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Disaster Supply Shortages

  When a natural disaster becomes public knowledge many disaster survival supplies become short in supply. Store shelves and gas stations often are emptied in a matter of of just hours (it may seem quicker). Often gasoline, drinking water and food disappear first, along with batteries, flashlights, propane and other supplies generally used for camping. These items are very valuable during a disaster survival situation. Stock up on needed supplies well ahead of time and keep them up to date. Below is a list of supplies that will become immediately unavailable in some cases or increasingly unavailable in other cases during a long term disaster, where daily survival can become everyone's goal.

Three Items that will go fast

Flashlights & Batteries

Keep flashlights and plenty of batteries on hand for emergencies. These will go fast!
Make sure you have flashlights that use both "D" cells and some that use "AA" cells.
The "D" size batteries will go very fast before, after or during a disaster. Sometimes plenty of "AA" batteries will be left behind for some time. Have radios and flashlights that will operate on "AA" batteries.


Price gouging and long lines happen fast. Keep extra gas in a 5 gal can for the lawn mower (unmixed) and your tank full. If you keep your gas tank full in your commuter vehicle there won't be such an emergency to get gas so you can get back to your home if disaster strikes while your away. Extra gas is a must if you plan to use a generator (the amount depends on the size of your generator).


100 Items That Soon Disappear

  This list isn't in any certain order because different items may take on greater priority depending on the type of disaster.

1. Generators

Choose a good generator ahead of time. You can live without electricity forever if need be but life is much easier with it. If you plan on running a refrigerator, air conditioner or freezer with the generator, make sure it is rated to operate the appliance. Overloading the generator will only cause it to burn out. You will also need

  • Plenty of gas cans and gas

  • Extension cords or other device to connect the generator to appliances or other devices.

  • Check with the manufacturer if you want to operate computer equipment.

  • Small generators use less gas, but will less, perhaps a lamp and television.

  • Large generators operate most anything (not necessarily at the same time) but are gas hogs.

  • Generators are often the target of thieves, protect it as much as possible.

  • Do not operate in a enclosed space (garage, storage building , other room) unless the exhaust is piped to the outdoors (check with manufacturer).

2. Water Filters/Purifiers

Learn about emergency water supplies from gear suppliers.
Emergency Water Supplies

Soft drink containers including large bottles can be used to store water.
Learn about water treatment for drinking here

3. Portable Toilets

Potable toilets can make life much easier in a disaster. Keep plenty of plastic bags to dispose of waste or burry the waste and clean the waste container with soap and water (does not need to be treated)
Learn to flush your toilet when the water pressure is to low here

4. Seasoned Firewood

5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Oil Lamps
(First choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)

6. Coleman Fuel

7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats and Slingshots

8. Hand-Can openers and hand egg beaters, whisks

9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugars

10. Rice - Beans - Wheat

11. Vegetable oil (for cooking)

12. Charcoal and Lighter fluid (Will become scarce suddenly.)

13. Water containers

14. Mini Heater head or heaters (Propane or Kerosene)

Learn more about emergency heat in the Gear store

15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)

16. Propane Cylinders

I personally prefer propane, with a couple of bulk tanks full for portable heat and the grill, and a few smaller tanks for emergency cooking on my small Coleman camp stove.

A Propane cook stove or grill is a necessity if your kitchen stove is electric!


17. Survival Books and Guides

18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc.

Mantles are the woven pouch that allow the lantern to produce light when the lantern is lit. Keep several sets of spare mantles for your lantern. They will burn out with long term use.

19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula/ointments/baby aspirin, etc

20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)

21. Cook stoves
(Propane, Coleman and Kerosene)

22. Vitamins

Keeping your health up is critical. Keep plenty of good once a day vitamins and buy prescriptions in bulk (ask to fill several months at a time of your common prescription medicines. It keeps a supply on hand and often costs less to fill). Keep track of these items if you need to evacuate, Don't Forget Them!

23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder for Heater Heads.
(Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item.)




24. Feminine Hygiene/Hair care/Skin products

These products can disappear fast and never seem to be around when needed.
Keep feminine items stocked ahead in case of an emergency.
Note to self:
(Wisdom I have come to understand in 19 years of marriage.)
These products are absolutely necessary to maintain any kind of normal life, yes, including hair care and makeup! Don't skimp on these products for your wife, if you do, you may lose all will to survive (or may not survive) after she runs short on these necessary items.

25. Thermal underwear
(Tops and bottoms)

26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets and Wedges (also, honing oil)

27. Aluminum foil Reg. and Heavy. Duty
(Great Cooking and Barter item)

28. Gasoline containers
(Plastic or Metal)

29. Garbage bags
(Impossible to have too many.)

30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, paper towel

31. Milk - Powdered and Condensed
(Shake liquid every 3 to 4 months.)

32. Garden seeds

(Non-hybrid) (A MUST if you expect a long term disaster)

33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)

34. Coleman's Pump Repair Kit

If you use Coleman items that are operated with Coleman fuel you will need to repair the pumps occasionally. I personally prefer propane, with a couple of bulk tanks full, and a few smaller tanks for emergency cooking on my small Coleman camp stove.

A Propane cook stove or grill is a necessity if your kitchen stove is electric!


35. Tuna Fish (in oil)

36. Fire extinguishers
(or.. in a pinch a large box of Baking soda in every room...)

37. First aid kits

Learn more about First Aid Kits in the Gear store

38. Batteries (all furthest-out for Expiration Dates)

The first thing to go will be flashlights and batteries.

39. Garlic, spices and vinegar, baking supplies

40.Pet Food

In the US most pet food is edible for humans. I don't recommend it but your pets may be happy if you keep plenty on hand.

41. Flour, yeast and salt

42. Matches
("Strike Anywhere" preferred. Boxed, wooden matches will go first.)

43. N- 95 Rated Respirator Filter Masks (in an Epidemic)

44. Insulated ice chests
(good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime)

45. Work boots, belts, Levis and durable shirts

46. Flashlights/Light Sticks and torches, Lanterns

Any power outage or potential power outage will make these disappear fast!
Stock up with good lights ahead of time. They are always useful.

47. Journals, Diaries and Scrapbooks, Notebooks, Paper, Pencils and Pens
(In a long term disaster)

48. Garbage cans Plastic

Preferably use cans with wheels, buy cans that will hold water (yes I know if it rains and the lids aren't on good they will fill up with water) or have a supply of heavy plastic drum liners to place in the cans so that they can hold water. Water in bulk is useful for flushing toilets (after it is used for cleaning or cooking), drinking, cleaning and cooking. These can catch water runoff from roofs or be used for water storage if they are clean! ( Water caught from a roof shouldn't be used for drinking unless you spread clean plastic sheeting on the roof and funnel only this water into your water supply. Non drinkable water can be used for cleaning clothes and flushing toilets.)

49. Men's Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, Industrial strength hand cleaner, etc

Your family and neighbors will thank you. Secretly, once the man in us gets our fill of living the real life (struggling to survive against all odds), we will be happy to clean up and smell good. (This secretly makes us look more manly to our family,  friends and neighbors since we still look great while life disintegrates around us. Note: Don't look to great or your neighbors may break in to see what you have!).


50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)

51. Fishing supplies/tools

52. Mosquito coils/repellent sprays/creams

53. Duct tape and Plastic Sheeting

54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes

55. Candles

56. Laundry detergent

57. Backpacks and Duffle bags

58. Garden tools and supplies

59. Scissors, fabrics and sewing supplies

60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.

61. Bleach
(plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)

Learn how to use it for survival here

62. Canning supplies (Jars/lids/wax)

63. Knives and Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel

64. Bicycles...Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc.

65. Sleeping bags and blankets/pillows/mats

66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)

67. Board Games Cards, Dice

68. d-Con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer

69. Mousetraps, Ant traps and cockroach magnets

70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks...)

71. Baby Wipes, oils, waterless and Anti-bacterial soap
(saves a lot of water)

72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.

73. Shaving supplies
(razors and creams, talc, after shave)

74. Hand pumps and siphons
(for water and for fuels)

75. Soy sauce, vinegar, bouillons/gravy/soup base

76. Reading glasses

77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)

78. "Survival-in-a-Can"

79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens

80. Plenty of Soap for bathing and anti bacterial soap for dish washing and other cleaning.

81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)

82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky

83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts

84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc.

85. Lumber (all types)

86. Wagons and carts

87. Cots and Inflatable Mattresses

88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.

89. Lantern Hangers

90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts and bolts

91. Teas

92. Coffee

93. Hand Warmers

94. Portable Radios

95. Paraffin wax

96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.

97. Chewing gum/candies

98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)

99. Hats and cotton neckerchiefs

100. Goats/chickens

The above items will be scarce during a major long term disaster. The scarcity and timing will depend

  • On the size of the disaster

  • Available outside help

  • The Geographic area involved (urban or rural)

Prepare ahead of time with a goal to imagine how you may be affected and how to mitigate the effects of a shortage by using preparation, knowledge, skill and an ability to use available resources to accomplish your task. Plan - Prepare - Adapt


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