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Monthly Archives: March 2010

  • Tornado Preparedness

    The following information on tornadoes is taken from the FEMA website at www.fema.gov/hazard/tornado/index.shtm.

    Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard.

    Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.

    Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

    Here are a couple of facts about tornadoes:

    • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
    • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
    • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.
    • A Tornado Watch means that tornadoes are possible and you should remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
    • A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately.

    Before a Tornado - How to Plan

    You should conduct tornado drills each tornado season. Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat. Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."

    Have the following disaster supplies on hand:

    Katio® Voyager™

    You should also develop an emergency communication plan in case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school). Have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

    What to Do During a Tornado

    If at home:

    • If you have a tornado safe room or engineered shelter, go there immediately.
    • Go at once to a windowless, interior room; storm cellar; basement; or lowest level of the building.
    • If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
    • Get away from the windows.
    • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
    • Use arms to protect head and neck.
    • If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.

    If at work or school:

    • Go to the area designated in your tornado plan.
    • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.
    • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
    • Use arms to protect head and neck.

    If outdoors:

    • If possible, get inside a building.
    • If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
    • Use arms to protect head and neck.

    If in a car:

    • Never try to out-drive a tornado in a car or truck.
    • Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building.
    • If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

    After a Tornado

    • Help injured or trapped persons.
    • Give first aid when appropriate.
    • Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
    • Call for help.
    • If you smell gas, do not turn on any appliances or switches. This includes using phones, flashlights or a cell phone.
    • Turn on the radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
    • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
    • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
    • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
    • Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.

    Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

    When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or-death decisions. Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.

  • Food Storage GPS

    How can you know where to go, if you don’t know where you are?


    Last week, as we continued our journey to preparedness, we discussed the many different options for food storage. If you are like most of us, you’ve already started your journey, and have some items tucked away on your shelves. The question is, how much do you really have? Oh, you may know that you have two cases of this, or several boxes of that…but what does that really mean? Well, don’t worry, you aren’t hopelessly lost on the trail! We have a food storage GPS™ for you! It is called the Food Storage Analyzer, and not only will it pinpoint where you are in your preparedness, but it will help you know where to go next! Have I piqued your interest? I hope so! Let’s learn more!


    This free preparedness online tool is available at BePrepared.com/analyzer. You can simply try it out without creating an account; however, by creating a login your data will be saved for future reference. Let’s go through the step by step process of using your Food Storage Analyzer.


    Login. You create your own password and username so you can save all of your data and update it as your journey progresses. It is a very simple process, and you just need a username and your e-mail address to begin!


    Input Your Family Information. The Analyzer wants to know how many people you are storing for, their sex and age. This helps the program determine how many calories you need for each member of your family. You will get to see the recommended caloric intake for each member, and later on you’ll see how important this information is!


    Fill in Your Current Food Storage Items. These are items that are commonly stored, like Mountain House Foods, MRE’s, SuperPails, and Provident Pantry #10 Cans. There are also many commonly purchased grocery store canned items in the system. All of the items you have purchased from Emergency Essentials will be in the Analyzer, so you will quickly be able to click on each item you have and add it to your list.


    Add Your Own Items. Do you have items not listed on the Analyzer? Don’t worry, you can add them! Just input the name, nutritional, and serving size information found on each package and the Analyzer will add it to your list, and calculate the calories and nutrients for you!


    View and Analyze the Calculations. After you have put your items in, now you get to calculate your results! The Analyzer will tell you how many days worth of calories your current food storage has. Not only will you see how many days your family can survive on the calories you have stored, the Analyzer also tells you what nutrients you are short on, and suggests items to help round out your food storage. For example, if you find that you are short on Vitamin A, the Analyzer will allow you to look up items that will add more Vitamin A to your plan!


    Add Intended Future Purchases. You can now take the time to figure out what items you could add to your plan to make it more nutritionally sound for your family. The Analyzer will allow you to add items that you “intend” to purchase and then see how it affects your calculations! No busy work for you, just a few simple clicks to help you make a plan for your future purchases.


    Ordering. If you would like to, you can even order items straight from the Analyzer! If you choose to do so, the Analyzer will guide you step by step through the ordering process.


    Keep your Analyzer Updated. As you visit the store, and add items to your shelves, don’t forget to add them to your Analyzer list! The analyzer allows you to print out a copy of your food storage contents to hang in your pantry and manually update as items are added and consumed. Periodically take this information and update your analyzer.


    So, if you aren’t sure where you are in your preparedness journey, don’t hesitate to click on the link at BePrepared.com/Analyzer! Your Food Storage GPS™, The Food Storage Analyzer, will change the way you look at your food storage! It really is much more than just a calculator.

    -Angie Sullivan

  • Food for Thought

    There are so many options to consider, how do I know what kind of food to store?

    For some of us, this may seem to be the most perilous point of the preparedness journey! What food should you store? Let’s take a look at all of the options and help you decide the best path for you!

    Emergency Essentials suggest that the best way to begin is to store a three month supply of the items that you eat each day. These are the grocery store goods that you know you can keep on the shelf and use in regular rotation. Things like canned goods, peanut butter, and pasta are some suggestions. I think it is helpful to put together a meal plan, and use that meal plan to determine what items you use most and what you should have on hand to make your particular menu. At our house, we’ve stored lots of canned vegetables, cereals, pasta and sauces, boxed mixes, and other staples.

    After you’ve stored a three month supply of the items you use regularly, consider storing more of "the basics". These are the building blocks of food storage. They are the tried and true foods that we know can sustain life. Think of the pioneers…what did they store and eat? There are seven “basics” that should be stored: Grains, legumes, oil, salt, milk, honey, and garden seeds. These provide the most calories and are have the most important nutrients for survival. They are the “bang for your buck” items that are the least expensive, and store the longest.

    Now you should have a good foundation to build upon. Here’s where you can begin to explore all the amazing food storage options available:

    Dehydrated foods

    We eat dehydrated foods everyday including muffin mixes, cake mixes, pasta, soup, hot cereal and more. Dehydrated food is compact in size and cost effective. I bet you have several dehydrated items already in your pantry, and you didn’t even know it!

    Freeze-dried foods

    Freeze drying is another method of dehydration where the food is first flash frozen at the peak of freshness then a low-level heat is applied inside a vacuum chamber. This process changes the ice crystals to a vapor leaving a dried food. Freeze-dried food locks in the size, color, texture and flavor of the food while retaining most of the nutrients. Freeze-dried food mainly consists of entrees, fruits, vegetables, meat and cheeses.

    Many people ask "which is better, standard dehydrated food or freeze-dried food?" You should consider having both in your food supplies. Some items like milk, muffin mixes, and drink mixes are best dehydrated. Fruits, vegetables, meats and cheese are usually best freeze-dried. By having both in your home storage, you will have a great selection of items packaged for long-term storage.



    MRE stands for Meals-Ready-to-Eat. These meals are used daily by the men and women in the armed forces. As the title infers, these are meals ready to be eaten. They do not need to be cooked, rehydrated or warmed, although many prefer MRE's when heated. These are ideal for emergency and 72 hour kits and also for food storage. They are not as compact as dehydrated or freeze-dried food, but require less preparation.


    Calorie Food Bars

    These bars are best when used for 72 hours. These bars are designed for quick calories in an emergency. They are life sustaining for the first three days. Under most circumstances, they have a 5+ year shelf life. These are great for auto kits and are the least expensive and lightweight for emergency kit use.


    Did we bite off more than you can chew? Don’t worry, we’ll explain in greater detail many of these items and give you much more food for thought!

    -Angie Sullivan

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