Category Archive: Preparedness

  1. The Value of an Emergency Kit – Part 1

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    Having some kind of emergency kit in your home, ready to use, is an essential part of your personal or family preparedness.  My first line of defense in an emergency is to shelter in place within my home as this is where I have all of my food storage and supplies.  In this case, my entire home is my emergency kit.  This blog entry however will be referring specifically to a kit that you would take with you if you had to leave your home suddenly.

    Some people use the name emergency kit or some may call it a 72 hour kit.  If you visit many preparedness web sites you’ll see people talk about GOOD kits (Get Out Of Dodge), BOBs (Bug Out bag), or even INCH kits (I’m Never Coming Home).  I have seen online forum and message board entries arguing the semantics of the name but I will be using the name bug out bag as for me, that describes its function…a bag of basic supplies for me to take with me if I have to bug out and leave my house behind.

    I have been carefully and methodically researching bug-out bags and the supplies I want to have.  For me and my family we have chosen to prepare for a three day absence.  Most of the items will be used for whatever length of time I may be gone.  The three day timeframe is generally only a limiting factor for food and water.  However, this limit also comes into play for the bag I have for my two-year old daughter, who is still in diapers.  As an aside, this brings up a valuable point.  Your personal bug out bag is not something that you simply purchase, put in a closet somewhere and don’t use unless you have to.  At a minimum you should be regularly reviewing your bag every couple of months…does food need to be replaced?  Is the water still good?  Are any batteries that have still good?  Are there any medications that may be expiring?

    But before you can review what’s in your bag however, you first have to create one.  I will be sharing what I have in my bag with some thoughts about the various items.  Be aware that my bug out bag is for me and my situation.  My wife’s bug out bag will have some items the same and some items that are different.  My daughter’s bug out bag will have many things that are different from her mom’s and my bags.  You need to review your specific situation and needs and plan accordingly.  This is why I like using my stockupfood.com account to keep track of my bug out bag supplies.  I can add, delete or revise my requirements at any time and know how I’m progressing.

    Bug-out bag list

    First, if you’re going to have a bug out bag you’re going to need…a bag!  There are almost an infinite variety of backpacks, duffel bags, sport bags, etc. so it is exceptionally likely that you’ll find something that suits your needs and budget.  After a lot of research balancing cost with capability and need, I chose three Paratus packs from 3V Gear.  The screen shot shows the dashboard of my actual stockupfood.com account.  You can see that all of the items have quantities that are a multiple of two…my pack and my wife’s pack.  The third pack is my daughter’s pack which I’m tracking separately because of the many unique items her bug out bag contains such as the aforementioned diapers, a teddy bear, a blanky…you get the picture!  By the way, the order of items shown does not imply any kind of priority.  The items appear in the order I wrote them down in my research notebook.

    Second, I’ve added hydration packs.  These are bladders that sit in the pack and hold drinking water.  I purchased three, 3 litre bladders also from 3V Gear.  I don’t actually keep the bladders full of water while they sit in the bags.  Instead, I have six 500ml bottles of water in each pack which keeps the water fresh until it may be needed.  My plan is that I will transfer the bottles to the bladder at an opportune moment when the need arises.

    Third, I had originally decided to standardize on AA batteries.  They are cheap and widely available.  Every store in the smallest of towns will have them.  That said, as I did my research on flashlights I ended up selecting a model that didn’t use AA batteries.  This is why the battery shown in my list is a 18650 type.  More on this later.  A good point is made here though…don’t slot yourself rigidly into any one item based on pre-conceived ideas.  Be open to change if your research indicates value in doing so.

    Fourth, rain ponchos.  I have not made a decision on what I want yet but many options are available.  My personal philosophy typically leans towards the middle of the road.  I generally don’t want the cheapest item because the quality is often lacking.  At the same time, I can’t afford to buy the best of everything.

    Fifth, sleeping bags.  From my many years involved in scouting I already personally have an excellent sleeping bag.  However, I’m still researching what I want to have that will be dedicated to my bug out bag.  Even if it means duplication I always purchase items specifically for my bug out bag.  This provides assurance that my gear is available and ready.  My day to day gear is used regularly and I often lend it to my older children for their events.  In an emergency I don’t want my bug out bag gear to be somewhere else.  I may end up buy the same type of sleeping bag I already have but I may not.  Since I bought my current sleeping bag over eight years ago looking for one for my bug out bag will give me an opportunity to research the newest types.

    Sixth, a map.  I know my community and my city extremely well and could get anywhere I needed.  However, if I have to leave my city for my bug out location I may not be able to use the main highways or roads so I purchased a backroads map which shows not only every highway but also all of the township and range roads, ie. the country roads, typically gravel, that criss-cross every state or province.  A bridge may be out, there may be flooding somewhere or I may just want to avoid a population center.  Whatever the reason, it may take longer but I can get pretty much anywhere I need to go via these backroads.

    Seventh and eighth, a notebook and pen.  These seem pretty straightforward and you probably find what you need for almost no cost.  Based on my philosophy of not going with the cheapest items I purchased Rite in the Rain notebooks along with the pens to go along with them.  These notebooks, as the name implies, can be used in stormy weather and, in fact, can be used underwater!  Hopefully I won’t be in a situation where that is necessary!

    Ninth, a knife.  My research for this is still on-going due to the extensive choices available.  I already have some simple (ie. cheap!) knives that I’ve acquired over the years.  Part of my research is learning not only what knife I want, but also learning about the various situations that make one knife better over another.

    Tenth, a flashlight.  I did a lot of research on flashlights that used AA batteries.  But as I searched I eventually made a decision to go another way and chose a Fenix PD35.  It has numerous brightness settings and is made to withstand drops plus it’s waterproof to a depth of 2m.  It uses CR123 or a rechargeable 18650 and I’m using the latter battery type.  This light is fairly expensive, especially if you compare it to the many, many varieties that are available at department or discount stores.  That said, my research also found flashlights that were more than triple the cost of this one so I definitely picked something that wouldn’t break my bank account, especially considering the fact that most of the time this flashlight is sitting in my bug out bag waiting to be used.

    Next week I’ll post part 2 which goes over the rest of my list and what I know is missing.  Do you have a bug out bag?  What’s in it?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.

    TM

  2. The Best Way to Stock Up And Rotate Supplies

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    What would your world look like without any toilet paper? Ok then, read on.

    Look, I like to smell good. If your husband doesn’t, maybe he should read this. Deodorant for me can make the difference between a good day, and a day wished to be forgotten. With it I feel like I can point to the sky without shame, without it, I feel like I should spray someone if I waved my arm to quickly.

    Before having the preparedness mentality, I, like 99.99% of the population, would wait until I could hardly scrape anymore deodorant off the stick to buy another one at the store. The worst is when you say, “Well, I will go get some deodorant later today…” then, you wake up the next day in dread, realizing there isn’t anymore left. Dried soap doesn’t substitute deodorant (believe me, I’ve tried).

    Does this sound familiar? It could be deodorant, toothpaste, toilet paper (I sure hope not!), hair gel, or any item we use on a daily basis that runs out. In our instantaneous culture, we just expect to be able to hop in the car and drive to go get some. What if the store is closed or is out of supply? Not only that, what if you just don’t have time? Stocking up on supplies isn’t just for the worst of the worst, it is also for convenience.

    I always say it is best to have a year supply of food storage AND supplies that you consume. So how do we do it? I will show you.

    In the deodorant example, I use a stick of deodorant about once every two months. On the stockupfood.com calculator (on the “Recommended” version) you can create a new supply item for Hygene and add your deodorant there! Watch a how to do it in the video below:

    Now go buy your 6 (or however many you use in a year) sticks of deodorant and add them to your supplies. Here is the real trick… this is where you need to change your mentality of only buying something once it is out. Now that you need 6 sticks, once you get down to 5, you “need” to go buy an additional stick to get back to 6. Change your mentality from when something runs out to when something falls below your year supply threshold.

    If you follow these steps you will not only smell good, but you can rest at ease that you have properly prepared against any natural, economic, or other disaster out of your control. You and your family are safe.

    If you haven’t signed up for stockupfood.com, go ahead and sign up today! 🙂

  3. SHTF

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    When SHTF it is too late to get prepared. Find out what you need to do now for survival.

    Look, you don’t want to be caught off guard when a disaster hits let alone when SHTF. Just take a look at the natural disasters in the past 5 years. Each time you see people struggling for food, clean water and shelter. What would happen if there was no one to help you? You were on your own?

    Although there is no telling when the next catastrophe will strike, becoming prepared with these 4 essentials will bring you to a level of preparation above the majority in your city.

    Food

    Spreading cheese on lasagna. Preparing incase SHTF

    If you don’t eat, you will die. Food is one of the basic necessities of life. Start off getting enough food on hand to last three or four days. If we are talking when SHTF, you are going to need food for a much longer period than that. Plan for a year if you can.

    Preparing in advance for SHTF means having canned, dehydrated or otherwise nonperishable foods handy. It is smart to use a food storage calculator and tracker to know what your family needs and keep track of what you have. It is also essential to read up on food preservation.

    Indoor and outdoor gardens help subsidize dietary needs. SHTF for extended periods of time may cause protein deficiencies. Raising livestock is one option. Learning how to build traps or hunt for food is another great skill to have.

    Water

    Though people survive a number of days without food, when SHTF, individuals must have a plan for acquiring fresh drinking water. Sometimes SHTF in communities when bacteria or viruses invade local water supplies, leaving households without water until a remedy occurs. Without power, some individuals may not be able to access water, even from the tap. These are only some circumstances where having an adequate water supply is essential.

    Experts suggest having 1 to 2 gallons of water per household member per day. Many people buy bottled water, but filling juice or soda bottles also serves the purpose. Another method of water storage might include filling food grade buckets, which often have sealable lids. Catching rainwater is also another way of obtaining fresh water. Some people live in regions having open bodies of water. When storing or obtaining water when SHTF, survivalists suggest adding 16 drops or 1/8 of a teaspoon of bleach to each gallon of water as a disinfectant.

    Shelter

    People who live in areas known to experience natural disasters often have basements or cellars. If SHTF because of mega disasters, some prefer having the knowledge to build makeshift shelters when needed. Many individuals build underground shelters, which received popularity in the 60s. Tucked safely beneath the ground’s surface, many shelters are barely visible from above ground.

    Besides natural disasters, many also contemplate SHTF secondary to economic collapse and the ever rising chaos and violence in society, which will surely increase. In desperation, there will most likely be pillaging and plundering and many believe having a well-stocked, hidden shelter when SHTF will be one of the few means of having security.

    Security

    Though many still abhor the thought of owning a firearm, others prefer to carry protection in case SHTF. In rural areas, many citizens own weapons, not merely for protection, but also as a means of providing food. In the city, when SHTF, confusion and panic occurs. Many suggest that in this scenario, the safest thing to do is stay hidden with ample supplies and armed protection. When SHTF, some people have the convenience of gathering with family or friends, away from a hotspot location. Small townships may rally, taking turns performing guard duty for the sake of the community.

    SHTF Conclusion

    Between the political, social and natural events occurring recently, many prefer to err on the side of caution if SHTF. Besides basic supplies, individuals must also consider an adequate battery or fuel supply, along with first aid for emergencies. Do the research and evaluate what needs and what quantities of items should be on hand if SHTF.

  4. 3 Steps For Emergency Planning

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    Flood waters

    A plan can make a stressful situation a much calmer one if everyone already knows what to do.

    In the event of an emergency people are generally on edge and not thinking clearly. Some tend to go into hyper-drive, others are frozen stiff, people go in to shock, any number of things can happen to us emotionally, mentally and physically in an emergency situation.

    Step 1 – Immediate family Plan – Gather your family together and discuss a family emergency plan.

    1. Do you have a safe meeting place in case of a home emergency? ex: Under a tree in the front yard. In a certain corner of the lawn. At a certain neighbors house that everyone feels comfortable with. Keep it simple, make it safe.
    2. What to do in case of a fire? Have a fire drill. Practice opening windows and climbing out. Have emergency ladders for people in upstairs bedrooms. Talk about breaking windows in an emergency.
    3. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk about different emergencies that could arise and discuss a plan then Practice. Practice. Practice.

    Step 2 – Extended Family Plan – Create a family calling tree so everyone can know their family is safe.

    1. Find out what each others resources are in case of an emergency. Tent, boat, bikes, dutch ovens, food, other supplies.
    2. Discuss before an emergency occurs to see who you might be able to stay with and what accommodations they have to help you and your family if need be.
    3. Do a drill. Practice the calling tree to see how long it takes for everyone to get a hold of each other.

    Step 3 – Community Plan – Find out the emergency plans your city has in place.

    1. Most cities these days have a city website. Visit your city website and look under emergency, or preparedness and see what they have in place.
    2. Find out the emergency plans for your children’s schools/day care. Do they go in lock down? How long does it last? What are the procedures for picking up your children during emergencies?
    3. Find out emergency plans your church may have in place.

    Things to discuss:

    • What’s the plan if Dad’s at work and Mom’s at home with the kids in an emergency?
    • What do the kids do if an emergency happens when they’re at school and Mom and Dad are both working?
    • What do kids do if they’re home alone and an intruder enters the house?
    • What’s our family plan if there’s a flood, fire, tornado, earthquake, robber, serious injury?
    • Where’s the cash?
    • Where are important family documents?

    All it takes is 30 minutes to get everyone on the same page. It will be some of the best time you can spend when your family is all safely gathered in in the midst of a chaotic situation.

    What have you done with your family to plan for an emergency? Post in the comments below to start a conversation!

    Opening photo by Walter Siegmund

  5. 3 Steps to Prepare For a Hurricane

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    You read on the news that a hurricane is approaching. Now what? Read the 3 simple steps below that could save your life.

    Knowledge and preparation are key to survival in an natural disaster.

    Knowledge

    What is a hurricane, exactly?

    Wikipedia states: “A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor contained in the moist air… While tropical cyclones can produce extremely powerful winds and torrential rain, they are also able to produce high waves and damaging storm surge.”

    Am I in a location that is susceptible?

    “Coastal regions can receive significant damage from a tropical cyclone, while inland regions are relatively safe from receiving strong winds. Heavy rains, however, can produce significant flooding inland, and storm surges can produce extensive coastal flooding up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the coastline.” – Wikipedia

    When is the hurricane season?

    “In the Northern Atlantic Ocean, a distinct cyclone season occurs from June 1 to November 30, sharply peaking from late August through September. The statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is 10 September. The Northeast Pacific Ocean has a broader period of activity, but in a similar time frame to the Atlantic. The Northwest Pacific sees tropical cyclones year-round, with a minimum in February and March and a peak in early September. In the North Indian basin, storms are most common from April to December, with peaks in May and November. In the Southern Hemisphere, the tropical cyclone year begins on July 1 and runs all year-round and encompasses the tropical cyclone seasons, which run from November 1 until the end of April, with peaks in mid-February to early March.” – Wikipedia

    What do the categories of a hurricane mean?

    Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale

    Preparation

    Step 1 – Build a “Quick kit”

    A quick kit is an emergency supply kit that you can grab and go in an emergency. Some essential items to have in this kit include:

    • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
    • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
    • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • First aid kit
    • Whistle to signal for help
    • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
    • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
    • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
    • Local maps
    • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

    Step 2 – Make a Family Emergency Plan

    A family emergency plan is so important. What if you aren’t all together when the hurricane hits? Where will you meet? How will you know that everyone is OK? Trying to deal with these in an emergency without a plan can be chaotic. If you don’t have a family plan, meet together as a family tonight! Answer these questions together:

    • In an emergency, where will we meet?
    • Where will we meet if the first meeting place is unavailable?
    • Who is our contact point? (Person you all know of who you can call in an emergency who will know how everyone is)

    Step 3 – Stay updated

    Make sure to have a battery powered radio (and of course batteries!) so that you can be tuned in to the news if the power goes out.

    Have you been in a hurricane? What success story do you have or what do you wish you would have done to prepare? Post in the comments below and start a conversation!

    Additional resources:
    ready.gov – Hurricanes
    Wikipedia – Hurricanes
    What to do during a hurricane – FEMA

  6. Tomatoes: You’ve Outdone Yourself, Again!

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    Tomatoes are a staple in most gardens. Usually you have so many that you can’t use them fast enough!

    Sliced tomatoes and fresh basil
    Of course we want to can as many tomatoes as we can in salsa, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and the like for our food storage, but we love to eat them fresh too!

    Tomatoes have always been used as a side on sandwiches, salads, in soups etc. It’s time for tomatoes to step up and take their rightful place as the main dish!

    Are you ready for the most scrumptious open faced tomato sandwich you have ever tasted? I made up a simple recipe using fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden! Here you have it! Enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    Fresh tomatoes
    Fresh basil
    Cream cheese
    Mozzarella cheese
    Garlic Parmesan french bread
    Olive Oil

    Directions:

      1. Preheat oven to 425.
      2. Slice french bread about 1 inch thick and spread them out onto a cookie sheet.
      3. Spread with as much or as little cream cheese as you would like.

    Garlic Parmesan french bread with cream cheese spread on top on a cookie sheet

      1. Gently wash then thinly slice fresh tomatoes and place 2 or more on top of cream cheese.

    Sliced tomatoes on top of french bread and cream cheese

      1. Gently wash fresh basil then lay out a few leaves on top of the tomatoes.

    Fresh basil on top of french bread with cream cheese and tomatoes

      1. Pile a handful of mozzarella cheese on top of basil.

    Mozzarella cheese on top of cream cheese tomato basil open-faced sandwich

      1. Moving your hand back and forth lightly pour olive oil on top of sandwich.

    Lightly pour olive oil on top of cream cheese tomato basil open-faced sandwich

      1. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted!

    Baked open-faced tomato basil sandwiches with cream cheese and mozzarella cheese

    I used other fresh foods that I either got out of the garden or that I had prepared previously for my side dishes with this meal. They were absolutely delicious and hit around the table! (That’s saying a lot because I have a 3 year old that won’t eat anything called “dinner.” Even he ate this!)

    I cut up fresh cucumber out of the garden and place them on the plate next to some carrots that I already had in the fridge and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. Then I made a fruit cocktail with green grapes, leftover blueberries from making fresh peach and blueberry cobbler the other night, and combined them with some strawberries that I had sliced and frozen for food storage!

    Open-faced tomato basil sandwich with fresh carrot, cucumber, and fruit coctail including grapes, strawberries and blueberries

    This dinner was so delicious! We all loved it and I hope you do to! Be sure to tell me what you think! If you make modifications I would love to know what they are!

    What are other things you do with fresh tomatoes from your garden?

    If you found this to be helpful and fun please share our blog with your friends and family. Also, be sure to “like” us on facebook!

  7. 5 Easy Steps to Freeze Strawberries!

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    Cartons of fresh strawberries

    Throw strawberries in to smoothies, pile them on top of your angel food cake, add them to your ice cream, sprinkle them on your oatmeal, cereal, salads, mash them up to make jam, fruit leather mmmmmmmm my goodness what CaN’t you do with strawberries!?! Strawberries are so delicious! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have access to them all year long?!

    I love to freeze my strawberries and I use them all the time! They are a great item to keep in your food storage in the freezer. They last about 3-6 months in the freezer and 6-12 months in a deep freeze!

    We suggest stocking up on foods for your food storage when they are in their season and you can buy them for a great price! Different fruits and veggies are for sale for great prices right now. Strawberries are at their cheapest! In my opinion, if you can buy a carton of strawberries for $1.50 or less you have found a slammin’ deal! Stock up! Buy a ton! Make strawberry jam, dehydrate them, eat em fresh, or freeze them!

    To freeze strawberries you need:
    Strawberries (of course)
    Quart size freezer zip lock baggies. (You could use gallon size too. I use quart size because I don’t like to have to thaw out more than I need at once.)
    Sugar
    Lemon juice
    Knife
    Large bowl
    Measuring cups
    Large spoon

    *Notice: I use sugar in this recipe. You don’t have to use sugar, I do because it tastes FaNtAsTiC! (I’m gonna let you in on a little secret… there isn’t a set in stone recipe you HAVE to use to freeze strawberries shhhh, I know, right? You add lemon to keep the color and sugar (or not) to have some saweetness!) – That being said, I’ll tell you how I do it and you can adjust from there!

      1. Wash em: gently under cold water
      2. De-stem em: cut off the green and toss it in the trash, compost, or to the chickens or goats 😉
      3. Slice em to your desired size and keep them in a large bowl.
      4. Dress em: For every 3 cartons of strawberries that I’ve prepared I stir in 1/2-1 C of sugar and about 3 Tbls-1/4 C of lemon juice. So delish! Add as much or as little as you want!

    Sliced strawberries prepared with sugar and lemon juice ready to put in bags to freeze.

    1. Bag em: Use your 1 C measuring cup to scoop up your strawberry mixture and put them in your quart size zip lock baggies!

    Be sure to label them with the date on front so you know how long they’ve been in that freezer! “Ooops! My strawberries have been in the freezer for 3 months! Guess I better open up a bag of them after the kids fall asleep, sit on the couch, turn on the tube or cozy up with a book and spoon the whole bag into my belly before they go bad!” 😉 mmmmm rotating our food storage can be so delicious!

    Strawberries in bags labeled with date they were prepared.

    I LOVE using freezer bags! They stack so nice and flat in the freezer and you can store a ton of them!

    Bags of strawberries stacked flat in the freezer

    What are some of your favorite things to do with strawberries for your food storage?

    If you found this to be helpful and fun please share our blog with your friends and family. Also, be sure to “like” us on facebook!