Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Alternative Forms of Currency I’m Stockpiling in the Event of a Disaster

With 2012 upon us and so much focus being put on the Mayan calendar, predictions of the apocalypse, and mega-disasters in general, there has been greater attention on emergency planning lately. While I don’t think the Mayans have the date of our demise pinpointed, I do think that the idea of emergency planning as a whole, for any number of events, is a good idea.

Sometimes I find it difficult to think outside the box when it comes to various long-lasting emergency scenarios since I’ve never actually experienced one, and it can be hard to plan for every eventuality. However, in an emergency situation in which societal norms are breaking down -- including the worth of our currency and how we purchase things -- I think it’s a good idea to consider what other items could be used as forms of currency.

Food and Water
Food and water always top my list of alternative forms of currency in the event of an emergency. Long-term or short, without food and water during an emergency situation, our family would be up a creek without a paddle. Therefore, we tend to retain extra such items -- often more than we would easily use in a month or two -- in the event that we might have to utilize such supplies for bartering.
With food and water available to exchange as currency, we could get just about everything else on this list, but might not be able to reverse the situation, trying to trade something like alcohol, fuel or medical supplies for food and water.

Fuel
Whether it’s gasoline, diesel fuel, propane for heating and cooking, or whatever, having some extra fuel on hand when it comes to our emergency supplies could really come in handy.
While we tend not to go overboard in this area since we have no real expectations of escaping the Chicagoland area during a disaster, and therefore aren’t really in need of extra gasoline should a real emergency event take place, choosing instead to hunker down and hopefully wait things out. We do however keep a supply of extra camping sized propane tanks for our camp cook stove should we lose our supply of utility provided natural cooking gas. This way we still have the ability to boil water, cook, and even trade fuel should we need to barter for other supplies.

Medical Supplies
In an emergency situation, since my wife is a type I diabetic, insulin would be more important to us than gold. I ensure that my wife keeps a 4-6 month supply of diabetic supplies and insulin on hand at all times just in case. While we wouldn’t be bartering such items away in an emergency situation, we would be exchanging other forms of currency for such supplies, so in turn; these items could act as a form of currency for others.

Alcohol
You don’t have to be a drinker to keep a little alcohol on hand for bartering should an extended emergency hit. While we don’t stockpile cases of alcohol or anything like that, having a couple bottles on hand could prove useful during a long-term emergency.

Not only does alcohol have a great shelf-life, but it in an emergency situation, it could possibly be used to treat wounds, traded for other supplies, used as a pain killer, and even used as a weapon (with higher proof, flammable alcohols possibly being made into Molotov cocktail type bombs).

Precious Metals
I’ve long espoused having some silver coins on hand in the event of an emergency, not only to fight inflation, but to use as currency. While dollar bills and regular pocket change might be worthless in certain emergency situations, true silver coinage or silver bars could be of use for buying food and supplies. Its small size also makes it easy to hide, store and carry.

Weapons and Ammo
During a real emergency, all the guns in the world aren’t going to do much good without ammunition, and vice versa. Therefore, in an environment in which roaming street gangs are taking what they want, weapons and ammunition could become a new form of currency.

While I’m no gun nut, I do keep a long-range rifle and extra rounds of ammunition on hand just in case. While I hope never to have to fire a shot to defend my home or family, having extra ammunition on hand to trade for other supplies could help us outlast any sort of long-term emergency scenario.

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