• Diesel Spill Contaminates Local Water Supply

    Last Wednesday, residents of Nibley, Utah were put under a water ban for 48 hours.

    do not drinkNo, it’s not drought conditions that cause the town to order the water ban. Not a water main break or power outage, either. It was diesel fuel contamination that fouled the water. Washing with such water can cause health issues. Eating food cooked with such water can cause health issues. And drinking the water? Well, best not to go there, either.

    Can you imagine not being able to drink, cook with, or wash in the water that comes free-flowing from your faucet? That’s exactly what the residents of Nibley had to put up with last Wednesday. In fact, they are still under a partial water ban, 5 days later.

    If a city official posted a note on your door stating you were not to use your water for 48 hours, how would you fare?

    We’ve talked about water storage a lot on this blog, and for good reason. Usually it’s about drought and its nasty effects. But as we see here, that’s not the only reason you could be forced to go without water.

    So what can you do to have water when your main supply is suddenly unusable?

    1. Water storage

    Having water barrels or some form of water storage will help see you through until your water supply becomes usable again. We have three different sizes of water barrels (15 gallon, 30 gallon, and 55 gallon), and a 160 gallon water reserve that can stack to create to create a 320 gallon water reserve. Of course, you may not have room for such large containers. Fortunately, you still have options for water storage in smaller containers, such as 5-gallon containers, bottles, cans, and pouches. These smaller containers make storing water easier in smaller homes and apartments where a 55-gallon water barrel just simply won’t work.

    1. Water filters

    Sometimes you just don’t have room for water barrels. Fortunately, water filters and purifiers are small and don’t take up a lot of space. They are capable of turning all kinds of water unsuitable for human consumption to clean, drinkable water. Remember though, water filters won’t work for chemical-based contamination, like a diesel spill, so that comes back to water storage.

    1. Water purifiers

    Water purifiers are another option for getting clean water. Instead of filtering out the baddies, water purifiers kill the harmful substances in the water. For example, the SteriPEN Emergency Handheld Water Purifier uses ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Another option are purification tablets, which are effective against those nasty protozoa, bacteria, and viruses using the same proven technology as in municipal water supplies. Compact and lightweight, they make a great travel-sized option for purifying water.

    Unfortunately, water purification won’t remove diesel fuel from your tap water, either…again, coming back to water storage as the only viable long-term solution.

     

    As you can see, having a proper water storage will help you get through those unexpected water bans. We can never know for sure when something like that will happen, but we can always be prepared for when they do come.

    For a full list of water storage and water filter options, check out our water storage page and water filter page.

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • 3 Steps for Preparing Your Family For Calamities

    Caring MotherMothers have got to be the best nurturers around. They’re loving, caring, and all they want is what’s best for you. They prepare their children for all kinds of things: school, bullies, the cold, cold winter…you name it. But when it comes to catastrophes…well, less than half of parents out there have prepared their family for an emergency? Now, I’m not a mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that’s not a very good ratio of preparedness..

    We might think, “The odds that such a disaster will affect me is 1,720 to 1” (which, ironically, is the same odds as successfully navigating an asteroid field, according to C-3PO). We think that because the odds are in our favor, we shouldn’t have to worry about it. But that’s where we’re wrong.

    Wendy Sue Swanson, MD (2011) recounts in her Parents Magazine article why it really is important to prepare, even if we don’t think we will be affected:

    “‘Although disasters are rare, prepping for them is one of those crucial 'just in case' precautions, like having smoke detectors,’ explains Parents adviser Irwin Redlener, M.D., director of the Center for National Preparedness at Columbia University. Planning for a catastrophe also makes you ready for a less severe event like a fire or a local power outage.”

    Smoke Detector 01We all have smoke detectors. They help prepare and alert us. We never expect to burn our house to the ground, and yet we all have smoke detectors so that if such a disaster could happen, we can stop it from becoming even worse. Essentially, we have smoke detectors to protect our family.

    The same can be said of preparing for emergencies and disasters. Smoke detectors are a “just in case” precaution, as Swanson noted. Perhaps a reason why smoke detectors are so widely implemented is their relative ease to buy, install and maintain. Well, following three preparedness activities are just as simple, and once you’ve done them, your family– especially your children – as that much better prepared for an emergency

     

    1. Create a communications plan

    PhoneTeach your children your phone number. Dr. Swanson suggests that children are able to memorize a 7- or 10-digit number by age 5. She councils to “practice with your child and turn the phone number into a song, like a modified version of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.’”

    Having a designated meeting place for your family will help you gather together during an emergency. There are certain circumstances – such as a fire or an earthquake – where your house may not be the best meeting place. Find a location away from your home, like a nearby school or park. Go there with your children, so they know how to get there, too.

     

    1. Create an emergency kit

    K7 A400 Emergency KitRemember the smoke detector example? We use those in our home, “just in case.” So, then, we should have emergency kits for the same reason. Do your kids have one? If not, now’s the time to get them one. If you need some ideas, follow this link to learn more about what you need in an emergency kit, with links to checklists and pre-built kits.

    As your children grow, so will their needs in their emergency kits. For example, they might grow out of diapers or other clothing. Having an updated emergency kit will definitely make their lives more comfortable. Swanson also suggests making some “refresh” cards, taped to each kit. These cards will detail “which items need to be replenished,” says Swanson, “or which info needs updating, and when.” For example, food bought for the kit five years ago will surely need to be refreshed (unless it’s properly prepared and packaged for long-term storage).

     

    1. Know your neighborhood

    NeighborhoodKnowing the area in which your children live and play can protect them from unforeseen dangers. Look for dangers that your kids might not recognize. Swanson suggests using the fire department as a resource by asking them “about specific threats to your neighborhood such as unstable trees, streets prone to flooding, or transportation challenges.”

    She also encourages working with your neighbors. Don’t know them yet? Well, now’s as good a time as any! Everybody has unique skills and talents, and working with your neighbors during an emergency can bring all those skills together, so everybody can benefit. It’s best to work with them before something happens, so you’ll be ready when it does.

    By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to providing the protection your family needs. Preparing for calamities doesn’t have to be difficult. Just take it step by step, day by day.

    As Dr. Swanson admonishes, “Don’t freak out. You can do this.”

    If you ever have any questions as to what more you can do, feel free to give us a call! We’d love to talk with you. Our number is 1-800-999-1863. Or, visit our website at beprepared.com. We’re here to help you be prepared for any situation. And remember, if Han Solo can successfully navigate an asteroid field, you can prepare your family for that unforeseen disaster. We believe in you!

     

    What steps have you taken to prepare your family for emergencies? Let us know in the comments!

     

     

    Source:

    Swanson, W. (2011). “Are You Prepared For an Emergency?”. Retrieved on April 22, 2015 from http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/emergency-preparedness/.

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Food Storage, Planning, Uncategorized Tagged With: family plan, Preparing your family, Mother's Day, Emergency

  • 4 Time-Saving Tips in the Kitchen

    Busy mum cooking at homeOur lives can sometimes get in the way of our food (which is a real shame, considering how good food is). Moms especially can have a dickens of a time getting everything done in a day – wrangling kids and school and soccer games, cleaning up, just keeping a family active, safe and on time, many while holding a job – and yet, more times than not, they manage to have a good, hot dinner on the table every night. How do they do it!? I’m sure there’s magic involved, to be honest.

    In honor of such crazy-busy moms, I would like offer one of the best Mother’s Day gifts around – more time. And that starts by spending less of it in the kitchen. So moms of the world…Here’s my gift to you.

    Sara Elliott, one of the good people at How Stuff Works, came up with some time-saving tips in the kitchen, from which I borrow in order to help maximize your time in the kitchen, allowing you to spend more of it with with your adorable children. Or cat. Or to watch NASCAR… okay, let’s leave MY mom out of this.

     

    Step 1: Get Organized

    Making the stew base...If you’re not organized, now’s the time to do it. By not having a game plan, you can waste precious minutes trying to figure out where your mixer is, which cupboard you keep the sugar in, or “Wait…Do I even have sugar!?” (unfortunately, that last one happens to me all the time).

    Also look at your counter tops. Are they cluttered? If so, de-clutter! Sara Elliott describes how quickly you can lose that precious counter space:

    “Appliance creep starts innocently enough with the addition of a toaster and then slowly grows to include the food processor, mini mixer, can opener, toaster oven, and on and on. Before long you're trying to cook in a postage stamp-sized space only large enough for an eggcup.”

    Find homes for those wandering appliances. Counter space is prime real estate, and it’s all yours. Don’t let that homeless toaster and blender tell you otherwise! Take it from someone who has about three feet of counter space (if that) – that stuff is a hot commodity! Make it yours.

    And, now that your counters are de-cluttered, fill them back up with all your ingredients, mixing bowls, and measuring cups! Having everything out before you need it will help you stay organized, help you remember what you need, and realize if you’re missing something.

     

    Step 2: Stock Up

    Sack of sugarTo refer back to my sugar example in the previous step, if you know you use an ingredient a lot, make sure you always have some on hand. After the fourth or fifth time of going to the store half-way through making cookies or banana bread (my two most favorite things to make), I have since wised up and now always have lots and lots of sugar and chocolate chips. In fact, every time I go shopping, I get an extra bag of chocolate chips – just in case. Sara believes that “if you have a regular inventory and rotate it efficiently, you'll be able to save time and the stress of last minute shopping.” I wholeheartedly agree.

     

    Step 3: Pre-Prepared Meals

    Chicken Teriyaki Freeze-Dried Chicken Teriyaki

    Sometimes you just don’t have time to make food from scratch, and that’s OK. That’s why we have microwaves! Some days it’s all you can do to open the freezer, nuke a meal, and eat your no-longer frozen dinner. Some of them are even pretty decent.

    But have you tasted freeze-dried food? That stuff is good! Don’t just take my word for it. Sara agrees! She says that “updated preservation methods like freeze drying have made prepackaged meals something to look forward to.” See? Freeze-dried food is the fast-food of the future. The best part is, all

    Freeze-Dried Chicken Teriyaki Prepared Freeze-Dried Chicken Teriyaki Prepared

    you do is add hot water, wait about 10 minutes, and voila! Bon appétit! There are all kinds of freeze-dried meals out there, from Mountain House to our own Emergency Essentials line of food.

    Think about it. You want Beef Stroganoff without all the work? Done. What about Chicken Teriyaki? Also done. Oh, and let’s not forget about dessert. How about some Raspberry Crumble? Triple done! There are so many freeze-dried options that will save you tons of time, and also taste great. Another perk is that our freeze-dried food will store for up to 25 years, so you can save it until you really need it!

     

    Step 4: Cook in Bulk

    SPAGHETTI!!!“If you want to save money as well as time in the kitchen, try consolidating your efforts by cooking large batches of food and freezing what you don't use right away.”

    By doubling (or tripling) your recipe, you can take the same amount of time creating one delicious dish as it takes to make a huge batch of it. And, by freezing the leftovers (assuming you don’t have any teenaged boys and actually have leftovers), you will already have a good meal prepared for another day! Bonus!

     

    So there you have it, four wonderful tips to save you time in the kitchen. Now with all that extra time you have, why don’t you sit down and treat yourself to a thrilling episode of Sherlock. Or take a nap. You deserve it!

     

    Do you have other tips for saving time in the kitchen? Let us know so we can be even more time efficient!

    Posted In: Emergency Cooking, Food Storage, Insight, Planning Tagged With: kitchen tips, cooking, save time

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