Can you imagine a world without Walmart, or other convenient stores near your home? Most of us have become used to grocery stores always being available. At some point or another, we've all made a quick run to the store to grab one important thing we needed that moment. And while it's great that we've been able to enjoy that convenience for so long, we should avoid becoming too reliant on the store. It may not always be there to bail us out.
Did you know that the average grocery store only carries about 72 hours worth of food? Yep. That means that if they can't restock their supply—for whatever reason—their shelves will be empty within 72 hours. Keep in mind that those shelves will empty more quickly during emergencies. In those cases, 72 hours might be a generous estimate.
What could possibly cause a big store such as the mighty Walmart to run out of food? What could possibly prevent you from making it to the store? Here are some reasons:
There are two major reasons why the grocery store may not be an option during a natural disaster:
- The store is damaged
- The roads are damaged or blocked
Let's take an earthquake, for example. Hopefully you're fortunate enough that your home is not seriously damaged by the next big earthquake. However, even if your home survives unscathed, the store may not be as lucky. The store probably covers more square footage than your home, making it more likely to be damaged. It may have to be closed for repairs.
Road damage can easily occur during an earthquake. Even if the grocery store is open for business, a buckled or otherwise damaged road may prevent you from getting there. You may just have to stay home and rely on your own store of food.
Maybe you're lucky and neither the store nor the roads near your home are seriously damaged. That's a great start, but now we have to consider the delivery trucks that supply products to the stores. They need to travel much greater distances, making it more likely for something to get in their way. Maybe your roads are fine, but that doesn't mean all the roads between the stores and their suppliers are fine. If they can't bring in new supplies, then you're looking at 72 hours of food or less before those shelves are empty.
Tornadoes, Tsunamis, and Floods can all cause damage to buildings and make streets unusable.
Riots are more formally known as "civil unrest," which is a term you'll likely start hearing more often. Riots can happen any time enough people get upset and choose to express their emotions by damaging property or resorting to violence.
People are getting upset all across the country. This anger can be fueled by a number of things, including bad economic circumstances, civil rights issues, and even sporting events.
Chances are, you've probably seen things in the news that could quickly escalate into a riot under the right circumstances. If that happens, your trip to the store will probably be canceled. Your store might even be badly damaged in the process, leaving it closed for a prolonged period after the riot ends.
Sometimes things happen that are just out of our control, and many things could result in long-term unemployment. It's important to prepare before it happens.
If, for some reason, you can't afford a trip to the grocery store, you will be very happy that you put aside some extra food for a rainy day. Being able to use your emergency food could free up enough money to pay your bills while you seek new employment.
At the time of writing, unemployment is reported to be 5-6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, this number doesn't reflect the actual number of unemployed people. It's just the number of people actively receiving unemployment benefits. There are plenty of people actively seeking a job who aren't receiving those checks.
So, how many people are actually unemployed? Using more accurate figures, some estimates show the true number to be closer to 12%. Other independent researchers estimate it to be even higher.
There has been relative peace in the USA, compared to other parts of the world. The wars our country has been involved with have largely been fought far away from our homeland. But, because we can't guarantee it will always be that way, we should prepare ourselves for the possibility that things might change.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.
Grid Down — No Electricity
No electricity means no refrigerator. As soon as the lights go out, the clock is ticking on the food in your fridge.
If the electricity is down for a prolonged period, grocery stores will begin having the same problem. They do have generators to provide electricity, but those generators won't last forever. What if the power is out for a month?
It's hard to imagine large portions of the country without power for more than a few hours, but things can happen. Lightning strikes and car accidents aren't the only things that can disrupt our power.
We all know there is a wide variety of people in the world who seek to harm others. These people could intentionally cause an outage. Most of us have heard news outlets discussing the threat of an EMP attack, which, as many people say, would "put us back in the stone age."
If there is a widespread outage, you'd better believe the repair teams will have their hands full, and it may be a while before they make it to your part of town.
There are several things that could cause an economic collapse, but for now we'll just focus on what to expect when it happens.
One symptom of a failing economy is high inflation. That means your money is worth less than it was when you earned it. (So much for savings, right?) When money loses value, store prices shoot through the roof to compensate. A loaf of bread that would normally cost you a couple bucks could end up at over $20. (Click here to see more estimated inflation prices.)
When people are short on money, unnecessary purchases are cut drastically. If you're concerned about paying your bills, you probably won't be eating out anytime soon. That will have an impact on everyone who sells non-essential or luxury items. The travel industry, the auto industry, and several others will grind to a halt. Jobs will dry up fast.
When people can't afford to feed their families, the result is an increase in theft and looting. In desperate times, people will do what it takes to get what they need—even if it means taking it from someone else. It may be safer to stay home than to fight over items at the store.
Stay in Your House
There are several scenarios in which law enforcement may order individuals to stay inside their homes. This keeps civilians out of the way while official personnel deal with problems in the area.
A number of factors could cause such an event, and depending on those factors, the duration of your stay at home could range widely.
Threat of a Disaster
Sometimes, even the threat of these events can empty store shelves. If there is a chance of a blizzard or other severe weather, there is a huge increase in store visits. Have you ever seen a store after a closing sale? Imagine if your grocery store looked like that when you really needed to find clean drinking water for your family.
Bread shelves after rumors of a snow storm in Atlanta.
Many of the above scenarios go hand in hand, and we may end up facing several of these events. Although it can be uncomfortable to think about these things, it's better to think about them now, rather than later. Right now, there's still time to prepare.
But what should I stock up on?
One of the best ways to prepare for a disaster is to imagine you're already in one. What if, starting right now, you couldn't leave your home for 2 weeks? Look around your home and see what items you would run out of first. Consider everything. Of course you'll need food, but do you have enough toilet paper? Do you have a child in diapers? Do you have a pet?
Whatever you do, don't forget the water! The average person doesn't have any water stored for an emergency. Do you? It doesn't matter how much food you have if you don't have any water to drink. It's pretty simple to store too. Just get a good container and put some water in it. Just search the internet for "water containers" and you'll find what you need.
The current recommendation for water storage is 2 gallons/person each day. This gives you enough for drinking and other water needs.
Do you have questions about food storage?
Feel free to ask us. We'd love to help you get prepared and enjoy peace of mind.