100 Items that Fly off the Shelves in an Emergency

When planning for an emergency, think about the worst situation imaginable.  Here is mine: chaos to get as much food and supplies as possible, gas lines that run out into the street, highways at a virtual standstill, banks not giving out money, looting, fires, babies crying because that have no formula to drink.  It’s not a pretty picture when you allow yourself to imagine it. Having supplies on hand can put a person way ahead of the game. While some people are battling the lines and the grocery stores, you could be packing your items up and headed for hills before they even attempt to.

Emergency Items That Disappear First

1. Generators (Good ones can be expensive. Be aware they are a fabulous survival item, so it can be easily found and stolen by thieves - due to their noise. Be wise how you use/store them.)
2. Water (Nothing more vital: hydration, cooking, washing wounds, boiling water to sterilize things.)
3. Water Filters/Purifiers
4. Portable Toilet. Sanitation is probably the most overlooked area of preparedness.
5. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6-12 months to be ready for home use.
6. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (Buy clear oil.  If scarce, stockpile)
7. Coleman Fuel
8. Charcoal and Lighter fluid
9. Family Protection/Self Defense tools (guns, ammunition, pepper spray, knives, clubs/bat, sling shots, bow and arrows.) Sometimes a firearm/gun isn't appropriate but the need for security always will be. Go with what you're comfortable with still, and what you have the mental fortitude to use. 
10. Cooking utensils (hand style can opener, wire whisk, pancake turner, etc)
11. Honey/sugar/syrups
12. Rice/beans/wheat
13. Vegetable oil, olive oil or coconut oil for cooking. (Coconut oil is multi-use: Great for eating, yet also for all Skin care, sun burn, wind burn, after shave, hair dressing, can be applied before going out in sunshine as a mild sunblock.
14. Water containers (get more than one and in different sizes)
15. Propane Heaters and all accessories that go with it (extra propane, heads, etc)
16. Fishing accessories (line, hooks, bobbies, etc) These are for stress relief but also a food source.
17. Lighting sources for short term and long term (flashlights, hurricane lamps, chemical glow sticks, etc)
18. Batteries – for flashlights/replacement lamps
19. Basin to do laundry in/wash boards, (large bucket) etc.
20. Cook stoves
21. Vitamins/herbal remedies (to keep your immunity up under severe stress and poor diet conditions)
22. Thermal underwear (top and bottoms) Layers: T-shirts, knee socks, tights/pantyhose help keep in warmth.
23. Tools (bow saw, axes, hatchets, wedges) also honing oil
24. Aluminum Foil Regular (multiple uses)
25. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)
26. Feminine Hygiene products – Hair care/Skin products
27. Aluminum Foil Heavy Duty (Great for cooking and a barter item)
28. Gasoline containers
29. Garbage bags Multiple uses. Containers, Liners, rain poncho
30. Toilet paper, paper towels, hygiene items
31. Milk (canned, powdered and infant formula)
32. Work gloves, Work boots, Work Clothes
33. Seeds (non-hybrid)
34. Clothes pins/clothes line/hangers
35. Coleman Pump Repair Kit
36. Canned Goods (foods)
37. Fire Extinguishers (or Baking Soda helps this.)
38. First Aid Kits
39. Batteries (all sizes)
40. Baking Supplies, Salt, Spices, Vinegar, and Yeast,
41. Dog Food  (Pets need to eat. Some can’t digest human food.
42. Matches (Paper – books /wooden)
43. Notebooks, pencils
44. Ice chests (To prevent spoilage from heat.)
45. Flash lights, torches, light sticks
46. Plastic Containers  (Multiple uses)
47. Cast iron cookware
48. Fishing Supplies
49. Repellent sprays for flying insects, creams
50. Duct Tape (Multiple use. You can never have too much. Mending items, creating splints, close a gate/door)
51. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting things, and  if it has wheels – even better!)
52. Men’s Hygiene: Body wash, shampoo, toothbrush/paste, mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, wet wipes, etc
53. Shaving supplies (razors & shaving creams, talc, after shave. In the old days, men used a bar of soap.)
54. Cast iron cookware griddle/grill (sturdy, efficient)
55. Fishing supplies/tools
56. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
57. Duct Tape / Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
58. Candles (Some really drip hot wax, so have something under it, like a saucer.)
59. Laundry Detergent (liquid dissolves easier)
60. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
61. Garden Tools & supplies
62. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
63. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/rings/wax) for canning fruits, veggies, soups, stews, etc.
64. Bleach (buy the plain style, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
65. Dental floss - it's compact, clean, and it's strong, and has a hundred uses: flossing teeth, as a thread, fishing line, lashing, booby-trap, snares, etc. (Cheap price at any dollar store.)                                                                                                                                             66. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
67. Bicycles - Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc. If you can, invest in tubes that don’t flatten.
68. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
69. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
70. D-con Rat Poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
71. Mousetraps, Ant traps & Cockroach magnets
72. Paper plates/cups/utensils (saves your water - stock up, folks! Also can be used as kindling to start fires.)
73. Baby wipes, (saves a lot of water) Baby oil, waterless cleaners, & Antibacterial soap
74. Rain gear, rubberized boots, umbrella, etc. (Natural disasters often have flooding, too, you will want tall rubber boots.
75. Hand pumps & siphons (for drawing out water and fuels from a container)
76. Soy sauce, bullions/gravy/soup base (Gravy makes most things taste better. Get ready-made canned if possible)
77. Reading glasses. After a time, people with contact lenses may have to remove them and use glasses.
78. Chocolate powder/Cocoa/Tang powder/Punch powders (water enhancers)
79. Survival-in-a-Can
80. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
81. Boy Scout Handbook / also Leaders Catalog Has some good basic information
82. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
83. Graham crackers, saltine crackers, pretzels, Trail mix/jerky (these don’t need refrigeration or heating)
84. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
85. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
86. Lumber (all types)
87. Wagons and carts (various sizes for various transporting things/generator/kids/water to and from places, etc.)
88. Cots, Inflatable mattress
89. Gloves: Work/Warmth/Gardening, etc.
90. Lantern Hangers
91. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
92. Teas - There are several herbal teas with many health-giving properties. Get some herbal books and read up!
93. Coffee – Warmth and energy boost. Can be drunk strong and black to help recover from a spider bite.
94. Cigarettes (Remember, if there is a disruption of GAS lines- “lighting up” can create explosions! Find out first.
95. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
96. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)

97. Glue, bags of ready-mix cement etc.
98. Atomizers/ Spray bottle for cooling/bathing (quick “spit” bath)
99. Hats and cotton neckerchiefs Hats: help with hot/cold.
100. Goats/Chickens - They are renewable food sources. (Goats=wholesome milk, and they are easier for women/youth to handle goats vs. cows. Goats will gladly eat weeds, old food scraps, etc. Chickens: eggs/meat. Great to use for barter/trading,)

Advice From a Sarajevo War Survivor:

Experiencing horrible things that can happen in a war, death of parents and friends, hunger and malnutrition, endless freezing cold, fear, and sniper attacks.

1. Stockpiling helps. But you never know how long trouble will last, so locate near renewable food sources.
2. Living near a well with a manual pump is like being in the Garden of Eden.
3. After awhile, even gold can lose its luster. But there is no luxury in war quite like toilet paper. Its surplus value is greater than gold.
4. If you had to go without one utility, lose electricity. It’s the easiest to do without (unless you’re in a very nice climate with no need for heat.)
5. Canned foods are awesome, especially if their contents are tasty without heating. One of the best things to stockpile is canned gravy. It makes a lot of the dry unappetizing things you find to eat in wartime somewhat edible. Only needs enough heat to warm, not to cook. It’s cheap too, especially if you buy it in bulk.
6. Bring some books. Escapist ones like romance or mysteries become more valuable as the war continues. Sure, it’s great to have a lot of survival guides, but you’ll figure most of that out on your own anyway. Trust me, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands.
7. The feeling that you’re human can fade pretty fast.  I can’t tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne.  Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity. These things are morale-builders like nothing else.
8. Slow burning candles and matches, matches, matches.

Carl -

So! Is everyone here 20-something? What about Meds ...medicine-as in that which is prescribed by a doctor? Given current insurance practices, meds. are given in monthly doses. Just try and get a refill in a disaster. I recommend re-filling prescriptions 1 or 2 days early and thereby building a supply- 1 to 2 days worth per month. But rotate them so that you always use the oldest first. In only 30 months you could have a 1-2 month reserve. You will need it.

A good quality air-rifle (with a "ridiculous" amount of BB's and pellets-good for barter) and wrist- rocket sling shot. I saw window screen patches, but I feel more comfortable with several full size rolls of screen- insects can make life miserable and be a health hazard (ever try to make window screen by hand?). If you have the space, old books on cooking, farming, chemistry, plumbing, fishing, hunting - WTSHTF the simpler "old" ways of doing things will probably be easier and more practical. How about a few bags of ready-mix cement and mortor, chimney / stove pipe, animal meds, extra AM/FM radios (great for barter!), Lots of dental floss - it's cheap at the dollar store, it's strong, and has a hundred uses: floss, thread, fishing line, lashing, booby-trap, snares, etc.!


Tom is 100% spot on when he says to take this list and compare it to what you have already on hand.  Then, before buying extras of the things that you already have, fill in with missing items.  Of course, add the other items that are particular to your situation and do the best you can to inventory, keep track of and rotate what you have.

As always, make every day a prepping day!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation! Gaye

Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: This is a really good book from Joe Nobody – a book you should read if you want to learn more about defending your homestead.

Sabre Family Home & Property Protection Pepper Spray:  This small fire extinguisher-style pepper spray delivers a strong blast covering an entire doorway. Offering extremely practical protection, SABRE provides distance from your threat with its 30 foot range.  I like that it includes a wall mount.  About $36.

Home Security Decals – Set of 4: Security surveillance camera system warning decals/stickers. Increase security whether you have a system or not – no one will know but you. Do they really work?  Heck, I don’t know for sure but under $10, can’t hurt.

70 Common Things That Go Wrong During a Disaster

August 29, 2014

As recent as four years ago, when someone mentioned disaster preparedness, the nature and scope of the disaster was typically something caused by Mother Nature.  Sure, some consideration was given to man-made disasters and terrorism, but for the most part, it was a freak of nature that worried us the most.

These days, we worry about a whole lot more.  EMPs, solar flares, bio-terrorism, pandemics, nuclear war and more dominate the what-if landscape.  Add to that the possibility of a global famine or economic collapse and heck, we could spend all day and all night caught up in fear of the unknown.

What this all boils down are three things that every Prepper knows:

1.  Anything can happen at any time.

2.  Being prepared means being ready for the most likely disruptive event we can fathom given our unique location, circumstances and personal beliefs.

3.  Regardless of how ready and how prepared we are, there is a strong likelihood that something will go wrong and things will not have the expected outcome.

All this brings me to the topic of today’s article: “70 Common Things That Go Wrong During a Disaster”.  I came across this list awhile back and while it is not my original work, I felt that it was a list worth sharing.  You will find that some of the go-wrong things are common knowledge, but there are others that are surprising and to be honest, a bit disconcerting.

Most of the 70 items are negative and many go against what we commonly believe will occur as first responders and rescuers come on the scene.  So what is a prepper to do?

Read through the list, remind yourself that trained emergency personnel are human, and that even with the best of training, mistakes will be made.

70 Common Things That Can and Will Go Wrong During a Disaster

Note:  Credit for list is a July 6, 2006 article by Lt. Dan Blackston, Chula Vista Police Department

1. In an earthquake, there may be violent ground shaking; it will seem to last much longer than it actually does.

2. Fires will occur, caused by electrical shorts, natural gas, fireplaces, stoves, etc.

3. Fires in collapsed buildings will be very difficult to control.

4. The extent of the disaster will be difficult to assess, though this will be necessary to assure proper commitment of resources.

5. Emergency equipment and field units will commit without being dispatched. There will be an air of urgency and more requests for aid than units available to send.

6. Communications will be inadequate; holes will appear in the system and air traffic will be incredibly heavy.

7. Trained personnel will become supervisors because they will be too valuable to perform hands-on tasks.

8. Responding mutual aid units will become lost; they will require maps and guides.

9. Water will be contaminated and unsafe for drinking. Tankers will be needed for fire fighting and for carrying drinking water.

10. Citizens will volunteer but their commitment will usually be short-term.

11. There may be a multitude of hazardous materials incidents.

12. Aircraft will flood the area; law enforcement, fire, media, civilian, commercial and military aircraft will be a major concern.

13. The Command Post and/or EOC will be overrun with non-essential personnel; media, geologists, architects, engineers, representatives from other jurisdictions, etc.

14. Staging will be essential; the flow of personnel, equipment and supplies will be overwhelming.

15. Although it is an EOC function, the Field Command Post will become the temporary seat of government.

16. Electric power will be interrupted or will fail completely.

17. It will be difficult to shut off the gas; valves that are seldom, if ever, used will be difficult to find, and may not work when they are found.

18. Phone service will be erratic or non-existent. Pay phones will be the most reliable.

19. The media will have the best communications available; be prepared to share or impound their resources.

20. Fuel will not be available because there will be no electricity to run the pumps.

21. There will be an epidemic of flat tires; police, fire, and emergency medical vehicles will sustain a multitude of flat tires that will require repair in the field.

22. Fires will need to be investigated; mutual aid should include arson investigators.

23. The primary police department concern will be law enforcement; there will not be sufficient time or manpower to provide miscellaneous services.

24. It will become dark; there will not be enough generators or lights available.

25. Portable toilets will be in demand; there will be no place to go, and if a place is found there will be six photographers there to cover the event.

26. The perimeter will be difficult to control; citizens and media alike will offer good reasons why they should be allowed to enter the restricted area.

27. Search dogs will be needed early in the operation.

28. Documentation will be very important; there will be a multitude of requests for information later.

29. Riveted steel (oil and water storage) tanks may fail.

30. Streets will be impassable in some areas; it will be necessary to clear streets of rubble in order to conduct emergency operations.

31. The same buildings will be searched more than once unless they are clearly marked.

32. In earthquakes, there will be after shocks; they will hamper emergency operations, create new fears among the citizenry and may cause more destruction than the original shock.

33. Many injured people will have to find their own way to medical treatment facilities.

34. Volunteer and reserve personnel may be slow to respond; they will put their own families’ safety first.

35. On-duty public safety personnel will be concerned about their own families, and some may leave their posts to check on them.

36. Law enforcement and the media will clash; all media representatives should be referred to the Public Information Officer.

37. Very few citizens will utilize evacuation/mass care centers; they will prefer to stay with friends and relatives, or camp out in their own yards.

38. Structural engineers will be needed to evaluate standing buildings for use as evacuation centers, command posts, information centers, first aid stations.

39. The identification of workers and volunteers will be a problem; it will be difficult to determine who is working where and on what.

40. There will be rumors; people will be listening to their radios and must be given accurate information.

41. There will not be enough handie-talkies; batteries will soon go dead.

42. Many fire hydrants will be inaccessible (covered or destroyed by rubble) or inoperable.

43. Generators will run out of fuel; jerry cans of fuel must be obtained early - to maintain generator powered lighting and communications.

44. Critical facilities will have to be self-sufficient; gas, lights, water and sewage may be out for days.

45. Emergency responders will require rest and must be relieved. Local personnel may be of value as guides for mutual aid responders, or as supervisors for volunteer crews.

46. Equipment will be lost, damaged or stolen, and may never be accounted for.

47. Someone will get the bill; record-keeping and accounting procedures will be important.

48. Traditional non-emergency personnel will want to go home at 5 o’clock; all public employees must be made to realize that they are a part of the emergency response team.

49. People will die and there is nothing that can be done about it. Non-public safety personnel will not understand why everyone cannot be saved. Priorities must be set to save the most lives possible.

50. Dead bodies should not be an initial concern. Rescuing the living should be the first priority.

51. If phones are working, the number of requests for service will be overwhelming. People will have to fend for themselves; it will be difficult for dispatchers to ignore these pleas for help.

52. Some field units will disappear; you will not be able to reach them and will not know where they are or what they are doing.

53. Security will have to be posted at hospitals, clinics, and first-aid stations to control hysterical citizens demanding immediate attention.

54. Representatives from public agencies throughout the United States and many foreign countries will want to come and observe the operations or offer assistance. They will be a significant problem.

55. Department heads (EOC) staff may not have a working knowledge of their assigned areas of responsibility, and will play it by ear.

56. Some citizens and media representatives will question your decisions because they will not recognize that the safety of field responders is paramount.

57. There are no critically injured in a disaster; only those who are dead or alive.

58. Handicapped and disabled persons will probably die unless personal family and friends can care for them and maintain their life-support systems.

59. Management will not be familiar with field response procedures, and may attempt to change standard operating procedures.

60. Emergency responders (public safety and medical alike) will not be adequately trained to respond efficiently.

61. There will be initial chaos; supplies, materials and equipment needed will not be readily available.

62. There will be a general lack of necessary information; coordinators will want to wait for damage/casualty assessment information to establish priorities.

63. Emergency equipment will not be able to reach some locations because of traffic jams. Tow trucks will be at a premium. Parked or abandoned vehicles will block streets, and emergency responders will be the worst offenders.

64. Even though there will not be enough people to initially deal with emergencies, many available personnel will never be identified and never used. After the initial shock, there will be too many volunteers.

65. General information will be offered in response to specific questions because field units cannot verify the requested information.

66. Individual public safety officers will be asked to do the work of squads or companies; they will have to recruit volunteers on the spot to provide assistance to their efforts.

67. The message flow to, from, and within the EOC and Field Command Post will break down and become inefficient and unmanageable.

68. There will be an over critical desire to verify all incoming information. If it is received from a field unit, it should be considered as verified.

69. Some EOC and Command Post personnel will become overloaded; some will not be able to cope with the volume of activity and information they have to deal with, and some will not be able to cope with the noise and distractions.

70. Things will get better some time after they have become considerably worse.

Note:  Credit for list is a July 6, 2006 article by Lt. Dan Blackston, Chula Vista Police Department

The Final Word

As hip as it may sound to talk about zombies, the end of the world and a doomsday apocalypse, the reality is that a disaster is anything but cool and hip.  As we look back in modern history, we will find countless instances where a disaster, whether man-made or an act of nature, has wreaked unexpected havoc, destruction and panic.  The recovery process is long, and the level of organization and dedication required to successfully mobilize resources is huge.

As you read through this list of 70 things that can go wrong following a disaster, realize that while many of these things may not happen each and every time there is an emergency, many of them will indeed occur.  And it is true.  Things will get better – eventually – but they may also get a lot worse than you can imagine before the road to recovery begins.

As a layman citizen, think about your own needs now and how they might be impacted in an emergency.  Recognize and acknowledge up front that if things can go wrong, they will.  Go back and re-visit your most basic prepping skills and supplies by reviewing 12 Months of Prepping – The First Year.  And of course, continue to stow away extra food, water and especially tools that will help get you through if a disaster occurs in your community. Couple these with some basic survival skills and a bit of faith and you will have done your best to prepare.

Yes, it is a cliché, but I will say it once again.  Be prepared, not scared.

Comments by a gardner guy in NJ: Another reason to turn off the power … if you hook up a generator directly to your main house panel, you have to turn off the main before you start the generator … should the power come back on while your generator is pumping electric through your system, you could have some very bad affects … as we witnessed here in NJ during Hurricane Sandy where houses were burning down, because of this.

You may wish to consider adding some of the following to these 2 steps:

1. Are you safe?
While walking around, carry personal defense and be constantly on the lookout for things that could hurt or kill you while you are doing your inspection. High voltage wires, damaged trees and limbs or antennas that can fall on you, new ground holes or protrusions and shifted landscape rocks and walls or scattered sharp debris, debris on the roof that could slide down, and so on. Even animals and other people could be scared and dangerous. Do not focus just on your inspection. Be alert and continuously looking ALL around. Keep listening as well for natural and unnatural sounds.

4. Conserve Your Water
If you have some warning before the event, fill your tub(s) and sink(s) with water. Fill empty SAFE bottles with water. Consider emptying large soda bottles and filling them with water (the caffeine in some sodas can act as a diuretic and that is not generally something you want during a survival situation). Water is much more vital to survival than food in a disaster.

Jack on June 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm said: Forgot to include one of the most important elements for Step 1:

If at all possible, NEVER travel or perform potentially dangerous work alone…especially while conducting this potentially hazardous inspection. Familiarity with an area can lead one to be complacent and careless.

Self-Defense Tools Other Than Guns & Ammunition (such as Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats, Slingshots, etc. Sometimes a firearm isn't appropriate but the need for security always will be. Go with what you're comfortable with though and what you have the mental fortitude to use.  

Vegetable oil: for cooking, baking, maintenance, etc.  You’ve got to have oil so that your hormones and joints will function properly, so don’t try to skimp on using such a commodity.  Peanut oil burns very hot and can store for a long time.  We’ve stored ours for as long as 5 years, and that’s after using it.  Olive Oil also has a good shelf life and is also good for you.  However, the best oil to store is expeller pressed coconut oil.  It doesn’t taste like coconut in your foods, and has a very, very long shelf life.

Charcoal & Lighter fluid: While this may be OK for an immediate source of cooking, it’s unrealistic to think of this as a long-term solution. Being able to store enough is not likely and the lighter fluid is combustible, so not ideal to store either.  Think in terms of more long-term solutions such as the fuels I’ve mentioned previously.  However, these two items will become scarce very, very quickly if a news report breaks out of a coming catastrophe.

Water containers: In my opinion, if you wait for the news report to try and obtain these, then you’ve waited too long.  You should be acquiring these now.  Only use hard clear plastic.  Do not use milk bottles as they break down very quickly.  It’s important to think in terms of all different kinds of sizes so that you can have portable water as well as primary sources.  You can live without food for 3 days, but you cannot go very long without water.  It’s necessary for the 200,000 gallons of blood your heart pumps through each day, and the several thousands of gallons worth of water than your kidney and liver go through each day as well. 

Fuel-based heater: It would be a shame to have plenty of food and water on hand but still perish due to cold weather.  Cold weather will also compound any illnesses that you and your family may be experiencing as well.  If you use a kerosene heater, you can use it inside in an emergency situation, but you will need to have ventilation as well. 

Grain Grinder: Yes, these get hoarded in an emergency situation.  You need to have a non-electric one on hand.  Flour will fly off the shelves with the right newscast.  And it’s significantly more expensive than the whole grains of wheat, millet, etc.  So start looking now for the ideal model while you have the luxury to do so in order to not have to do with whatever is left. 

Propane Cylinders: Another highly hoarded item is the grills that go with the propane cylinders.  Be sure that you have a quality grill on hand now and some spare propane cylinders as well.
Read more HERE


Elayne Pearson
Mom on a Mission


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