Preparing for life after disaster requires superhuman organization. Hell, most of us have trouble keeping track of everything we have to remember in our current, convenience-filled reality, let alone keep track of survival essentials like food storage rotation. You’ve likely made a number of difficult decisions already — living after disaster will require a much leaner lifestyle, and that means preparing to give up much of what we take for granted. Maybe you’ve done that already, to make the transition easier.
There are some modern conveniences, however, which will be conspicuous in their absence. Preparing for the need, and stockpiling difficult-to-produce items now — well, you do that already anyway. Here are just a few priorities that often get overlooked, and that you might want to add to your stockpile list today:
Waste Treatment Systems
Have you thought about where you’ll be dumping your garbage and refuse? Even if you pick a site that is away from the water sources you use, it will only be a matter of time before waste begins to seep into the groundwater, which could have disastrous effects for miles. Once that happens, it may well be beyond your ability to fix.
This one might not be as immediately obvious, but I promise you won’t regret keeping one of these tools around.
There’s a lot of talk about the best vehicles for doomsday situations. No matter how advanced a vehicle is, none of them are designed to function in less-than-ideal conditions indefinitely, so the more preventative maintenance you can do, the better. A big part of that preventative maintenance is going to be picking a role for each vehicle and making sure you have a few sets of tires stockpiled away for that purpose.
Mud & road tires
Tire tread technology is improving all the time, and while it may not necessarily be a bad idea to run a vehicle with mud tires on asphalt, there are better ways to organize your fleet of survival vehicles. There is a lot of argument about whether mud tires are or aren’t safer, noisier, or less fuel efficient on asphalt; it seems to depend a lot on the brand you buy. In rural areas, if you’re expecting blocked roads, it might even be a better idea to just run muds all the time and have a few replacements on hand. But there is one reason to consider taking those muds off your road vehicle: fuel efficiency. When gas becomes a rare commodity, every little you can do to conserve will help. Low-rolling-resistance, fuel-efficient tires could be a good purchase for supply runs close to home or local patrols, to save your resources.
Your muds will work great in rain and light snowfall, but you’re going to want snow tires, plus replacement sets if your area gets battered by heavy winters. Unlike mud tires, these guys are absolutely not meant to be used on dry asphalt. The rubber is softer than other tires and will wear out quickly, especially in the heat. Store these away and break them out when the snow falls.
There have been advancements recently in stand-alone, self-contained waste treatment systems that recycle gray and even black water. Some are complex, using solar energy to treat waste, and others are much simpler, making use of worms to create compost while cleaning the water.
Even if you have plans for plumbing and waste disposal, don’t rely completely on infrastructure. Sanitary disposables are other examples of difficult-to-produce items that will make life a whole lot more bearable when the worst strikes.
These days, metal detectors are generally used by hobbyists and amatuer fortune hunters, but other uses are emerging that could have significant value to the well-prepared family. A number of people have started using metal detectors for geocaching. I immediately thought of prep applications. If you have a fallback shelter location or a carefully charted escape route, it could be worth your while to leave dead drops for yourself along the route. Memorize the locations, bury supplies in metal containers, and keep a metal detector in your bug-out vehicle. Not needing to physically mark the exact dig location makes the drop a lot more secure.
If you ever have to drop everything and leave supplies behind, or you’re caught out away from home, you’ll know that you can get right on the road and pick up your supplies along the way, rather than having to improvise.
I hope this has given you a few more things to think about in your disaster preparation process. Good luck out there.
About the Author: Brooke Faulkner’s mission in life is to be prepared for anything life throws at her. As a mother of two, more often than not that includes legos and snotty viruses. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found zipping around the wilderness on her ATV.