The Desperation Shopping List:
The 7 Critical Items That Are Guaranteed to be Stripped From Store Shelves When You Need Them Most in a Crisis.
1.) Prescription medications. Don't ever let yourself come close to running out again, because disasters don't wait until you have a fresh refill (and some disasters may last longer than your meds.) Getting extra prescriptions is not a problem if you have a sympathetic doctor, or order wisely on the Internet. You can always visit multiple pharmacies with these prescription slips (for ordinary prescriptions, not narcotics, of course.)
But you probably won't be able to get around the typical insurance company "three month limit" policy. You must resign yourself to paying for the extra medications entirely out of your own pocket. If you buy generic brands, in quantity, and from a discount pharmacy (such as Sam's Club), then for most medications it probably won't cost much more than your insurance prescription co-payment.
Store them in the back of your refrigerator or another cool, dark place.
If you want to be ready for the worst, then you need to imagine the worst. In a real disaster, a pharmacy will be the last place you want to go. If you do, you will find the sickest, most desperate, and criminal opportunists congregating. You don't want to go there. And don't think that your pharmacy has more than a few days supply to meet normal demand. Your year's supply of blood pressure medicine probably isn't even on hand today, let alone after all the others in line ahead of you to get their year's supply.
2.) Over-the-counter medications and vitamins that your family uses regularly. Stock up at a discount store, or Internet source, preferably when the medications and vitamins go on sale. Again, store them in the back of your refrigerator or sealed in a cool basement. Shop for purity, freshness, and quality. If you aren't sure of what vitamins might be most essential when you are living off the food supply you purchased based on Rawles' advice, then refer to the course's discussion of this important topic. If it's a flu epidemic, and you are willing to risk infection to face the panicked shopping crowds, you can bet that anything that people think will protect themselves against the flu will be sold out.
3.) Water Filtration System. When there is “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink” (because it may be contaminated) a water filter will keep your family alive. Instead of the faucet attachment units sold at many stores, Rawles recommends getting two filters: A compact Katadyn filter (the type used by backpackers), and a large, high-volume British Berkefeld ceramic filter. When power and gas is out, no one will be able to boil water. The portable filter will allow you to travel without carrying a large water supply.
4.) Salt. When a salt supply runs out, you'll know why Roman soldiers were happy to be paid in this precious commodity. Of course, the lessons in the Rawles Gets You Ready course will keep you from living on just beans and rice three meals a day. If you think beans and rice are boring now, try them without a grain of salt!
Not only will salt make your meals more palatable, it is crucial both for preserving food, and for attracting wild game. Unless you live next to a salt marsh, buy plenty of 1 pound canisters of iodized granulated table salt. Go to your local feed store and buy several large livestock white salt blocks. If you have the storage space, buy a dozen or more. They will be an ideal item for barter and charity.
If you have a water softener, stop paying for salt delivery, and stock up your own, so you can have hundreds of pounds on hand at any time, more than you would ever need. (And anyone can go to the Home Depot and buy rock salt for pennies a pound.)
5.) Storage foods that yield complete proteins. You think people are ignorant of how to eat healthy? Think again. Watch for those sacks of beans and rice to be piled on the carts when disaster approaches. You don't need a master's degree to know about this basic nutritional principle.
Animal proteins (meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs) are classified as complete proteins. They contain sufficient amino acids for nutrition. However, vegetable proteins (grains, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds) by themselves are incomplete proteins.
If all that you had to eat was just rice or wheat, you would starve to death, regardless of how much you ate. Vegetable proteins either do not have enough of, or completely lack, one or more crucial amino acids. But you can combine foods (as shown in the lists below) and then the food will yield a complete protein. Beans and rice are a classic example. Separately, they have incomplete proteins, but when eaten together, you have a complete protein. No wonder that burritos are so popular in Mexico!
Combine Grains and Nuts/Seeds:
Rice cakes and peanut butter
Breadsticks rolled with sesame seeds
Whole wheat bun with sesame seeds
Combine Grains and Legumes:
Rice and beans
Peanut butter on whole wheat bread
Bean soup and a roll
Salad with chickpeas and cornbread
Vegetarian chili with bread
Combine Legumes and Nuts/Seeds:
Humus (chickpeas and sesame paste)
Trail mix (peanuts and sunflower seeds)
6.) Batteries (Alkaline, NiMH, and chargers). Inventory all of your home electronics that need batteries. Make a list of the number and types of batteries that they use. Buy three times as many rechargeable batteries for each of these devices (one set for in the device, one set for in the charger, and one spare set). You may spend more on the batteries than the devices, but we are talking about batteries only for essential items like radios and flashlights. (That does not mean that you can't save money by using spare rechargeables in your remote controls and other non-essentials.)
Buy the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) variety. We found these at very attractive prices on the shopping trip the course covers. They were the only item Rawles put in the cart for himself that day (I guess even the most prepared guy can always improve his position.) NiMH batteries can be recharged dozens of times. (Buy an even larger quantity than the “triple” rule for your flashlights, because you might have to depend on flashlights much more than usual in a disaster.)
When you consider the cost and preciousness of batteries, you will suddenly realize that your selection of flashlights is awfully important. The runtime of a well-selected LED flashlight with variable dimming can do a lot to conserve batteries, because you rarely need the full brightness.
You will want to buy at least two battery chargers: 1) A 117 VAC (household current) "smart charger", and 2) A 12 Volt DC battery charger. These chargers are available from Radio Shack and RV accessory vendors such as Camping World.
7.) Hand sanitizer. Buy it in quantity. It will invaluable in the event of an influenza pandemic. Not just for when you are worried about surfaces out in the infectious world. Think how helpful it would be to keep a dispenser at your door, so that everyone cleans up before coming into the house. If you don't have any on hand, you won't even be able to take this simple precaution. And if you just have a little on hand for infrequent use, it will run out fast.