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  • Procrastination: A Recipe For Disaster(s)

    Why aren’t you prepared for a major emergency?

    According to a recent survey of 3,000 people, the majority claim they just keep putting off getting prepared. These people have even taken First Aid courses, so we know they’re interested and even want to be ready. Procrastination is keeping us from being prepared.

    Procrastination and emergency shelter does not mix.We all know disasters like to make an appearance when it’s least convenient for us, and when we least expect it. The recent 7.8 magnitude Nepal earthquake should be a smack back to reality. One moment life is good, the next…, well, it’s quite literally in shambles. This earthquake is just one reason we should not just be thinking about preparing, but actually doing it. And if you don’t think such a disaster can happen to you, just remember the earthquake that struck Michigan earlier this month. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said that "It's rare for Michigan to experience earthquakes, but as we were reminded today, it does happen.”

    And if it does happen, why do we still procrastinate?

    Mike Lloyd of News 1130 thinks that starting to prepare can be a little overwhelming, and he may be right. That’s why St. John Ambulance is providing people with 15 Easy Steps to Emergency Preparedness. St. John Ambulance is trying to remind people about the basics and also other things that people tend to forget about.

     

    1. Make An Emergency Plan

    It all starts here, folks. As Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Does anybody ever really want to fail? And yet we plan on it – all the time – when we don’t plan ahead for disaster. Make a plan. To get you started, here are some things you should think about when planning:

    • Exits and evacuation routes
    • Family meeting place
    • Emergency contact
    • Plan for pets
    • Important documents (Social Security cards, birth certificates, insurance, photos of family members and pets, passports, health information, prescriptions, etc.).

     

    1. Emergency Kit

    This is pretty much the go-to for every disaster. Make sure you have a kit, because when disaster strikes, hospitals could very likely only be taking in those that are most seriously injured. Your emergency kit should help you survive the next three days after the disaster. But you might not even be home when the disaster hits, to the people at St. John Ambulance suggest to plan ahead for that, too.

     

    “You may be in a vehicle, so you need a kit for on the road or at work. You may have high-heeled shoes on at work – how are you going to walk? You may not get home for many days.”

     

    If you’re unsure where to start in building your emergency kit, ready.gov has some good resources to look through. Or, if you’d prefer getting a kit already packed and prepared by experts, check out our wide-range of emergency kits.

     

    1. Emergency Food and Water Storage

    We are all encouraged to be able to sustain ourselves for at least three days following a disaster. Having an emergency kit will definitely help with that, but without food and water (especially water), it’s going to be most unpleasant.

    Water storage doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by filling up 2-litre bottles from your kitchen sink and storing them out of direct sunlight. Each person should have about a gallon of water per day, so if you’re planning on using 2-litre bottles, that’s going to be about 6 bottles per person per day. If you have more room, consider investing in some water jugs, or even water barrels. These will help provide you with more water, so if you do need more than just three-days’ worth of water, you’ll be prepared. At the very least, make sure you have enough water for 72-hours. Every six to 12 months, you should get out your water storage and switch out the water so it always tastes fresh.

    Food is also fairly simple to store these days. Freeze-dried food can last up to 25 years, so if you get a can or two of your favorite meal to keep on hand, you’ll have a three-day supply of food without any hassle on your end. Best of all, freeze-dried meals are delicious and easy to prepare – just add hot water, wait about 10 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a full-on meal!

     

    Procrastination is unpreparedness.So you see, preparing for disaster doesn’t have to be hard. You can even start today by filling water containers and stashing them in your storage room. That will take about five minutes.

    Now’s the time to start preparing. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Even if nothing happens, there is peace of mind that comes in knowing that if a disaster did strike, you would be ready for it. Don't let procrastination get the best of you. Prepare today!

     

     

    What strategies have you found that help you get motivated to prepare?

     

     

    Drought Procrastination - Dont' Do It

     

    Posted In: Emergency Cooking, Emergency Kits, First Aid and Sanitation, Food Storage, Insight, Planning Tagged With: procrastination, disaster preparedness, emergency preparedness, water, First Aid, Emergency plan, food storage

  • 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

  • What Winnie the Pooh Teaches Us About Flash Floods

    When I was young, I would constantly watch Winnie the Pooh. On one particular show, the 100 Acre Woods received a downpour of rain. What followed was probably the worst flash flood the good folks of the 100 Acre Wood had ever experienced. The lyrics that accompany the images of the flood still haunt me to this day:

    Winnie the Pooh

     

    “The rain rain rain came down down down

    in rushing riving riv’lets,

    ‘Till the river crept out of its bed

    and crept right into Piglet’s!”

     

     

    Poor Piglet. The flood came in so fast he was carried out of his home stranded on a floating chair!

    Can you imagine being caught in a flood like that? I always laughed as Piglet was washed down stream (because I’m heartless like that), but in reality, flash floods happen anytime, anywhere. For Pooh and Piglet, they were caught unawares, still asleep, as the water came rushing into their home.

    For me? Well, I was at home, too, just about to leave for the football game.

    Flash flood to a house This is pretty much what it felt like.

    Although I’m not a huge football fan (rugby all the way!), I was excited we were playing a good, competitive team. The whole city was abuzz with excitement, so I thought I’d join them in their revelry. My will to venture out was dampened, however, when I opened the front door to head out to the game on my bicycle. Oh bother. I stood there, slack-jawed, astounded at how hard the rain was falling. After a brief pause I shut the door. There was no way I was biking in that weather. No matter…the football game was delayed two hours because of the downpour.

    Unfortunately, I lived in a first-floor apartment and, like poor piglet’s, the riv’lets rose fast around us. They seeped in through the walls and lower windows, and formed a small lake outside the front door. It was a mess. Lucky for us, our apartment sat on top of a hill, so it could have been a lot worse.

    For everyone living downhill, it was a lot worse. The streets turned into rivers and lakes, and basements and cars were flooded. There were a bunch of college students who made the best of things, pulling each other behind high-lifted Jeeps on wakeboards through flooded parking lots (if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!).

    In the couple of years since my football-day flood, I have come to realize that such downpours and the torrents that follow are a more than once in a lifetime experience for millions. For example, did you know that in one 15-year instance, Texans weathered some 4,722 flash floods? That’s pretty close to one flash flood every day. Luckily Texas is kind of a big state, so most of these deluges were scattered far and wide. I emphasize most; several Texas communities are “flood-prone.” If they experience what I did more than once, I think I would pack-up and move before the next flood came.

    Flooded Kashmir - CTV News CTV News

    In many regions of the world, such destruction is almost commonplace. Just last week, three days of heavy rain caused massive flooding in the Kashmir Valley of Pakistan and India. This was just six months after a previous huge flood which killed over 600 people. Once again, thousands are homeless as homes were washed away. Landslides took out roads, and highways were blocked for miles. Fortunately, officials say the situation is under control. For now.

    How might it have been different for Pooh and Piglet if they had known they were at risk? Maybe Piglet wouldn’t have been caught sleeping. Maybe Pooh would have been able to save more of his precious honey pots. How would my roommates and I have defended ourselves from the rising waters had we an understanding of what was happening around us. How do folks from Odessa, Texas to Odisha, India ride-out storm after storm, year after year.

    Although flash floods can happen without much warning, knowing the areas and causes can help you prepare yourselves (and your home).

     

    Know the Signs

    Flash floods tend to occur in dry, low-lying areas. This includes areas near rivers, dry lake beds, and basins. But even if you live in a higher area, you can still be affected. Roads, parking lots, curbs and gutters, they all collect and channel water, sometimes into first-floor hilltop apartments (remember, I was living on a hill and still got flooded).

    flooded football pitch. canon 5D Saturated soil

    The condition of the surrounding soil can be an indicator if your areas will flood or not. If you live in a very dry area that doesn’t receive much rainfall, the ground becomes as hard and impenetrable as concrete. When it does rain hard, the ground has trouble soaking it up, leaving it to gather and flow to the areas of least resistance – which for some reason almost always means your house. On the other end of the spectrum, if your soil has been receiving a lot of moisture, it can be already saturated, leaving no room for any more water to soak in. Once the soil is saturated, watch out for flooding!

    So how can you prepare for a flash flood? Well, as the good men of G.I. Joe say, “Knowing is half the battle.” Be aware of the risks involved in the area you live in. Do you live in a dry climate? Are you near a river, or at the bottom of a hill? If you know your risks, you will be better able to prepare when the rains come down and the floods come up.

    But enough about me! How have you prepared for flash flooding? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with your fellow preppers? Let us know in the comments!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Insight, Planning Tagged With: know the signs, Flash flood

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