It's inevitable that some kind of crisis is going to hit. Perhaps a big storm cuts off your community for a few days, or a larger-scale crisis puts you out of reach for a few weeks. If you're an avid reader of the APE Survival blog you know we're doing all we can to prepare and survive, to ensure our families are safe through whatever crisis comes. From bug-out plans to the year's supply of food and water I've got stored, I am pretty confident I've got my house in order. Or so I thought. I have just finished my monthly stock take, and decided to sit down with one of the senior members of my own survival group and compare notes. He was unfortunate enough to be stuck in a large disaster in his younger days (which shall remain unnamed at his personal request for anonymity), and following his advice I've actually upped my stock of a few key items. "None of these you'll regret having more of" according to my mentor, said with a gruff chuckle and a shake of his head as he patted me on the back when he left my home. Here's what you need to be stocking up on:
Medicine and antibiotics Disease is the biggest killer in every crisis. It doesn't matter how many guns you have or the amount of food you've got stockpiled if you get sick and aren't able to cure yourself. Make sure you've got more than enough antibiotics to keep you in the clear. I'd also add more painkillers to your list. Many of us like to think we'll be able to just "tough it out," but you'll thank me if something happens, like a cavity and a tooth needing to be removed. You'll be happy for the painkillers then.
Cleaning products and bleach Keeping your living quarters sanitary is going to be fundamental to staying healthy, so stock up on all your basic cleaning products, as well as soap. They all tend to run out faster than you think, especially if you've got a disaster to clean up, like overflowing sewage from a little flooding. Get your hands on as much bleach as you can, because in addition to using it as a cleaner to sanitize pretty much anything you can also use it to purify the water in your tanks.
Matches, candles and fire extinguishers Sure we all know how to make a fire without matches, but it's far easier to get a flame with a flick of your thumb. You cannot have enough of these lying around, and I've also got a decent supply of refillable zippo lighters and the fuel to go with them, so I'm never going to struggle getting a flame. Candles are another given, they last almost indefinitely in storage and are going to be one of your best sources of light when the power is out. Along with this increased use of fire for both lighting and cooking, don't forget to have a fire extinguisher within easy reach of each room of your house.
Cast iron cookware Cheap frying pans aren't going to last long when you're cooking on an open flame, so invest in a decent set of cast-iron cookware. The larger the better. Cooking in a SHTF scenario is far more difficult, and you're going to find you'll be cooking less frequently so you'll be better off cooking a larger batch of food. Plus, you may even have more mouths to feed. Get the right gear and you'll find cooking far easier when the grid is down.
Bottles of alcohol You can never have enough alcohol. In addition to its sterilizing effect on wounds, even if you're not into drinking it yourself it will quickly become a valuable resource. Some people would do almost anything for a bottle of their favorite, which can make it a great bartering item if you need supplies, and it lasts almost indefinitely if kept in a cool and dry area. Unless you're there drinking it, that is.
Basic building supplies Things you can pick up today in a hardware store will be gone in a post-apocalyptic society, and you'll be surprised just how many things break when you can't simply call someone to come fix it. Have a ready supply of boards and lumber, nails and screws, as well as tools like saw blades and hammers so you're ready to fix a hole in the fence, reinforce your windows, or whatever it is that needs doing. Stock up on the basics now, while you still can.
Warm clothing and blankets It's not a big deal in summer, but with the utilities out it's going to get mighty cold in winter. Ensure you've got enough warm clothing and blankets to keep your family comfortable, even with the power off. If you're not able to stay warm you're not going to sleep well, which leads to even more problems. We've got a cupboard full of blankets along with a couple of really nice wool ones, but you can always have more to barter with other people who may not have been as prepared.
Water containers Yes it's a simple one, but I include this as not many people think to have a stock of good-quality canteens in their supplies. You've all got big water tanks on your properties, but what happens when you need a proper canteen to go in your pack? I thought I had this covered was we've got plenty of bottles lying around, but turns out there was only one in my whole home that passed the bar. Invest in at least a dozen military-style canteens so you're able to take water with you wherever you go. Getting prepared to survive requires you to constantly think about your situation and be ready to adapt to whatever comes. I thought I had all of these covered but my friend pointed out a few obvious holes in my planning that I'd missed. How about yours? Is there anything you need to be stocking up on?