Emergency Buying List for the New Year

Making an emergency shopping list
The New year is a good time to update your emergency last-minute shopping list.

It’s a new year, so I decided to revisit our emergency “buy now” list and update it to fit type of emergency that looks most likely.  Why the update?  Because an emergency that knocks out power and likely halts or significantly disrupts the transport of goods via the roads, like a nuclear strike or EMP attack, will affect society’s systems differently than a NATO war in Europe or a broader war in the Middle East.  In the former example, you probably can’t count on an Amazon.com order getting delivered.  In the latter case, you should still be able to get items shipped to you, at least while the goods remain in stock. 

If it looks like the sh*t is hitting the fan, you had better order needed items quickly.  You may not recall, but Amazon and other online sellers were swamped with orders when COVID hit.  Many household items and prepper foods sold out, sometimes in just a few days.  Plus, if you order right away, they won’t have had time to institute buying limits.

A Divided List

I divided our list into sections based on the scenario and the source of last-minute goods.

When the Ukraine War started, I figured things might go nuclear, so my listed tilted that direction.  Since nuclear weapons have not been used, I think it is more likely that if they wont be. If they are, I expect tactical nukes on the battlefield, not strategic nukes targeting our entire country.  I am updating my list accordingly.

Online Orders

The first section is items we plan order online from Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart, and Amazon, in that order.  Most of these are things that would be nice to have, but if the situation gets worse and they don’t get delivered, we won’t notice for months.  This list includes many non-perishable foods, like canned goods, flour and rice, pastas and sauces, nut butters, crackers, and some junk food.

We also will order pet foods and more chicken feed online, likely from Chewy and direct from the manufacturers. 

I like to order from multiple supplies because if one is out of stock, or one has shipping issues, product from the others should still come in.  If all your eggs are in one basket, you could end up missing important items if something goes wrong. A range of suppliers also means diversity of shipping carriers.

In-Person Shopping and Errands

One of the first things we want to do is withdraw cash, either at a teller or via one or more ATMs.  Not only might we expect banks to close during an emergency, power or Internet disruptions will mean credit card networks will be down and we will need cash to make purchases.

Our in-person shopping list ranges from nearby stores to more distant ones.  For example, if we are in the middle of a nuclear exchange, I’m not driving 35 minutes to go to Walmart, but I might risk sending my wife into the Dollar General six miles from home while I fill gas cans at the Exxon next door.  In a worst-case scenario, we can walk home from Dollar General pretty quickly.

On the other hand, if Iran is shooting at our war ships and we are hitting them with waves of cruise missiles with all activity in that part of the world, I’d feel comfortable sending my wife to Walmart and the grocery store while I go further afield to get animal feed and pet supplies.  If we are in a war with Iran or China and they haven’t targeted the Continental United States on the first day, I expect we will have a window of safety, especially in the small towns near us. In that case, we should have time to shop until the shelves are empty.

In most scenarios, our in-person last-minute shopping includes foods that require refrigeration or freezing.  If we are confident the power will stay on, I might buy a freezer chest on our first trip to Walmart.  We also will stock up on vegetables that can keep for a long time, such as potatoes, onions, winter squash, cabbage, carrots, etc. 

A Follow-Up List

We also have a “Day Two” list which includes refilling our prescription drugs, even if we have to pay cash for them because insurance won’t pay for them this soon.  It also includes things like extra bar and chain oil, additional batteries, and anything we think might be in short supply based on the specifics of the emergency.  That could range from spare parts to spare clothing.

“Bring With” Lists

The folks scheduled to bug out at our place already list of what we think they should bring.  As you can imagine, this includes a great deal of personal stuff, from clothing and footwear to things they can’t live without.  It also includes bedding and pillows, because we have a limited number of beds and we expect more people showing up at our door than we have places for them to sleep.  That’s when sleeping bags and inflatable mattresses will come into play.

They also have a list of the guns and calibers they should bring and a list of calibers we have standardized on.  So you can bring your .357 if you want, but we’ll have far more 9mm on hand.

Some of our guests have special knowledge or capabilities.  We expect them to bring what they need to use their knowledge.  Others own useful gear, like chainsaws. We encourage them to bring them plus necessary spare parts and accessories.

Of course, if this isn’t a terrible SHTF situation, some may not choose to bug out.  I guess you could argue that if I am comfortable driving 90 minutes to do a big shopping run, they may need to bug out.  Alternatively, they might want to make two or three trips, transporting additional gear.

Keeping Up To Date

I like to review my preps, my lists, and my plans from time to time.  I recommend you do the same.  Besides, it’s good to do on those cold winter days when you want to stay indoors.

Advanced forecasts look like we – and much of the country – will have colder weather with snow storms on the East Coast in the next week or ten days. is it redundant to say, “prepare accordingly?”