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Will you be ready to barter?



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Let’s face it, it may be impossible to prepare for every single situation you’ll encounter in an emergency or widespread cataclysm. You’ll have to barter for some things, but that’s the way commerce has worked from the beginning. Thinking about recent history and the shortages that the World Wars caused, we have first-hand accounts of what people want desperately when things go bad. Some aren’t surprising – alcohol, tobacco, pain relief, Some are surprising – in mass supply chain interruptions, demand for luxury items like shaving cream or makeup tends to stay steady.

Take a few minutes to examine your prepping plan and see if you can identify an area of skill, a renewable supply or an abundance of something that you can earmark for bartering. For example, if you’ve got the space and talent for a healthy garden, consider expanding so you can barter food. If you’ve got a barn and plan to stay put, a large stash of bicycle parts could become a viable trade business if we can no longer rely on gasoline-powered transportation.

Extra ammunition – for rifles the most common ammunition is 22LR, .223 and 5.56. For pistols the most common ammunition is 9mm and .45ACP. Don’t forget the ever-popular 12 gauge shotgun.

Medical supplies – right now medical supplies are so cheap it makes sense to stock plenty of sterile dressings (gauze, bandages 4x4s, and band aids), antibacterial cream, elastic Ace bandages, BZK-based antiseptic wipes, medical adhesive tape, ibuprofen, steel sewing needles and heavy duty thread and scalpels with #15 blade. Also scoop up extra copies of basic medical books at half-priced book shops and library sales.

Food – we always encourage people to store more dehydrated meals than they think they’re going to need. Some of our dehydrated meals have up to a 25 year shelf life. Since they aren’t going to go bad anytime soon they’ll just give you more and more of a return on your investment as the years go on. Also, if you can, you should be growing your own extra vegetables (especially green vegetables and root vegetables), medicinal herbs, citrus fruit or nuts. If you live in the right climate, now is the time to plant extra fruit or nut trees.

Silver – silver is believed to be the most readily tradable currency. You can invest in 100 ounce silver bars that are small, durable and portable.

Other good barter items:

Insect repellant, instant coffee (or coffee and filters), tea bags, salt and spices, paperback books, simple over-the-counter medicines, antibiotics, candles (and candle-making supplies), luxury items such as soap, shampoo and makeup, bicycles and bicycle parts, small hand tools (knives, axes, handsaws), fabric, stringed instruments, anything solar powered and water filters. Those not opposed may consider stashing tobacco and alcohol that doesn’t need a stable environment (not wine or beer).

Hidden Dangers AFTER Emergencies
Clean up crews who began putting New Orleans back together after Katrina reported a hazard nobody anticipated: an abundance of snakes - everywhere.

As we have seen recently from the cleanup after Hurricane Sandy slammed New Jersey and New York, the initial dangers of a natural disaster may pass in a day or two, but other dangers can linger long afterward. Here are some post-storm dangers to watch out for.

  • Animals, insects or reptiles where they aren’t supposed to be. Fire, flood, hurricanes and snowstorms can drive outside critters inside. Especially after a flood, carefully move debris or enter cars or houses that have been affected or left empty. Fires and floods can drive wildlife into urban areas and the animals can be confused, frightened and aggressive. Abandoned dogs that were once good pets may become predatory when hungry and out of their element. If you encounter an animal out of it’s element, call a wildlife specialist or animal control office. If those services aren’t operating, it’s best to make a wide berth.
    • Mosquitos can breed in small amounts of standing water, even saltwater in some cases. Female mosquitos can lay upward of 100 eggs at a time and those eggs hatch in as little as 48 hours and start laying eggs of their own in about 10 days. Though it’s believed that you can’t contract malaria in the United States, mosquitos can carry West Nile virus and Dengue Fever. Be sure to have plenty of mosquito repellant in your emergency kit.
    • Asthma and allergies can be severely aggravated by natural disasters. Pollen counts go up after heavy rains and mold can cause a battery of serious problems. Early stage symptoms of mold exposure look like a head cold or aggravated allergies, and these symptoms can turn to flu-like symptoms with more exposure.
    • Any natural disaster that causes damage to sewer systems can result in gastrointestinal disease outbreaks that range in severity from cholera (very rare in the United States, though possible) to norovirus. Also, lack of sanitation can lead to the spread of hepatitis and similar diseases. Be sure you are up to date on water safety procedures if your area experiences earthquake or flooding, and be vigilant about sanitation and personal hygiene. For this reason, hand sanitizers are another essential element in your emergency kit.
    • Beware of downed power lines, gas leaks and other damaged public utility infrastructure. These services can take days or even weeks to restore and damaged infrastructure can be deadly. When in doubt, err on the side of safety.
    • Crowding in shelters or lines can lead to the spread of cold, flu, meningitis, chicken pox, measles and other communicable disease. Take the same precautions you would in a known respiratory outbreak.
    • Debris can harbor the fungus that causes tetanus, wear protective clothing and move slowly in affected areas.

    After a disaster there may be the urge to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. However, it pays to go slowly and take extra precautions when re-entering an area affected by natural disaster.

  • Fax orders 24 hours a day (click here to print an order form) to (630) 916-7389

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