Monthly Archives: October 2013

  • We're on Pinterest!

    Mom and daughter on Pinterest on laptop

    Did you know we’re on Pinterest? Oh, yeah, we’re hip like that. We even have pins of cute puppies and some ecards, just like everybody else. But you know what else we’re pinning? You don’t? Well, that’s because you haven’t checked us out yet. So, howzabout a little tour?

    For starters, our official Pinterest page can be found here: http://www.pinterest.com/emeressentials/.

    For those who don't know, Pinterest is a social media network that allows you to post pictures of products, crafts, or other neat ideas that you can test out at home. You post pictures on "boards" (see the pictures below) so that your followers can see what you're posting. At the moment we have 33 boards (we’ve got a lot on our mind) and more than a thousand followers. And we’re following some of you preparedness enthusiasts, which is really exciting. Here are a few highlights, but we’d love it if you jumped on Pinterest and looked around for yourself.

     

    Our favorite boards

    • Food Storage Recipes – Salmon burgers and fruit salsa? Egg drop soup and Superbowl party treats? Would you believe we can do all that with our food storage? From freeze dried goodies to solar cooking, this board will make rotation a pleasure and emergency eating a treat.

    Pinterest Food Storage Recipes board

    • Tutorials, Ideas and Plans – Our tireless researchers have scoured the Internet for instructions on just about everything you’d need to do, um, ever. Moldy tent? Tipnut.com has a step-by-step tutorial. Drowning buddy? Artofmanliness.com has an infographic. We’ve even pinned a youtube video on how to make a woven half-hitch paracord pouch. I know, right?!
    • Pet Preparedness – We always think about ourselves and children in our preparations, but what about Fido and Fluffy? Check here for tips, resources, and products to keep furry friends happy and healthy in case of an emergency.

    Pinterest Pet Preparedness board

    • No Room for Supplies?  – We’re particularly proud of this board. Do you have, or have you found, a creative idea for home storage? You know, like furniture with hidden compartments, rooms with false walls? Send us a link and it may show up here.
    • Do It Yourself Preparedness – You know we’re a sucker for DIY. Look here for ideas on how to make essentials like laundry soap, or fun kitchen organizers, like this one http://www.pinterest.com/pin/77898268528076372/.

     

    Why you should follow us

    • Preparedness Pantry Blog – Don’t get a chance to check our blog as often as you’d like? Most of our blog posts get pinned to this board. Follow us, and you’ll always know when there’s something new to check out.
    • My Emergency Binder – This board is a hidden treasure. Printables and downloads from our site are available here, along with good ideas for how to organize and store an emergency binder.

    Pinterest Emergency Binder Board

    • Giveaways and Contests  – Best board ever. Follow us on Pinterest, and opportunities to win freebies will pop up magically in your feed. It’s kind of like Christmas. And speaking of…

     

    CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

    (Pardon the all caps, but we’re really, really excited. In fact, we’re so excited that we’ve got five pinboards dedicated to Christmas shopping. It’s never too early, right?)

    • Gifts under $5 , 10 , 25, 50 – Just what they sound like, these boards provide lots of good ideas for Christmas gifts across a range of price points.
    • Stocking stuffers and small gifts – We really like the idea of loading up on little things. These would be perfect for kids’ stockings, a company or church gift exchange, or to have wrapped and on hand for last minute Christmas guests.

    Pinterest Stocking Stuffers board

    • Customer favorites – Still can’t think of anything to buy your family and friends for Christmas? Browse the 100+ plus pins on this board to see what our regulars buy on a usual basis.. There’s bound to be something to please that hard-to-buy-for type here.

    Doesn’t this get you all excited? And here’s one more super-cool thing you can do. Of course, you can repin any of the fun stuff you find on our pinboards. Or you can pin straight from our website! Yeah, you heard that right. Browse the good ol’ beprepared.com, find something fantastic, and hit the ‘pin’ button right on the page.

    Anything else we can do to make your life wonderful?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: recipes, skills, gifts, preparedness, pet preparedness, emergency preparedness, pinterest

  • Pennies for Prepping Banner

    Hello, Friends!

    I hope this fall is treating you beautifully—the leaves around here are changing to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s time to pull out my winter wardrobe and pack away my flip flops, peep-toes, and capris until next summer.

    Speaking of summer, I’ve saved an average of $44.82 a month since June (July was a really good savings month for me). In addition to the $4.66 I had left from my May purchases, I had a total of $183.97 to use on prepping gear and food storage. I’ve wanted to save up for a couple of (relatively) larger purchases, and I finally bought them! Let me tell you all about them:

    I’m too impatient to save the best for last—my favorite prepping purchase is going right into the spotlight, folks.

    Pennies for Prepping October - Goal Zero Switch 8

    I got the Goal Zero Switch 8 power pack. And I’m a huuuuuge fan. It’s $39.99 this month ($31.99 if you have a catalog—just enter the promotion code from the back page of your catalog—right by the mailing address—to get the additional savings). I personally think everyone should have one. Here’s why:

    • It will charge practically any phone with its USB port

    • It will charge my iPhone from being totally dead to almost 100%

    • It’s small enough to fit in a purse pocket, day back, or glove compartment and not draw attention to itself—it's about the size of a fat highlighter or a chunky permanent marker—which means it’s a great fit for hiking and camping. You’ve been there: experiencing the beauty of nature, wanting to snap a picture to remember the experience or share it with friends… and your phone/camera dies. No more, my friends. Just plug your device into the Switch 8 and you're back in business. Capture that sunset. Take video of your kids splashing in the lake.

    • It’s so easy to charge the Switch 8. I just plug it into my computer’s USB port every night, and drop it into my purse every morning. Then I know I’ve got two full charges worth of life on my phone every day (especially helpful if you have an iPhone and updated to iOS7, which is sucking the life out of your battery right now, amiright?)

    • If I’m going to be outdoors and using my phone a lot, I can bring along my Nomad 7 solar panel to charge the Switch 8, my phone, or other USB-compatible devices right from the sun.

     

    I also bought a Teton® Outfitter XXL 1-Man Quick Tent. Oh, man... I can’t wait to try this one out—you’ll see why when you check out the video below. Simplest setup and take-down I’ve ever seen (except for you brave people who sleep out under the stars in just your sleeping bag). And I’m all about simplifying the process of setting up so I can focus on other things—like roasting marshmallows.

    You want one now, don’t you? I can’t say I blame you. It’s good design put to use to make your life easier. What’s not to love about that?

    If you need something a little roomier, for just a few dollars more you could get the Slumberjack Trail Tent 2—it’s a two-person tent, and a great buy. (There are also a 3-person and 4-person tent available—see all our Slumberjack tents here.)

     

    My final purchase using my summer savings was a sleeping pad. The Klymit Static V, to be exact. Not only is it incredibly light, it’s incredibly comfortable. Don’t believe me? (Or more likely… Don’t care about my opinion because I’m not a big camper?) Check out the customer reviews.

    I’m gearing up to spend some serious time camping next summer. I used to go camping with my family all the time when I was younger, but over the past few years I’ve spent more time in high heels than in nature, and I think it’s about time to change that. Camping is a great way to practice prepping skills, and I’ll take all the practice I can get. I’ll keep you posted on my outdoor adventures. Wish me luck!

    Until next time, friends. Happy prepping!

    --Urban Girl (Sarah)

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • 55-gallon water barrel combo

    The 55-Gallon Water Barrel Combo is a great option to give you peace of mind during an emergency or city/county-wide boil order. During the month of October, this combo is on sale for $81.99, a $124.85 value. This combo will allow you to have clean, usable water stored right in your home if your normal water supply is disrupted or contaminated.

    This combo includes:

    •  55-Gallon Water Barrel: The minimum recommended amount of water for an emergency situation is one gallon per day per person for two weeks. This includes water for drinking, minimal cooking, and simple hygiene needs (sponge bath and teeth brushing). This means the 55-gallon barrel will provide:

    -          1 gallon of water for one person for fifty-five days

    -          27.5 gallons  per person for two people (nearly a month’s supply)

    -          13.75 gallons per person for four people (about a two week supply)

     

    • 1 Emergency Siphon: Allows you to access your water quickly from your 55-gallon barrel.
    • 1 Barrel Buddies II Bung and Gas Wrench: This tool will help you to open the barrel bungs with ease, giving you easier access to your water and allowing you to siphon water out. This tool is great because it can also be used as a wrench to turn off your gas valve during an emergency.

    You'll definitely need these two tools to help you access the water stored in your 55-gallon barrel safely during an emergency. Our 55-Gallon Barrel Combo is a great value and an excellent way to get started storing water for shelter-in-place circumstances.

    Siphon water from larger containers into portable containers

    If you’re interested in getting a 55-Gallon Water Barrel Combo, but you’re a first time barrel buyer, there are a couple of things that you should know about how to safely store and retrieve your water. Here are 5 frequently asked questions that first-timers often ask:

     

    What are the barrels made of?

    The barrels are constructed of sturdy, food-grade, # 2 BPA-free polyethylene plastic.  Each barrel is dark blue, limiting light exposure that can encourage algae growth in your water.

     

    Where should I keep my barrel?

    If you have a basement, storing your barrel there would be ideal.  In the basement, your barrel would be protected from excess heat and light. But if you don’t have a basement, you can keep your barrel anywhere you have room for it—on a back porch, in a carport, laundry room, or mud room. However, we do not recommend keeping it in the garage near engine fumes and where products such as fuels, oils, and paints are stored.

    Even though thick plastic seems impermeable, it is actually porous and will eventually absorb any chemical odors in the environment. These odors could  then leach into your water making its taste unpleasant.

    We also caution against placing your barrel directly on a concrete floor. We recommend placing planks or a sturdy wooden pallet under the barrel before filling. This provides a breathable barrier to help prevent mold and mildew growth. Once it’s filled, it’s not going anywhere--the water itself will weigh 440 lbs.! If you keep your barrel outdoors, you might want to get a [Barrel Bag] to slip over it to reduce accidental contamination from soil, bird droppings, and dust.

     

    What in the world is a bung?

    Bungs are the two white plugs on top of the barrel that allow you to fill your barrel and access your water. They are nearly impossible to remove without the proper tool. That’s why the 55-gallon combo comes with a bung wrench to help you open your barrel without breaking the bungs.

     

    Do I need anything else?

    Additional tools available include the Siphon Hose Adapter, which allows you to attach your siphon hose to a regular garden hose—useful for filling your barrel or emptying it to your yard, garden, bathtub, or wherever you choose. We also offer a [Drinking Water Safe Hose] in 25 and 50-foot lengths, which would be helpful in filling your barrel from your kitchen or bathroom water source, and the Bung Seal Cap, which fits over the bung opening and helps prevent contamination. You might also want a jug for transporting water from your barrel into your kitchen or bathroom. For this purpose, we offer a Standard Five-Gallon Jug made of #2 food-grade plastic, with a separately sold spigot, and both a 5-Gallon and 2.5-Gallon Collapsible Jug that  come with spigots. You’ll also need Aquamira Water Treatment that can keep a water barrel free from “bugs” for 5+ years.

     

    How long will my water last stored in a barrel?

    Water, unlike food, doesn’t spoil or “go bad” with time. However, we recommend rotating your water once a year or using Aquamira Water Treatment to make sure that your water is absolutely fresh when it comes time to use it.

    If it was clean when you put it into a clean barrel, and hasn’t been contaminated since, it will last indefinitely. If it tastes “flat,” just pour it back and forth between containers to aerate it before drinking. If you notice any strange odor to your water, however, you can of course change it out or treat it with a purifying agent. (See our blog post on water filtration and purification.)

     

     

    One of the easiest ways to begin or increase your water storage reserves is to purchase a water barrel combo to help you with your water storage maintenance. The 55-gallon combo is a great introduction to water storage for beginners, but it is also perfect for those who have water storage experience, making it easier to store and retrieve your water. For more information on water storage, filtration, and treatment visit these links:

     

    Water Storage Insight Articles

    Water-related Blog Posts

    “Water” Search results on Beprepared.com

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water, water storage, water barrel, water barrel combo

  • Since we are in the heart of autumn, and the weather is starting to get cold, we thought you might like a warm meal to boost your spirits. We’ve been down in the Emergency Essentials kitchen creating a delicious and warm Green and Cheesy Chicken Casserole.

    Don’t let the name fool you . . . when I hear green and cheese together I start to get a little skeptical (as I’m sure a kids would, too, until they taste its cheesy goodness). I assure you that this chicken casserole is good, and the best part is that it’s quick and easy to make using just your food storage ingredients.

    We originally found this recipe on spatualsonparade.blogspot.com and have adapted it to fit our food storage needs.

    Green and Cheesy Chicken Casserole

    Green and Cheesy Chicken Casserole

    2 cups Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Chicken Breast with Rib Meat (Diced)

    1.5-2 cups Provident Pantry Cheese Blend

    1 cup MyChoice Freeze Dried Broccoli (We also loved it with MyChoice Freeze Dried Green Peas)

    1 cup Provident Pantry Instant White Rice

    2 dashes MyChoice Premium Onion Powder (you Don’t want a lot because this stuff can overpower!)

    ¼ tsp MyChoice Premium Garlic Powder

    1/2 tsp MyChoice Mesh Black Pepper

    ¼ tsp MyChoice Mild Chili Powder (optional)

    ¼ tsp MyChoice Italian Seasoning (optional)

    ½ cup water

    1 cup Bread crumbs or crushed crackers (we used about 5 Mountain House Pilot Crackers)

     

    1. Cook Provident Pantry Instant White Rice according to directions on the can (this will take about 20 minutes).

    2. As the rice cooks, reconstitute freeze dried chicken dices, green peas, and cheese blend.

    3. To reconstitute the cheese blend, follow the directions on the can for “cheese sauce” so that you can get a creamy texture for the cheese that’s almost like cheese soup.

    4. Once everything is reconstituted and the rice is done cooking, blend all the rice, chicken, peas, and seasonings together in a large bowl, as you stir, add the ½ cup water. Do NOT include bread crumbs or crackers yet—season to taste.

    5. Place the mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs/crushed crackers on top. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until warm in the center. Can be served with salad or bread.

     

    Here’s a helpful hint for cooking with food storage meats:

    Food storage meats are often salty to preserve them longer. Hence, whenever you cook a food storage recipe with a ton of seasonings, like this recipe, you’ll want to cut back on the amount of seasoning you use so your meal isn’t super salty. With this recipe, we’ve given you measurements for seasonings, but season to taste and your own liking, using our measurements as general guidelines.

    Enjoy! And tell us what you think of the recipe in the comments below.

    --Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, recipe, Food Storage Tips, freeze dried food

  • couple and burning house

    So, obviously, the whole point of National Fire Prevention Week is to keep dangerous fires from starting in the first place. But sometimes, for all our good efforts, things go wrong. In addition to knowing effective practices for fire prevention, we need to be prepared for the other contingency. In this case, that means having a current fire escape plan in place and making sure everyone in your house knows what to do in the event of a house fire.

    Lest you think you can wing it, take a peek at some surprising facts about fire from ready.gov:

    Fire is FAST!

    "There is little time! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames. Most deadly fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape."

    Fire is HOT!

    "Heat is more threatening than flames. A fire's heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin. In five minutes, a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this is called flashover."

    Fire is DARK!

    "Fire isn't bright; it's pitch black. Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you've lived in for years."

    Fire is DEADLY!

    "Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape."

     

    The same government website (ready.gov) advocates implementing a fire escape plan and practicing it with your family at least every six months. Download our free Fire Escape Plan template so you and your family can plan and practice, and remember these key points:

    • Make sure every room has two escape routes.
    • Keep fire escape ladders in upstairs rooms in case the stairs are blocked and the window is your only way out. Emergency Essentials sells a Fire Alert Fire Escape Ladder that you can your family can practice using during your fire escape drills.
    • Teach children how to open windows and remove screens quickly.
    • Practice every escape route blindfolded (smoke can be disorienting), crawling on the floor (smoke rises), and as fast as you can (fire spreads quickly).
    • Teach children to check doors for heat and smoke before they open them. If either is present, leave it closed and use the secondary route out of the room.
    • Never forget what you learned in elementary school: if your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll!
    • Get good quality smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for each bedroom and one for each level of the house, including the basement. Remember to keep fresh batteries for them.

    National Fire Prevention Week is the perfect time to get your fire escape plan in place, with plenty of time to practice it before the end of the year!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • For many people, building a food storage supply is an incremental process. We start with the basics, buy what we can when we can, save up for larger purchases, and watch happily as the stash grows month by month or year by year. So, it only makes sense to apply the same principle of patience to our supply of emergency survival gear.

     Survival Gear Collage

     

    At Emergency Essentials, we recommend that you build your supply by starting with the survival gear that will meet your most basic needs first. Get high-quality items that will last a long time when you can. But if you’re on a budget, get the most basic survival gear to meet each need until you can afford to upgrade.

    So here are my Top Twelve recommendations to start your collection of emergency gear:

    1. Emergency kit – The contents of the Basics Emergency Kit can be stashed in plastic freezer bags until you find just the right backpack—at which point, you can also start adding heavier-duty elements, like LED flashlights and a multi-tool and a good knife.
    2. Water Filter – The Katadyn® MyBottle microfilter is a water bottle with a microfilter built in—and it’s a great starting point for water filtration. If you need water for a few people or you want to upgrade to something that can filter thousands of gallons of water, something like the Combi would work well. If you really want to pull out all the stops and provide water for a large group, get the Expedition.
    3. Emergency food – Still saving up for the big freeze-dried entree variety pack? In the meantime, get more calories for your buck with high-energy emergency food ration bars.
    4. Shelter – I want the four-man, two-vestibule tent with taped seams and a rain fly. But a rip stop tarp will do in a pinch. Don’t forget the rope .
    5. Warmth – They may look inconsequential, but a reflective emergency bag   and pocket hand warmers stash efficiently, are cheap enough to buy in bulk (less than $2 each), and could very well save your toes.
    6. Light – I buy little lightweight LED flashlights almost every time I pass one in a store. Super long-lasting, surprisingly bright for their size, and frequently on sale, they’re a great value for the money.
    7. Communications – This may be the most expensive item on my list of ‘basics,’ but in a true emergency, a shortwave radio  is an absolute must. And for $20-30, you can get a workhorse with radio, LED light, USB charger, and three different ways to power it all (solar, crank, battery).
    8. Power – Another example of multiple uses in a single product is a solar battery charger. You won’t be able to run the freezer, but you can keep all the vital little things operational. Recharge radio batteries or charge cell phones—with a single device.
    9. First aid – Two approaches: A) Find a small, basic kit and keep that on hand until you can afford something more comprehensive; or B) collect individual components, like bandages  and pain reliever, as you find them well priced, and add to the collection gradually.
    10. Cooking – Start small with a basic collapsible stove  for outdoor cooking. Or start even smaller with fuel and some matches.
    11. Sanitation – Travel size shampoos, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer are logical place to start here. But if the idea of doing your business behind a tree stresses you out, peace of mind can come with relatively little expense. I love this toilet seat  that fits over a bucket. Seriously, genius.
    12. Storage and tools – Absolutely, without doubt, the first instrument you want in your supply is a multi-function pocketknife. The second is a multi-function tool. The pricey ones will definitely last longer, but the value options will do the job. Lots of jobs, for that matter.

     

    That’s my beginner’s list. Gear can really make your life easier (and even save your life) in an emergency, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Look around BePrepared.com and find the gear that will work best for you and your needs.

     

    Anything else you’ve found crucial in a tight spot? Share your must-have’s in the comments.

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Prevent Kitchen Fires

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     stove fire

    Quick quiz: Which activity is statistically more likely to result in a house fire?

    a) Running your fireplace

    b) Using your hair dryer

    c) Frying eggs.

    If you answered ‘c,’ you’re already keyed in to the message of the National Fire Prevention Association. The theme of this year’s National Fire Prevention Week is Prevent Kitchen Fires, a reference to the number one source of house fires in the United States.

    In the interest of keeping your cooking space—and the rest of your house!—safe and fire-free, here are our top tips for preventing  and safely extinguishing kitchen fires.

    Prevention

    • The most important thing any of us can do to prevent kitchen fires is to stay in the kitchen while we cook. Frying, broiling, or grilling requires constant attention. If you need to step out, turn off the oven or stove.
    • If you’re doing something that takes longer (simmering, baking, boiling, roasting), check it frequently. Never leave the house while using the stove or oven, and set a timer to prevent burning.
    • It may sound intuitive to keep flammables away from the stovetop, but think of all the things in your kitchen made of wood, paper, or fabric! Wooden spoons, oven mitts, dish towels, that empty box from your macaroni and cheese . . . You get the idea.
    • Believe it or not, food build-up on your stovetop is also a potential fire source. Keep stoves and ranges clean and wipe up spills when the area is cool.
    • Maintain a 3-foot radius around the stove and oven that stays clear of children and pets (for their own safety), and use back burners when they are present.
    • Be sure your cooking equipment is in good repair and use it properly. Keep electrical cords away from heat sources and never use an extension cord in the kitchen. (Overloaded circuits are a major source of home fires.)
    • No cooking in that floppy-sleeved bathrobe. Loose clothing and hair can ignite in a hurry.
    • Be extra careful when frying in oil. Don’t overfill pans and remember that wet food placed in oil will cause bigger grease splatters.

    Extinguishing fires

    • Many of us have been told what to use on different kinds of fires over the years (baking soda on a grease fire, etc.). The current advice of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is just get out. Leave the house, make sure everyone else is out, and call 9-1-1.
    • REALLY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are going to attempt to fight the fire, have everyone else get out of the house and make sure you have a clear path of escape.
    • Have a multi-purpose fire extinguisher on hand and learn how to use it. The NFPA offers some great tips on how to use a fire extinguisher correctly. REMEMBER that fire extinguishers should only be used for small fires. If the fire is too big to handle, just get out!
    • Small grease fires can best be smothered by sliding a lid over the burning pan. Always remember to turn off the stovetop, and wait till the fire is out and the pan is completely cool before touching it.
    • To extinguish an oven or microwave fire, close the door and turn it off. If you can safely reach the microwave plug, pull it out.
    • Have cooking equipment repaired or checked after a fire.

     

    Bonus category: Cooking Outdoors

    In your kitchen-away-from-home, all the safety practices above apply:

    • Keep equipment clean.
    • Keep children, pets, and flammable materials several feet away.
    • Never leave grills or other cooking equipment  unattended.

    Additionally, consider these grill-specific tips:

    • Be sure your gas grill is open when you light it.
    • Never add liquid fuel to a fire.
    • Let coals cool completely before disposing of them.
    • Never use a tabletop grill or camp stove inside a tent.
    • Store fuel carefully and keep it away from heat.

    Check out more safety info at the following sites, and get cookin’ with fire safety!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Fire Safety, Fire Preparedness

  • House in 2013 Colorado Flood

    In light of the recent flooding in Colorado and all the damage that has occurred as a result, we want to share a series of posts from one Colorado woman’s perspective. Opinions expressed are hers and do not necessarily reflect those of Emergency Essentials. If you lived through the recent Colorado floods and want to share your story, please email social@beprepared.com.

     

    The damage caused by the Colorado floods will last for many, many years.  The damage you see on TV is nothing like seeing it in person.  So many people lost everything.  Communities are gone.  Where there were once fields of corn there are now just large lakes, even a week later.  Homes are still under water; roads and bridges are just gone; and businesses are destroyed.

    The weekend of September 20th, I went to see if there was anything I could do to help.  The images that most affected me were of two farm houses and their barns still under water.  Their fields had turned into lakes.  They lost everything.

    Landfills were full of so many destroyed memories.  I saw Flood Assistance signs directing people to tents that would give them clothing, food, and assistance to help with additional relief.  It was so sad to see. But it was also exciting to see as I witnessed so many people wanting to help.  I saw entire communities working together to help each other.  People helping people they didn’t even know, and wanting nothing in return.

    As I watched these people working together to clean up the devastating effects of this storm, I was trying to think about how someone could ever prepare for an emergency of this magnitude. The flood victims needed food, warmth, and a roof over their heads. I started to think that if my family and I had been affected as badly by the storm that all the goodies we have in our bug out bags wouldn’t be enough.

    I decided to help out at the tents giving clothing and food. I listened to stories from people that had it so much worse than me. They all talked about how thankful they were.  They said, “It could have been so much worse.”

    Many organizations teach us to be prepared for emergencies, but this was big.  You need to get everyone in your community involved, not just a few people.  Everyone should know how to prepare for emergencies. It’s that old saying “It takes a village.” After the floods, I contacted my neighbors to schedule a meeting to start teaching them all how to prepare for future emergencies. We have to start somewhere.

    Note from the editor: We offer free emergency planning resources for families and neighborhoods on our Downloads page. We encourage you to create a plan as soon as possible—even a very basic plan will help—and provide you a foundation to build on. 

    Check out the rest of the series:

    Why I Prepare: Lessons from the Colorado Floods, Part 1

    Why I Prepare: Lessons from the Colorado Floods, Part 2

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, emergency kit, emergency preparedness, flood, natural disaster, Colorado flood

  • Firefighter fighting house fire

    Earlier this year, my very favorite waterfront restaurant here in the Northwest—the home of the most wonderful onion rings in all history—burned to the ground. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the resulting loss of materials, business, and jobs had our whole community on edge for several weeks.

    In 2011, fires caused 3,005 civilian deaths, 17,500 civilian injuries, and $9.7 billion in property damage (see the report http://www.nfpa.org/research/fire-statistics/the-us-fire-problem). That’s the kind of statistic the National Fire Protection Administration wants you to hear about this week. Every year since 1922, the week including October 9th has been designated National Fire Prevention Week. The goal of this special week in October is to educate the public on fire safety and prevention practices.

    History of National Fire Prevention Week

    Do you remember learning this poem in elementary school?

                 Late one night, when we were all in bed,

                Old Mother Leary left the lantern in the shed

                And when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said,

                “I’ll bet they’ll be commemorating this with a national week of observance for years!”

    You didn’t learn that version? Hmmm. The poem refers to the Great Chicago Fire of October 8-9th, 1871, which National Fire Prevention Week commemorates. The Chicago fire killed more than 250 people and 17,400 structures across its 2,000 acre swath. While it was far from the most destructive conflagration that year (believe it or not), it occupies the most vivid place in cultural memory, which is why its anniversary has become such a rally point.

    Purpose of National Fire Prevention Week

    When the Fire Marshal’s Association of North America persuaded the president of the United States to designate a formal observance, 40 years after the Chicago fire, it was determined that the week should not be one of celebration, but one of education and progress. National Fire Prevention week always has a stated theme, and in current years, the focus has been in specific prevention practices—like 2010’s concentration on smoke alarms, or last year’s theme, “Have 2 Ways Out.”

    This year’s theme, “Prevent Kitchen Fires,” addresses the number one cause of home fires and civilian fire deaths in the U.S. Look for another post on kitchen fire safety coming up later this week.

    Fire Prevention Resources

    NFPA’s website is a treasure trove of fire safety resources and information, and during this week, they are gearing everything toward public education. I especially appreciate how they’ve categorized their information for target groups: those in the fire service, kids and families, and educators. Considering you probably fall into one of the last two groups, here’s a quick overview of what you might find:

    For kids and families

    • A dedicated site for kids, featuring the NFPA’s mascot, Sparky the Dog
    • Kid-friendly activities and print-outs
    • Age-appropriate safety strategies
    • Home safety checklist
    • Templates for an escape plan, safety information card, etc.

    For teachers

    • Info sheets and checklists to send home
    • Ready-made fire prevention lesson plans
    • Fire safety-themed classroom activities
    • Apps and e-books to teach fire safety

    The site’s safety tips and extensive fire prevention information are a crucial resource for everyone, whether or not you live or work with children. So, to kick off National Fire Prevention Week, instead of lighting up the grill (yikes!), take the NFPA’s fire safety quiz. I got 7 out of 10. Can you beat my score?

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, Fire Safety

  • There are some awesome new preparedness supplies in our October catalog that you’ll want to know about. These products not only make cooking from food storage easier, but they also make preserving food in your #10 and MyChoice cans even better. Here are my top four new preparedness supplies to watch for:

    Universal Cream Sauce and Soup Base (Now on sale for $14.99. Normally priced at $16.50)

    Found the perfect recipe, but don’t have the condensed soup or cream sauce it calls for? This versatile just-add-water sauce can be used in any recipe that needs cream or condensed soup. You can make Alfredo sauce, enchilada sauce, Thai peanut chicken, soups, gravies, or tater tot casseroles just from one can of this cream sauce base.

    Universal Cream Sauce and Soup Base

    >Fruit Crisp and Cereal Combo (Now on sale for $64.99. Normally priced at $83.90)

    Use the fruit crisp and cereal combo to create the perfect fall apple, peach, or blackberry crisp. You can even enjoy a bowl of our popular, Cinnamon Almond Granola each morning without even going to the store for a carton of milk (instant nonfat powdered milk is included in the combo!) A definite crowd pleaser and family favorite.

    Fruit Crisp and Cereal Combo

    Gossner Brand Milk Cartons (Now on sale purchase a 3-pack for $2.75, or a case of 27 (nine 3-packs) for $20.99)

    This milk is SO good. Unlike standard milk bought at the grocery store, these individual 8oz. cartons of milk can last 6-12 months without refrigeration during storage. Comes in a variety of flavors including Rootbeer float (a personal favorite!), cookies and cream, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, skim, whole, and reduced fat. Great for storing in emergency kits, or to pack in school lunches.  Comes in a pack of 3 cartons.

    Gossner Milk

    Small Metallized Zip Top bags with Gusseted bottom (Purchase a 10-pack for $8.50)

    Have you ever opened a #10 can and wished that there was a better way to keep your food fresh after opening? Problem solved with these gallon-size metallized bags. They’re made of the same material as the bags in our Superpails—so they’ll help keep out oxygen, light, and moisture.

     Small metallized bags

    Simply pour the food from your #10 or Mychoice can into this bag and zip the top (just like a freezer bag). Place back into your #10 can and the bag will sit upright in the can because of its gusseted bottom! These bags do a really good job of keeping your food fresh, but you’ll still want to pick up some oxygen absorbers to go along with them  to make sure your food is as fresh as possible.

     

    These are my top 4 new products to check out this October. But be sure to check out all of our New Products.

    What are your favorite NEW Emergency Essentials products?

    --Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, preparedness, sale

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