The First 10 Things to Disappear from Store Shelves During an Emergency

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Can you picture the empty store shelves after a disaster? The supply chain is very vulnerable. In most states, there is a maximum of about 3 days’ worth of food supplies in grocery stores before shelves go empty. In times when a crisis like a tornado or a tsunami is about to hit, the supply chain gets shaken, and some essential items might quickly go out of stock. Such calamities can also destroy everything and make it impossible to make it to the stores and access your regular supplies.

An Often Repeated Scene

If you look back at actual recent events such as hurricanes here in the United States, the war in Syria or the Greece financial meltdown, you’ll quickly see a pattern where survival supplies disappear from store shelves at the very start of a panic buying rush.

People tend to target foods with long shelf lives and survival equipment enough to last them a couple of days. That is because you never know when things will get back to normal. These supplies come in handy in such situations and can go a long way to improve the chances of making it alive.

You Can Avoid The Rush

 Instead of waiting until it is too late to grab your survival supplies, you can always stock up way before people start rushing to the stores. If you are not sure what to grab, you can always research all the possible calamities that can be encountered in your area and their probability.

In most countries, The US included, this information is made available by the government. When shopping for supplies, especially food, be keen about the expiry dates. Usually, foods preserved to stay for longer on the shelves move slow, and some of them can be a few days from going bad. With enough time at hand, you can find foods with a longer shelf life.

First 10 Things to Disappear from Store Shelves During an Emergency

I’m hoping that as you go through this list, you’ll jot down the things that you will want to stock in your pantry, so you are better prepared.

So, what are these items? Some of the items that can disappear from the shelves include;

Canned Foods

Canned foods are good for one thing: they can go for months, even years without getting spoiled. Also, they remain fresh for long, making them refreshing and equally satisfying. From vegetables, meat, and even fruits, anything can get canned. People will just shove whatever canned foods they come across without even taking the time to read the labels.

It is advisable to have a can of different foods if you want to keep your body well-nourished during an emergency. Also, eating the same thing every time can become boring to your taste glands, and starving is the last thing you want to experience during a crisis.

Milk and Dairy Products

Milk is one of the most consumed items in families because it is contains valuable nutrients. The only problem is, regular milk has a very short lifespan, including the UHT milk. Powdered milk, on the other hand, is equally nutritious, and the best part is, it can go for long without going bad. Milk powder is a good source of energy, which is vital during an emergency. Preparing and consuming powdered milk is fast and easy since all you have to do is add warm water to the white powder, and enjoy your milk.

Camping and Survival Gear

These include tents, fire starters, knives, compass, maps, and other accessories. Most emergencies like tornados are known to wipe out buildings leaving many people homeless. Rescue centers usually get packed with people who have lost their homes, and because churches and schools don’t have enough facilities to accommodate everybody, camping gear can come in handy. In such a situation, you will have shelter and enough supplies to prepare a meal. In case you end up in an isolated place alone, you will still be safe since camping gear includes everything you need to spend the night outside in dangerous situations like the woods.


Foods like beans, rice, and green grams are preserved by drying. At that state, organisms that cause decomposition cannot survive since they need moisture to survive. Cereals have a long shelf life, and most of them are cheap. It is, however, good to understand that not all kinds of grains can last for too long. When you have to stock rice, for example, you will want to choose white rice over the brown one since brown rice has a shorter shelf life. Rice is nutritious and a good source of energy as well, and it is the kind of food that you will find in most homes even where no emergency is expected.

Basic Medication

A First Aid Kit and OTC medicine, including antibiotics and painkillers, are crucial during a calamity. Survival is all about being prepared, and you would hate it to have a headache slow you down when you need to be moving at your fastest speed. Contamination is common during emergencies as well, and without medication to keep symptoms under control, your health can be in jeopardy. A first aid kit is another essential item that can go a long way to ensure that you are well attended to in case of an injury. You can also consider grabbing an N95 mask if you have suspicions about air contamination.

Warm Clothes and Covers

A good night’s rest is important in any situation. Keeping warm is important because staying in the cold can make your night unbearable, and in worse cases, you can get sick. Clothes for keeping warm are some of the first items that people get to grab. Unlike the normal ones used at home, the ones created for an emergency are more portable and designed to perform under extreme conditions. To keep warm, you will need special blankets, gloves, boots, socks, hats that cover the ears and scarfs. You can include some water-proof matches in your list because keeping warm can need more than warm clothes.

Bottled Water and Water Filtration Systems

Water is another item to go without fail. Water is vital for the general being of all living things; 60 percent of your body is made up of water. While you can go for days without food, you can only survive for 3-7 days without drinking water.

Water has many uses that make it one of the must-have items in your list of emergency supplies. Many people lack the right water storage equipment for emergencies causing water to move faster when an emergency is foreseen.

If you have a pantry, then you can include some bottled water, personal water straws, water treatment tablets and gravity-powered filtration systems as part of your inventory.

Hygiene and Sanitation Supplies

Never underestimate the importance of personal hygiene items during a disaster. These can include toothbrushes and toothpaste, mouth wash, floss, nail clippers, shampoo, laundry detergent, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products. Bacteria is hard to avoid, and besides making the situation a little more comfortable, having these products can make all the difference when it comes to survival.

Flashlights and Batteries

In case lights go off and your backup generator fails, you will be left in darkness. Flashlights will help you maintain visibility during power outages. Most people forget to include enough working batteries for their flashlights. Unless it’s solar-powered, a  flashlight without working batteries is useless.

Baby Supplies

If you have a little one at home, you already know the essentials to keep their sensitive and delicate bodies warm and healthy. Here’s a checklist of some essential items: blankets and pacifiers, teething toys, formula and baby food, diapers and baby wipes.


Because everybody wants to survive longer, rushing to get your survival supplies at the last minute is not a smart move since it can lead to scrambling. Storekeepers are all about making profits, this is the time when they will hike the prices since everyone is desperate.

It’s always advisable to double-check your preps and confirm you’re not missing anything important. However, if you have to do it during the last minutes, then you should know the vital things that you will want to grab first.

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