Q. You wrote on spiritual preparedness. How about the physical? What preparations would you recommend for tough times ahead?
A. Well, if you’re thinking about the end of the world, then you can hardly prepare enough to last through the Great Tribulation! Some people have actually built for themselves bunkers stocked with food and water, with a generator so they can survive for months or even years! But that would be beyond the reach of ordinary folks like us. How many people you know have a rural cottage where they can hunker down? Few, I suppose. Having said that, all of us should be prepared for shorter-term emergencies such as natural disasters e.g. snow/ice storm, hurricane, flood, or man-made ones like riots, terrorism, financial collapse etc.
What you need to prepare depends on many factors such as the type of disaster, its duration (days, weeks or months), your location (urban vs. rural), the season (summer vs. winter), how many members to your family (their age and health), your finances etc. But most people would focus on the following areas:
On average, each person drinks 2 liters of water per day, plus use another 2 liters for cooking and cleaning. A large bottle of distilled water in grocery stores holds 18 ltr. or about 5 gal. Calculate the number of bottles you need based on how many people and how many days you want to prepare for.
You need 2,000 calories per person per day, in a balanced diet of all 5 food groups:
• Carbohydrates – grain, pasta
• Vegetables – canned
• Fruits – dried
• Protein – beans
• Dairy – powdered
The problem is shelf-life, only 2-3 years for sun-dried or canned foods, which means rotation to replenish older stock. You can’t depend on the refrigerator either, as frozen food starts going bad when power goes out for more than half a day. Some buy MRE (meals ready-to-eat) packaged food, which have a shelf-life of up to 20-25 years if stored in a cool dry place. These are vacuum-packed, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods which you only need to add hot water.
Conventional flash lights using batteries do not last very long. More energy efficient, longer lasting are LED nights. Better still if they have solar panel for recharging. You also need to store candles and matches.
The trouble with gas or oil furnaces is that the blower fan stops working when there is power outage. For that you need a generator hooked to essential appliances such as furnace, fridge, and some lighting. However, If you have a gas fireplace, they keep going even when power is out.
The other usage is for cooking. For short-term emergencies, get a camp stove or hot-pot stove that use propane or butane in containers. Make sure you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by cooking or boiling water in a well-ventilated place.
(To be continued)