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  • Where to Begin Your Hurricane Preparations

    The skies are clear, the winds are calm, and there’s no report of any weather-related threat on the radar. What a perfect day for getting disaster ready! But where do you even begin with your hurricane preparations?

    When the sun is shining, it can be difficult to think about the urgency of being prepared for a natural disaster – especially a hurricane. But that’s exactly when you should be thinking about it. When the clouds come and the winds start blowing, it’s more than likely that it’s too late to begin.

    Never fear, though, because today the skies are clear (at least at the time of this posting), which means it’s time to make sure you’re ready for the next tropical storm. Where do you begin? At the beginning, of course! Follow these steps from ready.gov and you’ll be ready for whatever storm blows in!

     

    Know Your Hurricane Risk

    If you live pretty far inland, chances are you won’t be feeling the brunt of the storm. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks for those living farther away from the coast. In fact, Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states – that’s half the continental United States! No matter where you are, there’s something to be said about being prepared.

    If you are on the coast (or at least close by), the threat is much more real, the winds more powerful, and the flooding more severe, so plan accordingly. If you’re unsure of what your risk is, the image below shows the frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms by county.

     

    Hurricane risk by state - FEMA Hurricane risk by state (via FEMA) - Click to enlarge

     

    Make an Emergency Plan

    Without a plan, being effectively prepared will be mighty difficult. It’s not that you can’t do it without, but plans make it easier to keep things together without having to remember every small detail. Write your plan down, post it where you can see it, and even keep one in your emergency kit so you have it to refer to.

    Your plan will differ depending on your situation, location, and many other factors. If you have pets, include them in your plan as well. Small children, seniors, and those with disabilities will likewise require special attention. What do you need to prepare with before the first warning comes? What should you do when there is a warning? These are some things to consider when making your plan.

     

    Restock Supplies

    Empty ShelvesIf you wait until the hurricane warnings come, you may find your grocery store’s inventory to be virtually empty. To avoid that rather unpleasant inconvenience, take time today to stock up on emergency food. This can be extra cans of food from the store during your regular shopping trip, or even something more long term, such as freeze-dried meals.

    Freeze-dried food has a shelf life of 25 years or more (as long as it’s stored properly), so once you get it, you won’t have to rotate it for a very long time, unlike your canned goods from the local store. Those you’ll need to rotate much more frequently. Another perk of freeze-dried food is that it’s already cooked. Meaning, if you’re power’s out, all you need to do is add water, wait a few minutes, and voila! Dinner is served.

    Water is also a vital part of your supplies. During a hurricane, as well as after, your water supply might be cut off, or even contaminated (flood water does that to your drinking water). Water filters are an excellent option to have on hand. Also consider storing water in your home, be it in water barrels or just 2-liter pop bottles. Each person needs at least one gallon of water per day for hydration and light sanitation, so the more water you have the better off you’ll be. And, if you have freeze-dried food, you will want more water so you can rehydrate your food, thus allowing you to actually eat your food.

    Other supplies to keep stocked are batteries, chargers, cash, first aid, and flashlights, among other personal supplies that are necessary for you and your family. Remember, make sure you have everything you need before the radar picks up a dangerous looking blip. Otherwise, the things you need might be hard to come by.

     

    Flood Insurance

    Most home insurance policies don’t cover flood damage – that’s additional. However, depending on where you live, you might be able to get by without it. FloodSmart.gov can help you identify your flood risk and thereby help you decide if flood insurance is right for you.

    If you do decide you need flood insurance, you may not want to wait too long. Most flood insurance policies take effect 30 days once you purchase it. That means, if you see a hurricane is coming and then get insurance…you still won’t be covered if you get flooded. When it comes to flood insurance, you will definitely want it well in advance.

     

    Hurricane route marker

    Familiarize Yourself with Local Emergency Plans

    Your city or town will have an emergency plan in place. Learn it and know it well so you won’t have any hesitation when the need to execute it arises. Know the evacuation route to ensure not getting lost on your way out.

     

    Stay Tuned

    If a hurricane is heading to your area, you’ll want to know about it as soon as possible. To make this possible, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) will come to your phone free of charge whenever there’s an imminent threat, such as a hurricane. Aside from these automatic messages, keep an eye and ear open for weather alerts on the TV or radio for specific instructions. Above all, when the order is given to evacuate, do so immediately. The longer you linger, the less likely you will be to get out safely.

     

    Fortunately, hurricanes give us at least a day or more of warning before they come for a visit. However, once we’re apprised of their arrival, the time to prepare is all but past. Start getting prepared now so when the next disaster comes, you’ll be ready for it.

     

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  • 5 Differences Between Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Food

    When it comes to storing food long term, the age-old question keeps coming up: freeze-dried or dehydrated?

    Both can work as part of your emergency food storage, but there are key differences between the two that could make one better than the other for your particular circumstances. Check out these differences and then choose the option that’s best for you.

     

    Shelf Life

    IMG_4120 - Dehydrated and Freeze-driedMoisture content plays a huge impact on shelf life. The more moisture, the less amount of time it will last. With that in mind, it’s time to compare the moisture content of dehydrated and freeze-dried food.

    Dehydrated food can lose quite a bit of moisture–up to 95 percent! However, do-it-yourself home dehydrators may only remove 70% or a food’s water, leaving it with a shelf life of only one year on average. However, most top end dehydrated food will still maintain a shelf life of even longer, up to 15 years or more.

    Freeze-dried food, on the other hand, is much more suitable for long-term storage. Getting rid of 98-99 percent of moisture gives freeze-dried food a much lengthier shelf life. Our freeze-dried food has a shelf life of 25 years or more.

    While both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods can have long shelf lives, freeze-dried food is definitely superior when it comes to long-term storage. In both cases, however, cooler temperatures will help lengthen their shelf life. We recommend storing your food in temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

     

    Preparation

    Water_poured_in_5 - Dehydrated and Freeze-driedFreeze-dried meals prepare easily. Since everything is pre-cooked, all you need to do is add water, wait a few minutes, and your food is ready for eating! Best of all, it tastes just like it did the day it was created (which might very well have been 25 years ago).

    Dehydrated food is a touch different in the way it’s prepared. Instead of letting your food soak for a few minutes, it needs to be cook—boiled, even—in order to rehydrate enough to become the food it used to be. This can take upwards to 20 minutes, depending on the food. While it’s not a huge issue, it can make a big difference if you’re in a hurry.

     

    Nutrition

    According to a food science professor at UC-Davis, freeze-dried food maintains most of its nutrients throughout the process, and once rehydrated, is very similar in nutritional value to its fresh counterpart. This is in contrast to dehydrated food which, although much of the nutrients remain, only around 50% - 60% of the original nutrients are left over. In freeze-dried food, there is about 97% of retained nutrients. In this area, freeze-dried food comes out on top.

     

    Taste

    Lasagna_image - Dehydrated and Freeze-dried Lasagna with Meat Sauce, previously freeze-dried

    Flavor is important in your food. If it doesn’t taste good, why would you even want to eat it? Fortunately, both freeze-dried and dehydrated foods taste great, but there is a difference in the way it’s prepared that makes one taste better than the other.

    According to the Wild Backpacker, the taste of freeze-dried food is essentially held in the food, as the process involves very little heat. This keeps in the flavor, retains original texture, and secures the natural scents. This is why many believe freeze-dried food tastes better than dehydrated food, which uses heat to lose moisture, thus forfeiting flavor, original texture, and smell.

     

    Weight

    If your food intends to stay in your pantry or with your emergency food storage until used, then weight won’t really be an issue. However, dehydrated and freeze-dried food are delicious treats and meals to take on camping trips, hikes, and even in your bug-out bag, which in turn makes weight play a crucial role.

    Dehydrated food is heavier than freeze-dried food, so if you are planning on taking one of these types of foods with you on a hike, freeze-dried food is your best option in terms of being lightweight. If you’re planning on getting a meal out of your food, you’ll want to make sure you either bring enough water or have access to it so you can rehydrate your meals. Many freeze-dried foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and even meats, can be snacked on without rehydrating them, making them a nice, lightweight option for snacking.

     

    There are pros and cons to both dehydrated and freeze-dried food, so in the end it all boils down to what you’re looking for in a food, and how you intend to use it. When it comes to long-term storage and nutrients, however, freeze-dried food reigns supreme. So when you’re looking to invest in an emergency food storage, freeze-dried may very well be the way to go.

    Check out our freeze-dried food here!

     

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  • Getting Started With Your Year Supply of Food

    Why Have a Year Supply of Food?

    Having a year supply of food is more than just for hunkering down and waiting for the next apocalypse to blow over (although it certainly could be used for that, too). Having a year supply of food in your emergency storage can help see you through many a turbulent time.

    Empty ShelvesThink about it. Job loss can happen to anyone – anytime, anywhere. Without a steady income, providing food for your family can be downright difficult. But with a year supply of food storage, you and your family can still eat healthy and well until a new job can be found.

    Likewise, disasters can block truck routes, damage crops, and otherwise make getting food to the grocery store or to your pantry. Or have you ever seen store shelves be emptied right before a hurricane or blizzard? Having a year supply of food can help you remain relaxed and comfortable when the world around you is buzzing in chaos.

     

    What to Look for in a Year Supply of Food

    Your food storage should be based on calories per day rather than amounts of servings. One serving could range from far too small to provide the proper energy and nourishment. By making sure your year supply is focused on calories, you’re ensured to have enough of what you need to keep you going.

    Of course, you can get nearly the same amount of calories from a candy bar as you can from a full, home-cooked meal, but the meal will undoubtedly be more filling. So while you’re counting calories, make sure they will sustain you through to the next meal. Empty calories like those found in sweets may taste good, but they won’t be very useful in the long run.

    Young  father and his daughter having breakfast togetherAdults generally require between 2,000 and 2,800 calories per day. School-aged children typically need less, ranging from 1,600 to 2,500 calories per day. For children between the ages of 1 and 2, they will need approximately 1,000 to 1,400 calories per day. Of course, there may be certain situations that will require you to tweak these numbers to fit your needs, but on average, this is what you’ll need in terms of calories per day.

    You’ll also want to have a variety of foods to provide different health benefits. Some food, like pasta, provides lots of carbohydrates which are a necessary part of your daily diet. Likewise, foods with good amounts of vitamins and minerals will also help maintain your health. Fruit, vegetables, meat, and other foods are all viable options for your year supply.

    If you’re not sure where to start, that’s OK. A year’s worth of food is quite a bit. To make it easier for you, we’ve broken it all down into different categories and various other options. Keep reading to learn more about how you can easily get a year supply of food that fits your needs.

     

    Varieties of Year Supplies

    Homemade Plus Year Supply Homemade Plus Year Supply

    When creating your own year supply from scratch, doing the math and figuring out just exactly what – and how much – you need might get a bit confusing. To make things easier, we’ve created a variety of pre-constructed year supplies so you can get all the food you need and want without the extra effort. And, since your aptitude for cooking won’t change in an emergency, we’ve organized our year supplies by how the food is prepared.

    Love cooking and making homemade meals? If so, the basics are all you need to whip up delicious meals for you and your family, which makes the Homemade Year Supply or Homemade Year Supply Plus the options of choice. These year supplies give you all the cooking and baking essentials you need to create homemade meals from your tried and true recipe book.

    Not a fan of cooking and prefer boxed dinners and pre-cooked meals? If that’s the case, our Convenience Year Supply is the way to go. The meals in this year supply simply require you to add water and your food is ready to it in no time. It also comes with fruits, vegetables, and desserts, helping to round out your meals.

    Maybe you enjoy cooking from scratch but still enjoy a nice, quick meal as well. Featuring both just-add-water meals and ingredients for cooking and baking, the Variety Year Supply might very well be the option for you.

    Everyone has different tastes, which is why we have a variety of year supplies to choose from. Each of the year supplies mentioned above contain 2,000 calories per day, however there are also options for supplies with less calories should you like. There are other options for a year supply of food, including  buckets and even a year’s worth of grains and legumes, so be sure to check out all your options here so you know what’s best for your circumstances.

     

    Other Food Storage Options

    If purchasing an entire year supply of food all in one go isn’t financially feasible, take it in stride with monthly payment options. Known here as Prep As You Go, we send you a portion of your year supply each month for a year. This lets you pay in smaller installments, much like what you might do when buying a car – only without the interest rate. Then, after a year, you’ll have that year supply in its entirety. Prep As You Go is an affordable option in getting your emergency year supply together without a lot of hassle.

    However, sometimes a year supply of food isn’t necessarily the best option for you, such as when your finances won’t allow it, or your home or apartment is too small. In such instances, smaller might very well be better. Consider investing in a 6 month supply of food, or even a 3 month supply, which is still far superior to none at all.

     

    In the end, what it all boils down to is how much room you have, what your budget is, and your personal preferences in preparing food. No matter what those answers are, however, there is always room to prepare. Whether it’s a full year of food on hand or just three months, your preparations will help keep you safe and comfortable during the hard times.

    Click here to purchase your own Year Supply and be prepared for anything the future has in store!

     

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