Tag Archives: baby steps

  • iStock_000008708575XSmall_Tree_FourSeasons

    As you jump into spring cleaning, remember to check your emergency kits. As the seasons change, the items in our emergency kits should change accordingly. Now that we’re heading into warmer weather, switch out that heavy coat for a lighter jacket or sweatshirt (depending on where you live). You probably don’t need those snow boots for a few months, so switch them out for a pair of tennis shoes, hiking boots, or galoshes. Gloves, hats, and scarves may still come in handy; use your discretion to decide what’ll be best for you and your family.

    While you’re at it, check the expiration dates on:

    Check batteries and electronic items like radios and cell phone chargers. Make sure they still work!

    Check to make sure nothing’s cracked and leaking (like that bottle of hand sanitizer).

    Add items you may have forgotten like sunblock, a hat, N95 respirator masks, or utensils.

    Keep in mind that disasters in your area change with the seasons; update your kit to reflect what you might need during tornado season if you live in tornado country, or flood season if you live in flood country, or fires if you live in fire country, etc.

    If you’re not sure what might happen in your area, click here to find out. If you’d like ideas on what to put into an emergency kit, read over one of our handy checklists here. We’re serious about helping you prepare, so if you have any questions, ask them in the comments below and we’ll answer!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, emergency kit

  • DropCoverHoldOn

    It’s not glamorous but the ‘Drop! Cover! Hold on!’ method will protect you during an earthquake.

    On April 17, Emergency Essentials participated in the Great Utah ShakeOut. At 10:15 am thousands of Utahns dropped, covered, and held on during an earthquake drill.

    The event gave me some valuable insight. I learned that I need to clear out a few things under my desk and organize some cables that are in my way. My coworker had his doubts about how much protection his cubicle would really give him, but he learned that his desk will in fact provide sufficient coverage. (Here’s a picture of him sliding into position.)


    Today’s Baby Steps are really small, but will make a big difference in your ability to survive an earthquake.

    1. Find out when the ShakeOut is happening in your state or territory and sign up. If there isn’t a ShakeOut in your state, consider starting one or holding your own family/community drill

    2. Learn to Drop, Cover, and Hold on.

    3. Teach your family.

    Every step toward preparedness is a step in the right direction. If you feel silly practicing in public, practice at home. It only takes a few seconds to Drop, Cover, and Hold on and actually doing it will help your body develop the reflex.

    I hope that an earthquake won’t hit your area, but if it does, you know what to do. Drop! Cover! Hold on!

    ~ Steph


    We partnered with The Deseret News to create online information about earthquake preparedness and recovery. Get Ready to Shake Out has tips for prepping, and What to Do When Disaster Strikes will teach you what to do during and after an earthquake. Click the images below to access the information (and download them for free, if you'd like).

    Get Ready to Shake Out

    What to do When Disaster Strikes

    Click here to read The Deseret News’ report.

    Get detailed information about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

    Click here to read more about Drop, Cover, Hold on.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, Earthquake, Great Shake Out, Drop Cover Hold On

  • If you’ve been following our Baby Steps series, you should be ready to plant your garden. You can start with seeds or seedlings and these baby steps will tell you how.

    Lot of seedlings in pots ecological farm

    Plant seeds. Many gardeners in the US started their seeds indoors to maximize the growing season. If the ground is warm enough you can start your seeds in the ground. Now is a great time to plant peas if your ground temperature is at least 40° F/4°C. Other plants like squash need warmer ground of at least 60°/18° C. A garden thermometer can determine the ground temperature for you.

    Smaller seeds can be planted in bunches. Not all the seeds will sprout so don’t worry about “overpopulation”. You’ll thin them out after their first true leaves have grown. (See the images below.) Larger seeds, like corn, should be planted individually. Dig about 1.5 to 2 times deeper than the size of the seed, and cover with soil, then with a board until the seedlings come up. If you’re planting corn, make sure to plant the seeds deeply enough. Click here to read more in an article by North Carolina State University.


    Tomato seedlings in a greenhouse  Close up Don't pull these cotyledons out! Wait until the seedlings have sent out true leaves.

    new tomato sprout in soil with water drops, gardening, shallow DOF Thin seedlings if there are multiple seedlings bunched together and they have true leaves.











    Plant (or transplant) seedlings. Has the last frost date passed? If so, it’s time to transplant your seedlings!

    First, you’ll need to harden off the seedlings. This technique takes about a week and acclimatizes seedlings that have been grown indoors in a consistent temperature and light exposure. Put your tray of seedlings outside in the shade, but bring them inside if it’s still cold at night. Then gradually work them into half sun/half shade, then full sun, and then plant them in your garden. This keeps your seedlings from going into shock, which would cause early plant failure.

    When you’re ready to plant the seedlings, loosen the soil and prepare the plant rows or holes. Let’s use tomatoes as an example. Dig a horizontal hole if you have space (watch this video). Or stick with the more common vertical hole. Carefully take the whole root system out of box – don’t loosen the roots too much. Leave it in tact and bury up to the leaves. Sprinkle with water.

    senior woman  planting a tomato seedling

    Nurture seedlings. Your transplanted seedlings need a little TLC so keep an eye on them for the first couple of days. Make sure that their soil is moist, but not mushy, and keep them shaded from the hot sun.

    You can further strengthen the seedlings by gently running your hands across them. Thanks Gardening Life for the tip!

    We're glad you've started gardening. With a garden you’re well on your way to providing delicious food storage, not to mention being more self-sufficient.

    If you’d like more detailed information click on any of the links below.

    Let us know how your seeds and seedlings do, and happy gardening!

    Planting Seeds

    Planting Vegetables from Seeds and Seedlings

    Seed Starting

    Nurture Seedlings on a Tiered Growing Stand


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, gardening, seeds, seedlings

  • Preparing the Soil in Your Garden

    Now that spring is in the air and the days are longer, I’m getting the itch to start working on my garden. Now is the perfect time to go over some garden preparation basics.

    The main reasons we grow gardens are to provide our families with healthy food, become more self-sufficient, and maybe even to store some of our harvest for future use. Sometimes beginning gardeners fear their inexperience will cause them to be disappointed by poor crop performance. Not to worry, even someone with the worst “brown thumb” can grow a productive garden. So where is the best place to start?  A little patience and good soil preparation will help assure a bountiful harvest from a healthy garden. Here are some baby steps to help you along:


    The first order of business would be to decide where to place your garden. Choose an area that receives sun for most or all of the day. You also want to orient your garden from North to South so that the sun reaches through the rows to all of your plants.  Most of us have heard that you should start preparing your garden “as soon as the ground can be worked”.  But what does that really mean? You don’t want to start too early.

    Soil Moisture Content

    If the ground still has melting snow or is soggy then it’s definitely too soon to begin. I use the very reliable “old farmer’s” trick to test the moisture content in my soil and it has never let me down. I just pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it into a ball. If it breaks apart easily when tapped or dropped then your soil is ready. If it dents or stays mostly in a lump when dropped it is too wet to be worked.

    Soil Density

    Garden plants grow best in loose soil that retains small pockets of air. Large clumps or clods of dirt will trap large pockets of air around plant roots and prevent them from getting nutrients. Large air pockets will also allow water to pool and drown seeds and small plants. I use the “double digging” method to get good loose soil down to about 1 foot. Remove about 6 inches of topsoil and loosen the soil underneath then return the topsoil and turn or till again.

    Nutrients and pH Balance

    Once you have the soil to the right consistency, it’s time to amend the soil, which simply means to add nutrients such as compost and/or PH balancing components, and till again. Now your soil should be fine, loose and healthy enough for planting seeds or seedlings.

    Basket of Garden Vegetables

    Baby Steps, Remember?

    You don’t have to do this all at once. I usually plan to prepare my garden over a couple of weekends. Planting a garden, watching it grow, and producing healthy food for my family has become one of the most rewarding and comforting projects I undertake each year. With these simple steps I know that you will also be able to enjoy the benefits and pleasures of your own garden.


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, garden, gardening, emergency preparedness, home food production

  • This week’s baby steps are in the same vein as last week: getting your garden ready to plant. Here are three more things you’ll want to know before you start planting. 

    1. Know when to start planting.This great page from Mother Earth News will give you a list of vegetables you can start in April (and other months), and separated by region. What a great resource! First select your region, the month, and then scroll down to see the lists of what to plant. 
    2. Learn a little bit about soil. Knowing what kind of soil you have is important because you may need to “tweak” the soil to provide your plants the most fertile growing possible. Read this article to learn about 10 types of soil and when to use each. Here’s a brief article with photos from HGTV about soil types and soil acidity. 
    3. Observe how much sunlight falls on your growing area. Knowing which areas get the most light (or the most shade) will help you know where to put specific plants. That’ll guarantee your vegetables are situated to grow their best. Read slides 7 and 8 of this article Here’s a general tip about sunlight. “Vegetables that produce fruit (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash) need full sun.” Leaf and root veggies are ok in the shade. Click here to read more.  

    Take these three baby steps and soon your garden will be off to a great start! In case you missed last week’s Baby Steps, click here to read about finding your climate zone, knowing what to grow, and buying seeds. 

    More articles:

    Preparing a New Garden 

    Three Basic Soils 

    10 Types of Soil and When to Use Each


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, garden, sun, soil

  • Interested in gardening but feel like a complete novice? Today’s Baby Steps will give you three ways to start off on the right foot.

    1. Find out what climate zone you’re in.Know your climate zone for gardening will help you decide what to grow. This link from the National Garden Association will take you right to climate maps and other helpful information.

    2. Decide what you want to grow. Grow your favorite veggies and herbs, or grow the ingredients to some of your favorite foods.

    3. Buy seeds.The Emergency Essentials Heirloom Seeds are a great way to get started. These heirloom seeds are non-hybrid and open pollinating. That means you’ll be able to harvest your own unique seeds for next year! Available in a large can with 17 varieties, or the boxed combo shown below, which includes 10 varieties. Click here to make your selection.

    Here’s a great post from GardenWeb with more information on starting your garden right. 

    For all you Master Gardeners out there, please leave tips and ideas below in the comment section. We’d love to have your input!


    Each Friday for the next month Baby Steps will feature gardening tips; our goal is to get you gardening. We’ll post Baby Steps on skills like composting and building garden boxes, so be sure to come back every Friday.


    Happy Gardening!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, baby steps, heirloom seeds, gardening, climate zone


    The last couple of weeks our baby steps have focused on building a preparedness group, network, or team. This week we're continuing on with that same topic, plus some baby steps on other topics that we'll post later today. This article has some great ideas for putting a preparedness group or team together: 

    To begin to look at the team, you have to ask yourself what elements are needed in order to survive (and hopefully thrive) during and after any crisis. Then, it’s a simple matter of finding people who can fulfill the joint objectives of the team. In our lengthy design, we came up with the following elements (we call domains), which are now the core instruction at Ready 5:

    Situation Awareness, Planning, Communications, Mobility, Practical Fitness, Food and Water, Medicine, Shelter, Equipment, Personal Protection, Financial, Preparedness, and Enduring Mindset

    Read the rest of the article "Strength in Numbers: Building a Preparedness Team" here.

    We'll be back later with more baby steps!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, Neighbors, Neighborhood Emergency Plan, emergency preparedness, Preparedness Group, Preparedness Team

  • When you hear the word “prepper,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Popular media portrays preppers as anti-social, militant hoarders who want nothing to do with the world around them. But we know better, don’t we?

    We know you, like us, are concerned about taking care of your loved ones in every situation. You want the confidence and security of knowing you can do so. There are many families, across the nation, who have established or created networks with other prepared families. It’s not unusual.

    Instead of isolating themselves, most people seek out group interaction during and after an emergency or disaster. Scientists have shown that this is a biological response– humans seek out the advice and company of others. It’s called deliberating.*

    Last Friday we talked about finding other prepared individuals and families that are interested in working together. Our first Baby Step this week is a bit of a repeat, just to make sure you’re moving in the direction of establishing a support network.

    Baby Step 1: Make a list of people who are interested in forming a group and the skills, tools, and resources they have.

    You don’t have to be best buds with the people in your network, but they should be trustworthy. You should know what they can do and let them know what you can do.

    Go to page four of our Neighborhood Emergency Plan packet to see the skills and special equipment most commonly needed. These include medical and mechanical skills, along with special equipment and vehicles.

    Don’t overlook any skill or any individual. For example, does the teenager across the road know CPR from her summer job as a lifeguard? Pay attention to skills that are valued but not considered necessary for survival:

    • A psychologist can do a lot to help those with anxiety, panic, or extreme fear.
    • A good haircut from a barber or hairstylist can lift your mood.
    • A tailor or seamstress can repair damaged materials like tents, tarps, clothing, and maybe even shoes.
    • A ham radio operator, even a hobbyist, can communicate when telephone, internet, and cell phone lines are down.
    • A nutritionist or dietician may be able to suggest alternative sources of nutrients.


    Here are a few more skills you probably haven’t considered:
    • Community organizer
    • Entertainers (like musicians or comedians to boost morale)
    • Chimney cleaners (in case this is your only source of heat)
    • Knife sharpeners
    • Undertaker, mortician, and sanitation workers
    • Runners/hikers/swimmers/cyclists/horseback riders (for transporting information and goods)
    • Engineers and people who are good at rigging stuff
    • Gardeners
    • Self-defense instructors
    • Hunters, fishermen, and foragers
    • Navigators 

    Baby Step 2: When you’ve established your network, join our group purchasing program.

    We offer discounts for group purchases, often as much as 49% off. We also offer free shipping on the entire order regardless of size once the minimum quantity of a group item has been purchased (as long as the order is shipped within the contiguous 48 states). Click here for details.

    Baby Step 3: Develop a neighborhood plan and schedule an emergency drill.

    Download our Neighborhood Emergency Plan to help you organize your group’s efforts. Once your plan is in place, hold an emergency drill to practice the plan. The practice will help you figure out what works (and what doesn’t) so you can adjust your plan accordingly. If you’re planning a drill, let us know. We’d love to hear how the experience goes for your neighborhood, and we’d love to share your pictures and video with our network.

    Here’s another tip: After an emergency strikes, hold a swap meet. The idea here is not necessarily to pool resources. It’s more of a barter-for-what-you-need deal. If, like me, you have 14 cases of tuna and no mayonnaise, this is the venue for you. By exchanging goods and services it’s possible to cover gaps in your emergency and food storage plans. 

    Read more here: Emergency Swap Meet


    *Amanda Ripley in Surviving Disaster, PBS Documentary (link)


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: resources, skills, baby steps, tools, Preparedness network, medical professional, chimney sweep, family, individual, tailor, seamstress, psychologist, barber, hairstylist, nutritionist, dietician, group purchasing, sales, discount, emergency drill, Neighborhood Emergency Plan, Swap Meet

  • We've got relationships on the brain this month. Having a friendly relationship with your neighbors can be a crucial survival tool. Ideally every individual and family is prepared, but it’s almost impossible to gather all the information, knowledge, skills, and equipment you’ll need for every possible scenario. This is where building a neighborhood group or a network of prepared people can help.

    Once you’ve got your basic short-term survival kit and food storage taken care of, take a look at other prepared families and see how you might help each other. The idea is to find like-minded, trustworthy individuals who have differing skills, and are willing to work together in a crisis.

    To make sure your support network is in place before disaster hits, follow these baby steps.

    Baby Step 1: Make a list of your skills and resources.

    Think of services you can provide and what equipment you have.

    Baby Step 2: Make a list of skills and resources you need.

    Some of the most valuable resources are people with skills and equipment that are common, yet specialized. Here are some commonly needed skills:

    • Paramedic, nurse, other medical workers
    • Construction workers (with access to a backhoe, jackhammer, or crane)
    • Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, or masons
    • Mechanics, drivers, or people with a HAZMAT license

    Baby Step 3: Meet your neighbors.

    Borrow a cup of sugar. Yeah, it’s an excuse… but if you need a reason, this one is as good as any. To thank them, make a batch of something sweet and when you take it over, chat for a bit.

    If you’re not the outgoing, introduce-yourself-in-person type, no problem! Diane Schmidt at About.com has a great idea.

    “I once wrote a note and attached it to a jar of homemade jam and left it on a neighbor's porch. I introduced our family, said where we lived, and that we were around if they needed anything. It was simple and brief and in return, we found some really great friends.”

    Baby Step 4: Get to know your neighbors better.

    Invite your neighbors over for a backyard hot dog roast, a mid-winter wassail party, or multi-family game night. The event doesn't have to be elaborate. In fact, you’ll enjoy it more if it’s casual, low-key, and fun.

    • Play games based on specific skills: knot tying, communication, problem solving, first aid, etc.
    • Play a get-to-know-you game: Write questions on cards and use them as prompts.

                            Given a specific situation (stranded in your car, lost in the woods, etc.) what would you do?

                            Have you ever survived a natural disaster?

    If your neighbors don’t respond enthusiastically, don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of people in town who are interested in prepping. They may lay low, but you’ll find them.

    Baby Step 5: Reach out to people in your area via our Forum.

    Our forum is a virtual network across the U.S. Contributors actively discuss topics and answer each other’s questions. You’ll find that there is a wide range of participants, from beginners to seasoned preppers. Click here to visit the Emergency Essentials Forum.

    You may also consider posting a note on the message board at a local outdoor supplier, hunting and sporting goods store, or on the American Prepper Network.

    Always use caution when communicating via the internet. Don’t post any personal information like your home address or phone number. If you are going to meet someone you’ve been introduced to online, meet in a public place, tell someone you trust where you’re going, who you’re meeting, and when you plan to return.

    Build up a network before a disaster hits your neighborhood!

    Check back next Friday for a list of skills you’ll want in your support network but probably haven’t considered.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: resources, skills, baby steps, dinner, Networking, Neighbors, tools, party

  • It’s February and before we kick off this month of falling in love here are three super simple, super small baby steps for you to breeze through this weekend.
    1. Learn the difference between dehydrated foods and freeze-dried foods.
       Dehydrated= most of food’s water is removed naturally or via heat
       Freeze-Dried = food is flash frozen, placed in a vacuum chamber and sublimated

       (Sublimation= ice is changed directly from a solid to a gas and removed)
       What's the difference? Dehydration is the best way to get rid of moisture for grains, legumes,

       baking mixes, and some fruits and vegetables (like carrots). Freeze-drying retains much of 

       the foods' appearance, flavor, nutritional value, and it stores longer.   
       Read up on the difference in our 15 Tips for Food Storage Shopping.
       Bonus points for someone who tries either a dehydrated or freeze-dried food for the first time!   

       Click here for recipes suggestions then tell us about your experience in the comments below.


    2. Add one month’s worth of these non-perishable items to your supply:

    Toilet paper

    Personal toiletries like diapers, baby wipes, adult 

    briefs, sanitary napkins, tampons 

    ReadyBath Wipes (These are pre-moistened 

                antibacterial washcloths for bathing.) 

    3. Learn how to shut off the gas and water to your home.

    DON’T actually turn off the gas though, ‘cause no one wants to wake up to a cold shower. Plus in your area you might have to pay the gas company to come turn it back on. (Might be good practice for using some of your other prepper gear though...)

    Click here for instruction from The Family Handyman
    Make sure you have these tools and hang them where they’ll be used.
                    Bung wrench

                    Emergency Gas Shut Off Wrench

    Easy, right?
    Which one are you going to do? 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, 15 Tips, bung wrench, dehydrated, freeze-dried foods, gas, water

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