It may cost you more than $131 to buy everything you need.
Updated: March 20, 2018
Stocking up for the blizzard won’t come cheap — even without the wine.
The Northeast is about to see its fourth winter storm in less than a month, with as much as 18 inches of snowfall expected in parts of New York and Boston.
If you’re not a survival nut with a well-stocked cellar, this likely means rushing to the supermarket during the evening commute or same-day delivery from Amazon. Should you go the Amazon route, prepare for sticker shock: Buying everything the Department of Homeland Security recommends for a basic disaster supply kit would cost you $131.07.
- Three days’ worth of drinking supplies, with a gallon available to a person each day ($20.89)
- A three-day supply non-perishable food ($24.90)
- A hand crank weather radio. In this case, it comes with a flashlight and cell phone charger (two other things the government recommends) too ($18.90)
- Batteries for your flash light ($7.59)
- An all-purpose first-aid kit ($14.49)
- A whistle to signal for help ($4.44)
- Dust masks in case you wind up somewhere with contaminated air ($6.15)
- Moist towelettes to clean yourself off ($6.75)
- Garbage bags with drawstring ties ($12.41)
- An adjustable wrench if you need to shut off your gas and electricity supply ($5.56)
- A manual can opener for your supplies ($8.99)
Of course, you probably already have some of this, like a can opener, at home, and you might buy something like water in bulk from Water.com because it would be cheaper.
But some experts say you might need to buy even more than the government recommends if you want to be truly prepared. “The DHS list is a good one… but it’s also wise to tailor your preparations to a specific event,” says Steve Lancia, founder of Northcamp Wilderness Survival School in Riverside, CT and a licensed EMT. He recommends ditching the suggested dust mask but instead getting a pair of leather or work gloves for firewood gathering if you have a fireplace. A camp stove is particularly useful, but he cautions that one should “be careful with any open flame!”
He also recommends buying multi vitamins and glucose tablets, as well as any supplementary supplies needed for infants and the elderly in the household. And in a pinch, remember you can survive without food for quite some time. “Food is very important, but not as important as keeping warm and drinking water,” he says. If you add in Lancia’s extras to the government’s list, you’ll pay at least $30 more.
Of course, once they’re in the grocery aisle, most people buy way more than the basic necessities: Ahead of a 2016 Northeastern blizzard, the supermarket chain Kroger saw elevated sales of steaks and hamburgers. And empirical evidence suggests that alcohol sales spike, though they don’t actually keep you warm.
This story was updated on 20 March 2018.
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