Stocking Up On Emergency Supplies At the Last Minute

Empty shelves in a supermarket

In any emergency, whether it is a hurricane, major snowstorm or civil unrest resulting in the interruption of food and other supplies, you may need to go shopping. Such emergencies might also include the disruption of utilities.

Now, if you are an experienced and well-prepared prepper and are at home with your preps, you probably don’t need to read any further. However, if you are a beginning prepper, one of the average sheep with no supplies, or an experienced prepper who is caught away from their preps, you need to read this.  Here is a list of emergency supplies that will disappear rapidly and where to find them.

Seven areas of emergency supplies you should think about

1. Food

Even a non-prepper should have several days worth of food in their house. I put this list of 34 very useful and versatile foods to keep on hand.

Now, the first thing most people will think about is to go to a grocery store and this may be their only choice, but you should take a look at what other stores may be available to you.  Try to avoid the typical grocery store, since that is where everyone else will be. There are many other types of stores that carry limited amounts of canned goods or other foods. This can include stores that sell sporting goods, drug stores, restaurant suppliers, and various types of big box stores.

TIP: Sporting goods stores usually carry freeze-dried meals for campers and backpackers. If you want to buy a few of those meals, since they are so easy to prepare, this could be the place to find them quickly.

Try to purchase foods that will keep without any need for special storage. This means you will be buying mostly canned or packaged foods. Get as much canned meat or fish as possible. Buy all you can. Buy foods that just require heating and not a lot of cooking. Give this some thought and next time you go to the stores in your area, pay attention to what they carry and where it is located.

2. Water

Buy all the bottled water you can get, plus at least a gallon of unscented bleach to purify additional water. There is a lot of misinformation out there about ways to purify water. This book is an excellent, ultimate resource for the best ways to accumulate, purify, and store water

A lot of the small gas stations and convenience type stores carry a good selection of drinking water. In additional to water, you can buy other drinks such as sodas, fruit juices, etc. I recommend that you avoid alcohol; in a crisis, it often causes more problems than it is worth.

See also  So You Have to Bugout, How Do you Load Out?

3. Matches

Most people don’t have matches or cigarette lighters at home in any quantity. Remember, you are probably not an expert woodsman and will find that you use a large number of matches the first time you light a fire. For matches try places like the Dollar Stores or buy them online in bulk.

4. Batteries & Flashlights

All kinds of stores carry these. Acquire as many as you can. Many of the building supply stores like Home Depot and Lowes have large stocks of them. Keep them in your purse, a tiny one on your keychain (like this one), in every emergency kit, in bedside tables, and in every vehicle. You really can’t own too many flashlights and backup batteries!

5. Medication 

Stock up on what you need — both over the counter and prescription. Hopefully, all your prescriptions are up to date. Many over the counter drugs are available in a wide variety of stores, not just a Target or Walgreens. Check with your insurance company to see if you can get another month’s worth of prescription meds.

6. Fuel

This includes gasoline, Coleman fuel, charcoal, butane, propane or kerosene. Of cause, we all know where to find gasoline. However many of the other fuels can be found in camping or building supplies, any store that sells barbeques, paint stores and many others.

7. Candles

A good place to look for candles is craft stores, some religious stores, and most big box or grocery stores. Don’t forget tea lights. They can provide safe illumination and there are even ways to use them to cook food and stay warm. As with anything that is open flame, please be SURE to be extra careful around candles.

While this is a very limited list of emergency supplies, if you are in your own home and have access to your normal household supplies, bedding, pots and pans, knives, tool etc. you should be able to get by for the short term.

One thing I want to stress is learn where you can purchase these items. Think outside the box. Most people will go to the big chain grocery stores first. Your best bet may be to look for other alternatives.


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7 thoughts on “Stocking Up On Emergency Supplies At the Last Minute”

  1. i don’t understand why people who live in pron areas for emergency,like tornado, earthquakes, even just winter etc… Why don’t you have supplies stuck back if only at that time of the year? Why wait for the last minute? Its not like it only comes once in a blue moon. Its hard to have compassion for those who wait until the last minute then cry because they didn’t plan ahead and want you to take care of them.

  2. SouthernHomestead

    I grew up on the Gulf Coast and my family were preppers long before there was such a word. When Hurricane Ivan hit in 2004 I already had such things as food, alternative cooking sources and alternative lighting stored away. However, I thought it prudent to make some last minute runs because your vehicle never stays full of fuel and you can never have too much. You always need more than you think. The key I found is react quickly with a plan in mind. Most people respond when the news media goes into panic mode. We need to be discerning and prepared to respond at the first indications there is a problem. Fuel should be your first target as my experience dictates the lines are both long and slow. It would be ideal if you got gas at a Wal-mart or similar situation and send the bulk of your family into the store with a list of critical items while you fill up the vehicle and any empty cans with fuel. Word of caution, don’t be the guy in a long line of cars trying to fill a 55 gal. drum. This can cause panicked people to get hostile quick. Saw this with my own eyes. I made my last minute runs ahead of the panic so I can not say enough about being proactive and decisive.

  3. Candles, candles, candles…………….I have over 200 pounds of them, all from yard sales! Bet I don’t have $25 invested! People literally give them away, so if you need candles, start yard sailing! You’ll be amazed at the other “things” you’ll find there, too! Like a new Big Berkey for $8.00…..Gee, you must really like coffee! Back pack filters, $1.00 each, compasses, you name it! reat way to stock up and save money!

  4. South Bay Safety Guy

    Looking in non-obvious stores is a great idea. Back in 2009 when N1H1 was just starting to hit the news, my family decided to get some N95 masks “just in case” things turned ugly. Even though there had only been a couple of confirmed cases in the US at that point and flu wasn’t yet making big headlines, every online health-related store I checked was already sold out — and internet reports said that the 3M company had gone into overdrive running factories 24×7 and would take weeks or months to meet the demand. I was able to purchase what we wanted from a work-working supply outlet (those masks also block sawdust from power tools), but even that store was sold out a few hours later so you still have to move quickly.

    Also a note on candles: They’re cheap, reliable, simple, and last forever — but they create an open flame under circumstances where normal 9-1-1 response to a fire is out of the question. I feel a lot safer with a few “Luci” lights: about $15 each, solar rechargeable, brighter than a candle, and zero fire hazard. If you must use candles, consider “7-day candles” which are enclosed in a glass tube; they’re much safer if accidentally knocked over, and are under $2 each at a local drugstore or supermarket. (That’s our backup to the solar lights.)

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