Procurement  – before you buy

Chapter 3: Purchasing for an Emergency or a Disaster

1. Who do you buy from?
2. Where do you obtain the emergency supplies?
3. What needs consideration when purchasing disaster supplies?

 Purchasing for an Emergency or a Disaster

Who do you buy from?

Purchase your emergency and disaster supplies from an established business. With so many people selling online, you cannot trust everybody. Go with a company that has a good reputation, not all good companies always have good reviews, but many unscrupulous entities might write a number of great reviews for themselves. Your best bet, check out the online store before you buy.

Go to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and check out the business. Individuals, generally, will not be on the BBB website, and their products might be dated or still worse, you might receive damaged merchandise. This is similar to purchasing an item from a yard sale (where all sales are final) or purchasing from a store where you can either return or replace the damaged or defective merchandise. Do not be afraid to ask how long the food was sitting on the company’s or the individual’s shelf. Ask about their return policy and fees for returned merchandise. A reputable company will have this information available on their website.

Be vigilant of whom you purchase from and what you buy because the cost of emergency food, packaged water, tools, equipment, shelter and supplies can be pricey, especially when purchased separately. Keep in mind the duration that you are planning for, this will affect the quality of the merchandise required and in turn, the price. However, a quality product will last longer. Remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”

Where do you obtain the emergency supplies?

Emergency supplies can be purchased from almost anybody and almost anywhere. It helps to know about the company from where you are purchasing your emergency disaster preparedness supplies. For example, some stores or individuals may sell you long-term food that may have a five to twenty-five year shelf life. If you do not know the reputation of the business or individual, you may be purchasing a food item that may have sat on the store shelf (or garage floor) for two or three years, reducing the span of time it will last on your shelf. Buy from a company that does business transactions directly with the food wholesaler and ships direct from the factory. This ensures that you are purchasing long-term food and water that has the longest shelf life on your shelf, not on a store shelf or in someone’s basement. Check out the company on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website.

Purchase your emergency survival kits from a trustworthy supplier. A reputable dealer will assist you with any potential problems once you receive your kit. Go through the kit and make sure everything advertised to come with the kit is there, and if you are missing anything, you have the opportunity to rectify the omission, hopefully before you need it. In addition to checking out the contents of the survival kits, you have assured the kit is complete and are familiar with the contents.

Consider purchasing a survival kit, emergency kit or a preparedness package with an additional long-term food bucket and adding your personal effects to the contents of a preassembled survival/emergency kit. A food bucket is dehydrated or freeze dried food in Mylar pouches with 2 to 4 servings per pouch. The Mylar pouches are stored in a sealed bucket until ready for use. The shelf life can last up to 25 years under proper storage conditions.

What needs consideration when purchasing disaster supplies?

Think long term when purchasing your supplies. Remember that once the useful life of the item is over, you may not be able to replace it. When the knife or axe becomes dull, have a sharpening stone, a file or a replacement knife or axe. Have materials to mend clothing, such as patches for jeans and needles and thread to repair tears. The needle and thread could also stitch a deep cut and help prevent blood loss and infection. A shattered magnifying glass will not concentrate the sun’s rays to make a fire, and a lost flint is useless, matches only work once and lighters run out of fluid, but here are four different ways to start a fire.

This is not to suggest that you double or triple your preparedness equipment, but I am suggesting that you find multiple uses for the same item. For instance, a clear plastic bottle, made of the correct type of plastic, with the appropriate amount of sunshine will kill multiple types of bacteria due to the ultraviolet rays of the sun (determined by the turbidity of the water, type of plastic, size and other factors). This same bottle can be used as a bobber for fishing or a weight for a trap (when filled with a liquid) to catch a fresh meal. Cut off the bottom and you have a funnel. Have the mindset, when purchasing your gear, that the emergency kit supplies should have multi-purpose uses, and redundant applications.

Ideally, have a backpack, survival kit or preparedness package prepared to go with multi-purpose gear and quality supplies that will last for the duration and aftermath of a disaster for the number of people in your group. Gather your lists, food, water purification system, clothing, and the rest of your gear and supplies and locate that gear in an area that is convenient to get to for a potential grab n go situation. For example, make use of a portion of a closet next to the front or back door for a quick retrieval. Alternatively, have another location where you can have access to your supplies, such as a bug out location. There is much to consider when purchasing your emergency disaster equipment, but one must also take into consideration where to store (conveniently) these supplies.

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We now provide emergency, disaster and preparedness products to schools, OEM and fire departments.

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