I admit it…
Sometimes I do dumb things.
Stuff I should know better.
Stuff I would tell you NOT to do if you’d only asked!
What is that I did wrong?
We’ll get to that in a moment…
Let me first state that one of the actions I suggest you do–and that I do–is to stash some supplies outside of your home so that if something were to happen and you lost everything inside then you have something to fall back upon. It doesn’t have to be a lot… just some extras. And I’m not necessarily talking about buried caches, although, they’re useful in some cases too.
Instead, I’m merely talking about supplies that I keep at a relatives house in a variety of bins as backups.
Now, this stash of supplies isn’t really something that I’ve checked up on in quite a long time (quite possibly years to be honest) except for once a year when I swap out clothes and shoes that my kids would need. Besides clothing, I keep a wide variety of supplies, including cordage, a radio, batteries, lantern and flashlights, assorted foul-weather gear, medical supplies such as gauze, a few cast iron pans… you get the idea. If I already had enough at home and I could fit whatever it was I had “extras” of, well, I did.
And that’s where my problem started.
You see, I’m notorious for thinking things through about 99% of the way. I had a good plan and plenty of extra stuff to rely upon. The problem arose when I decided to rush through that last 1% and choose to add a few bottles of Isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide to a 33-gallon trash can that I had a bunch of my backup supplies stored in. Why was that a problem, you ask?
Because I simply added the bottles, unprotected, to the top of the bin as a last minute thought. I figured I had space… I couldn’t leave it empty! As you might now guess, one of the bottles of Isopropyl alcohol leaked and got all over everything. I was not happy when I realized this after bringing the gear back home in preparation for our move cross-country.
But, I figured if I gave it a few days and let everything air out then things would be ok. In most cases that was true. A lot of the larger pieces of gear seemed to come out ok, from cast iron pans to lanterns and basically anything that wasn’t enclosed in any packaging except for, strangely enough, a pair of wet boots that still smell a bit like Isopropyl alcohol. I’m not throwing them out since they’re not that bad and should get better over time.
And, although I wasn’t doing so for this reason, I had a bunch of small supplies stuffed inside ZipLoc bags to better contain them. When I pulled everything out after realizing what happened I figured that all of the supplies which were sealed inside bags would be fine. Not so. In fact, EVERY bag and package that I opened smelled like Isopropyl alcohol. Arrrgh!
So, I spent another two days airing out everything inside the ZipLoc bags but with a bit less success.
It seems that when it was all said and done I could have lost a fair amount of supplies but managed to salvage things like matches, toothbrushes, gloves, etc. I did, however, choose to throw out a few things like a bag of cordage that was half rotted, a few small boxes of gauze, some crossword puzzles, and few other small items that still smelled funny.
Ultimately, I probably could have used everything that had been exposed to the Isopropyl alcohol. The problem, however, is that if we had needed some of these supplies in a true emergency then a few things may not have been immediately usable. Of course, I’m glad it was something like Isopropyl alcohol and not kerosene… of which I also happened to have a few small bottles for a kerosene lantern that was included in the stash, though, they were stashed at the bottom of the barrel… guess I thought that one through?
So, the moral of this story is: don’t stash a 99 cent bottle of Isopropyl alcohol–or anything liquid for that matter–atop dry stuff that you want to keep dry. Or, at the very least, ensure that if they do leak then the leak will be contained.
View the original article and more from Damian, at his site ReThinkSurvival.com