‘We never drop below 30 toilet rolls’: the Britons stockpiling for a crisis | Emergency planning #drop #toilet #rolls #Britons #stockpiling #crisis #Emergency #planning

Kathryn is a firm believer in the 19th-century adage that we are only ever nine meals from anarchy. Having learned the skill of stockpiling from her wartime parents and grandparents, her first mini-foray was in preparation for Y2K.

“That was mainly candles and biscuits, because I didn’t really take it very seriously,” she said. “But it did mean that I was already halfway there when I realised I needed a substantial, genuine Brexit stash, which then morphed into a Covid stash, which in turn became a cost of living store, then an ‘Are we going to run out of electricity?’ store when the Ukraine war kicked off, and is now a general, all-encompassing everyday/WW3 stash.”

Kathryn could soon be joined by many more concerned citizens preparing for a worst-case scenario after the deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden, said this week that people should stock up on battery-powered radios, torches, candles and first aid kits in case of power cuts or digital communications going down.

Making the comments as part of his first annual risk and resilience statement, Dowden listed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, cyber-attacks, pandemics, the misuse of artificial intelligence and extreme weather among some of the risks the UK faced.

Kathryn puts a lot of thought into what goes into her family’s stockpile. “I’ve finessed the stash as time has gone on and it’s now both streamlined and all-encompassing,” she said. “I’m confident that my family and I could now live quite comfortably from it for at least two months, if not longer.”

She acknowledged she was lucky to have the money, space and time to devote to this. “It takes a lot of prep. The most surprising things have quite short shelf lives, like bottled water, flour and oatcakes. Everything needs to be rotated to make sure nothing expires, including medicine.”

Bob, from Wales, has also put a considerable amount of thought into his stockpile. “I stock up on basic medication, household essentials – we never drop below 30 toilet rolls, for example – and have a large, rechargeable battery pack which can power our house broadband router for 18-plus hours,” he said.

“I have a month’s worth of basic, long-life food, gradually built up by buying when items are on offer. We experimented with a lot of tinned food before finding things we genuinely like – we tested a lot of tinned vegetables, for example, before finding things we could use often in stews and chillies.”

But stockpiling is impossible for some. Pamela Robinson, a retired nurse from Yorkshire, would like to stock up, but said, “Life is so unpredictable and expensive for most people that they can only afford to live day to day.”

Added to which, she said, “We also can’t hoard electricity, gas or water, and as we’re seeing now, the loss of these things is catastrophic. Also, many have no secure home in which to stock anything. We are increasingly victims of fortune to our incompetent government and in reality can do little to mitigate this.”

Greg, from Yorkshire, said he had stockpiled “what must add up to a decent-sized pig made into hams on the shelf”. But he said knowledge was the most important thing to accrue.

“There’s no point in having the most comprehensive stockpile in the world if relocation is required – and, not to sound too apocalyptic, a ‘bunker’ full of valuables is a target I would rather not sit in if things really start falling apart,” he said.

“Having a few portable basics is sensible, including tools and materials, as well as food you can pop in a pocket. But knowledge weighs nothing and is the best emergency store, such as the basics of finding safe water and what can be eaten safely.”

#drop #toilet #rolls #Britons #stockpiling #crisis #Emergency #planning

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