Created by Nynke Fokma
The below lists were gathered some years ago and are hardly complete. Worse, some are just phrases to remind me it needs further investigation and/or experimentation.
The blog I originally put them on is soon to be deleted, so I am moving the lists here. Hopefully we can improve them. Any suggestions, additions, please do!
If you are living in an area like France where energy production is nuclear plant based, you might be lucky and the electricity grid may come back on-line rather quickly. If your country’s energy production depends on (local) gas or oil, like it does in the Netherlands, or if your country is dependent on importing energy, you are more vulnerable.
- Find energy generators for (long) outages. The type you need depends on how long you expect outages to be.
- If you can, get energy from off the grid, like a small wind turbine, or solar panels. Protect the equipment with surge suppressors and/or faraday cages.
Generators are quite expensive. If you don’t have monies to get a generator, or if an outage may take longer than expected, make a detailed backup plan to replace what you normally use the energy you take of the grid for. Think in terms of basic needs.
At least one room needs enough heating to get you through winter.
- If your house has a fireplace, start gathering wood. Do it now, because wood takes about 6-12 months to become dry enough for home uses. Have a stack high enough, so that what you gather now is for the next year, not this year. Buy already seasoned wood for this year.
- Charcoal for if and when you run out of wood.
- In case you run out and have no alternatives, it pays to be able to get some more. Get Bow saws, axes, and hatchets. And honing oil and a wet-stone.
- If your house doesn’t have a fireplace, get a mini-heater head for propane, and some propane cylinders.
- Thermal underwear.
- Be sure to insulate or drain water pipes (where you can) if you are reducing heating to one room.
- Curtains with insulation can keep out drafts during cold periods.
- With no air conditioning consider awnings and other ways of keeping the sun out of your house.
- Shutters to close during the day, open at night for breezes.
- Fans that can run on a generator.
- Those fans that ladies used to carry a century ago are effective in creating air movement. Japanese fans are fun too!
Having some light in the dark can be essential. Kids may get ill and in need of attending, unexpected visitors may arrive.
- Lamps, wicks and lamp oil. Buy CLEAR oil, and if already scarce in your area, stockpile whatever you can find).
- Get Alladin or Coleman mantles and Coleman fuel. As much as you can find. It is impossible to have too little. This stockpile can also serve for bartering and trading for goods you haven’t stockpiled enough.
- Hand-crank flashlights, lightsticks, torches and candles.
Things like lamps as mentioned above, fireplaces, or propane-heads do not function without being lit.
- Matches. Lots of them. If you can put your hands on one of those “strike anywhere” matches, that would be awesome.
- Refillable lighters and lots of lighter fluid.
- Not forget batteries. Mind the expiry dates. Get them as far-out as possible.
- Hand pumps and siphons
Playing with fire and gas can be dangerous. We’re used to the grid. In the olden days, before the grid, we were used to being more careful.
- Fire Extinguishers. One for every room. And if you can’t for whatever reason, use boxes of baking soda instead.
- A battery powered carbon monoxide alarm
In France where clean water supply depends on the electricity net, being supplied with clean water can become a problem. And, depending on where you live, having a clean water supply is already a major problem, and can become so (even more) in the case of natural or man-made disasters.
- Consider water tanks to catch rain, but consider dangers of the source to determine what to use it for.
- Gray water (from tub, clothes and dishwashing) can be reclaimed for watering plants, if you filter it properly. What gets in your edible plants, gets into people.
- Cloth towels and handkerchiefs can be cleaned with rainwater and soap. Less disposal issues than paper (which will soon run out anyway)
- Get water containers and fill them. Get them in any size. If they are small make sure they are hard and clear plastic only. Food grade your containers for what is drinkable.
- In case outages and hard times take longer than expected, use those water filters and water purifiers you were so smart to buy.
A water supply problem includes the toilets no longer flushing, and we do not wish to spend too much of our container water for flushing.
- A portable toilet.
- A chemical toilet.
- Grow and maintain a fresh food supply for as long as possible
- Honey, syrups, brown sugar, marmelade sugar
- Rice, beans, wheats
- Flour and yeast
- Canned fruits, veggies, soups, and stews
- Powdered and condensed milk. For condensed milk mind the expiry date. get as far-out as possible, and shake the cans every three months.
- Non-hybrid garden seeds. Lettuce and alfalfa produce edible items in a very short time.
- Vegetable oil – without it, food burns or must be boiled. One of those bain-marie pots may be a good idea too.
- What can break monotony and keep spirits more easily alive? Get salt, garlic, spices, vinegar, soy sauce, bouillons, teas, coffee and baking supplies. When garlic is put in oil it can stay for long periods.
- Dry herbs.
- Make sure that oils you use won’t go rancid. Cold-pressed lasts longest.
- Dry corn. Can be soaked or popped for eating.
- Cookstoves on propane, Coleman fuel and kerosene will all do the trick. If you are using a propane based cooking stove, get a handle holder as well. Small canister use is dangerous without it.
- Hand can openers
- Hand egg beaters and whisks
- Non-electric grain grinder
- Cast iron cookware
Food gathering and keeping
- Know what, when and where.
- Those insulated ice boxes, don’t throw them away thinking they will not serve without your fridge producing the cold elements. They are great in winter, to keep your food from freezing.
- Some containers with a mix of your supplies, hidden where only you can find them.
- Create a cool storage areas in the ground.
- For spices keep seeds rather than powdered kind. In some cases however, powdered will hold longer. Get a morter and pestle or a grinder.
- Metal or plastic tubs keep vermin out and keep items relatively fresh.
Besides the thermal underwear already mentioned, just think about the different wheaters, and get the basics.
- Rain gear, rubber boots
- Woollen clothing
- Extra socks, t-shirts and underwear
- Scissors, fabrics and sewing supplies
- Hats with wide brims, kerchief soaked in water around your neck.
- Loooooots of toilet paper. And while you are at it, also kleenex and paper towels.
- That old washingboard your great-grandmother left you. It may come in handy.
- And that bucket and wringer that was useful for wringing a mop with can be reuseful for laundry as well.
- Hair and skin care products
- Feminine hygiene – one of those “keepers” is quite re-useful
- Razors and shaving creams, talc, after shave
- Soap, shampoo and laundry detergent
- Toothbrush and paste, floss
- Nail clippers
- Mosquito repellents and mosquito netting.
- Bleach, not scented (4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
- First aid kit
- Add alcohol, teatree, and peroxide to your kit for disinfectants, if not already covered in the kit.
- Keep a first aid manual so you know how to deal with emergencies.
- First aid herbs
- Complaints and remedies
A healthy mind in a healthy body. That also works the other way. Under stress conditions it is very important the collective, you and your family, can play games together, individually read books, and generally look forward to building a better future. So keep educating the kids. Keep diaries to place things you and your family members experience in a historic light. Besides putting things in a temporal context, it keeps healthy reflection going.
- Books, board games, cards, dice
- Writing paper, pads and pencils
- Solar calculators (likely won’t work under electromagnetic pulses or during a solar storm)
- Reading glasses
- Crayons for kids, too
- Balls and string for games.
- Books on math, sciences, history, art, gardening, as well as novels.
- Instruments of any type. Drums, strings, horns, kazoos, bells, chimes
- Bagpipes – good for defense as well as stirring the heart of northern peoples.
- Taking time to put a poem to music.
Protection from predators
Raiders ~ They will come. All of the stories related to crunches mention humans as most dangerous predators. And sadly, in the stories we found, that often includes people sent by “authorities” to aid survivors. People that are prepared and show signs of surviving without aid by authotities can, apparently, be considered a threat. They must have taken it from others! Or at least must be grateful for our (con)descendence down the mountain to aid you poor sods …
- Get guns, ammunition, pepper spray, knives, clubs, bows, bats, and slingshots.
- Big dogs, and enough dog food. Train the dogs from birth to be protective of you and your family, and not be friends with everyone.
- By the way, small dogs will sound an alarm at a house as well as a big dog.
- Terriers will kill the mice that try to get into your larder of food. Cats, too.
- Have hand-crank radios and make connections with trusted “others”.
Bartering survival items
These are nice to have, horrible not to have when you need them, and excellent for bartering.
- Regular and heavy duty aluminium foil
- Garbage bags
- Clothes pins and hangers
- Duct tape
- Tarps, stakes, twine, nails, ropes, spikes
- Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws
- Paraffin wax
- Batteries of all kinds and sizes.
In the long run
We can’t prepare for everything, if only because such detailed plans would get in the way of adaptive response-ability to changes in the environment. However, to build further on lessons already learned by mankind on what works and what doesn’t in particular contexts, get some survival guides. Make sure they are based on actual experiences. Don’t buy air.
- Garden tools and supplies
- Fishing supplies and tools
- Canning supplies: jars, lids
- Camping: Keep a camping manual to refer to if you need to dig camp toilets, start a fire without matches, identify edibles in the wild and other potentially useful tips.