Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Disaster Planning

Since Katrina, I’ve been trying to spend about $25 a week on disaster preparedness. Fortunately, I already own some basic camping gear, so I’m starting out by storing more food and water. My pantry tends to be thin on food that can be eaten without preparations. I have powerbars and snack bars so I’ve been adding canned foods, trail mixes, and I’m going to get a couple of army “meals-ready-to eat.” Each of those tastes about as good as a brick, but is far more nutritious: Each has about 2,000 calories, which is a day’s eating.

Eric Rescorla has two excellent posts on the water side of things: “Arranging for a supply of water” and “Kevin Dick on water preparedness.” I’m guessing that Kevin lives in California, and is concerned with earthquakes. This causes him to have supplies in the car. My disaster model is a little more hurricane focused, and so I expect to have warning. Not that I’ll leave my car empty, but my focus is a five day stay at home.

One of the things I learned from Eric’s posts is to think about water not only as hydration, but also sanitization, and so bought a few 8 oz jugs of hand sanitizer. Another thing I learned, as I was storing the trail mix: Check the ‘best by’ date on it. It turns out that one jar I got has a ‘best by’ date in January 06. And it looked so dehydrated and up-appealing.

The final food question is caffeine. I don’t want to be stressed out, and have withdrawl symptoms at the same time. Nor do I want to be munching coffee beans raw. I did get some ground coffee, which can be made to work if I have heat. I could assume that my (gas) stove will work, and get a French press. I could get a camp stove, or a camp coffee maker. I could get chocolate-covered espresso beans. None of these seem really satisfactory.

11 comments on "Disaster Planning"

  • Disaster preparedness: food and caffeine

    Adam Shostack worries that he might need to eat in a disaster situation: Since Katrina, I’ve been trying to spend about $25 a week on disaster preparedness. Fortunately, I already own some basic camping gear, so I’m starting out by…

  • Zooko says:

    I like french press coffee, and Turkish-style (which is almost like “camp coffee” — boil and serve — but subtly different). I also like munching on dark-roasted coffee beans.
    So I guess if I ever get stuck in a disaster I’ll be one lucky coffee addict.

  • Len says:

    For the caffeine issue, why complicate things? A package of Vivarin would do the trick. (Each pill contains 200mg of caffeine, which is a little more than two cups of coffee, and there’s no preparation issue.)

  • beri says:

    Spend that $25 on electing representatives who will overturn the dangerous and intrusive laws that undermine our freedom. That’s the trouble with people today; they think about themselves too much. Worrying about coffee, indeed. As my grandmother used to say, “that should be the worst thing you ever have to worry about.”

  • David Brodbeck says:

    Sorry, but I can’t agree. Money spent on ensuring you survive a natural disaster is money well spent — especially if you live in a hurricane, earthquake, or ice storm zone. While this government is worse than most, you can rarely rely on the government to help you in the first 24 hours of a major disaster. Besides, if you die, you’re not going to have much influence in the next election (unless you live in Chicago.)

  • David Brodbeck says:

    A note about water storage — if you’re like me, and you don’t keep a lot of stuff in your freezer, consider putting a gallon or two of water in there. (Use plastic containers, and don’t fill the jugs all the way, of course, or they’ll burst.) The added thermal mass will help keep your freezer and refrigerator cold if the power goes out.

  • stephie says:

    you should make some of those pizzas we used to make and freeze them. Even if the power goes out for awhile, you can eat them. And they are so much fun to make……if you have a recipe to make the crust by hand I’d be really interested to get my hands on that. And we could make them next time you are up since my jetlag is gone and i do enjoy taking over the kitchen in my apartment to piss off my roommates….I always clean up after and they seem super confused that i managed to cook and clean up in such a short period of time (less than 6 hours)…boys….go figure.

  • starat says:

    Hudson Trail Outfitters makes a spiffy plastic mug with a travel top and french press filter built right into the top. I swear by it when camping.
    The other must-have, assuming you have a source of fire, is a stovetop espresso maker. You can go for the Moka Express percolator-eqsue type, or you can find what I just bought on eBay for under $20 – a Benjamin and Medwin stove top, complete with mike foaming nozzle. It’s like a little pressure cooker with an espresso spout and a foaming arm.
    Who said low tech == uncivilized?

  • izar says:

    Very commendable, planning for disaster.
    I’ve been entertaining the idea of acquiring a gun. A civilian version of a short M16 would suffice, given that the dear wife is skilled in its use. Perhaps given the mob character of these occurences, a Mossberg would be more indicated, although i don’t think i can keep one disassembled and still put it together in time to be of any use.
    Not that I plan to stand in front of the property and defend what’s mine, but to be able to reach a safe harbor and stay safe once I’m there.
    But, on the other hand, how do the authorities here view the common citizen that holds a gun in the middle of a (probably panicky) evacuation?

  • Ed says:

    How much you think bird-flu vaccine costs? Wanna pool resources and get some of “life-juice” for us all to share?

  • Adam says:

    I was discussing this with someone, and mentioned my frustration at the cost of a camp stove, or other heat source. They mentioned using a grill to heat water. Brilliant! I thought I’d share that. I forget who it was that suggested it. Speak up if you’re here?

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