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  • Italy Earthquake Devastates Entire Towns

    Italy Earthquake - via The Mirror Searching for survivors - via The Mirror

    A magnitude 6.2 earthquake – along with a string of more than 80 aftershocks – hit central Italy early Wednesday morning. At least 120 people are dead, and entire towns are in crumbles. One such town is Amatrice, to which the mayor explained, devastated, “Half the town doesn’t exist anymore.” At least two other towns have been reduced to rubble, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue teams arrive at more remote areas.

    The earthquake rattled central Italy during the early morning hours when most people were still asleep. Homes fell and roads buckled. The shake was so powerful it was felt more than 135 miles away. Italy is situated on two fault lines, making it not only the most earthquake-prone country in Europe, but also in the entire world.

    With homes destroyed, people are now essentially homeless. The same thing happened in Nepal in 2015, although on a much larger scale. Because homes were destroyed and residents were fearful to spend the night in a damaged home, Kathmandu and the surrounding area became a city of tents.

    City of Tents - Italy earthquake Kathmandu's tent city

    Having some sort of emergency shelter is always a good idea. A tent will keep you protected from outside elements, but even a tarp draped over tree branches is better than nothing. Sometimes you may need to rely on these alternate shelters rather than a compromised home.

    Earthquakes can strike anywhere and at any time. In the case of the Italy earthquake, it struck around 3:30 in the morning. Lights will be out and power will be sketchy, at best. Having an earthquake kit – stored in a safe container, such as a bucket – will help you through those literal dark times with your prepared flashlights and other gear and supplies.

    While the Italy earthquake is devastating, it is still a good time to reflect on your emergency preparations and continue to build it up with the gear and supplies you need. Being prepared before the disaster is essential for riding it out as safely and comfortably as possible.


    Earthquake_Blog_Banner Italy earthquake

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  • German Preppers: Germany Preparing for Catastrophe

    Germany Police

    July 2016 was a brutal month for Germany. In just one week, four violent attacks killed ten people and injured dozens more. Each attack used a different weapon – a gun, bomb, axe, and machete. But it’s not just hand-held weapons Germany is concerned about. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, also plans to have a large store of smallpox vaccines and antibiotics in case of a biological attack. The country is to also have a gas and oil reserve spread throughout the country to last for 90 days.

    The German government has seen firsthand that there are dangers inside their own country – and perhaps more coming. They are taking precautions, but they are also asking their citizens to take some of the responsibility on themselves.

    Pantry GermanyAccording to The Telegraph, Germans are being told to stockpile food and water in preparations for another attack or catastrophe. This mandate is the first of its kind since the end of the Cold War. They recommend storing enough food for ten days and drinking water for five days. People are urged to store two liters or drinking water per person per day. Other items they are encouraged to store are medicines, wood, candles, matches, flashlights, and a reserve of cash. These items will help keep them comfortable should they be confined to their homes during another bout of unrest or terrorist attack.

    Germany had this type of emergency preparedness plan in place at least during the Cold War, but since then have eased off on being actively prepared. With the new threats emerging in their country, they are bringing back those precautions. While we never wish for unrest and alert such as Germany is facing, we can still apply their precautions to us on this side of the pond.


    ferguson-riots- via Music Times - Germany Ferguson riots - via Music Times

    In the United States, we have seen our fair share of problems, be it attacks from extremists or just civil unrest. But the fact remains: we are not immune. The riots in Ferguson and Baltimore is evidence that any given day could see an explosion of violence which could keep residents locked inside their homes. During these aforementioned events, folks were ordered to follow a mandatory curfew in those areas, and even walking to the store in the middle of the day was a dangerous prospect.

    If there’s one thing we can learn from Germany, it’s that we should, as a people, be prepared for anything.

    Storing food and water isn’t just important for natural disasters. Civil unrest or terror attacks can make it all but impossible to get food from the local supermarket. Blocked roads, looting, enforced curfew, other situations might make it physically impossible.

    That being said, the odds of being in a community facing these problems is quite low. However, the principle of preparedness remains. Being prepared for civil unrest is being prepared for a natural disaster, job loss, or other such emergency. Being prepared isn’t about living in fear of what’s to come. Instead it’s being able to live in relative comfort and safety no matter what life throws at you.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Germany

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  • Food Review: Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn and Freeze-Dried Peach Slices

    I’m not a chef. At home, I am a short-order cook. In my family of seven, six of us have dietary restriction. Food allergies include milk products, tree nuts, wheat, corn, eggs, and soy, in varying degrees of severity. I also have an autistic son who, until last year, ate fewer than 10 foods. And my husband eats kosher – meaning, among other things, no pork products and no milk and meat products in the same meal (bacon cheeseburgers are out.)

    When I find a food that most family members like and can eat, it’s lovely.  We recently had the chance to try Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt (SKU: FN C101) and Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Peach Slices (SKU: FN P120).

    I’d definitely recommend both.


    Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt

    Corn ReviewI can’t stand canned corn. I only use it in recipes that mask the flavor. I’d expected the Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt to taste like canned corn.

    Guess what? It doesn’t.

    It’s better.

    Straight out of the container, it tastes like a cross between buttered popcorn, a tortilla chip and frozen corn. It’s a great snack. (Actually, between paragraphs I’ve been grabbing handfuls from the can.)

    We tried it as a side dish. My husband, who cooked that night, appreciated that it’s easy to reconstitute: just add warm tap water and wait five minutes. It doesn’t lose the butter and salt flavor in the process. Most of the family – among those who could eat it – loved it. My younger son, the picky, autistic one, finished his corn then wandered around the table trying to eat it off everyone else’s plates.  After he devoured three helpings of his own, we just gave him the serving dish. The only one who didn’t enjoy it was my eldest son, who likes corn plain with no condiments. Maybe we should try the Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Super Sweet Corn  (SKU: FN C100, $16.95) without butter and salt for him.

    “The corn was the best part of the meal,” my 9-year-old daughter said.

    It’s easy to cook with because 1 cup of dry corn equals 1 cup reconstituted. I adapted this recipe from the Taste of Home 2002 Annual Recipes cookbook (2001, Rieman Publications, LLC, Greendale, WI, page 262).


    Zesty Corn and Beans

    1 can (14 ½ oz) Mexican diced tomatoes, undrained

    2 cups Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt, reconstituted

    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

    ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

    ½ teaspoon chili powder, or more if you prefer spicier food

    1 teaspoon Adobo® seasoning (optional)


    In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Or, combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

    Other uses: I didn’t try this, but this web site, momwithaprep.com, tells how to make cornmeal from freeze-dried corn. Try it and tell us how it turned out.


    Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Peach Slices

    Peaches ReviewI was planning to do with the Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Peach Slices what I did with the corn: describe its flavor straight from the can, describe its flavor reconstituted and provide a recipe. I didn’t count on my husband. By the time I was ready to try cooking with the peaches, he’d eaten most of the can. There weren’t enough left for a full recipe. I came out once in the middle of the night to find him watching a movie and eating a huge bowl of dried peach slices.

    “These things are addictive,” he said.

    When you first put the freeze-dried slices in your mouth, they don’t have a strong flavor, but wait a second and the peach comes out.

    When reconstituted, the peach slice is soft like a canned peach on the outside, but firmer like a fresh peach inside.

    These peaches are not as sweet as canned peaches, which are typically kept in syrup. Since my family prefers tarter foods, and I prefer no added sugar, that’s a benefit in our world. If you like sweeter peaches in your cooking, add a bit more sweetener than the recipe recommends.

    Also, the freeze-dried peaches are like breakfast cereal in that smaller pieces sink to the bottom. Unless you want a cupful of tiny peaches at the end of the can, mix them up beforehand.

    This recipe for Peach Crisp is taken from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (Golden Press, revised ed., 1986, page 124). I had to halve it because my husband ate so many of the dried peaches, I didn’t have enough left for the full recipe. This is the full recipe.


    Peach Crisp

    4 cups Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Peach Slices, reconstituted

    2/3-¾ cup packed brown sugar

    ½ cup all-purpose flour

    ½ cup rolled oats

    1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened (I use slightly less)

    ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange peaches in greased square pan, 8x8x2 inches. Mix remaining ingredients; sprinkle over apples.

    Bake until topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm and, if desired, with cream or ice cream.


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