents or food, etc.).
Storing 2000 30 litres garbage bags takes the space of a case of 6 bottles of wine and can save your life in the long run.
Sanitary napkins and tampons are necessary for feminine hygiene. Storing them in large quantities is highly recommended to ensure the health and well-being of the women in your family, so don’t overlook them.
A woman uses an average of 20 pads or tampons in a menstrual cycle, so 240 units represent an annual consumption.
Their use can be extended: pads make excellent makeshift bandages for large wounds and tampons make excellent firelighters and are commonly used in armed conflict to treat gunshot wounds.
The hand sanitise gel prevents the transmission of infectious diseases and maximises the chances of survival.
It can be used without soap and water, which allows you to disinfect your hands or parts of the body and to save water.
Allow a minimum of 5 litres.
Caution, do not use it to wash your whole body, despite its qualities its formulation is very aggressive for the skin and unsuitable for daily hygiene.
Here you can find different types of hand sanitise products.
Toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwashes are necessary to maintain good oral hygiene over the long term and avoid infections.
Toothache is one of the most unbearable and rapidly worsening dental problems, so make sure you give yourself the means to maintain good dental health and visit your dentist at least once a year.
Nitrile or latex gloves protect the hands from contamination during dirty or potentially contaminated operations (medical care or treatment of organic waste).
They can be bought by the hundred at low prices, store several boxes.
Buying a complete first aid kit and storing common medications (Antacid, Antimalarial, Antihistamine cream, Antiseptic agent, etc.) are an absolute necessity to manage minor injuries and feverish or diarrheal conditions.
Store as much as you can afford. If you are suffering from an illness and must imperatively take treatment, you must ensure that you have a sufficient stock of medication to cover the period you deem necessary and survive.
Talk to your doctor – and no one else, ever – for sound advice.
Soap is essential for personal hygiene and should be stored in large quantities, preferably in bar form.
Natural or assimilated Marseille soap is neutral for skin, intimate parts and hair and is ideal for prolonged use.
Easy to rinse, it is also suitable for dental hygiene (it is a very good natural toothpaste) and for washing clothes if necessary.
5kg of bar soap costs almost nothing and allows you to maintain complete hygiene for 1 year.
Prefer this format to liquid soaps that are difficult to store, leak and are consumed more quickly.
Baking soda is a natural and healthy product that allows you to make yourself many products that can quickly run out, such as washing powder, disinfectant mouthwashes, all kinds of deodorants and cleaning products (many practical DIY tutorials to learn how to make them are available on the internet).
It is also a very good dietary supplement, especially when physical effort is required.
Versatile and very useful, baking soda is a very accessible product and storing 10kg is recommended.
Thermal comfort: storing stuff to keep warm, to have hot food, emergency lighting, and electricity generation
Butane (indoor storage) or propane (outdoor storage) gas cylinders and camp stove gas cartridges are the only viable alternative for continuing to cook when electricity and town gas supplies are cut off.
Storing one or more gas backup heaters, a camp stove and enough gas cylinders and cartridges to heat and cook twice a day for 1 month is a good start.
If you don’t know how to handle them, ask a professional to explain how they work.
When the heating stops working and the temperature drops, sleeping bags rated for extreme cold and wool blankets are providential for warmth.
You can find woollen blankets at very acceptable prices.
Prefer large sizes such as 66″ x 90″ in beach towel format – store 1 for each member of the family.
Lighters and matches are absolutely essential for cooking, heating, and DIY.
The domestication of fire will probably remain the most important event in the history of mankind, so don’t deprive yourself of it.
Don’t hesitate to buy them in bulk and store as many as possible, these products are indispensable for survival, are cheap, run out quickly, take up no space and have a high barter value.
Candles, lanterns, and flashlights are a must for lighting up when there is no electricity in the house.
Packs of hundreds of long-lasting candles are available for a few bucks and allow you to light up and keep food warm.
Solar-powered or dynamo lanterns cost a few dozen dollars and give you an interesting lighting solution.
Investing in a few good quality flashlights that run on AA or AAA batteries is essential to be able to move around and work in dark places (cellars, attics, DIY in poorly lit areas, etc.).
Some are equipped with strobe lights that are useful for signalling your position to the emergency services or for blinding an assailant.
Chemical light sticks offer long-lasting lighting (usually 6-8 hours continuous), but they have the disadvantage of being quite expensive, disposable and perishable.
Batteries and battery chargers cannot be made by hand and will power most of the electrical appliances that are essential in the event of a major crisis: radios, lamps, walkie-talkies, emergency chargers, etc.
Building up a stock of disposable and rechargeable batteries corresponding to our devices is essential.
It is important to choose systems that operate on the most widespread standards (AA & AAA), as batteries that are rare in normal times will become absolutely impossible to find in troubled times.
Solar generators (also called solar chargers) are very interesting products that allow to recharge 4 to 8 AA or AAA batteries or power-banks in a few hours with average sunshine.
Accessible for around a hundred dollars, they are a useful and sustainable investment.
Batteries are used daily in most electronic equipment and are used in processes such as the manufacture of bleach, so they should not be neglected.
Very large capacity power banks are also available at affordable prices, don’t hesitate to add this equipment to your survival gear.
Click Here to view some good battery banks.
Survival food storage: storing water and food
Water is essential for survival and must be permanently stored with a minimum quantity of 120 to 150L of water for a couple.
Storing canned food (metal or jars) as well as freeze-dried food to last at least 1 month is essential and recommended by civil protection organisations around the world.
Surviving without food or drink is impossible, do not skimp on your food survival stocks.
Salt is an indispensable product and so commonplace that it is almost no longer given the attention it deserves, yet its food preservation qualities make it one of the first victims of shortages caused by crisis situations.
Among other things, it greatly extends the shelf life of meat, fish, vegetables, and tubers.
It is also an indispensable element in the artisanal manufacture of bleach.
It costs nothing, does not expire and is very easy to store, buy as many as you can.
In addition to their primary function, coffee or tea filters are very useful for filtering water. Store a hundred of them.
Disposable dishes are especially useful when water runs out.
Being able to get rid of your dishes rather than letting them pile up and attract pests is appreciated when the situation arises.
Cardboard products are preferred for their ability to serve as fuel, funnel or writing paper.
Alcohol is used for cooking, medical care, makes an excellent fuel and has a high barter value.
Store about 20 litres of unbranded vodka, it will serve you sooner or later, for one reason or another.
Survival equipment: storing the tools and items that are essential for daily life
Various tools (can opener, screwdriver, pliers, bolt cutters, sledgehammer, hammer, screws, nails, wood, and metal saws, powerful cordless screwdriver, etc.) are used for small DIY jobs but can also be particularly useful for opening doors, locks or vehicles whose keys have been lost.
Equipping yourself with a pair of destructive tools (bolt cutters, mason’s chisel, sledgehammer, powerful cordless drill) can be very useful if needed, and they can eventually be used as defensive tools.
Don’t forget to buy a good pair of protective gloves, as an injury to your hands can quickly turn out to be catastrophic.
Strong, sharp knives are necessary for cooking, cutting, engraving, shaping, carving and eventually defending oneself.
Very good fixed blades can be found for a few tens of bucks (no need to buy products at $100 to get quality), just make sure that their design is called full tang, i.e. that the blade and the handle are one and the same piece.
This construction allows the knives to withstand very high pressures and therefore to be able to use them for a multitude of demanding tasks.
Acquiring a good sharpener and learning how to use it and also how to do without it is also relevant.
If it’s strong and it cuts, it’s a good knife; look no further.
All-purpose tape (also called duct tape, duck tape or gorilla tape, etc.) is useful in a multitude of situations (various repairs, sealing leaks, repairing pipes, insulating and sealing doors and windows, making bags, straps, etc.).
It is used for anything and everything and should be stored in large quantities (as much as possible).
Collapsible water tanks and water containers are space-saving and inexpensive systems that can be easily and quickly deployed when needed.
Offering capacities from 5 to 80L, they are excellent allies for storing water or fuel at the last minute.
Rigid water tanks are also recommended and more suitable for long-term storage. It is advisable to clean these containers and seal them hermetically before storing them so that they can be filled in a flash when the time comes without fear of contaminating drinking water.
Containers of all kinds are always useful and should not be ignored.
From the Ziplock bag to the 40L bucket or the traditional plastic basin, they can be used for transport, storage and even as an emergency toilet once equipped with a garbage bag.
Some manufacturers offer stackable models such as Russian dolls to save space.
If you have a vehicle, store a few gallons of emergency fuel.
A special fuel Jerry can with a capacity of 20 litres allows a modern car to travel several hundred miles and can be of great service in the event of a fuel shortage or if you are unable to get to the pump.
Be careful, you cannot store petrol for more than 3 to 6 months in a “Jerry” can and also check the regulation of your state or region before stocking fuel at home.
It is dangerous and forbidden to drive with fuel in your trunk, so organise a rotation of your stock and keep it in your car garage (never in your house or apartment!).
Always fill your barrel up to 5cm from the edge of the neck, the more oxygen there is in a tank the more the fuel undergoes chemical changes and perishes.
The constant maintenance of your vehicle is also extremely important, there is no point in storing fuel if your car refuses to start when you need to evacuate.
Be careful when filling your jerry cans: never put them in your vehicle to fill them but always on the ground and prefer PVC models to metal models that require earthing to avoid explosions when filling.
Never smoke and leave your mobile phone and any object likely to create a spark or an electric field in your car during the operation.
Ask for help from station personnel if possible.
Financial resilience: gathering cash money for survival or escape
Storing cash is an absolute necessity. We have all become accustomed to paying for our purchases by credit card and it has become rare for us to have more than $100 in cash each week.
In case of disaster, the collapse of the banking system or social unrest, the banks will be unable to give you your money back.
Everybody remembers the images of the endless queues (for nothing) in front of the banks during the Argentine and Greek crises, to name but a few.
Give yourself the means not to be caught short and to have funds available at all times.
Keeping $2,000 to $5,000 in small denominations and spread out in different hiding places in your home will allow you to set sail with enough to meet your needs if the situation requires it.
Storing gold and silver can also be considered.
Storage of survival equipment
The entire survival kit indicated fits easily into a 190L mobile chest (excluding cash which must be hidden, rigid water and fuel tanks, toilet paper, alcohol, blankets, baking soda, and large gas cylinders).
It is imperative to store them in an orderly and adapted manner for easy access and to move them to your vehicle or evacuation mean in case of need.
If you have enough space home, setting up an industrial-type shelf in your cellar or car garage is a good alternative for storing your stocks (assuming that your doors are designed not to give way to the first burglar who comes along, of course!).
Once these products are secured, you are able to do without support systems for a good period of time and you have already taken a giant step towards resilience.
Certainly, gathering all this equipment is a significant investment, so make sure that your survival stock is not visible or easily accessible.
The more prepared you are for the unexpected, the more resilient you will be when the time comes.