Preparing For Supply Chain Disruptions
A looming military conflict in Ukraine and ever present pandemic complications have created supply chain issues globally. Covid-19 already contributed to widespread shortages and supply chain disruptions over the last two years. With China, America’s largest supplier of goods, returning to lockdown and Russia invading Ukraine, knowing how to prepare yourself and your family for supply chain disruptions is critical. These are only suggestions for goods and commodities, you can check out my other content about travel, weather, nuclear, water supply and other emergency management tips to prepare and survive difficult times.
A supply chain disruption can happen, at any time, for countless reasons. It is important to stay informed, pay attention to world events and public health measures. This doesn’t change even if Covid-19 disappears tomorrow. There will always been infectious diseases amongst humans and animals that can effect global shipping, transport, availability and farming. Paying attention to major weather events around the world can help clue you in as well.
Having a plan and contingencies can help you feel less worried and can save you frustration and fear along the way. Pay attention to what countries are involved in conflicts, what political decisions are being made, how trade is effected. You can also look at shipping, transit and gas prices globally. Being able to look at those factors and engaged the plan most fitting for the event will help you or your family. Have 3 major plans — weather/natural disaster, public health/pandemic and, finally, war.
No matter what you are planning for, you will need the same basic things — food, water and shelter. Every plan should include a way to shelter and a way to escape. Every plan should include a backpack sized version of what you need at your place of shelter that can get you through at least 72 hours of being mobile. Do not assume help is coming in natural disasters or war. Public services might be disrupted and travel may be difficult, so don’t assume you can stop by the grocery store regularly. There are federal agencies who can assist, but their help might take time. Ensure you can survive on foot for several days or in your home for at least a month with the goods that you have.
For food, high calorie and nutritional value with small space and easy preparation are key. Dry goods and canned goods can keep for exceptionally long times. So if you are stockpiling ahead of time, ensure that you focus on easy to prepare, cost effective, long term goods storage goods. If you are planning on leaving, ensure that you pack meal replacement bars, powders or shakes that can carry you through several days. You can also dry or canned fruits, vegetables and proteins for backpacking.
If you are on a budget, look for ramen, rice, dry pasta, dry beans, nut butters, dry lentils, quinoa and canned meats like tuna and other fish (you can limit these as daily intake due to mercury concerns if you want, that is your decision). Canned fish provide fatty acids needed for cognitive function and organ health. Most of these can be kept for a few years in your home, or used in hard financial times even if you are not experiencing supply chain issues and just need a simple, affordable meal. If you are concerned about your protein sources, consider powdered proteins that can be make by shaking them in bottle with water. Powdered protein can often be cheaper than other protein sources and it gives you the option of having animal or plant proteins readily available with a longer shelf life. I am not suggesting you live on protein shakes, this is purely in case of an emergency. You need to vary your nutritional sources to stay healthy from day to day when resources are readily available.
The Weather/Disaster Plan
Enacting this plan means that there has been a major weather event that has interrupted the supply chain like a tsunami, tropical storm, hurricane or massive tornado. I would also suggest that this plan can be used when your ability to reach supplies has been effected locally, not just when the global supplies are interrupted. You could use it, also, for nuclear disasters or conflicts effecting major exporters occur.
Your version of this plan should assume that you do not have access to municipal utilities such as water or electricity. I would suggest you have a short term and a long term version of this plan. The short term version should include enough food that is safe to eat and easy to prepare without utilities. It should also include blankets, tarps, weathering in equipment such as plastic sheeting and tape. Getting to the hardware store during a blizzard or reaching a major grocery outlet might be unsafe or they could have been destroyed in the disaster. Ensuring you can maintain shelter and temperature controls can save your life.
The long term version of this plan should include solar power or generator power. It can also include a power source that runs on some form of alternative fuel, but be careful not to use them in your home as you can asphyxiate yourself. You should also have an alternate way to cook such as a charcoal grill, jet boiler or fire pit.
The Public Health Plan
Same nutritional supplies and water, but with a public health twist. You might live in an area that requires certain things like a mask or gloves before going out. Stores might limit access by population, time or other factors. Ensure that you have enough food and water to survive weeks of limitations. Public health events can happen anywhere, pay attention to major exporting countries and ensure you have those goods stocked away. Even things like paper goods and hygiene items can be hard to find.
In the early months of the pandemic, we saw shortages in cleaning supplies, sanitizers, personal protective equipment and even trash bags. You may never see a store close, or traffic jams, you might not endure loss of utilities. But you could arrive at the grocery store only to find bare shelves and items missing for weeks. Be prepared to feed yourself and understand it might not always be glamorous. Pasta and a cheap jar of sauce is still a meal.
The War Plan
This plan assumes you are not living in the country being invaded. That scenario is an entirely different article. Form this plan around limited supply chains. For example, if China continues to support Russia while most other major players in the Ukraine conflict have elected to target Russia financially and without violence, this could lead to trade tariffs, shifting agreements and supply chain complications. In addition to the public health emergency China is experiencing, geopolitical decisions could be made that will change how we import common goods.
As always, you will need nutrition and clean water. Consider other needs similar to the public health plan. You likely won’t need a mask or personal protective equipment for this one, unless someone elects to target you with a nuclear or biological weapon. What you will need, though, is a healthy long term plan on top of short term stock in food and water. War does not end overnight and decisions are made far above the average citizen. Ensure that you have multiple income sources, different forms of currency and have safeguarded your investments. Stock markets tend to take damage during conflicts, along with banking and private sector business players. The phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” becomes important during global issues.
The Bottom Line
Even if everything is going perfectly well, there is always something unexpected. As you develop your supplies, ensure that those who will be living with you know the plan. You can use shelf life times to plan for drills and rotate supplies. If your supplies are going to expire soon, plan a drill where you only eat those things for a week without using power or conventional water supply. Ensure that you know where you stockpile is, how to access it and if you live with family or friends, include them on the plan. Encourage everyone to participate. Keep your system organized and keep your stock clean and safe.