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An argument can be made that even in an emergency, potable water is never too far away; after all, most human settlements have been erected near natural reservoirs: rivers, lakes, or easily reached underground aquifers. But this is an oversimplification. In rural areas, water supply can be fairly meager and vulnerable to weather fluctuations and other cyclic phenomena. For cities, it is true that many of them are seated on the banks of major lakes or rivers, but suburban sprawl can easily put some residents 10-20 miles away from the nearest reservoir; on top of that, some of the 20th century settlements in semi-arid and desert climates rely on water hauled from tens or hundreds of miles away.
If this particular calamity strikes, what's the step-by-step playbook you would follow, and how much time would you have to carry out the plan? Will you be sheltering at home, or is this a situation where you need to evacuate? If the answer is "it depends", what would be the key factors, and how quickly would you need to make the final call? If you pick the wrong option, how bad would it be?
Whether you like it or not, you may eventually have to defend yourself, so be sure to understand the law. You shouldn't take such advice from random people on the Internet, but as far as I can tell, in much of the US and in many other western countries, you have no duty to run away from an attacker and can use deadly force if you have a reasonable and immediate reason to fear for your life or the lives of others. But there are exceptions; for example, despite recent reforms, a duty to retreat exists in some form in several northeastern states and in some corners of the Midwest. There are also differences in how seemingly similar self-defense statutes get interpreted by the police, by prosecutors, and by courts in different parts of the world.
In some parts of the world, mosquitoes, flies, and other biting insects are major vectors for extremely serious diseases, such as malaria, African sleeping sickness, dengue fever, or lymphatic filariasis. The same is not a grave concern in more temperate climates; although malaria used to be a problem in some of the southern states, it has been eradicated by 1951. Today, some of the most serious incidents in the US and in Europe are the occassional cases of Lyme borreliosis or the West Nile virus.
Being from the south, we eat a lot of cornbread, so I would have to add cornmeal to this list. I think that cornbread would be an excellent option for a grid down situation. It’s very simple to make, cornmeal, and water, plus salt or any extra veggies you may have. I would also add dry pasta, and oil, for cooking and seasoning your cast iron. I may have missed this, but what about peroxide and alcohol? But you thought of a lot of things I never would have. Great list!
However, I submit that disaster preparedness is not inherently a fool's game and that the kind of prepper described I just described is not the definitive picture. The Red Cross, for example, sells bug-out bags, a staple of any prepper's gear. How crazy is it to follow the Red Cross's preparedness advice? Not very. And so much about doomsday prepping is about just having a plan, something most people don't have.
Here's my advice: keep the bulk of your savings in cash, stocks, and other assets you can easily liquidate or put to use today; even if you genuinely worry about the apocalypse, plan to spend no more than 2-4% of your money on essential prepper supplies. Sure, when the zombies come, your financial instruments will almost certainly become worthless; but you better believe that the value of your survival gear will increase 100-fold. Zombies or not, your net worth will be safe. Your delicious, tasty brains - well, that's something to worry about!
Of course, everybody has some non-perishable food around the house, but it's much better to create a dedicated stash: this way, you can count on the supplies always being at hand, and you can stockpile something more nutritious than stale crackers, a suspect bottle of olive oil, and a rusty can of tomato sauce. With a well thought-out stockpile of ready-made food, it's also a lot easier to hit the road.
You might also check if there is a local cash and carry…that’s a business which sells wholesale to other business/restaurants. You can buy bulk there for almost wholesale prices. They will have bulk items of many things in addition to other items like paper plates, napkins and you get the idea. If you can find a place which sells bulk, then ask your favorite store to special order. Who knows, you might get it cheaper that way. BTW: Gaye, next time you’re on the mainland near Mt. Vernon, check out WINCO for those bulk items.
The Ultimate Survival Kit is the perfect upgrade for your survival needs. Built to be durable under the most extreme conditions this bag will hold the contents of any of our survival kits as well as extra clothing and other personal items that you will need in an emergency situation. There are 6 external pockets for easy access to your supplies. The laptop compartment makes this a great daily commuter bag. External straps allow you to strap on extra supplies and gear.