April 19, 2010
Now is the time to invest your wheat storage and other long term dry food storage such as dry beans and rice. These dry foods are the basics for emergency food storage.
The prices were sky high about a year ago, but the cost of dry foods are relatively low at this time.
A five gallon bucket of wheat (45 lbs.) is running $12.00 to $14.00 a bucket in comparison to $22.00 to $25.00 last year. A 50 lb. bag of wheat costs around $12.98 rather than last year’s price tag of $25.00 to $30.00.
Pinto beans have dropped in price also. A year ago I paid $25.00 for a 20 lb. bag and recently I paid $13.00 for a 25 lb. bag on sale.
Rice is was up last year to $18.00 for a 20 lb. bag. Today, I paid $7.98 for a 20 lb. bag that is on sale.
Why stock up on dried long term foodstuffs?
Long Term Food Storage Shelf Life
Wheat: The shelf life for properly storing wheat is…. well forever. They found wheat in Egyptian pyramids that was around 2000 years old and it was still good. It’s best stored in a temperature of under 72 degrees in a dry place. It should be protected from freezing.
Pinto Beans: Along with pintos, storing red beans and navy beans have a shelf life of 20 to 30 years. As with storing wheat… it should be placed in a tight container and stored in temperatures not above 72 degrees and not below freezing.
Rice: White rice, if stored properly and under 72 degrees will keep from 8 to 10 years.
Wheat and beans can be sprouted. It gives these foods additional nutritional value on top of what you get when they are prepared in traditional ways.
If times really get tough… and I’m certainly not predicting anything here…. you can use these dry foods to trade and barter for other items that you may need.
So… stock up your basic food storage and be prepared… long term. It’s my understanding that prices will increase this year because of a number of factors… weather, and shortages.
P.S. I just opened a can of wheat kernels that I’ve had for over 35 years. Just perfect.
P.P.S. We’ll be talking in detail about how to prepare these dry foods for long term food storage. Just wanted to give you a heads up on prices.
March 2, 2010
Preparing for disaster can be tricky business when it comes to educating children for something that may never happen.
With the convenience of technology, exposure to witnessing the effects of an emergency or disaster is much more readily accessible to our children than it was several years ago. Graphic photos and video that come across our television screens immediately following a tragedy can cause concern for your kids.
What can you do to assure your children so they feel safe now, and yet prepare for disaster, in case it should happen?
1. Limit the amount of media your kids are exposed to during a calamity in another area, especially young children. Watching the event over and over may cause them to believe the event is occurring again and again.
2. Answer their questions truthfully. However, explain and use vocabulary that is age appropriate. Avoid over burdening them with too much information and graphic details.
3. Get informed about the type of disaster that would most likely occur in your area. Check to see what emergency preparations your city, county and state have made toward disaster planning. However, don’t expect them to come to your aid immediately. Often it’s three to seven days before emergency services are able to offer assistance.
4. Prepare your family for an emergency. It helps the family accept the fact that emergencies do happen, but you can do something about it. When your kids know you are prepared, they will be less concerned.
5. Allow your kids to be part of designing the emergency preparedness plan. Have a communication strategy with telephone numbers so they will know who to contact.
Discuss the safety rules and decide where you will meet in case you are separated. Practice the plan. This will help you determine the “holes” in the plan so your can make revisions.
6. Assemble a disaster kit that will aid you in case you have to leave your home in a hurry. It’s suggested the kit should supply very basic needs, such as food, water and protection for at least 72 hours. Planning for 84 hours is even better.
7. Store enough food and water in your home to last from 3 to 7 days, in case you have to remain in your home during the emergency. Light, cooking and heat sources will be necessary also, in case electricity is not available for an extended period of time.
8. Involved your children in gathering supplies and putting your emergency reserves together. Participation will give them a sense of control. They will actually cope better during a disaster, if one were to happen.
P.S. The better your family is prepared for disaster, the less concern your kids will have about surviving difficulty. Sometimes is not a matter of whether you will survive, but how well you survive.
December 26, 2009
“Get Back To Basics,” is the feeling that seems to permeates society when the economy goes South and life feels a little tough. Believe it or not… hard times are when the craft and needlework industries flourish, especially needle crafts. I designed for the craft industry for over 25 years and witnessed the ebb and tide of crafting during affluent and hard times.
Learning to crochet and knit is on the rise. The popularity of needle crafts is evident by the number of crochet and knitted items on the market for moms, teens, children and babies. The catalogs and stores are full of handmade looking accessories this winter season. Or, at least they were.
Actually many stores sold out of handmade hats, headbands and scarfs very early… and holiday shoppers, (including myself ) were scouring every store and boutique for hand crochet and knitted items.
Fortunately, a local store received a late shipment of crochet head bands and I was among the throng of women grabbing them up. You can see by this photo of the “Hat Girls” that I was successful in my find. They were all so please when they opened this Christmas gift.
In fact, my oldest grand daughter, McKenzie, and I were at the store bright and early the day after Christmas to see if there were any hatbands left to be purchased. We hit the jack pot again with a selection of new colors. She is thrilled.
I learned to crochet and knit at the early age of eleven… It was a wonderful past time and I developed a love for crafting and making things with my hands. It was not only an enjoyable experience, but producing a actual product was very rewarding.
I can see why needle crafts are popular again. It takes one back to a “safe solid place.” It feels like “home.” Yes, getting back to basics is good.
P.S. I encourage you to learn how to crochet or knit. McKenzie’s interest is peeked and so I’m going to teach her to crochet. “Back to Basic Skills” in cooking, sewing, and needle crafts such as crocheting, and knitting is a good thing. It’s part of survival preparation for the future… come what may.
December 14, 2009
We all look for unusual presents to give at Christmas time. Often we rack our brains trying to think of what to give our loved ones and friends. Here is another unusual present to give that will certainly be esteemed.
Emergency Food Storage. Now, hold on there… and hear me out… I told you this would be in the unusual presents category.
Having a little emergency food storage on had during a time of crisis is a great thing to have. Or, having a few extras of this and that on the shelves is wonderful…. especially when you don’t have to run to the grocery store for it while your right in the middle of a recipe.
My kids always get a little Home Food Storage along with a few personal gifts. It adds to their emergency storage supply.
Long Term Storage Ideas
- Wheat (It’s lasts forever and you can purchase it sealed plastic buckets.)
- Dry Beans (I found 25 lb bags of pinto beans at the grocery store.)
- Powdered Milk (This product is at my grocery store. They have a food storage section. It can be purchased in 50 lb bags or number 10 cans.)
- Sugar (25 lb bags can be found at your grocery store. Provide a 5 gallon bucket to go along with the sugar. The sugar fits perfectly and will stay nice and dry.)
- Salt (I love having extra salt on my shelves. It’s the one staple I always seem to run out of right in the middle of cooking.)
- 100 Hour Candles (These come in handy when the lights go out. Last winter many areas of the country were left in the dark for several days. These candles can be found on-line or at your local Emergency Preparedness store.
- A case of Toilet Paper (What can I say?)
- 72 Hr Kit (We are all encouraged to have a 72 hr kit on hand in case we have to leave our homes in an emergency. You can make one yourself but purchasing one on-line or from your Emergency Supply Store is much easier.)
Short Term Storage Ideas
- A case of Tuna (Boy does this ever come in handy. When I can’t think of something to prepare, I know I can throw something together quick with tuna.)
- Chili (This is another quick fix meal. I case of a power outage, you have a meal all prepared. If you have to, you can eat it cold… if your in a real pinch.)
- Canned Soup (Again, a quick meal. I love having extra Mushroom Soup on hand for casseroles, gravy, etc.
- Tomatoes (A case of diced tomatoes sure comes in handy at my house.)
- Your own Bottled or Preserved Goods. (If you preserve or bottle in the summer and fall, these make lovely gifts. A bottle of homemade salsa, a quart of grape juice or tomato juice, jam or jelly will put a smile on your loved ones face every time.)
If you give Emergency Food Storage as a Christmas gift, it may be one of the most unusual presents you have every given… but I assure you, it will be well received.
P.S. Giving Emergency Food Storage as a Christmas gift is really getting “Back To Basics.”
October 11, 2009
Keep documents safe. Your personal documents may not survive an emergency disaster that comes unexpectedly. You may find that you don’t have time to gather them up at the time of the disaster. No matter where you live, no one is immune from the possibility of become a victim of flood, fire, or earthquake.
Your priceless possessions, such as your family photos, baby pictures, wedding albums, scrapbooks and other keepsakes, are the irreplaceable documents that cannot be recovered.
Birth certificates, passports, insurance papers can eventually be restored to you but the headache of replacing them is time consuming and can be very costly.
The following are the items that you should protect.
1. Wills. In most cases you need the original for a will be legally binding. You should made several copies since no state or city office keeps a record of wills.
2. Trust documents
3. Birth and Death Certificates
4. Titles and Deeds
5. Licenses such as vehicle, professional, marriage etc.
6. Legal and financial documents
7. Business files
8. Personal and Family Records
9. Personal family photos and keepsakes
10. Account Numbers
11. Household inventory. This is a especially valuable in case of fire.
12. Key, jewelry
13. Cash. During a major emergency check and credit cards often are ineffective.
Placing your documents and valuables in a fire-proof, waterproof safe provides the best protection. However, if you can’t afford a safe, make sure your personal documents are enclosed in heavy plastic, placed on a high shelf and the family is aware of its location.
Keeping copies of vital documents such as birth certificates and insurance papers and some cash should be kept with your 72 hours kit or in a location that is quickly accessible if you have to leave your home quickly.
Bottom Line: Advance preparation is your only insurance policy against disappointment and heartache. Make sure you protect your personal documents and valuables in the best manner you can afford.
P.S. I’m in the process of duplicating my important personal documents. I’m making copies on my copying machine of those docs. that will not require originals. For instance, insurance documents. Births Certificates, Death Certificate and Marriages licenses should be originals. I will have to get them from the county of origination. I don’t presently have a safe so I will be wrapping them in plastic. Keeping documents safe is important to me.
July 23, 2009
Here’s a great home safety tip that my friend, Sherry Liston, shared with me and I thought I would pass it along.
Put your car keys beside your bed at night! Your battery powered car door opener is a security alarm system you probably haven’t thought about. The nice thing is… it requires no installation…. so no expense. Click on the “horn” or alarm button on your opener. It will go off from almost anywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or you reset the button. It works if you park in your driveway or the garage. This home safety may save you some grief of someone is trying to break in your house.
If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to break in, just press the alarm button on your car key pad. Odds are the intruder won’t stick around. After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and no criminal will want that! Do you think it will scare mating cats away? Hmmmmm.
(If it doesn’t work from your bedroom… perhaps your battery is low in your pad or you need a stronger pad. My bedroom is 60 feet from my garage and didn’t go off. I’m on my way to get a new battery or a new pad.)
Here’s a personal safety tip. Remember to get your keys out before you leave the store and enter a parking area. Carry your keys while walking to your car with your finger on the alarm button. Again… sound the alarm if you are approached by someone you are suspicious of. The effect will be the same because it will draw attention to the area and the person will most likely flee.
Be safe now!
P.S. One more thing… if your like me… sometimes I can’t remember where I parked. If I sound my alarm button… my car will “honk” at me. Once I get the location of my car… I quickly turn off the alarm and look real innocent. I try to keep folks from knowing that my mind slips now again.
April 1, 2009
The “Special Needs” your family will need in case of an unexpected crisis is our next emergency preparedness category. Since every family is different, “Special Needs” will vary from person to person within a household. Perhaps you have a baby, a pet or an elderly person living in your home. “Special Needs” are the individual essentials for the people living in your home.
The following are just a few items that may be considered special needs. This list is just to get your wheels spinning.
1. Baby formula, diapers, wipes, medications, bottles, baby food.
2. Feminine products, Advil, medication, extra contacts, contact solution, shaving supplies (male and female.), extra eye glasses, vitamins.
3. Needs for folks who are may be impaired. Dust masks and inhalers for an asthma sufferer. A cane or walker for an elderly person.
4. Pet food, food dish, portable kennel, muzzle, a leash, medications
If you need prescription medications, such as insulin for a diabetic, consult with your doctor on the best way to increase and store an extra supply.
Collecting all of the individual needs for your family members can be a bit over-whelming. So, I’m giving you a “Special Needs” form for you to fill out. You can get it HERE free.
Post it some place convenient, so as you think of things, you can write them down. Under their name, other family members can add to the list as they think of the important items they will need.
Make your list over several weeks, then pick up a few things every time you’re out doing a bit of shopping. Of course, you can make one full sweep at Wal-mart and get the deed done. If you do…. consider taking the kids along… they would have a good time picking out the things on their list.
Now I realize…. the shiny lip gloss your daughter thinks is important… may not meet your criteria for being a “Special Need.” However, boosting one’s spirit during a crisis is important. Although, you may have to limit such items, don’t eliminate them completely.
I’m adding important things to my list daily…. Snickers… Peanuts… Almond Joy … you know.
P.S.In case of an emergency… do you think hair dye could be considered a “Special Need”?
March 4, 2009
Proper sanitation and hygiene are critical during the time of emergency. Disease runs rampant after a disaster strikes if proper sanitation and hygiene standards are not kept high. You probably already know this… but as many people die because of unchecked sanitary conditions during a disaster, than the actual disaster itself. Proper disposal of waste is critical in your emergency preparation.
1. Look around your present circumstances and imagine what you would do, in the face of a emergency, in dealing with human waste. Sure, it’s not a fun subject to confront, but a necessary one. Look at the lay of the land. Are you in a home, with a yard… or are you in a condo or a high rise apartment building. Your environment will determine your preparation.
If your in a condo or an apartment, contact management and has ask what plan has been put into place in the event of an emergency. If you live in a home with a yard… contact your city or county to see what sanitation control methods have been adopted.
2. For our purposes… in our “Closet Emergency Preparation” here is what we suggest. Put a side items that you could use in case apartment or city regulations can not be met. In other words… be prepared for the worst.
3. If your living in a home with a yard… your arrangements can be as simple as a shovel, and a box of enzymes. Rid-X is an enzyme product used to break down solid waste in septic tanks. It’s a natural ingredient and is not harmful to people. It can be found at your local hardware store. Locate an area away from your living quarters that you can designate for bathroom purposes… or the disposal of waste. Dig a hole or trench, cover the waste with enzymes to aid in the breaking down of the refuse. Cover the area with dirt. Kitty Litter is great to control the odor.
However, using the bucket with the seat is far more comfortable. You will need heavy duty liner bags, and enzymes to aid in breakdown of the waste.
4. If you are living in a condo, or apartment, having a sanitation bucket is a must. Again, check with your association or apartment management for the disposal of your filled bags.
5. The easiest answer for our project is to purchase a sanitation kit from an emergency preparedness retail store or order on on line. It will run you anywhere from $16.00 to $45.00 depending on the kit. I found the prices at Emergency Essentials to be competitive if you are ordering on line.
6. In addition to your port-a-potty and enzymes, you’ll need toilet paper, a box of latex gloves, disposable wet wipes, anti-bacterial soap, and bleach. You can add a couple of cans of disinfectant spray… but chlorine bleach is a good disinfectant and it’s inexpensive.
Tip: if worse comes to worse…empty the water from your toilet bowl. Line the empty bowl with a heavy duty bag. Use enzymes. Tie up bag well and take it t a designated location in your yard or apartment complex. It’s just safer if you can remove the waste in a bag lined bucket.
There are many sources you can visit on the internet you can visit that will give you more information about sanitation. I did find this book to be an excellent source because it is so practical. Just click on the book if you’re interested.
What I’m giving you is just the basics you will need to add to your “Closet Emergency Preparation.”
P.S. Let’s get our sanitation bucket and supplies in order… then we’ll talk about personal hygiene.
P.P.S. Here is a one minute video you’ll find interesting.
February 7, 2009
Water is the next “basic” you will need for your “Closet survival preparation.”
Behind electricity and heat, water is the next thing that is likely to “go down” after a natural disaster.
One can survive for several weeks without food, but only a few days without water. An adult needs about two litters a day and a child at least one quart. If you have a baby… extra water will be needed for formula. If you have to cut back on anything in your storage, it should be something other than water.
To be safe, you should store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of the family. If you’re unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can. It may take some time for culinary water sources to be up and running again. Remember, your water heater is a good source for drinking water.
Water for our “Closet Preparation” comes in the form of bottled water. This water choice works well because it doesn’t need to be treated and it can be stack on top of each other… clear to the ceiling.
These filters can be found at emergency storage retail stores or on line. A small filter won’t produce the water as quickly as a large filter… but it’s sufficient and is easily stored in the closet. Since they’re so small, storing two filters should not be a problem. Of course, if you have room for a larger water filter, by all means, added it to your storage.
How much should you store above and beyond a 2 week supply? You will need water to drink and the food in your bucket will need to be reconstituted. That should help you determine the amount of water you store. Keep in mind, clean water will most likely be restored at some time… so don’t worry about having enough to cover the entire 2-3 months.
Water for for bathing, cleaning, and washing of clothes, should come from other water sources. Water in the toilet tank can be used for these purposes. It should not be used for drinking. If you have room for a 35 to 55 gallon water drum in your garage or carport, it’s a good alternative water source. Now is the time to check on alternative water sources; don’t wait until the emergency happens to go looking for extra water.
Now that you’ve purchased your food bucket. Now, go get your bottled water and water filter.
We’re off to a good start in preparing a closet for emergency preparation.
P.S. The bottled water will take up the most space in your closet… but don’t skip on this necessary item.
January 27, 2009
Knowing basic survival skills is really getting back to basics. Sound emergency preparation can relieve your mind and eliminate the fear that comes from not being prepared in case of an individual or a collective hardship.
After attending a meeting, on surviving a Pandemic, I decided to include helpful information on this site that will help you be better prepared, no matter what hardship you may encounter.
This program is called “Survival In A Closet” The line up will be something you can store in your apartment or condo. Not everyone lives in individual homes where space may be readily available. If you have a closet, you can designate for survival preparation, then you’re in great shape to follow the program.
This is a step up from a 72 hour kit.
In the next several months… we’ll move on a fast track to get you set up for a two to three month emergency supply for you and your family. You can follow the program, or just include some of survival tips in the preparations you’ve already made.
Now, remember… this won’t be a luxury program… just a simple basic “survival” plan. Down to the bare bones. Once you get your plan in place… you can add all the little extras you want.
The first thing that comes to mind for many folks is food. However, In my booklet, “4 Family Survival Needs that Are More Important Than Food,” I explore why food is not the most important consideration.
The logical place to start would be the first consideration mentioned in the booklet… but if I know most of you… food is still your primary thought. What will we eat?
So with that in mind, we’re going to start with food because this will be the easiest step in the program. Then we will consider the other four as we go along. Remember… this is a fast track program.
The food bucket can be found at Costco for about $69.00. It contains 200 adult meals… which will cover 3 meals a day for 66 days. The food packets must be reconstituted with water. Last summer, I purchased one of these buckets after sampling some of the meals. They were actually very good. I have tasted some reconstituted food that was so bad, I knew if I had to count on it, I wouldn’t make it.
These food buckets can be found at “Emergency Preparedness Stores,” but they are a little more expensive.
You will need to determine how many buckets your family will need. It might be a good idea to purchase one bucket and cook up a food packet before you invest in several containers.
Since these buckets stack very well, you can stack them in the corner of your closet to the ceiling.
So… the first in our “Closet Preparation” series is… food. Get moving and pick up your buckets at Costco now.
P.S. There is not a basic survival guide in the world that works… unless you work it. Go for it.