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.
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.
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.
November 11, 2008
Besides making sure your automobile has plenty of coolant… you should consider having an emergency preparedness winter kit in your car.
Last winter, here in Utah, we had an unusual storm hit the “point of the mountain”, as we call it. This area is south of Salt Lake City, just as you enter Utah County. In the winter, it’s known for high winds, blowing snow, and treacherous roads.
The surprise storm hit in the late afternoon and continued through the night. Motorists were stranded on the freeway and side roads for many hours. Traffic on the freeway inched along and was often stopped dead still for hours. Many people spent the night in a convenience store parking lot.
My son, Brad was stranded on the freeway and couldn’t get home even though he could see his house from his car. He pulled off the freeway and spent the night at my daughter Katie’s home.
My daughter, Emily had run down to a local store to pick up a few items for dinner. All roads were closed by the time she left to go home. Even though she could see her sub-division from her car, there was no way to get there and, her kids were home alone. Emily was stranded for 8 hours Cell phones worked sporadically because everyone was tapping into the tower signal at the same time.
Emily’s four children, ranging in age from 4 to 13 were down stairs in their bedrooms when the lights went out. Groping in the dark for sometime, McKenzie was able to find a couple of candles and led her brothers upstairs where they waited until their folks could get home. Just a note here: Be aware your portable phones will not work when the light go out. Your home should have at least one land line phone.
After the storm was over, this event led our family to a winter emergency preparedness discussion.
In the case of Emily’s kids, better emergency lighting could have provided. It was agreed that Glow Sticks or Light Sticks (same thing… just different names), were the best way to provide lighting for children rather than candles. A glow stick is safe, non-toxic-non-flammable, weatherproof and inexpensive. Flashlights are great… but if your house is like mine… the batteries are always dead when I need the light.
By providing Light Sticks in strategic areas in your home, you furnish a means for young children to find their way about, if the electricity goes out. All the child has to do is, bend, break, and shake the stick… and Waaa Laaa… Light! We decided that a light stick in each child’s dresser drawer would be a good idea. Also, place one on a shelf or in drawer in every room of the house. This way, your child does’nt have to strike a match.
You can purchase glow stick that will last 4 hours, 8 hours and 12 hours. I’ve seen a few that will last 24 hours. The cost ranges from $.49 to $2.50 depending upon where you purchase them.
It was agreed that a winter emergency kit should be placed in the car.
Must Have: Winter coat, gloves, hat that covers ears, winter boots, socks, blanket and water. (Emily was in “heels” and had on a light jacket… or she would have attempted to walk home.)
Additions: Special needs such as insulin, medications etc.
Additions: Cell phone charger. Protein bars (not bars with lots of carbs because they’ll make you tired.) Nuts, (raw almonds keep best.) Flares, and glow sticks. Small camp shovel.
Additions for when you have to leave the car: Umbrella, (good protection against the wind). Ski mask, goggles. Hand warmers. (You can purchases these in a large package.)
For Children: Blankets, food for kids… like crackers and canned cheese. Water and juices… games. Sometimes mom’s put their kids in the car without shoes or a coat… thinking, “It’s warm in the car and I’m just going for a minute.” Make sure they’re dressed for an emergency situation, especially if the weather is threatening.
For Babies: Pack a diaper bag with bottles, formula, blankets, diapers, plastic bags, wipes and special needs.
There you go… I’m getting a head start on my winter emergency preparedness kit before the snow flies. Who cares if it looks a little miss matched as long as I’m warm and safe. I’m putting all of my gear in a duffel bag.
If you have any more ideas… leave us a comment. Love to hear from you.
P.S. It’s also suggested, during the winter months, you always keep your gas tank at least 1/2 full.
P.P.S. A winter emergency preparedness kit can make being stranded, because of poor weather, a little more comfortable… and in some cases, may save your life.