Tag Archives: Passport to Preparedness

  • Your food storage pantry will not be complete without sugar, salt, and fats!

     

    We have a few more items to discuss on our journey through the basics of food storage. We have already learned about grains, legumes, garden seeds, and milk. The last three of the 7 basics are sugar, salt, and fat. Without these three vital ingredients, many of our food storage recipes would suffer from a serious lack of flavor and texture!

     

    Salt

    Salt is a staple in every kitchen. It is in virtually every recipe as salt influences the flavor of food. It enhances the natural flavors of grains, vegetables, and even fruits! It can deepen the flavor of desserts, and give extra oomph to a bland starch. If you have ever tasted a loaf of bread or other baked item where the salt was omitted, I’m sure you’ll agree it that the finished product left much to be desired! Salt has also been used for centuries as a preservative. In addition to being an integral part of most recipes, it is also a household staple in many other ways. Salt can be used as a cleaning abrasive, and when mixed with water it makes a brine which can be used to clean out foul smelling food containers and help make that greasy and stinky garbage disposal fresh again. Salt mixed into a paste can be used as toothpaste and as a scrub for the skin. When mixed with water as a mild solution, it can be a mouth gargle and eye wash. Salt is helpful in the laundry too, as it can freshen clothing and can be used to help remove persperation stains. I recently read in a magazine that sprinkling salt will keep ants out of the kitchen! Who knew that salt was such a versatile item? Also, make sure some of the salt you store is iodized because it provides a much needed micronutrient , iodine. Salt is a mineral so if properly stored it should last indefinitely.

     

    Sugar

    Storing sugar and honey will provide you with another recipe staple. Like salt, sugar enhances and develops the flavor of many of the basic foods that you will be storing. One of my favorite breakfast cereals is six grain rolled cereal, but without a pinch of salt and a healthy tablespoon of sugar, it wouldn’t appeal to me very much! Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and provides energy for the body. Honey is a wonderful storage item because it is a concentrated sugar, so you can use less than a refined sugar. Be aware that honey is not recommended for children under the age of 1 by most Pediatricians. Honey is a great addition to cereals, breads, and a drizzle on many of the basics makes them much more appealing. Don’t forget that along with white sugar and honey, you can also store brown sugar, which has a deeper flavor as it is a combination of white sugar and molasses. Like salt, sugar if properly stored should last indefinitely.

     

     

     

    Fats

    Living in a world were fats are considered the bad guys of the food world, it seems that storing oil or other fats isn’t very important. Well, in the context of food storage, fats are very important! Did you know that Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, which means that they need fat to be digested, absorbed and used within the body? Fats are sources of essential fatty acids, another important dietary requirement. Though low fat diets are preferred, eliminating fat completely from the diet would be harmful to the body. In regards to food storage, fat is extremely important. It helps add flavor to foods, aids in the cooking process, and is an effective energy source. You can choose to store fats in oil form and shortening is also a good food storage item. Butter, margarine, and shortening powders are also available. Be mindful that liquid fats purchased at your local grocery store will need to be rotated every few years. Dehydrated products can be stored longer, especially if they are kept cool and dry. Despite the fact that many of us are diet conscious these days, please don’t neglect this important food storage item!

     

    As you can see, our basic pantry would simply be incomplete, and quite frankly, loose much of it’s palatability without the addition of these three essentials. So, please add them to your list because sugar, salt, and fats will go a long way in making everything taste better!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Storing Instant Non-fat Dried Milk will allow you to not only enjoy one of your favorite beverages, but will allow to you make a multitude of other delicious foods.

    Our journey continues through the basics of food storage, and our next item is a must-have at our home. With three young children, and most particularly a picky four year old as the caboose, we go through a lot of milk.Often, when she will eat nothing else, she’ll happily enjoy a sippy cup of milk. Luckily, milk provides many vitamins and minerals. When non-fat milk is served, it can also be a great source of protein without the fat.

    Are you skeptical about dried milk? Do you worry about the flavor, the storage, and quite frankly, how to use the stuff? Well, I’m here to calm your fears. Don’t be intimidated by instant milk any longer, grab a can and let’s get the most from milk.

    Did you know that Instant Non-fat Dried Milk can be stored for 20+ years? A recent study by researchers at Brigham Young University cited that even the “worst” sample of milk (stored for 29 years in a relatively high oxygen environment) was given a 63% acceptance rate for drinking in an emergency and a 75% acceptance rate for use in recipes(citation needed). You can feel confident that the milk you are storing, as long as it’s kept in a cool dry place and nitrogen packed, will serve you well for many years. But you don’t have to wait to try that milk.First of all, you are going to be pleasantly surprised by the taste of powdered milk. If mixed well in the blender or mixer pitcher then chilled, you will find that the taste is very close to the nonfat milk you purchase at your local grocery store. Besides being great for drinking, dried milk can be used to make other milk products. Did you know you can make buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and even whipped topping with your dried milk? It’s true, armed with some know-how and a few extra ingredients, all of these are possible with your food storage milk.

    Now, take a moment and think of all the recipes that call for milk. Just this weekend I made pancakes for my children, not realizing that my just add water pancake mix probably had dried milk in it. If you have a recipe that calls for milk, just add the powdered milk to the recipe, and then add the amount of water needed to reconstitute the milk. Imagine all the possibilities. You can create pudding mixes, cream soups, cheese sauces, gravies, and chowders with your food storage milk. Considering all the recipes I’d read involving powdered milk, I realized that this basic food storage item would definitely add flavor and variety to my arsenal of food storage options.

    So, don’t be intimidated by the powdered version of one of your favorite ingredients. You’ll enjoy the nutrition, flavor, storability, and most of all, theversatility of your dried milk now and in the future. Take advantage of the Food Storage Analyzer at [www.beprepared.com/analyzer] to help you decide how much you should store for your family.Rest assured that you can wear a milk mustache no matter the moment.

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Great Grains

    We’ve taken some time to discuss wheat and beans, but we certainly couldn’t continue our preparedness journey without discussing some other great grains for our food storage pantry.

     

    Did you know that cereal grains provide more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop? They can add texture and variety and in their whole form, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein.

    Rice

    Rice is often considered the most widely consumed grain on the planet. Did you know that two thirds of the world’s population eats rice as their staple food? It is also the third largest food crop! There are literally thousands of varieties of rice. The most common categories are long grain, medium grain, and short grain. Short grain sticks together when cooked, while long grain stays separate. Medium grain rice isn’t as common in the U.S and tends to have a stronger flavor similar to short grain with the texture of long grain. rice Most of the rice you find on the grocery store shelves is long grain. The less processed brown rice is more nutritious than white rice with a pleasant nutty flavor, but the higher fat content makes it harder to store long term. Rice is often used as a side dish but can also be used in casseroles, salads, as well as in soups and stews. Come to think of it, most recipes could benefit from a little rice on the side!

     

    Corn

    Corn or “maize” is the most widely cultivated crop in the U.S. Dried corn in food storage can be ground into a meal, which can be used in polenta or grits. If ground fine, it can be used to make corn bread or masa for tortillas and tamales. Popcorn can be popped for a snack, or ground into cornmeal.

     

    Rolled Oats

    Rolled oats are often called “old fashioned” oats and are familiar to most as the tried and true oatmeal breakfast cereal of our youth. (Pass the brown sugar please!) Quick oats have been rolled thinner so they will cook faster. You may also be familiar with the oatmeal packets that require just a little water and less than a minute in the microwave. Though they are not recommended for long term storage, they can be a smart addition to your 1-3 month food supply! Though oats are most commonly used as a porridge or cereal, don’t hesitate to add them to bread, cookies, and many of us use oats to extend our meat in meatloaf and meatballs.

     

    Barley

    Barley, or “pearled barley” in its most common form, is often used in soups and stews. It is nutty in flavor and can be used along with other grains for cereals and bread flours, though it isn’t often used alone as it’s low gluten content doesn’t create a good raised loaf. It can also be used in making a mild healthy drink.

     

    Also don’t forget to add these grains into the food storage analyzer (foodstorageanalyzer.com) and watch the nutrient levels for carbohydrates, protein, Iron, fiber and calcium begin to soar!

     

    As you stock your shelves for the future, don’t hesitate to purchase and experiment with some of these great grains. You may surprised by the variety, flavor, and texture they can add to your recipes!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Spillin' the Beans

    If you don’t know beans about beans, read on for some great information and new ideas!

     

    Beans belong to a group of foods referred to as “legumes.” This food group includes peas, lentils, and peanuts in addition to the beans in which most of us are familiar. Next to cereal grains, the legume family contributes the most substantially towards feeding the people of the world. The high protein content of beans is necessary when meat is hard to come by, which is what makes legumes a wonderful addition to your food storage pantry! Beans are also high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and contain important vitamins and minerals like foliate, calcium, iron and potassium.

     

    There are many different varieties of legumes and each variety is used in different ways!

     

    Lentils

    Lentils are a quick cooking legume commonly found in soups, stews, and salads. They have a meat like texture and are high in protein and fiber, yet low in fat!

     

    Pinto Beans

    Pinto Beans are popular in Tex-Mex cooking and are used for refried beans in tacos and burritos. They are nutrient rich and provide a flavorful side dish often paired with spicy rice. These naturally dehydrated beans are sometimes specially prepared with salt and sometimes other ingredients and sold as refried beans.

     

    Black Beans

    Black Beans are known for their meat like texture and versatility. They are a Latin American staple that have a mild flavor and are commonly used in salads and paired with rice as a side dish. This bean has recently become more popular with many 'Fresh Mex' Baja Mexico inspired restaurants. Due to its meat like texture and dark color, it is often used as a red meat substitute.

     

    Small Red Beans

    Small Red Beans have a hearty flavor and a rich texture. They are often used in bean casseroles or served with rice and Cajun seasonings.

     

    Kidney Beans

    Kidney Beans are the bean most often used in chili recipes. It is also very hearty in texture and accents other flavors well.

     

    Split Green Peas

    Split Green Peas are known for their flavorful use in “split green pea soup.” Its fresh flavor and color make it a great way to add color and variety to your home storage.

     

    Small White Navy Beans

    Small White Navy Beans are excellent for use in soups and stews. Bean with Bacon soup is one of the most popular recipes for White Navy Beans.

     

    Soybeans

    Soy Beans are extremely versatile and used worldwide in making soymilk, textured vegetable protein (a meat substitute), and tofu. It takes flavor very well and has a wonderful texture.

     

    Peanuts

    Peanuts are in the legume family and are considered by many people to be a comfort food and family favorite. Most commonly used to make peanut butter, it is used in recipes and as a simple sandwich filling. Though their high fat content makes them hard to store, you can store peanut butter and peanut butter powder.

     

    Garbanzo Beans

    Garbanzo Beans (or Chick Peas) are often used in salads and as a base for making humus. Though similar in use, they are not as commonly used for home storage.

     

    Beans are used to thicken gravies and add richness to soups and stews. Bean flour can be used in place of wheat flour in many recipes. Bean flour is delicious in dips, spreads, and can be used as a fat replacement when cooked and mashed into the consistency of shortening!

     

    Dry beans should be parboiled or soaked overnight before cooking. Many dry bean varieties can be stored up to 30 years if packaged correctly. Once cooked, beans can be stored safely at least five days in the refrigerator, or up to one year if frozen. Over time, beans may require a longer soak and extended cooking times to achieve a softer texture.

     

    This is just a small sampling of the many things you can do with beans! The recipes and possibilities are nearly endless with this versatile and healthy food storage basic. Hopefully you are an official “bean counter” and ready to store and use more this wonderful food!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Worth the Wheat

    What is nutritious, versatile, affordable, and stores great? Why, it’s wheat!

    We are continuing our preparedness journey by stopping at a few very important landmarks. One important stop will be the wonderful world of wheat! This amazing grain is a staple of food storage enthusiasts for many reasons.

    Wheat has been a part of the human diet since before written history! It is the principle food of most of the world’s inhabitants. Wheat in its whole grain form contains an impressive list of vitamins and minerals. It is also a significant source of fiber and protein. Wheat contains complex carbohydrates, which makes it filling and an excellent source of energy.

    There are several types of wheat, but the most common grown in the U.S. are red and white wheat. Varieties include hard red spring, hard red winter, hard white , soft white, and durum. Which one you choose depends on what you will use it for. Hard red wheat is hard in texture, red in color, and is excellent for making hearty whole wheat loaves of bread or as a red meat substitute. Hard red winter wheat is also the most common wheat available. Hard white winter wheat is more delicate in flavor and can be used to make lighter breads, rolls, and scones. This lighter wheat can be used as a white meat substitute.

    Surprised to find out that wheat a can be used as a meat substitute? Well, you’ll be happy to know that there are countless books and websites devoted to all the amazing things that can be made from wheat. As a matter of fact, I recently ran across a recipe for whole wheat brownies, now that’s something I can’t wait to try! Don’t forget that a coarsely ground wheat, or "cracked wheat," makes a nutritious breakfast cereal too.

    Wanting to stretch your food storage dollar? Think wheat! This simple grain is very affordable and with all the things you can make with it, you’ll be fortifying your diet and saving money by using it regularly. In addition to being an affordable commodity, whole wheat has an excellent shelf life. Brigham Young University recently conducted a study of wheat that had been stored for 32 years. The University found 97% was acceptable for emergency situations. That sounds like a great track record to me!

    After learning so many interesting things about this invaluable grain, I can’t wait to try out a few new ideas for my own family. Hopefully, this has renewed your interest in wheat and all the wonderful things you can do with it. As you can see, wheat is well worth it!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • By Angie Sullivan

    Storing and planting garden seeds is a great way to reap the benefits of gardening now, and in the future!

    I decided we would take a small detour on our journey to preparedness to talk about something that is probably on many minds this time of year, gardening. I know what you are thinking-what does gardening have to do with preparedness? When land is available, one of the best ways to keep fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet during an emergency is by growing them in your own garden. A garden adds nutrition and variety to your food storage.

    Let’s talk a little about storing and planting garden seeds and you’ll see!

    Storing Garden Seeds

    Non-hybrid, open pollinating seeds are the best type to store when purchasing storage seeds. These types of seeds can be planted and their seeds can be collected at the end of the season for a future garden. Most seeds purchased today are hybrid seeds and cannot produce more plants. That is why choosing “non-hybrid” seed is so important. Remember the old adage, “You can count the seeds in an apple, but you cannot count the apples in a seed”.

    The Garden Seeds available from Emergency Essentials are non-hybrid, open pollinating and include packets of several different vegetables. Each packet of seeds is foil lined, and the seeds are sealed in a #10 can. Garden seeds should be stored in a cool and dry environment, sealed tightly to avoid moisture. Each of these cans have enough seeds to produce a vegetable garden up to two thirds of an acre!

    Planning Your Garden

    Draw a garden plan. This will help you decide what to plant where, and will help when you rotate the next year. Use whatever space you have available, but remember that your garden should have at least 4-6 hours of full sunshine every day. The soil should be able to drain well. If you are using planters or window boxes, be sure to allow holes for drainage. Fertilize the soil by adding fertilizer before tilling. Continue to fertilize throughout the growing season. Plant a good variety, remembering that different colored vegetables yield different nutrients. Try planting a “rainbow” of colors to get the most vitamin variety.

    How To Plant

    A good general rule is to plant seeds at a depth of three times the diameter of the seeds. Fine seeds should be scattered on top of the soil and pressed down lightly. Climbing plants such as tomatoes, peas, and beans should be planted near stakes or trellises. Allow yourself room to move around and weed between the plants.

    Saving Seeds

    Saving your own seeds may seem time consuming, but when you replant your own seeds, they usually yield plants better suited to your soil and climate! After planting, keep track of the healthiest non-hybrid, self-pollinating plants. Once the seeds have been collected, they need to be dried thoroughly before storing them. Excess moisture can cause the seeds to mold and rot. Use a fine screen or a sheet of plastic or glass to dry the seeds on. Dry the seeds in a warm place, out of direct sunlight. Seeds that are dried can be stored in small pill bottles, small envelopes, and other small containers. Label each packet well and add any relevant information. Then, store these in a cool, dry place. If you use envelopes, you might want to seal those envelopes in a jar with an airtight seal to keep out any additional moisture.

    Sprouting Seeds

    There are times when your family needs nourishing vegetables immediately in an emergency. Waiting months to harvest a garden may not be feasible. A fast and easy way to obtain nutrients is through sprouting! Sprouting is simple, and there are kits available to aid you in the process, or you can use items you find around the house. Good sprouting seeds are alfalfa, mung beans, triticale, soy beans, lentils, whole peas, adzuki beans, clover, garbanzo beans, rye, wheat, beans, rice, and oats. The last five seeds listed will sprout in only two days! The rest will sprout in three to five days.

    Have you enjoyed our small detour? Hopefully you are inspired to add a very important item to your food storage supply, garden seeds. Reap the rewards of gardening and add variety and nutrition to your food storage plan at the same time!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Food Storage GPS

    How can you know where to go, if you don’t know where you are?

     

    Last week, as we continued our journey to preparedness, we discussed the many different options for food storage. If you are like most of us, you’ve already started your journey, and have some items tucked away on your shelves. The question is, how much do you really have? Oh, you may know that you have two cases of this, or several boxes of that…but what does that really mean? Well, don’t worry, you aren’t hopelessly lost on the trail! We have a food storage GPS™ for you! It is called the Food Storage Analyzer, and not only will it pinpoint where you are in your preparedness, but it will help you know where to go next! Have I piqued your interest? I hope so! Let’s learn more!

     

    This free preparedness online tool is available at BePrepared.com/analyzer. You can simply try it out without creating an account; however, by creating a login your data will be saved for future reference. Let’s go through the step by step process of using your Food Storage Analyzer.

     

    Login. You create your own password and username so you can save all of your data and update it as your journey progresses. It is a very simple process, and you just need a username and your e-mail address to begin!

     

    Input Your Family Information. The Analyzer wants to know how many people you are storing for, their sex and age. This helps the program determine how many calories you need for each member of your family. You will get to see the recommended caloric intake for each member, and later on you’ll see how important this information is!

     

    Fill in Your Current Food Storage Items. These are items that are commonly stored, like Mountain House Foods, MRE’s, SuperPails, and Provident Pantry #10 Cans. There are also many commonly purchased grocery store canned items in the system. All of the items you have purchased from Emergency Essentials will be in the Analyzer, so you will quickly be able to click on each item you have and add it to your list.

     

    Add Your Own Items. Do you have items not listed on the Analyzer? Don’t worry, you can add them! Just input the name, nutritional, and serving size information found on each package and the Analyzer will add it to your list, and calculate the calories and nutrients for you!

     

    View and Analyze the Calculations. After you have put your items in, now you get to calculate your results! The Analyzer will tell you how many days worth of calories your current food storage has. Not only will you see how many days your family can survive on the calories you have stored, the Analyzer also tells you what nutrients you are short on, and suggests items to help round out your food storage. For example, if you find that you are short on Vitamin A, the Analyzer will allow you to look up items that will add more Vitamin A to your plan!

     

    Add Intended Future Purchases. You can now take the time to figure out what items you could add to your plan to make it more nutritionally sound for your family. The Analyzer will allow you to add items that you “intend” to purchase and then see how it affects your calculations! No busy work for you, just a few simple clicks to help you make a plan for your future purchases.

     

    Ordering. If you would like to, you can even order items straight from the Analyzer! If you choose to do so, the Analyzer will guide you step by step through the ordering process.

     

    Keep your Analyzer Updated. As you visit the store, and add items to your shelves, don’t forget to add them to your Analyzer list! The analyzer allows you to print out a copy of your food storage contents to hang in your pantry and manually update as items are added and consumed. Periodically take this information and update your analyzer.

     

    So, if you aren’t sure where you are in your preparedness journey, don’t hesitate to click on the link at BePrepared.com/Analyzer! Your Food Storage GPS™, The Food Storage Analyzer, will change the way you look at your food storage! It really is much more than just a calculator.

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Food for Thought

    There are so many options to consider, how do I know what kind of food to store?

    For some of us, this may seem to be the most perilous point of the preparedness journey! What food should you store? Let’s take a look at all of the options and help you decide the best path for you!

    Emergency Essentials suggest that the best way to begin is to store a three month supply of the items that you eat each day. These are the grocery store goods that you know you can keep on the shelf and use in regular rotation. Things like canned goods, peanut butter, and pasta are some suggestions. I think it is helpful to put together a meal plan, and use that meal plan to determine what items you use most and what you should have on hand to make your particular menu. At our house, we’ve stored lots of canned vegetables, cereals, pasta and sauces, boxed mixes, and other staples.

    After you’ve stored a three month supply of the items you use regularly, consider storing more of "the basics". These are the building blocks of food storage. They are the tried and true foods that we know can sustain life. Think of the pioneers…what did they store and eat? There are seven “basics” that should be stored: Grains, legumes, oil, salt, milk, honey, and garden seeds. These provide the most calories and are have the most important nutrients for survival. They are the “bang for your buck” items that are the least expensive, and store the longest.

    Now you should have a good foundation to build upon. Here’s where you can begin to explore all the amazing food storage options available:

    Dehydrated foods

    We eat dehydrated foods everyday including muffin mixes, cake mixes, pasta, soup, hot cereal and more. Dehydrated food is compact in size and cost effective. I bet you have several dehydrated items already in your pantry, and you didn’t even know it!

    Freeze-dried foods

    Freeze drying is another method of dehydration where the food is first flash frozen at the peak of freshness then a low-level heat is applied inside a vacuum chamber. This process changes the ice crystals to a vapor leaving a dried food. Freeze-dried food locks in the size, color, texture and flavor of the food while retaining most of the nutrients. Freeze-dried food mainly consists of entrees, fruits, vegetables, meat and cheeses.

    Many people ask "which is better, standard dehydrated food or freeze-dried food?" You should consider having both in your food supplies. Some items like milk, muffin mixes, and drink mixes are best dehydrated. Fruits, vegetables, meats and cheese are usually best freeze-dried. By having both in your home storage, you will have a great selection of items packaged for long-term storage.

     

    MRE's

    MRE stands for Meals-Ready-to-Eat. These meals are used daily by the men and women in the armed forces. As the title infers, these are meals ready to be eaten. They do not need to be cooked, rehydrated or warmed, although many prefer MRE's when heated. These are ideal for emergency and 72 hour kits and also for food storage. They are not as compact as dehydrated or freeze-dried food, but require less preparation.

     

    Calorie Food Bars

    These bars are best when used for 72 hours. These bars are designed for quick calories in an emergency. They are life sustaining for the first three days. Under most circumstances, they have a 5+ year shelf life. These are great for auto kits and are the least expensive and lightweight for emergency kit use.

     

    Did we bite off more than you can chew? Don’t worry, we’ll explain in greater detail many of these items and give you much more food for thought!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • By Angie Sullivan

    Are you worried about your family during an emergency evacuation? Take the weight off your shoulders by putting on a backpack of supplies!

    It’s true, having a backpack or other easily toted supply pack ready for you and each of your family members will help you move forward on your journey to preparedness with confidence and less anxiety. Are you not quite sure what an emergency kit is, or are you worried about whether the ones you have include what you really need? Come on travelers, our journey has brought us to a very important crossroad, so we’re using our 72 hour checklist as a compass to point us in the right direction!

    In creating this compass, I began researching what should be included in an emergency kit by reviewing Emergency Essentials list of Insight Articles at BePrepared.com. There are several very informative articles and even a checklist you can print off to help you put together your kits. Let’s review a few of the basics:

    Backpack or Bag-

    First, a kit needs to be portable. You need a good backpack or duffle bag. Consider who will be carrying the pack and make sure they can carry it when everything is packed inside. Also, make sure you store these kits close to an exit. No one wants to be digging through the basement when they need to get out the door quickly! Backpacks work great since they keep both hands free.

    Food and Water-

    You can use water bottles, water pouches, or water boxes. Water purification tablets would also be a wonderful addition to your kit. After you have your water, you are ready to store some food! You can begin simply by rummaging through your own pantry! Do you have granola bars, beef jerky, soup, cans of tuna, or fruit snacks? Any items that store for a long time are perfect. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are a great choice! They come in many different flavors and can be eaten straight from the pouch! High calorie food bars are lightweight and provide the calories needed to sustain life. Hot chocolate and drink mix packets will help make the water, which might be a little stale, much more palatable. Hard candy is a great addition. It keeps for years and in a pickle, who wouldn’t want a little candy for comfort? Store as much food and water as space and ability to carry allow. Make sure you check your food and water at least once a year and rotate as needed. If you have cans that need to be opened, make sure you have a can opener.

    First Aid and Sanitation-

    Purchase or put together a basic first aid kit. This kit might include bandages, antibiotic ointment, cleansing wipes, pain medications, and a small first aid pamphlet. Consider adding tweezers, safety pins, and any medication family members require on a daily basis. Now, let’s add some sanitation supplies to our kit! I don’t know about you, but having toilet paper, toothbrush and toothpaste, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, comb/brush, lip balm, and deodorant are must haves on my list! Assess the hygienic needs of each family member. What would each need? I have three girls, so some hair bands to keep their hair out of their face are a must. Just take note of what you need to get ready in the morning (bare minimum of course) and pack those items. Dollar stores are great places to pick up these items!

    Clothing & Warmth-

    I would be miserable without a change or two of clothing should an emergency strike, so having a few changes are necessary for my family. Extra underwear, clothing that can be layered and large zip top bags to store them in should the weather be inclement. If you have small children, you will need to adjust their packs seasonally to make sure the clothing will fit them. You also need to pack a few items should the weather be cold! Ponchos will keep off the rain, emergency bags and blankets will reflect that body heat, and hand warmers will keep those fingers toasty!

    Fuel and Mess Kit -

    If you have stored food that needs to be heated, you will want to store a mess kit, stove and fuel. If you don’t plan on heating food, choose items that don’t need to be heated to be eaten like the food calorie bars. MRE’s can be purchased with “heaters”, little pouches that use a chemical reaction to heat the food up.

    Tools -

    Think about what you might need should you be on your own! Consider a multifunction tool that has scissors, can opener, and other tools that may come in handy. Pack flashlights (preferably LED, and include extra batteries) ,add candles, matches, duct tape, whistles, compass, garbage bags, zip top baggies, tarps, (and a tent if possible), battery or hand crank radio, and rope. Don’t forget some pencils and paper, cash and coins. (Not all members of the family need to pack all these items, but someone needs to!)

    Sleeping arrangements-

    Make sure you have sleeping arrangements for each person. If you’ve got a tent, great, but if not, get a tarp and some rope to fasten a makeshift one and put a sleeping bag or bedroll in for each member of the family. Again, emergency bags or blankets though not comfortable in the traditional sense, will hold in lots of body heat and take up little space and are extremely lightweight!

    Remember: Keep this kit as lightweight as possible. Just remember, this is for “mobile” needs. This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or occupy a lot of space. Try to keep them close to an exit in your home and make sure each member of the family knows where it is stored!

    If you need more detailed lists to help you put together your Emergency Kit, just click on the Insight Articles link on the Emergency Essentials website and begin taking the weight of worry off your back and into a pack!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Store for Thirst First

    I felt like I couldn’t last an afternoon without my bottle of water, so how would I fare in an emergency?

     

    The other day, I spent the afternoon helping at my daughter’s school. I usually carry around a bottle of water with me, but I had forgotten my bottle in the shuffle of bringing in supplies. I came home later that evening and downed a HUGE class of cold water. As hungry as I was, it was the water that I was really yearning for. It was then that I began to think about this new journey of Preparedness I was planning on taking with you, and it struck me that if I could barely go a few hours without getting uncomfortable without water, it should be top on my preparedness priority list!

     

    How long can a human survive without water? Most sources cite that the human body cannot survive without water for longer than 3-4 days without doing damage to bodily organs. Beyond 4 days, all the food in the world would do you no good without water. For this reason, I decided to focus on water storage for our first landmark on our trip to Destination Preparedness!

     

    Emergency Essentials Inc., suggests that the first place I needed to store water was in my 72 hour emergency kits. You remember those! The pack of survival items you need if you had to get up and go with your family. Of course, you can choose to outfit your pack with basic water bottles. They are easy to find at your local grocery store. If you would like something specifically made for long term storage, you can store a metalized water pouch or box. These nifty little containers look a lot like those juice boxes or pouches you’d put in your child’s lunch box. They are specially treated, filled with purified water, and are specifically made for long term storage, just perfect for that emergency kit!

     

    Now that you have your survival stash for the first three days of an emergency, what about storing water in your home? Did you know that you should consider having both stationary and portable water?

     

    Boxed water containers and water barrels are the least expensive and most space efficient way of storing large volumes of water.

     

    Portable water is stored in containers of approximately 5 gallons or less (remember 8 pounds per gallon!) These are very helpful to have on hand for transporting your stored water to a usable location, like your car if the emergency requires leaving. Once the water has been used, simply fill up the jug again from your stationary source. Five gallon jugs are a great choice for your portable water storage. You can also use washed out plastic soda pop bottles, but be sure to clean them out well and store them away from light and other storage items that could be damaged should the bottles leak. Do not use milk jugs, they are much more prone to bacterial growth and the plastic breaks down over time. The key to good water storage is to have a clean, sturdy container that protects against light penetration. This key inhibits bacteria growth. One of the best ways to store a portable source of water is a boxed water kit. These kits come with a metalized bag that you fill with water and then place in a sturdy cardboard box. Do you want to know the coolest thing about these kits? In an emergency, the sturdy box can double as an emergency toilet! Love that!

     

    The most common containers for larger amounts of stationary water storage are those blue water barrels you see around. These heavy-duty, thick, polyethylene barrels are made of food grade materials. Barrels made for water are usually blue. Color is important, as blue means water is stored, and red indicates fuel. (Remember those fuel containers for your lawn mower?) Be aware that other colors may not be made of food grade plastic. You can purchase these barrels in many sizes. I’ve found that 55, 30, and 15 gallon are the most common. Try and store your blue barrels in a cool, dark area. A basement is a perfect option. Make sure there is an insulation barrier between the barrel and the ground. I’ve got mine perched upon some wood leftover from a home improvement project. It is not recommended to store your barrel outside, but if it is absolutely necessary, be sure to keep the barrel out of sunlight and be careful not to fill it too high! It is also wise to insulate the barrel and protect it from the elements as much as possible. You need about 1/10 of the barrel empty to allow for expansion should it freeze. This is not ideal, so don’t put it outside unless you have to. Oh, and don’t forget to grab that bung wrench and siphon pump! They are the tools you’ll need to open your barrel and siphon the water out!

     

    So the next question that sprung up in my mind was how much water should I store? I discovered that experts recommend storing a minimum of 14 gallons per person. This is a two week supply if you store the minimum one gallon per person per day suggested for drinking and light sanitation. Light sanitation? I sit here thinking about my own family of five, four of which are females. I can’t imagine this gaggle of girls using just one gallon comfortably. For this reason, I’ve decided we are going to store some extra for our next emergency.

     

    Have we quenched your thirst for knowledge on water storage? I hope so! You are now ready to equip your family with the most necessary of all supplies! WATER!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

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