As this shit show shows no respite, I figured this was a good time to discuss what the girl and I are doing in terms of preparing and what my thoughts are on this developing situation.
Stockpiling 101 for Beginners
Seems to me that as of a few weeks ago, everyone woke up and decided to be a prepper. An admirable pursuit, but sadly, the way most people are going about it is panic driven instead of strategic. I shan’t go over the list but take a gander at these old (always relevant) articles of ours:
- The Best Survival Foods: Non-Perishables That Can Outlive You
- The Ultimate First Aid Supplies List: Be Ready for Anything
- The Ultimate Survival Gear List: Add to Your Survival Kit!
- Which Booze is Best for a Prepper Stockpile?
- Winter Emergency Supplies: Get ‘Em While It’s Still Warm!
- Best Prepper Gear: 21 Big Ticket Items Preppers Will Want to Save Up For
Anyway, the core issue is that for prepping to be optimal, you need a baseline of non-perishable basics and then a consistent stocking up of what you use throughout the year. I see people buying liquid bleach in insane quantities oblivious that it does expire as opposed to white vinegar and powdered bleach.
This disconnect with reality is making this crisis worse because people are buying the wrong items at huge quantities which results in more panic and waste.
If you are a regular reader, you already know what to do. If you are new here, please take a deep breath, take a gander at your pantry and think about your preps in terms of days, months and years.
How much of something do you use in a typical week? Now multiply that by four to get to a monthly stockpile. Then again by 12 for a year. That’s what you need.
How long will what you buy last? And will it be a worthy investment long term (not just short term). Will it expire before it will be used?
Take MRE’s and 25 year freeze dried food. I have a months supply from Legacy Food Storage, but you have to bare in mind that this was not a knee jerk purchase (in fact it was something we got for free in exchange for a review long ago). Nor is it something we need at all. My basic stockpile even if I didn’t have this extra month’s supply is already healthy.
MRE’s and long term pre-made food is not something you will enjoy eating, its something you should have after your preps are well in order. Focus on consumables like rice, pasta, beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, etc. Stuff you can chow down on without hating your life. It’ll be cheaper for you, too.
After you have your basic 60 day stockpile of long shelf life food as a minimum, your basic stockpile of toiletries and cleaning products (again, figure out how much you use in a week then multiply by 4 to get a month, then by 2 to get a second month), then you can evolve to the next level and start looking at total collapse goods, whilst bearing in mind that the likelihood of you ever using them are very slim.
On that note, please stop buying obscene amount of painkillers. They will be long expired before you can work through them. Think strategically in terms of days.
Lets say you are a family of 4 – plan to have enough to sustain yourself medically with flu symptoms for around 30 days of recommended dosage. That’s my personal recommendation.
So without further babbling, I haven’t been stockpiling much because I don’t need to and when I see old ladies queuing outside for toilet paper etc. then I prefer to let them take it. I don’t need it so I shan’t partake in diminishing an already fractured supply line.
I am getting a lot of emails asking me what I am buying, but folks, I have been habitually stockpiling for many years for precisely this reason – so I don’t have to panic buy.
So What Have We Been Doing?
Seeing as I am already in a good position on all fronts, the girl and I are simply living as we do – the only exception being limiting our travelling. We chill in the garden with cigars, spend time on our phones and reading, and relax.
I did make some big orders on Amazon for various nice-to-have items. Also keep topping up the stockpile just a tiny bit with our regular grocery deliveries to the house (been doing our grocery shopping online for the past year – it’s just faster that way). But ultimately, being informed and aware of the situation as it unfolds, and keeping trips outside the home to a minimum is the best thing we can do.
Sadly this does mean limiting face to face contact with friends, but until we have more info, the girl and I are going to mitigate risk within parameters that don’t interfere with our life too much.
Portugal hasn’t been hit hard compared to Spain and Italy, but it’s only a matter of time. Frankly, I don’t have much faith in the medical infrastructure being able to withstand so many patients.
This is the real issue folks, we don’t have a system able to test and look after 30% of the population. If too many elderly and at risk people get COVID-19, it will strain our healthcare capabilities to breaking point.
We cannot have them all go to a hospital where immunocompromised patients are, we don’t have enough isolation wards, and thus it’s a perfect storm of an aggressive virus that by itself is problematic, but with enough infected people, we won’t be able to cope.
I saw that in the north of Portugal, a tent was set up in the hospital parking lot. Alas, how many people can it hold? Will we as a society be capable of moving all the vulnerable to vetted facilities? What happens when retirement homes get hit?
This is the problem with the Coronavirus. We can deal with it one on one, the symptoms are usually manageable, but en masse, with 10s of thousands of elderly facing breathing difficulties & a limited supply of ventilators? America only has 160 thousand ventilators and it’s the wealthiest country in the world.
Can you imagine if Coronavirus takes hold in Africa? Doesn’t bare thinking about. People in third world countries still die from diarrhea so we need to remember that our resources differ country to country.
On a final note, I have noticed a disturbing trend amongst preppers to be almost mocking over the past few weeks. Yes, I also find it ironic that everyone is hunting for toilet paper today when a month ago preppers were just nutcases. I have always argued that prepping should be normalized – we should expect the worst and at least give some thought to how we would deal with it.
Saying I told you so when people are panicked and scared isn’t cool, it’s petty and creates an us vs them mentality. Offer your help and advice instead of condescending remarks. It’s a bad look for the community as a whole when “normal” people see us as vindictive instead of supportive.
On that note, stay safe & stay aware.