Those of you who've been reading long enough may recall that Matthew is a bit of a "prepper." Not like the crazy ones you see on TV, but he enjoys preparing for worst-case scenarios. So now... please enjoy Matthew's list of 10 Things You Need To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse.
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Jenni asked if I could write a top ten list of things people would need to survive the oncoming apocalypse. I am by no means an expert, but I said sure, and now you get to read this literary masterpiece. I don’t really think the zombies are coming, and nobody can stockpile enough supplies to last a lifetime. In reality, making sure you have two weeks of supplies should be enough for you to weather the storm until things return to normal. Most people don’t have supplies to last more than 2 days, which is a scary thought considering what lengths some people go to in order to survive. So, without further ado, here is your “Top Ten Things You Need to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse That is Not Going to Happen But You Need This Stuff Anyways Because I Won’t Share With You.” Seriously, I won’t share. Anyone who tries to convince me to share will enjoy me sharing the barrel end of my shotgun in their face.
Grocery stores have something called “on demand warehousing.” That means grocery stores don’t stockpile stuff like they use to. Nowadays the delivery guy drops off goods about every other day. Because of this almost every grocery store would run out of basic essentials within 3 days of the last delivery.
1. Water: In order make sure you have enough, you’ll need 1 gallon of water per person per day. We have two dogs, so that makes 4 gallons of water per day. If you decide to stock pile water, a good tip is to buy the Ozarka brand. They come in 3 quart sizes, so you’ll need to buy a few extra to make up the difference (4 quarts = 1 gallon), but unlike normal milk gallon style jugs, the Ozarka brand is stackable to save space.
2. Food: The best way to stockpile food is to can it (hint Jenni). You obviously can’t store perishable items for very long, so the second best way is to just buy canned goods. Remember that you’re getting just enough to get by, so you don’t have to clean out the grocery store. It’s a good idea to get meals, like beef stew. It’s an easy way to get your calories in, while not taking too much extra space in your pantry. Another great way is get a bunch of Mountain House freeze dried camping meals. They have a shelf life of 20 years and only require warm water. The pouch they come in serves as the bowl so you don’t have to waste water on cleaning dishes. And they’re delicious. They need to be stored in a cool and dry place, not your garage or attic. We keep ours in a closet. But I’m not going to tell you which closet it is. It’s booby-trapped.
3. Clothing: If you’ve ever gone on a vacation with a guy, you realize how much stuff we forget. I pack in like two minutes. Seriously. I always remember my tooth brush and that’s about it. I never remember my swimsuit. Ever. And we always go to the beach. Clothing isn’t as big of a deal where we live because it doesn’t get very cold. For those of you who live in cooler climates where it snows and the leaves change, I hate you. Kidding. I just miss the seasons. Anyways, just remember that once the power goes out, the heater won’t work and we don’t need any more unplanned babies in this world.
4. Firearms. Here is an area that many so-called preppers go way overboard (no babe…each gun we own is for a very specific purpose.) Seriously, people will go out and spend all their money on guns and forget to spend any money or time making sure they have enough food. Think about what I just said. If they don’t have food and they need food, guess what they are going to use to get the food? Even if you’re a diehard liberal and hate guns, don’t be naive. Go buy a gun. Guns don’t kill people. It’s not going to wake up and walk itself over to your bed and hold you at gunpoint. The only way gun violence will end is if there isn’t a single gun on the planet and that’s not going to happen. Besides, we’ve been killing each other since before guns were invented and it’s not going to stop because people hold up signs trying to convince the president to ban ARs. If you’re going to limit yourself to only one gun, then buy a 12 gauge shotgun. Nothing is more proven for home defense and it’s a weapon that, if it ever came to it, you could hunt with it. They are simple to use, ammunition is readily available, and you can pick one up for around $300. Nothing strikes more fear in an intruder than the sound a shotgun makes when you load a round. If you refuse to own a gun, then don’t advertise your decision. Yours is the first house hungry people will be coming to and it doesn’t take very long until your neighbor, who you had lunch with last Friday, is pointing a .45 at you demanding food and water. If you still don’t want to own a gun and would choose death because of your “principles,” then I hope you’re single and don’t have a family that you’d be putting at risk because you want to defend your home with a wooden spoon.
5. Games. Many people overlook how boredom can affect a person’s optimism. In dire situations, a positive outlook can mean the difference between life and death. I don’t think people will die of boredom in two weeks, but having something to do really helps to keep your mind off a tough situation. Board games are a great way to pass time and a deck of cards always comes in handy. I’ve chosen Monopoly and only Monopoly, because I’m incredible at it. Jenni hates to play me. It’s awesome to see her financial empire crushed by my impressive strategic maneuvering. She’s amazing at Scrabble and she destroys me. She thinks I put it in our emergency supplies. I burned it.
6. Medical supplies. You should go through your medicine cabinet right now. Ours was terrible. We had medicine that expired in 2004. Seriously, who keeps allergy medicine from nearly a decade ago? A good first aid kit is something everyone should have and make sure that you have enough pain and cold medicine, allergy medicine, etc. A good tip is to also refill your prescriptions early. Most insurance companies will allow a refill after 20 days (meaning you have 10 days left until you’re out). If you do this just once, then you’ll always have an extra 10 day supply in case something happens. Just be sure to check the expiration date. Whenever I get a refill, I separate a 10-day supply from the new batch and throw in last month’s pills into the new bottle. That way I always have the freshest emergency supply.
7. Pet supplies. People often forget to stock up on dog food (or cat food). Dogs can obviously survive for two weeks on human food if you forget, but getting an extra bag of dog food is such an easy thing to do. Also make sure you have an extra supply of medication too and toys for them to play with.
8. Emergency power. We have a GoalZero power brick. It’s kind of expensive, but it’s one of those things you wish you had when you need it. I keep it plugged in and it stores enough power to run a small TV for 8 hours. It can charge an iPad 12 times, an iPhone 90 times, and can run a radio for nearly 400 hours straight. If the power goes out, you’re going to want something to keep your electronics charged and have a source of power for a radio to receive updates from emergency responders. The smarter use is to keep your wife happy by using it to watch every Harry Potter three times.
9. Lighting. This ties into number 8. If the power grid goes down, then you’re on your own when the sun goes down. Flashlights are a good bet, but there are better options today than the old D battery Mag-lites. I keep a solar powered flashlight on the dash of my truck. It will provide light for 80 hours. I also have a hand-cranked light that will provide 20 minutes of light for 30 seconds of cranking. But if things get bad, just make sure you don’t attract attention by having your house the only house lit up at night. Emergency generators are great, but not if you’re the only one on your block that has one. Close your drapes at night to not attract attention.
10. For most of us, our preparations are limited to what our budget allows. For those of you who can afford anything, I highly suggest that you purchase this, this, and this. All three are highly necessary.
I really don’t think zombies are going to take over the world. I do, however, think it’s vitally important to be prepared because no one can predict what’s going to happen. Do you think the people affected by Hurricane Katrina ever thought they would be without food and water for three weeks? What about everyone hit by Hurricane Sandy? The Rodney King riots shut down grocery stores and gas stations for 8 days. The Los Angeles earthquake caused nearly 6,000 people to be surrounded by concrete and the only method of evacuation was by helicopter. Imagine placing yourself in a concrete fish bowl for two weeks without food and fresh water. And let’s never forget what happened on September 11th, 2001.
Some of the preppers or survivalists take it way too far (I always wonder where they get their money to buy all this stuff because none of them ever seem to have a job?). These people have built underground bunkers, walk around in bullet proof vests, build compounds in the desert with solar powered toilets, etc. If that’s your thing, have at it. To me, it’s taking it too far. No one can store enough preparations to last until you die. At some point, stockpiles run out and you have to turn to a self sustaining lifestyle (Jenni, please learn how to can food and bake bread. You’d make me so happy). A reasonable amount of preparations is something everyone should have on hand. At the very least, it can provide you with a peace of mind that if something were to happen, you’d likely be able to weather the storm until things return to normal.
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Want more from Matthew? Check out the "Ask Matthew" posts Part One and Two. :)