Closets of the Apocalypse

I lived on the Space Coast (east central) of Florida for ten years. Most of those years were quiet, catastrophe-wise. Then in 2004, we had 4 major hurricanes hit the state. Three of them rolled through our area, two almost making landfall in the same spot about 100 miles south of me. (My car still has a dent where Jeanne threw some mystery object at it.) In 2005, we had so many tropical storms and hurricanes that we ran through all of the official storm names and started on the Greek alphabet.

Before the storms, I had accumulated a reasonable number of hurricane supplies. All the usual suspects: candles, batteries, water, manual can opener. But some things you discover you need only after you actually need them.

Bleach. If you can’t boil water because the electricity is off and you’re out of propane or charcoal for your grill, you can use a drop of bleach (per so many gallons) to purify water.

TV antenna. Most TVs these days don’t come them.

Cash. No electricity, no ATM or credit card purchases. Some places didn’t have electricity for weeks after, but they still were open for business.

Gas. During Hurricane Francis, the entire state of Florida ran out of gas. Since it was an enormous (wide) storm, I ended up going to Georgia. On the way back, there were huge signs at the Florida border that said NO GAS. You could see people with South Florida plates with full cans of gasoline strapped to roofs of their cars.

Beer. Enough said.

So, after the storms I had really well stocked Hurricane Pantry. I shared my list of supplies with a friend who didn’t live in a hurricane (or earthquake or flood) zone, and she shared it with some other people. Next thing I know, my friend has a Bird Flu Survival Stash under her kitchen sink. She added cigarettes to my list, not only because she smokes but also because she says cigarettes will become the new currency. Just like in prison.

Another friend, who actually survived Katrina in New Orleans, has what she only half-jokingly calls the 2012 Armageddon Closet at her rental cabin in the mountains. The food and supplies are primarily in case the guests get snowed in and can’t make it to the store. But, I think my friend and her hubby are planning to occupy the cabin themselves, oh, around December of 2012, just in case.

After moving back to the mountains, I let my hurricane supplies sit on the shelf, batteries slowly expiring and analog TV becoming obsolete. Last winter, though, my Hurricane Pantry morphed into the Snowpocalypse Stash. I added pet friendly deicer and a small shovel to carry in the car. I still need a portable digital TV, though.

Do any of you have secret supplies for surviving potential apocalypses? A Swine Flu Fridge? A Climate Change Closet? (To clarify, I'm not talking about being a full-on survivalist with a storehouse of MRE's and ammo. No, just average folk with a tiny fear of running out of duct tape, peanut butter, and MGD 64.)

And, think about this when you’re reading or writing dystopian fiction, too. What dumb thing are the characters going to have to work around because they all of a sudden don’t have it anymore? How can you use that to heighten the drama?


LM Preston said...

Oh my, remember the year 2000 frenzy? I was a computer geek working for a company that was trying to fix everything before 'D-day' :-D

Mandy P.S. said...

Oh, the hurricanes of 2004. I remember it well. It was my senior year in high school, and we were out of school for a month. Luckily, my family has lived in hurricane zones for most of my life, so we were well prepared.

Its amazing how many people forget to fill their tub up with water before a hurricane, in case the water cuts out. That water isn't for drinking. It's for filling up the toilet tank, so you can still flush even without an active water system.

The best part of that hurricane season was when the electricity at our Publix went out. They started handing out free ice cream. We may have all been sitting in the dark, but at least we had tubs of our favorite ice cream to hold us over. :)

Unknown said...

I have plans for a zombie apocalypse. :) My whole neighborhood is in on it as can be seen here--->

Angie Smibert said...

Anne - Dumpster City is very cool. Love it!

Bittersweet - I miss Publix. Sigh.

LM - very Office Space!

Sarah N Fisk said...

I've lived in a hurricane (or typhoon) region about 95% of my life. I remember those 2004 hurricanes! I was going to school at the University of Florida and my apartment didn't have power for almost two weeks.

In our house, we don't have a hurricane readiness kit; we have a zombie apocalypse readiness kit. At least, that's what I tell everyone.

I think a big thing people often forget about is soap. After the apocalypse, things are going to get a lot stinkier!

Sage Ravenwood said...

I always have gallons of water on hand. Canned food will last the longest. Dry food tends to attract mice and rodents and goes bad after it's opened. A hand working can opener is always a plus. Candles are in every single room in the house.

I've lived in Fla. I'm now in NY. Now if you can tell me how to survive the latest heat wave without AC. I'll be your friend forever and ever (winks). (Hugs)Indigo

Angie said...

(Hugs) Indigo - I wish I knew. It's been ridiculously hot here, too. I shudder to think of my electric bill--and life without AC.

Sara - I'm so renaming my stash.

Tere Kirkland said...

LOL, yeah, we have an end of the world kit, too. And I've been keeping my freezer clean all summer.

Ah, hurricane season. Good times! ;)

Jeff Hirsch said...

Well, if the movies are to be believed we here in NYC have to be prepared for anything. Major Civil unrest. Aliens. Giant Rampaging Sea Monsters. Asteroids. Zombie Plague. The whole city being walled off and made into a maximum security prison. I'd like to be prepared, but I don't think there's enough room in my closet to handle all of that.

Julia said...

I am not prepared to take lunch to work tomorrow! Sheesh! I'd be one of the first to go... well, not really! :)

Great post! And, I'll have to think of what my characters can do without to make their lives more miserable & thereby more dramatic. :)