Yesterday I was reading my children the classic story of the grasshopper and the ant. For those that may be unfamiliar with the story it is about a hard working ant who is busy all summer long stockpiling food for the hard winter ahead while the other character in the story, the grasshopper, spends his days playing his fiddle and dancing. Then the cold harsh reality of winter arrives and the grasshopper finds himself cold and hungry while the smart little ant is warm and snug in her nest with her stockpile of food set aside to feed her (and here fellow ants) the winter through.
It is amazing to me that there is actually a children’s story centered around stockpiling. With all of the negative connotations that have been floating around there in the media about stockpiling and couponing it was refreshing to pull this story out from the bookcase and use it as a teaching moment to my children on being a hard worker and being prepared. Having a reasonable stockpile is not hoarding, not if you are going to use it. It is not foolish. It is not greedy or selfish. It is not glutinous. No indeed it it is smart!
In the wake of Hurricane Irene I am reminded just how important and convenient it is to have a stockpile. After speaking with some of my couponing friends one of the common threads has been “I am so glad I have a stockpile!” Unlike other natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes, hurricanes usually come with a few days notice. People then rush to the store to stock-up on water, bread and canned goods because they are not already prepared. While the stockpiler is pretty much set and may only need to run to the store for a few items to get them through. But what about those of us that live in an area where a natural disaster can strike without warning, we are left at the mercy of nature and many find themselves unprepared! When a tornado touches down, like we saw recently in Joplin Missouri, grocery stores were destroyed, so there was no running to the market to pick up supplies after it happens.
I am not a doomsday, oh woe is me, the sky is falling, it is Armageddon, rapture or what have you type person. I try to live life in the moment and enjoy and count the many blessings I have. However I also strive to be more like the ant in the story, and be prepared for the things I know are coming (like the harsh Wyoming winters) or the things I know are a real possibility like tornadoes. Heck some unfortunate soul could hit a power line with their car and we could be without power for a day or two. You just never know. I started couponing because it was an economically sound thing to do, but I have learned that the side benefit of having a stockpile it that I am prepared for the unexpected. My stockpile for the most part could allow my family to survive for at least a month if we had to. However after talking to my coupon buddies in the last few days I have been inspired to take stock of my stockpile and focus on some of things missing in my own stockpile that would be necessary if we were were hit with a power outage for an extended period of time.
My own list includes:
- Water – Outside of two 24-packs and a few bottles and containers stashed in my freezer I don’t have nearly enough water to support my family of 6 plus 6 pets.
- First aid supplies – My band-aid stockpile is pitifully low. With two 6 year olds who love band-aids more than their Pillow Pets and think nothing of applying a Hello Kitty or Batman band-aid on a freckle or because it matches their outfits, I need to re-stock. I also could use a few other supplies in my kit too, summer is hard on the first aid kit.
- Powdered milk – Not something I drink a lot of (I am lactose intolerant) but it sure is nice to have on hand just in case. There are hardly any coupons for this stuff but I am willing to pay full price (gasp) to have a few boxes on the shelf. And I know from experience that this is just nice to have on hand. Just last week I ran out of milk and needed 3/4 of a cup for a batch of cookies I was baking, it was late at night, I was in my PJ’s and I really did not want to go to the store for a gallon of milk, so I meandered out to the stockpile and pulled out some powdered milk and I was good to go!
- Pet food – I am set on human food, but I usually just buy my pet food these days by the bag. I tried stockpiling it but I just found that it wasn’t worth it as my cats tore into the bags, or the food got moldy or what have you. Now I do have a small stash of canned food that could do us OK in an emergency but I would like to store at least one extra bag of dry food just in case. During a disaster is not the time to be changing your pets diet…vomiting or diarrhea is not what you want to be dealing with when you are rationing water.
- Propane – When we moved into our house 1 1/2 years ago, we were blessed that the previous owner hooked us up with a natural gas line for our outdoor grill. We love this, so very handy to not run out of propane mid grill. Or have to buy it at all. But if there was a tornado our gas line might get broken, so I think it is time to dig out our two propane tanks and get them filled and stored safely so we have a way to cook and heat water.
This is just my list of items needed, you can find a basic list of emergency preparedness supplies at Ready.gov.
Are you a grasshopper or an ant? Or some where in between? What do you need to stockpile in case of an emergency?