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Monthly Archives: October 2012

  • Preserving Basics

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    While there are many commercially available foods for long term storage, preserving your own food is another a great way to prepare for an emergency. Preserving your own food for storage can be a lot of work, but it also brings many rewards. For example, canning and dehydrating homegrown produce not only helps you save money, it can give you and your family feelings of self-sufficiency and confidence. As many have learned first-hand, preserving food as part of an emergency preparedness plan requires specific knowledge, skills, and equipment.

    Knowledge

    When preserving food at home, it’s important to know about the different methods of preservation; whether canning, dehydrating, pickling, etc. With home preservation, you also need to know how to do it safely to ensure the food will be safe to eat when the time comes. There are many books and websites dedicated to home food preservation that can help you.

    Skills

    Preserving food at home often requires multiple steps. Depending on how much food you preserve and in what form (whole, stewed, sauce, jam, etc.) you might have to process the food by peeling, chopping, blanching, pureeing, slicing, and so on. If you’re canning, the prepared product will need to be placed in a jar, then heated and sealed in a canner. If dehydrating, you’ll need to lay the right amount of product in each tray of your dehydrator on the right setting for a designated amount of time. As you refine your preserving skills, you’ll be able to juggle the different aspects of the process.

    Equipment

    Preserving requires special equipment and tools. You’ll likely need a variety of equipment such as jars, lids, canner, various food processing tools, a food dehydrator, etc. Although the expense of this equipment can add up initially, preserving your own food will save you money in the long run.

    To learn more about preserving food at home read the Insight Articles linked below:

    Posted In: Insight, Preserving

  • I Think I Can

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    By Angie Sullivan

    Want to enjoy that summer bounty long after the season ends? You can with canning. You might think that canning is only for your mother’s generation, or that it is way too hard for you. Well, if you have the right tools, canning can be fun and provide you with some delicious food storage from your own kitchen.

    Before you start, there are some things you need to know. First, there are different types of home canning. These include Hot Water Bath, Steam Canning, and Pressure Canning. Hot Water Bath and Steam Canning are wonderful methods for foods that are high in acid, like fruit. Neither Hot Water Bath nor Steam Canning are recommended for vegetables or meat. Pressure Canning is the safest method for vegetables and meats, as they require a much higher temperature to preserve safely.

    If you own your own trees, or if you have access to a source of lowpriced fruits, home canning will save you money. The initial expense of cans and a canner may seem prohibitive, but, if properly sanitized, you will be able to reuse the canner, cans, and rims for years to come . You will need to buy new lids for each batch of canning since they can’t be reused.

    You have a few different choices when it comes to preparing your home-canned goods. You can slice, dice, puree, or put food in whole. If you puree your fruit, you might want to consider a food strainer or food processor to make your job easier. You can choose whether to seal the fruit in water or in sugar syrup. You can even choose whether to pack in light, medium, or heavy syrup. Each fruit requires different times. The different methods and cook times for meats, vegetables, and fruits vary, but your canner will come with a list of preparation instructions and boil times for the items you choose to can. Be sure you follow the instructions included with your canner to ensure you get the proper seal for your produce.

    With the right tools, plus a little time and effort, you can reap the benefits of canning. As you gaze at a shelf full of home-canned goods, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.. Not to mention the savings you’ll experience by preserving food in your own kitchen.

    Posted In: Insight, Preserving

  • Gardening Basics

    rows of lettuce

    Growing your own food is a great way to prepare for an emergency. Home gardening can be a lot of work, but it also brings many rewards. For example, becoming a proficient gardener can help you feed your family during financially hard times. A well established and maintained home garden can help feed you family for years to come, regardless of food prices and availability. As many have learned first-hand, home gardening requires specific knowledge, skills, and equipment.

    Knowledge

    There are countless books, articles, videos, TV and radio shows, and podcasts about home gardening. So there is no shortage of information out there. Learning as much as you can about gardening will help you succeed in your efforts. When it comes to emergency preparedness, it’s important to learn what seeds and plants give you the best yield and allow you to preserve both seeds and produce.

    Skills

    Gardening takes work, plain and simple. There’s no way around it. Because every garden plot is different, you’ll have to learn through practice (and probably some trial and error) how and what to plant in your garden. Talk to experts at your local nursery for suggestions and tips specific to your region. Once you harvest, you’ll likely have more than you can eat or even give away, so you’ll want to preserve the produce for future use.

    Equipment

    Depending on the type and scale of your garden, you’ll likely need a variety of gardening tools. You might plant a small garden that only requires a few hand tools or a large-scale garden that requires motorized equipment. This will all depend on you. The more you know about the different gardening methods, the better you’ll be able to decide what equipment you need.

    To learn more about gardening, read the Insight Articles linked below:

    Posted In: Gardening, Insight

  • Growing Your Own Food

    plants growing

    Growing a home garden is one of the best ways to keep fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. A garden is also a great way to add nutrition and variety to your food storage. Storing a year’s supply of garden seeds in addition to keeping and maintaining a garden is a great way to ensure that, even in an emergency situation, growing a garden is a viable option.

    Storing Garden Seeds

    When purchasing storable seeds, non-hybrid, open-pollinating seeds are best. When you plant these types of seeds and allow them to "go to seed" at the end of the season, you can save the seeds for a future garden. Most seeds sold today are hybrid seeds and cannot produce more plants. The value of non-hybrid, open pollinating seeds cannot be overestimated. There is an old adage that says, "You can count the seeds in an apple, but you cannot count the apples in a seed." This is true for these types of seeds.

    Emergency Essentials’ canned garden seeds or Heirloom Seeds Combo are non-hybrid, open pollinating seeds (except the corn) and include one packet each of radishes, onions, spinach, cabbage, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini squash, peppers, winter squash, and tomatoes and four packets each of peas, beans, and corn seeds. Each packet is foil lined. This will allow you to plant a garden the size of a basketball court.

    Garden seeds should be stored in a dry, cool environment and sealed tightly to avoid moisture. Storing seeds in a freezer prolongs their shelf life—and, of course, you can learn how to harvest, dry, and store seeds from your heirloom garden.

    Planning Your Garden

    When planning a garden plot, remember:

      • Draw a garden plan. This is helpful in deciding what to plant where and can serve as a reminder to rotate the next year.
      • Every yard has some space available. You can even use part of your lawn, play area, or flower garden. If you don’t have a yard, window boxes and planters are a great option.
      • The area where you want to plant your garden should have at least four to six hours of direct sunshine every day.
      • The soil should be able to drain well. (Holes in the bottom of planters or window boxes are useful). Fertilize the soil by adding fertilizer before tilling the soil. Continue to fertilize your garden throughout the growing season. Fertilizers can be organic or chemical—just be sure to choose a fertilizer that will work for the plants you have selected.
      • Plant a variety of fruits and vegetables. Dark green and orange vegetables are rich in vitamin A while tomatoes, strawberries, green peppers, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C.

    Gardening in Small Spaces

    If you don’t have a lot of space available, or the soil in your area is poor, you may want to consider container gardening. Any room in the house can be used to grow plants. Some alternative spaces are:

        • Hanging baskets (indoors or out)
        • Pots, baskets, buckets
        • Boxes, egg cartons
        • Barrels, wheelbarrows, oil drums
        • Window boxes
        • Greenhouses
        • Shared neighborhood lot

    In an emergency situation, you can grow seeds in even more unusual areas:

        • Open sections between bricks and concrete
        • Along fences, river banks, or train tracks
        • Around storage sheds or boulders
        • On a raft at anchor in a pond (protection from animals)
        • Soil beds on a roof built like flower beds and filled with fertilized soil
          Be creative. The same places that weeds and other unwanted plants grow can be used to grow vegetables, fruits, or even herbs.

    How to Plant

        • A good general rule is to plant seeds at a depth three times the diameter of the seed. 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.
        • Plant your seeds with enough room to enable you to move around the plants so you can weed them even after the plants have grown.
        • Fruit trees should not be planted in the lawn area. The watering and fertilizing schedule for lawns varies greatly from what fruit trees need.

    Saving Seeds

    Saving your own seeds can be time-consuming. However, when you replant from seeds that you save, it usually yields plants that are better suited to your particular soil and climate.

    Once you plant your garden, watch for and keep track of the healthiest non-hybrid, self-pollinating plants. These are the easiest to harvest good seeds from. Self-pollinating plants are able to produce seeds on their own, without the aid of wind, bees, or other insects. Hybrid plants will grow great the first time, but seeds harvested from a hybrid plant may yield unusual produce.

    If this is your first try at saving seeds, start with beans, squash, dill, and/or marigolds. Drying collected seed thoroughly is essential for proper storage. 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. Do not use paper towels--the seeds will stick and become hard to separate. Dry the seeds in a warm place out of direct sunlight.

    You can store collected seeds in coin envelopes, small pill bottles, empty film canisters, or other small envelopes and containers. Label each container or packet with seed type and any other relevant information. Then store in a dry, cool place. If you use envelopes to store the seeds you may also want to place them in a jar with an airtight seal to keep out moisture.

    Sprouting Seeds

    Sometimes you and your family need nourishing vegetables immediately in an emergency. Waiting months to harvest a garden may be too long. A fast and easy approach to obtaining some of the nutrients vegetables provide is sprouting. Sprouting is simple, and some sprouting kits cost less than $15. You can even use items found around the house. Some 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 mentioned sprout in only two days. The rest sprout in three to five days.

    Fresh vegetables, greens, and fruits are an important part of your family’s diet. With a little planning, storage, and hard work, you can grow part of your own food storage.

    Posted In: Gardening, Insight

  • Emergency Cooking Basics

    |3 COMMENT(S)

    Learning how to cook in an emergency can help make your time during it more comfortable

    Imagine having to prepare and cook meals for your family from scratch, outdoors, and without electricity. Is it hard to imagine? What if you added the stress of natural disaster to the scenario? Would you have the knowledge, skills, and equipment to make meals without the modern conveniences you now enjoy? Long term storage foods range from the most basic items like wheat and beans (which take more time and energy to prepare) to just-add-water freeze dried meals. Likewise, emergency cooking can be as basic as boiling water over an open fire to rehydrate a freeze-dried meal or as involved as hand-grinding wheat for baking bread in a Dutch oven. How you cook during an emergency will be limited to the types of foods you have stored, your knowledge and skills, and your equipment. But don’t worry. We have articles that cover a range of emergency cooking topics. For now, here are some basics:

    Knowledge

    All the food storage and equipment in the world won’t do you much good if you don’t know how to use them. What and how you cook will determine what kinds of food you’ll store and what skills and equipment you’ll need. So, it’s important to first know yourself and your family. Once you decide what types of food storage you’ll store and use, it’s important to learn all you can about it. This might include reading cookbooks, product information, other books and articles about food storage and emergency cooking. The more you learn, the more prepared you’ll be.

    Skills

    Knowledge is invaluable, but you should also practice what you learn. Learning how to prepare your food storage items, trying recipes, and using your equipment will familiarize you with emergency cooking before a crisis. It will also help you fine tune you food storage plan.

    Equipment

    Again, depending on the types of food you store and your cooking style, you’ll need different kinds of cooking equipment. If you plan to stick to basic food storage items like wheat, beans, oil, etc., you’ll need a grain mill, baking equipment, etc. If your storage is mostly just-add-water foods, you might not need more that a camp stove and a pot to boil water.

    It’s important to explore your options by learning about and trying a variety of emergency cooking methods for different types of storable foods. The Emergency Cooking Insight Articles linked below will get you on your way:

    Posted In: Emergency Cooking, Insight

  • Outdoor Cooking Tips

    Check out these outdoor camping tips to help you cook easier and better meals

    Cooking out in the open is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. It is also a wonderful way to prepare your family for emergencies by learning how to cook without electricity. Outdoor cooking can involve elaborate Dutch-oven meals or simple tinfoil dinners, but cooking and eating outdoors takes some knowledge and preparation. With that in mind, here are a few tips and ideas that can help you have a positive outdoor cooking experience.

    1. Decide what cooking method or equipment you will use to prepare your outdoor meal. Will it be a gas powered camping stove, an open fire, charcoal briquettes, or some other method? Before you decide how to heat your meal, be sure to check any local restrictions in your camping area. Are open pit fires allowed? If not, you may need to bring a camping stove or some other alternative cooking method.If open pit fires are allowed and you plan on using one, be sure to only build fires in designated fire pits. If there are no designated fire pits, find an open area away from low hanging branches, miscellaneous groundcover, and dry vegetation. Clear a ten-foot circle around the area where you will build a fire and then create a fire bed or fire pit. Fire beds can be made of rocks, silt, clay, sand, or any other non-flammable materials available. A small pit, approximately 4 to 10 inches deep can serve quite well as a fire bed. Surrounding your pit with small rocks can provide an extra layer of protection.
    2. Set up a cooking fly. An old tarp or heavy fire-resistant blanket strung between two trees, poles, or walking sticks can provide protection from the elements for your cooking area. Always face the fly away from the wind. This will provide maximum protection from unexpected wind, rain, sleet, or snow. Be sure to dig your fire pit about ten feet in front of the fly, far enough from the fire that sparks won't harm the fabric, but close enough that you can step beneath when weather is bad.When using a camp stove, be sure to plan ahead. You will need to pack more fuel than your stove will carry, unless your trip is very short. Be sure to pack flammable fuels in high quality metal containers and always mark them to keep them separate from drinking water and other liquids. Also, be sure that fuel containers are airtight so that there is no leakage of fuel or fumes, and store extra fuel away from your cooking area.You may want to bring a small table or some wooden blocks to put your stove on. Many stoves have their own stands, but others will need to be kept off the ground and away from potentially flammable materials.When lighting your stove, be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Never use a stove in or near a tent. Never open fuel containers on or near a hot stove, and never try to refuel a stove that is hot or still burning.
    3. Whether you are cooking with a stove or an open fire, it might not be a bad idea to locate your cooking area 30 or 40 yards downwind from any tents or shelters in which you will sleep. Curious animals might be attracted by the smells of your food and you don't want them sniffing around your tent at night.
    4. Remember to properly cook your food. To ensure yourself a successful foil dinner, follow these steps. First, make sure you use two layers of heavy foil and use tight folds to trap the moisture inside. Make sure that you cook on charcoal or the hot coals of a wood fire, never on flames. Occasionally turn over the foil packet to cook evenly and prevent burnt food. Remember, every foil dinner needs a source of moisture like onion slices, soup or salad dressings, seasoning sauces, butter, vegetable stock, or a spoonful of water. Cooking depends on the amount of heat in the coals, but a good average is fifteen to twenty minutes for hamburger, at least twenty minutes for chicken, and longer for solid meats like steak. Use caution because cooking too long can burn or char the food, but undercooking can become a health hazard. Check one meal before pulling out the other meals if you are cooking more than one. Hard veggies like carrots and potatoes will take longer to cook.
    5. Be sure to leave the camp area in better condition than you found it. Before pulling away from camp, thoroughly douse your fire, mix it around with a stick or shovel, and then douse it again. Refill your fire pit or scatter your fire bed. When you are all packed up, scan the area to make sure that nothing is left behind.

    We hope this article has helped you learn how to cook safely outdoors. It is always a good idea to learn alternative cooking methods and ways to prepare food while camping or even in an emergency.

    Posted In: Emergency Cooking, Insight

  • First Aid First

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    Imagine for a moment that a major earthquake has just occurred in your town. The shaking takes you by surprise and you dash underneath a large table, hoping the table won’t collapse from the falling debris. You think of your family and their safety. When the trembling stops, you call out for your kids and are thankful everyone is responding. However, as you walk through to check up on everyone, you realize your home is absolutely ruined. What do you do next? You're trapped in your home and have no communication between you and the outside world. The earthquake is so destructive that authorities and relief agencies will take about three days to reach you. Now you discover your smallest child is dizzy from a nearby gas fire, loses consciousness, and has experienced some severe cuts and bruises. What do you do now?

    Although this scenario is unpleasant to think about, we all need to realize that emergencies are real. Whether an injury occurs during a major emergency or on a camping trip, the urgency is the same. Infection or loss of blood can be serious and even fatal. That’s why it’s important to have emergency supplies on hand, particularly first aid items, and gain the knowledge to use them. That way you can provide relief for your own family when no one else can.

    Over the years, we’ve received calls from hundreds of people asking questions regarding emergency first aid. Here are some commonly asked questions that can help you eliminate unneeded stress or injury if.

    Where do I start? What first aid items will I need?

    You can get a good head start by purchasing a preassembled first aid kit. You will find most preassembled kits are put together using feedback from those who have experience treating injuries during a crisis. Some basic first aid essentials include:

    • gauze
    • tape
    • adhesive strips
    • scissors
    • antibiotic ointment
    • bandages
    • burn treatment dressings or lotions
    • rash or itch creams
    • thermometers
    • arm splints
    • tweezers
    • safety pins
    • pain reliever
    • antiseptic towelettes
    • ammonia inhalants
    • instant ice packs
    • sponges
    • eye washes
    • rubbing alcohol
    • Although preassembled kits contain the most common items needed during emergencies, it’s important to gather items that fit your particular needs. Prescription medications needed for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, etc., are crucial in your first aid kit. Also, be sure to include special items needed by small children or the elderly.

      First aid kits come in all sizes and include items from the basics to supplies used by emergency medical technicians. With the right training, a surgical kit would be wise preparation. First, determine what items you will need the most and how much you will need of each item. For example, families with small children will probably need extra adhesive bandages and items for scrapes and cuts such as antiseptic towelettes. Or, you can customize a first aid kit to meet a particular need or situation (i.e. auto first aid kit, camping first aid kit, home first aid kit, business first aid kit, etc.). Second, you should purchase a kit containing items that best suit your needs. It is impractical to have a professional kit containing items you don’t know how to use, or a kit too basic to treat emergency needs.

      Where is the best place to store my first aid kit?

      You should keep a portable first aid kit in your emergency kit. If all items are kept in a convenient location in your home or automobile, you can grab what you need without having to scramble to find it. A common mistake is to overload your first aid or emergency kit. Remember, your kits should be lightweight and easy to carry. In order to survive most natural disasters, you will have to act quickly. First aid items, along with other emergency items should be kept in a compact, lightweight storage container such as a duffel bag, backpack, or carrying case. Don’t keep your kits in a hard to reach place such as an attic or storage closet.

      What if I can't afford to buy a comprehensive first aid kit?

      Keep in mind that a first aid kit is like an insurance policy. Some people may prefer to purchase a portable stereo or a new outfit over a first aid or emergency kit. However, those who have lived through an emergency either regret not having had the needed supplies or are relieved they planned ahead. If budget is a concern, start small. Obtain the most important items first, such as adhesive bandages and pain relievers. Then, as your budget permits, add to the items you already have.

      Finally, remember that first aid items can help save lives during a crisis. . Once you have your supplies, it’s important to learn more about the proper use of your supplies. This is especially important for first aid kits containing surgical supplies or other items that may be difficult to use without prior knowledge and practice. By combining knowledge with the appropriate supplies, you can help save lives during an emergency. This can only happen if you put first aid first.

    Posted In: First Aid and Sanitation, Insight

  • Emergency Sanitation Accommodations

    Many of us are diligent in storing food and water for emergency use, but tend to forget to store items we use every day to stay clean and healthy. Many of these items would become luxuries during an emergency while others can help prevent contamination and illness. Start by making two lists of non-food items. First, list the items you definitely will use. Second, list the ones you may also need to help keep your surroundings clean. Begin with the first list and add those items to your home storage as soon as you can. Then, progress to the second list. Plan to rotate your supplies so that they stay fresh and do not lose their usefulness.

    Here is a list of items you may want to consider storing. This list is not all-inclusive, so feel free to add to it. For all these items, track how much of each your family uses (if they use it) so you how much to store. An easy way to do this is to keep track of use for a week or month, then multiple it by how many weeks’- or months’-worth you plan to store.

    • Toilet paper
    • Bath soap
    • Shampoo
    • Deodorant
    • Liquid dish soap
    • laundry soap
    • Toilet cleaner
    • Liquid bleach
    • Toothpaste and toothbrushes(consider storing some emergency toothbrushes that come with their own built-in toothpaste)
    • Feminine hygiene products
    • Plastic bags(garbage-sized and smaller)
    • Paper towels
    • Powdered cleanser such as Comet or Ajax
    • Baking soda
    • Glass cleaner
    • Ammonia
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Glycerin
    • Hand lotion
    • Razors, blades, and shaving cream
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Baby products—diapers, wipes, bottles, etc.
    • SPF lotion or wipes (consider our "SunX SPF 30+ Towelettes")
    • Cleansing facial and body wipes (consider our "Ready Bath Basics Antibacterial Formula Total Body Cleansing System")
    • Emergency shower equipment (consider our "Zodi Extreme Portable Hot Shower," which Heats to over 100º F in about 5 minutes)
    • For a great emergency (or camping) kit that supplies the basics for three to four people for several days, consider our "Family Sanitation Kit," which includes one six-gallon bucket, one Tote-able Toilet seat and lid, four rolls of toilet paper, six Double Doodie™ Waste Bags, one Epi-Cleanz® Plus Hand Antiseptic, four Fresh and Go™ toothbrushes and three ReadyBath® packets.

      Sanitation Considerations

      Washing

      Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer before eating, after using the bathroom, after you change a diaper, and any other time you may need to freshen up can be especially important in an emergency. Because water is such a precious commodity during an emergency, you should remember to use purified drinking water first for drinking, cooking, and washing dishes before anything else.

      Be organized and choose a designated bathing area. If you wash in a river or stream, use biodegradable soap and always be aware of others who may be downstream. With a little soap you can also wash yourself in the rain. Other washing alternatives include moist towelettes, a spray bottle, sanitizing lotions, or a wet washcloth. These alternatives can help you save precious water.

      Sanitation Area

      Choosing the right location for your sanitation needs such as bathing and using the bathroom is as important as staying clean. Your waste place must be located downhill from any usable water source. It should also be a few hundred feet from any river, stream, or lake. It also helps to have your waste place downwind from your living area, and yet not too far from your camp that the distance discourages people from using it. If you’re at home, but without running water or power, you can reuse bathing water to flush the toilet. Just make sure the toilet doesn’t get backed up. You might also consider using an emergency toilet at home.

      Getting Rid of Refuse

      If you can’t dispose of refuse properly, you should always bury biodegradable garbage and human waste to avoid the spread of disease by rats and insects. Dig a pit 12 to 18 inches deep and at least 50 feet but preferably 200 plus feet downhill and away from any well, spring, or water supply. Fill the pit with the refuse and cover with dirt.

      Keeping Food Sanitary

      All food scraps should be either burned or buried in a pit far from your living area to keep wild animals away. If outdoors, keep all food covered and off the ground. You may keep your food in a tree, but be sure tree dwelling creatures can’t get into it. Replace all lids on water bottles and other containers immediately after use. Don’t wash your dishes in the area where you get your drinking water supply. Instead, wash your dishes away from a water source. Use clean plates or eat out of the original food containers to prevent the spread of germs. Wash and peel all fruits and vegetables before eating. Prepare only as much as will be eaten at each meal.

      Medications

      For people who take prescription medications for heart disease, diabetes, asthma, depression, or any other condition that requires regular medication, you should talk to your physician about having a back-up supply on hand for emergencies. Medications for diarrhea, constipation, headaches, allergy and other minor conditions should also be included in kits for added comfort.

      By storing extra supplies and knowing how to stay clean and sanitary in an emergency, you can stay healthier and more comfortable.

    Posted In: First Aid and Sanitation, Insight

  • Water Storage Overview

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    Water storage is arguably the most vital element of any emergency plan. The human body can live several days without food, but only a few days without water. When you consider that water sources can become contaminated or cut off during a natural or manmade disaster, it makes sense to store as much clean, drinkable water as possible.

    You’ll need water for hydration, cooking, and sanitation, so the more you have the better off you’ll be. FEMA recommends drinking no less than one quart (32 ounces) per day, but the amount of water you need will depend on your activity level. Our bodies lose water through sweat, eliminating bodily waste, and even breathing. So, hydration should be the top priority when using your emergency water. If you have emergency food that requires rehydration, like freeze-dried or dehydrated instant meals, you’ll need to factor this into your water storage plan. It’s important to your health (and perhaps mental well-being) to stay clean, so some water will need to be used for sanitation.

    For most situations you’ll be at home, but when you're not you’ll need to carry water with you. That’s why we recommend an emergency water storage plan that includes stationary home water storage, portable water storage, and equipment to filter and treat contaminated water for when it's time to replace your supply or to use while you’re traveling. National emergency organizations like FEMA and the American Red Cross recommend storing at least one gallon per person per day for a minimum of 3 days, but as much as your circumstances allow.

    Water is a priority under the best circumstances, but is absolutely crucial in an emergency. Check out the articles linked below to learn more.

    Posted In: Insight, Water Storage

  • Water Storage Options

    |3 COMMENT(S)

    In most emergency situations, fresh drinking water is the most important item you can store. It is recommended to have both stationary emergency water storage and portable storage in containers light enough to carry in an emergency. Be sure to take into consideration that water weighs 8 lbs. per gallon.

    Preparedness authorities like FEMA recommend storing at least 14 gallons of water per person. Storing that much will allow each person to use one gallon a day for two weeks. A family of four would want to store approximately 56 gallons of water (remember to store both stationary and portable). Keep in mind that this recommendation is for a minimum amount of water—just enough for drinking and light sanitation. To use water for cooking, bathing, or other needs, you’ll want to store more.

    Water Storage Containers

    There are many types of containers and options available for storing water long-term. Heavy-duty, food-grade polyethylene barrels are great for water storage. These barrels are normally blue. Color is important because blue designates the barrel is full of water while red designates fuel or flammable liquid. It is never a good idea to store water in barrels that once contained fuel or chemical substances. Water barrels are typically available in sizes from 15 to 55 gallons. Storing these barrels in a dark and cool area, such as a basement or food storage room, is best. Storing your barrels outside could have a negative effect on the life of the barrel and the quality of the water. It is not recommended to store any water container in direct or indirect sunlight. Also, it is best to store water barrels with a porous insulation barrier (such as wood) between the cement and the barrel.

    Which water storage option works best for you?

    If your only option is to store water barrels outside, cover them as much as possible to prevent exposure to light, ensure cleanliness, and provide insulation. During the winter you have to take into account the freezing factor. When water freezes it expands. If there is not enough room at the top of your barrel, it can cause your barrel to become disfigured or even crack. Only fill the barrel 9/10 the way full if you plan to store it in a place where it may freeze.

    Using a metalized bag in a boxed water kit is one of the best water storage options. You simply fill the metalized bag with water and place it in a cardboard box. These kits block light, limiting any bacteria or algae growth. These kits also offer an easy-to-use and versatile portable water system. The boxes can double as a sanitation kit (emergency toilet) and a carrying case for transporting water in an emergency.

    A smaller version of the metalized water bag system is the water pouch or box of purified drinking water. Each pouch contains approximately four ounces of water that can be stored for more than five years. These are a good alternative to heavier containers as a minimum ration for small children. These small pouches may not be as convenient for large amounts of water.

    Two-liter pop or juice bottles are also a good option for inexpensive water storage. Be sure to clean them well and store in a cool and dark area. Light and warmth will promote algae and bacteria growth. Over time these water containers can break down and leak, so store them away from food or other items that may be damaged by water. Milk jugs are not recommended because they are biodegradable and can break down within a short period of time.

    Heavy containers should always be stored close to ground level and secured to prevent breakage or possible injury in the event of any earthquake or natural disaster. Be sure to store all water containers away from any harmful chemicals.

    Tips and Suggestions

    Water can be found during an emergency from several different places around the house including your water heater, ice cubes in your freezer, and as a last resort, the reservoir tank in your toilet (not the bowl).

    Treat water with bleach before you use your water during an emergency by adding 4 drops of bleach per quart of water.

    Rotate your water once a year for freshness. Choose a month that is convenient for you. When rotating your water, the old water can be used for washing your car, watering your garden or trees, or a variety of other uses—rather than just dumped out and replaced.

    Water containers can be stored in many different places such as closets, underneath beds, behind couches, etc.

    Do not use glass containers for water storage because they can easily break during an emergency.

    Available water filters treat from 26 to as much as 39,000 gallons of water. A good water filtration system is critical to your portable and stationary water storage to ensure water for your family.

    If space and money are concerns, start small and gradually build your water storage as you build your food storage.

    Water will store indefinitely if it meets all of the following criteria:

      • It is free of microorganisms.
      • The container is made of food-grade materials.
      • The container is clean and tightly closed.
      • The container is kept from sunlight.

    We hope this information helps you plan your water storage. More information is available in the book Emergency Essentials’ Tips for Preparedness pages 17-27. Your local authorities and federal agencies like FEMA may also have some useful tips and suggestions.

    Posted In: Insight, Water Storage

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