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Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • Using Whole Egg Powder

    This week’s feature product is the Provident Pantry®Whole Egg Powder. Ideal for baking and cooking, and including in dry ingredient mixes, our Whole Egg Powder is a wonderful addition to your food storage. This product is easy to rotate and can be used in your favorite family recipes. It is packaged and preserved for long-term storage so that you can use it now or years from now.


    We’re not the only ones who think it’s great. One of our customers left this product review of the Provident Pantry™ Whole Egg Powder on our website:

    I have used this product in baking and have made egg drop soup without any family members commenting about "something being different". In the long run, it seems to cost less and it is certainly more convenient than having to run to the store for a carton of eggs before I can make a cake or a batch of cookies. ~ Granny

    Like Granny says, cooking with whole egg powder won’t have your family commenting on “something being different” or refusing to eat! Here are a couple of recipes from the book Cookin’ with Dried Eggs, that you can make using Provident Pantry®Whole Egg Powder.

    The book includes an excellent chart on how to convert recipes that use fresh eggs into the equivalent measurements for Whole Egg Powder, so you can still cook your favorite recipes. Pick up your copy today and start cookin’!

    Hootenanny Pancakes (German Pancake)

    1 C. dried whole eggs 3 C. warm water
    3 T. dried milk                                   1 C. flour
    ½ t. salt    ½ C. margarine

    Mix water, dried eggs, dried milk, and salt in a blender until fluffy. Tap in the flour a little at a time, beat until well blended. Melt margarine in 9x13 pan at 425°F. When butter is bubbly, pour in batter and return to oven immediately. Bake 25 minutes. Serve with jam, syrup, or powdered sugar.


    Macaroni and Cheese Casserole                                                 

    2/3 C. macaroni 1 T. dried green pepper
    2 C. boiling water ¼ C. dried cheese
    ½ t. salt 1/3 C. dry whole egg
    2 T. dried parsley 3 T. dried milk            
    1 t. dried onion 1 C. warm water

    Cook the macaroni in the boiling, salted water until tender. Drain and combine the macaroni, green pepper, parsley, and onion. Mix together cheese, egg, milk, and warm water; blend well. Pour over the macaroni mixture. Place in a greased pan, bake at 350°F. for 50 minutes. This recipe makes 2 servings.

    If you are interested in finding more ways to cook with the Provident Pantry® Whole Egg Powder, check out our recipe for Scrambled Egg and Veggie Wraps. You can purchase a copy of Cookin’ with Dried Eggs from our website or in our stores.

    Pick up a can of our Whole Egg Powder and try out a couple of recipes. They’ll taste just the same as using eggs fresh from the carton!



    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Emergency Essentials, family, recipes, food storage

  • Baby Steps: Make Room for Your Food and Supply Storage

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    While you are updating your emergency kits during your spring cleaning, don’t forget to clear out some space to store your food and emergency supplies. But we know that's easier said than done . . . Have you ever felt like no matter what size home you live in—big or small—that there is never enough space to store your personal belongings, let alone your food storage and other emergency supplies?


    Boy playing in cardboard box


    If you have limited space to store your emergency items, all is not lost! This just means that you may have to get a little more creative with the places that you store your food and other supplies. Use your spring cleaning as an opportunity to clean out spaces in your home for your food and supply storage. (Spring cleaning is also a great time to rotate your food storage if it's not a part of your regular food rotation.) When looking for unique places around your home, remember that you want to store food items in cool, dry places. Here are some tips and tricks to find space for your storage supplies.


    Organize that Closet

    -          Create an inventory of all of your storage items and attach it to the door or wall inside your storage closet.

    -          Label and organize your items in groups so you can grab what you need quickly.

    -          Store and stack up items on the floor and sides of your closet walls.

    -          Use the top shelves in the closets in your guest room, bedroom, or hallway closet to store items.


    Put it Behind the Couch

    -         Pull your couch out from the wall and store several #10 cans in the space between the wall and your couch (only if the space will remain cool enough).

    -         Store items underneath or behind any furniture that you already have in your home that has enough space to fit items.


    Use a Book Shelf or Cabinet

    Afraid that bookshelves lined with cans will throw off the decorative theme of your home? Revamp your shelves to match the theme of your room.

    -          Add decorative fabric on the back panel of each shelf to create a decorative backdrop for your cans. Check out how to do this DIY project at redouxinteriors.com. (We   originally found this idea on Pinterest; click here to follow our boards).

    -          create a curtain to go over your book shelf to hide your cans.

    -          In addition to book shelves, you can also store your cans in cabinets, armoires, cube storage units, or dresser drawers.

    Take the extra few minutes to mount these cabinets or book shelves to the wall so they don’t fall over in an earthquake.


    Make an End Table

    -          Stack up boxes filled with emergency supplies, or stack up cans to create a foundation for an end table. Place a wood board or circle on top to create a table top and add a table cloth to cover the base.


    Hide it under the bed

    -          Keeping food storage under the bed will provide a cool, dry area to keep your food storage.


    Store it in the Car

    -          Storing items in your car can help you and your family in both large and small emergency situations. Check out our tips for creating a car emergency kit for ideas on what items to include.


    Stock Up Your Medicine Cabinet

    -          Check the expiration dates on the medicine in your cabinet. Replace items and consider stocking your cabinet with any over-the-counter medications that may be helpful in an emergency. Replace items in your first-aid kit as well.


    Stash it in the “Usual Places”

    -          Basements are great storage areas because they are usually cool and dry if sealed properly or fitted with a dehumidifier. If your basement floods or has a tendency to be damp, you probably don’t want to store your supplies there.

    -          Attics and Sheds are also good storage areas, but make sure that they are insulated well. These might be best for stashing non-food items like tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, tools, and the like.

    -          Trunks/Chests are good places to store both non-food item storage needs as well as food storage.

    -          Beneath the Sink is a great area to store cleaning supplies.

    -          Kitchen Cabinets clean out one or more of your kitchen cabinets and designate it as the “emergency supply cabinet.” Store only food storage essentials or other emergency supplies in it. Make sure to rotate these items regularly.


    If you live in an urban area, and you're dealing with extra-tight quarters, there are more tips for urban prepping here.


    What do you think? Have you put any of these ideas to use?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: storage space, baby steps, food storage

  • Wheat Berry Salads

    |8 COMMENT(S)

    What’s affordable, hearty, nutritious, and delicious? A grain salad from your food storage, of course!

    iStock_000009998059Large_grains in bowls_landscape orientation

    General Instructions for Preparing Grain Berries for Salad  

    My favorite method, which just happens to be perfect when you don’t have  electricity, cooking fuels, or time to spend over the stove (like in emergency situations), is to let the berries soak overnight in a thermos of hot water. Bring your water to a boil and add it to the thermos. But, if you don’t want to wait overnight, bring water to a boil, add grain, boil until the berries are soft. Depending on what type of grain you’re using, it could take 30 to 60 minutes to soften. You could also use your crockpot.

    I got so excited about using our Provident Pantry food storage grains that I couldn’t stick to just wheat berries. We’ve created four delicious recipes from hard red wheat, hard white wheat, spelt, and oat groats. I'm pretty sure that you’re going to love these salads, but don’t take my word for it. Try them out and let us know what you think!


    Mediterranean Spelt Berry Salad

    For the Salad:

    1 cup Provident Pantry Spelt

    3 cups salted water

    1 cup Provident Pantry FD Zucchini

    ½ cup Provident Pantry FD Carrots

    1 cup Provident Pantry FD Tomatoes

    ½ cup Provident Pantry FD Green Onions


    For the dressing:

    ½ cup olive oil

    3-4 TBS Balsamic vinegar

    ¼ tsp Provident Pantry Italian seasoning

    ¼ tsp Provident Pantry Salt

    ¼ tsp Provident PantryPepper

    ¼ tsp Provident Pantry Garlic powder

    2 tsp Provident Pantry Brown sugar (more to taste)


    1. Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil. Add spelt and cook until tender. You can either cook the spelt right before you make your salad, or the night before by adding spelt with double the amount of boiling water into a thermos and letting it sit overnight. Strain and set aside.
    2. Reconstitute zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, and green onions in the water used to cook the spelt; drain.
    3. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
    4. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing. Mix thoroughly.
    5. Pour dressing over salad and serve immediately.

    Fruity Wheat Berry Salad

    For the Salad:

    1 cup Provident Pantry hard red wheat berries

    2 TBS Provident Pantry Chicken Flavored Broth

    3 cups water (added an additional 2 ¼ cups)

    1 cup Provident Pantry FD Apple Dices (We used Emergency Essentials' Provident Pantry Fuji Apple Slices because that's what we had on hand.)

    ½ cup Provident Pantry FD Pears

    ¾ cup Provident Pantry FD White Chicken (hydrated in the broth the wheat berries were cooked in)


    For the dressing:

    ¼ cup crushed Provident Pantry FD Apricot

    ½ cup vegetable oil

    3-4 TBS white wine vinegar

    2 tsp Provident Pantry Brown Sugar (more to taste)


    1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add wheat berries and cook until tender. You can either cook the berries right before you make your salad, or the night before by combining berries with 2 cups boiling water in a thermos and letting it sit overnight. Strain and set aside.
    2. Reconstitute broth, apple dices, pears, and chicken using the water you cooked the wheat berries in; Drain.
    3. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
    4. Crush dried apricots into powder. In a small bowl, combine apricots with brown sugar, oil, and vinegar. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve immediately.

    Oat Groats Salad with Chicken and Spinach

    For the Salad:

    1 cup Provident Pantry Oat Groats (rinse after softening)

    3 cups salted water

    1 cup Provident Pantry FD White Chicken Pieces

    ½ cup Provident Pantry FD Spinach

    1 cup Provident Pantry FD Tomatoes


    For the dressing:

    ½ cup olive oil

    3-4 TBS red wine vinegar

    ¼ tsp Provident Pantry Black Pepper

    ¼ tsp Provident Pantry Salt

    2 tsp Provident Pantry Brown Sugar (more to taste)


    1. Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil. Add groats and cook until soft. Strain and set aside.
    2. Reconstitute chicken, spinach, and tomatoes using the water you cooked the groats in; drain.
    3. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
    4. In a separate bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and mix well.
    5. Serve immediately.

    Wheat Berry and Veggie Salad with Sesame Dressing

    For the Salad:

    1 cup Provident Pantry hard white wheat

    3 cups water, salted

    ½ cup Provident Pantry FD Celery

    1 cup Provident Pantry FD Peas

    1/2 cup Provident Pantry FD Green Onions

    1 tsp Provident Pantry FD Minced Garlic

    Optional: ½ cup Provident Pantry FD Beef TVP or 1 cup Provident Pantry FD Chicken Pieces


    For the vinaigrette:

    ½ cup vegetable oil

    2 TBS sesame oil (or to taste)

    3-4 TBS apple cider vinegar

    ¼ tsp Provident Pantry Black Pepper

    ¼ tsp Provident Pantry Salt

    2 tsp Provident Pantry Brown Sugar

    ¼ tsp Provident Pantry FD Minced Garlic


    1. Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil. Add hard white wheat and cook until tender. Strain and set aside.
    2. Reconstitute celery, peas, and green onions in water used to cook the wheat; drain.
    3. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
    4. In a small bowl, combine vinaigrette ingredients; mix well. Pour dressing over salad and toss well.
    5. Serve immediately.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: salad, spelt, oat groats, grains, recipe, wheat, food storage

  • All About Wheat

    |5 COMMENT(S)

    When most people begin to store food they begin with wheat. Why is that? Not everyone knows how to use wheat but may have heard that it is good to store, so that is where they begin. It is true--wheat is great to store. But what kind of wheat? How should it be stored? Once you have wheat, what can you do with it? And, why is it so great to store?
    Continue reading

    Posted In: Food Storage, Insight

  • The Freeze Drying Process

    During the freeze-drying process, fresh or cooked foods are first flash frozen when the food tastes its best. Moisture is then removed in a vacuum chamber, where a low-level heat is applied to evaporate the ice without returning it to a liquid form. Since the product remains frozen during the process, the product’s cell structures do not change, which helps retain the freshness, vitamins, nutrients, colors, and aromas of the fresh foods while offering you the shelf-stable convenience of long-term storage. This freeze-drying process allows for quick re-hydration of the product, making freeze-dried foods ideal for your food storage. Freeze-dried products are light; they typically weigh up to 90 percent less than the product’s original weight. Just add water and they are ready to use!

    Oregon Freeze Dry_Freeze Drying Process

    Storage Life & How to Store

    We feel the freeze-dried food Emergency Essentials® offers has the best long-term storage life available today.

    Many factors contribute to the quality of stored freeze-dried food. The main factors include oxygen, moisture, light, and temperature. As a general rule, the lower amount of each of these factors, the longer nutrition is preserved in the #10 cans of freeze-dried foods. If product is properly stored, energy (calories) and minerals will store indefinitely. Vitamins, proteins and fats will gradually diminish over time. Recent testing of freeze-dried food has shown some products having significant retention of vitamins, proteins and fats at the 25-year mark. This is encouraging.

    Approximately 98 percent of the residual oxygen has been removed in both Provident Pantry® and Mountain House® #10 can food. The cans eliminate light, and the moisture level is extremely low. This leaves only the heat factor. We encourage you, the consumer, to keep your food in as cool and dry an environment as possible—ideally, 70 degrees or lower. Something else to consider is the fact that the human body, depending on its health, stores nutrients for various amounts of time. If you have food stored, even though lacking in some nutrients, it can help you survive in short-term emergencies by supplying needed energy while relying on the body’s supply of other nutrients.

    Products retain quality at different rates depending on various factors. Again, the earlier you use your food the better. Freeze-dried Provident Pantry® and Mountain House® food is quality food, store it the best you can and enjoy it in the years to come.


    Advantages of Freeze-Dried

    In addition to complementing your other stored foods well, freeze-dried food offers the advantage of looking fresh, tasting fresh, staying fresh, weighing less than fresh foods, and adding variety to your meals while being quick and easy to prepare.

    After freeze-dried foods are re-hydrated, many are comparable to foods you might find in the freezer section of your grocery store. Since freeze-dried foods re-hydrate well and taste much like frozen foods, they enable the meals you create to taste much like those you create using fresh foods.

    The following attributes of freeze-dried foods highlight some of the main reasons they are a storage favorite:

    Fresh appearance. Freeze-dried foods are first flash frozen and then have the moisture removed so they maintain much of their original shape, texture, and appearance.

    Fresh taste. Freeze-dried food is not dried via heat processing so it retains more of the aroma and flavor of the original food. The freeze-drying process also maintains most of the original food’s nutritional content. Freeze-drying simply removes the water, not the flavor.

    Lasting freshness. The freeze-drying process removes water and oxygen, the two primary causes of food deterioration. To further ensure the lasting freshness of these foods, both Provident Pantry® and Mountain House® #10 cans and pouches are packed with under approximately 2 percent oxygen content. This helps keep the food tasting fresh.

    Low storage weight. Freeze-dried foods have approximately 98 percent of their water removed, resulting in foods that typically weigh 75 to 90 percent less than the original food. The freeze-drying process results in foods that are exceptionally light. This makes the food easy to package, transport, and store. For this reason, freeze-dried foods are excellent in 72-hour emergency kits when you may be required to carry several days of food in a small backpack. At the same time, the reconstitution ratio of these foods is high. A little bit goes a long way.

    Easy preparation. The freeze-drying process allows for quick re-hydration of the product, making freeze-dried foods ideal for your food storage. Most freeze-dried items are reconstituted by adding warm water, waiting about five minutes, and draining the excess water. You may then use the food in your recipes.

    Variety. Traditional dehydrated food storage items such as wheat, rice, beans, sugar, and dehydrated food staples allow you to create a variety of recipes. Freeze-dried foods add a whole other dimension to what you can create with these stored dehydrated basics. For example, with the help of freeze-dried meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, you can use your dehydrated basics to create family favorites such as pizza or tacos, sweeteners for cereals, additions for soup bases, breakfast casseroles, desserts and much more.

    What Types are Available?

    Emergency Essentials® sells several types of freeze-dried food items in forms that work for your 72-hour kits and long-term food storage plans. The most popular items include food in #10 cans and pouch foods.

    Provident Pantry® #10 Cans

    Think of being able to have real meat, vegetables, or fruit in an emergency to be sure your family has proper nutrition when you need it most. Besides providing proper nutrition in an emergency, Provident Pantry freeze-dried food allows you to add a variety of meats, fruits, vegetables, and cheeses to your food storage. And the good news is that the variety of these products has increased over the years, while many prices have come down.

    See our catalog, go online at www.beprepared.com, or come to our stores to see all the individual cans and the variety of super supplies and combo cases. These fresh-tasting items are a great addition to your soups, pot pies, casseroles, stir-fry dishes, vegetable medleys, breakfast dishes and desserts. The #10 can is an excellent choice to preserve food for long term storage. The can is approximately 0.8 of a gallon and is sealed in such a way as to keep moisture out and low oxygen levels in, thus keeping your investment safe. We are confident you will be pleased with the quality of the line of Provident Pantry #10 can food Emergency Essentials has been offering for over 16 years.



    Mountain House® #10 Cans

    Mountain House® foods are entrées that are completely created, just as you would create any meal prior to serving. Then, these meals are immediately freeze-dried and canned in a form that’s easy to re-hydrate in small or large portions. No food storage process locks in the flavor and texture better while preserving the nutritional value of foods. Just as with Provident Pantry® freeze-dried foods, Mountain House® products are made from quality products from the beginning. For 35 years, Mountain House® has been providing quality freeze-dried foods for consumers and the U.S. military. You can be assured that the entire Mountain House line of contains quality food.


    Mountain House® Pouches

    Mountain House® freeze-dried foods are delicious, easy to prepare, and will taste just as fresh years from now as they do today. Mountain House® foods are not only for backpackers. They are shelf-stable for up to seven years, making them a great addition to your home food storage. Plus, they’re lightweight and easy to prepare, making them a great addition to 72-hour kits. Backpackers and others have consistently rated Mountain House® foods number one year after year for taste and ease of preparation. Why do Mountain House® foods taste so great? The answer is fairly simple: Mountain House starts with fresh or frozen foods, then cooks and prepares them, and finally freeze-dries them. The nutrition, flavor, and taste are locked in almost as if you had hand-made these meals from scratch.



    Freeze-dried food, added to a foundation of basics such as grains, legumes, milk, honey, salt, oil, garden seeds, along with many other products form an excellent food storage plan.

    Posted In: Food Storage, Insight

  • Which Method of Storing is Best?

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    Many people want to know which method is the best for storing their food, and depending on whom you ask, you will probably get a different answer. Each method has different advantages and disadvantages, depending on what your priorities are when it comes to food storage. We have outlined the basic methods, and how they affect your food storage. So you be the judge of the best method for you and your family, and start getting prepared!

    Dehydrated Foods

    When food is dehydrated, the water is slowly cooked out of the fruit or vegetable, without actually cooking it. There are three different methods: air-dried, sun-dried, or kiln-dried. Food can be easily sun-dried from your home, whereas the air or kiln method requires more equipment. All methods are very cost-efficient for storing food. Once fruits and vegetables are dried, they are then stored in airtight containers. Usually they are packed with an oxygen absorber, which effectively removes the oxygen, leaving only nitrogen behind.


    • Lower price than freeze-dried   
    • Food is compact--more can be stored in a container       
    • Food can be dried at home (sun-dried) 
    • Easy to reconstitute with water


    • Food loses some texture when dried
    • Some loss of taste compared to freeze-dried
    • Need a machine to create air tight seal and add oxygen absorber

    Freeze-dried Foods

    Freeze-drying is a process of preserving food that retains the delicious taste and nutrition of fresh foods. Fresh or cooked foods are flash frozen and then put in large vacuum chamber that remains as cold as -50° F. Minimal heat is applied, and the ice evaporates without ever going back into the liquid phase. This removes almost all of the moisture from the product.

    Finally, the product is canned or bagged and labeled for long term storage for easy use at a later date. Although the freeze-drying method is generally more expensive, it generally produces a shelf life similar to that of dehydrated foods. It is a good choice for fruits and meats.

     Oregon Freeze Dry_Freeze Drying Process

    Image Used with permission from Oregon Freeze Dry


    • Food keeps texture and shape 
    • Quickly reconstitutes with warm water 
    • Lighter, for carrying or backpacking          
    • Keeps full taste and size or bulk                


    • Higher price
    • Need expensive equipment for freeze drying process
    • Only cost effective for selective products-- meats, fruits, and vegetables
    • Requires more space to store since food remains full size

    Dry Ice

    The dry ice method can be done at home with a few simple tools. The carbon dioxide that is released from evaporating dry ice will kill all animal life in the container, thus helping it to store longer. There are two different ways to fumigate wheat with dry ice:

    Basic on-top method

    1. On top of an almost full five gallon container, place one-quarter pound dry ice on nonconductive insulating material, such as kraft paper.
    2. Press lid down gently so some air can escape.
    3. After about 20-30 minutes, check to see if the dry ice has completely evaporated.
    4. If not, wait another five minutes and check again.
    5. When ice has completely evaporated, remove kraft paper and seal container.

    Basic on-bottom method

    1. On the bottom of a five gallon storage bucket, place one-quarter pound dry ice under nonconductive paper that can be left in the bucket.
    2. Fill bucket with food you want to store--wheat, legumes, etc.
    3. Press lid down gently, leaving room for a small outlet for escaping air (lid will bulge and eventually blow off if air cannot escape).
    4. When dry ice has completely evaporated, seal container.

    Caution: Do not allow dry ice to touch the food directly, or it will be frozen and become useless as food.


    • Inexpensive, few tools required               
    • Can use dry ice method at home             
    • Can be used for grains and legumes--items that don't need to be freeze-dried 


    • Dry ice may be difficult to locate
    • Dry ice needs to be carefully handled to avoid minor injuries
    • Food has to be stored in large plastic buckets that may be permeable to oxygen
    • Not the best method of long term storage--bacteria may still grow in carbon dioxide

    Source: Making the Best of Basics--Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens

    Posted In: Food Storage, Insight

  • "My Diabetes Emergency Plan"

    |6 COMMENT(S)

    At the end of 2012, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimated that 22.3 million people were living with type 1 or type 2 Diabetes in the United States. In fact, Dr. John Anderson of the ADA states, “I know of no other disease that is increasing at (about) 8% per year.” The growing rate of Diabetes among Americans is an important issue for emergency preparedness gurus to consider when addressing preparedness needs.

    iStock_000014511053XSmall_diabetes_testing blood sugar

    So, what can we do to adequately prepare for our families’ various health needs in an emergency?

     The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) and Lilly Diabetes outlined the importance of emergency planning for people with Diabetes and other health needs at ACE’s annual meeting (on May 1st). These two programs began collaborating after Hurricane Katrina and led to the creation of the EmPower “My Diabetes Emergency Plan.”

    The Emergency Plan

    My Diabetes Emergency Plan” is a comprehensive checklist (available in both English and Spanish) that helps those with diabetes prepare in advance for big and small emergency situations. In addition to blood glucose testing supplies, insulin, and medical records, some other suggested items to include in your emergency kit are:

    • Empty plastic bottles for syringes
    •  A 2-day supply of non-perishable foods (peanut butter, cheese crackers, meal replacement bars and shakes)
    •  Soda, honey, and hard candies for possible hypoglycemic reactions.
    • Cooler or insulated fanny pack to store insulin

    The purpose of this emergency plan is to prepare users for a range of emergency situations from severe weather to car trouble to power outages. So, you should constantly update the supplies in your emergency kit. Updating medical supplies is especially important for those with Type 1 diabetes that must take insulin regularly.  However, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests that since insulin is a prescribed medication that you cannot store extra supplies of insulin unless your prescription and doctor allows it. But there are general guidelines and precautions that you can take.

    Guidelines and Precautions for Insulin Users

    According to the FDA, insulin can be stored in a refrigerated area  at approximately 36 to 46 degrees F until the expiration date on the package. If there is no access to refrigeration, “all of the available insulin can be left unrefrigerated (between 59 and 86 degrees F) for up to 28 days and still maintain potency.” The ADA also suggests that if your glucose levels go too low that you do not want to inject insulin, but you can stock up on glucose pills and candies to help raise these levels. For more information on how to use insulin during an emergency situation, check out the websites listed at the end of this post.

    Sometimes in emergency situations hospitals provide insulin to patients who have their prescriptions and medical records with them. The FDA suggests that it is ok to use a different brand of insulin if your doctor has discussed and prescribed alternatives to you. This is why it is important to include up to date medical records in your emergency kit and to talk to your physician about these alternatives as the Empower “My Diabetes Emergency Plan” suggests.

    Dr. Lawrence Blonde, endocrinologist, member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and fellow of ACE, states, "Our goal is to encourage people with diabetes to take steps in advance of an emergency to protect their health. It only takes a few minutes to prepare an emergency kit, and now with the added download availability of our checklist in Spanish, even more people can be ready." In addition to this comprehensive plan and checklist, there is also a step-by-step video about how to build your emergency kit that you can watch on the Empower website.

    Learn more about this exciting press release and the ongoing conversation about Prepping for the various health needs of your family at the Eli Lilly and Company website

    Click here to see the “My Diabetes Emergency Plan” checklist

    Click here to see information on insulin use during an emergency situation:



    Additional Sources:


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, family, Emergency plan, emergency kit, preparedness

  • Sanitation and Hygiene During an Emergency

    Washing Hands

    During an emergency, it is important to keep yourself healthy (for the sake of your own survival). The best way to maintain health is to keep yourself and your living area clean and sanitary—poor hygiene and unsanitary conditions can cause sickness.

    Sanitation items are easy to gather. You may prefer a pre-assembled emergency kit which already contains necessary items for grooming and sanitation. Because many kit items are sold as a unit, you may find that purchasing a kit is an inexpensive and convenient way to prepare all that you'll need during an emergency.

    Another option may be to assemble your own emergency kit so you can choose brands or items your family is accustomed to using. Often, you can purchase your favorite brand of soap, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, deodorant and other items in bulk or extra saving packages so you can afford to set some aside for your emergency kit.

    Here are some items to consider:

    Toilet Paper

    When it comes to emergencies, any kind of toilet paper is a luxury. By preparing ahead of time, you can ensure that you don't experience unneeded discomfort by having to get used to a new texture of paper. Also keep in mind that it is common for those in emergency situations to develop stress and diet related stomach problems that can intensify your sanitation difficulties.


    People with sensitive teeth may want to store their preferred brand of toothbrush in their emergency kit. It is probably a wise idea to store several toothbrushes to give away to someone who neglected to store one. It may also have another useful purpose such as cleaning or scrubbing.

    Toothpaste, Mouthwash, and Breath Fresheners

    Emergencies present stressful situations where human communication is crucial. Sometimes water is scarce or unavailable which causes dryness in your mouth. A breath freshener may be a nice addition to your preparedness supplies.

    Feminine Hygiene Products

    It is important to be prepared in all areas. These items are definitely important to have available in any emergency situation.


    With several choices of deodorants including anti-perspirants, made-for-a-woman brands, gelled, etc., you may want to decide ahead of time what you'll need during an emergency. Air fresheners or deodorants may also increase your level of comfort during an emergency.

    Hair Supplies

    Shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, combs, brushes, and other items may not be necessary for survival, but they can help make an emergency situation more comfortable and clean. Be sure to store smaller sanitation items in your emergency kit and be aware that you can overstuff your emergency kit. If it is too heavy, you may not be able to leave with it during an emergency.


    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.

    Laundry Detergent and Soap

    During some emergencies, you may be required to evacuate the area or may be stranded in some remote area. Because you won't have lots of clothing, you will want detergent to clean your clothes and soap for bathing and for washing utensils. Hand sanitizers are also great to have on hand (no pun intended).


    You can prevent illness by washing your hands often; before eating, after using the bathroom, after you change a diaper, and any other time you may need to freshen up. Because water is such a precious commodity during an emergency, you should remember to use purified drinking water first for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and then for other purposes. 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 down stream. 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. Be sure to wear shoes to prevent parasitic infections and to protect yourself from cuts and puncture wounds that can easily become infected.

    Sanitation Area

    Choosing the right location for your sanitation needs 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.

    Family Sanitation Kit

    Makeshift Toilets

    With a little preparation, you can have a decent emergency toilet. If you have a medium sized plastic bucket (5-6 gallon), lined with a heavy-duty garbage bag, you have a toilet. Make sure you have a lid to cover it. A plastic toilet seat can be purchased to fit on the bucket for a more comfortable seat.

    If you don’t have an extra plastic bucket available, you can make a latrine by digging a long trench approximately one foot wide and 12 to 18 inches deep and cover as you go. When you dig too deep a latrine it can slow the bacterial breakdown process. The long latrine approach is appropriate for large groups camping in one spot for a long period.

    Getting Rid of Refuse

    If you cannot 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.

    For back-country hikers, packing out all solid waste is always appropriate, and some authorities at high-use rivers usually require this process.

    You can make a seat for your latrine by laying logs across the hole, leaving an area open for you to use. After use, cover the waste with small amounts of dirt to decrease the odor. A covered toilet reduces more of the odor than an open one. Make a toilet cover with wood or a large leaf. If the odor becomes unbearable, fill in the latrine completely with dirt and dig a new one. Build a new seat and burn the old wood that you used for the last toilet.

    Keeping Food Sanitary

    All food scraps should be either burned or buried in a pit far from your living area to keep bears and other wild animals away from you. Keep all your 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. Do not wash your dishes in the area where you get your drinking water supply. Instead, wash your dishes away from a stream. 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.


    With a little knowledge and preparation, you can stay clean and healthy, even during an emergency situation.

    Posted In: First Aid and Sanitation, Insight

  • Evacuation Plan

    |3 COMMENT(S)


    Family practicing evacuation plan

    In an emergency, it's important to have a plan so you know what to do amid the chaos. A major part of that is an emergency evacuation plan. Understanding your family's evacuation plan can help those you love know how to get out of the house and get out of the city (if needed), even if they're on their own. Evacuation plans can be useful for many different types of disasters: hurricanes, tsunamis, and statistically more common, house fires.

    House fires are one of the most common disasters people face in this country so it is important that everyone has an evacuation or fire escape plan, and practice it regularly.

    Watching the Family Emergency Preparedness Plan DVD can be very helpful in designing your plan. Everyone in your family should know the plan, even the little ones, so set aside an evening when the whole family can get together to make your emergency escape plan. Follow these simple steps and you will be ready for an evacuation.

    In an emergency, every second counts, so you want to be as prepared as possible. Evacuation plans can be life-saving for you and the ones you love. Disasters don't just happen to other people. They are very real and can happen to anyone at any time. Take the time to plan and prepare and you will be very grateful you did.

    Make a map of your home and include the following:

    • Label every exit, including doors, windows, and hallways, which may become a potential fire escape.
    • In every room, label the primary exit (usually a door or hallway) and a secondary exit (usually a window) in case the primary exit is blocked by smoke or flames.
    •  Label every room where a family member sleeps.
    • Label the main shutoff valves of the gas, electricity, and water lines.
    •  Establish a safe meeting place outside the home so everyone can be accounted for. Practice your emergency evacuation plan.

    No evacuation plan will work unless it is practiced on a regular basis.

    • Involve everyone. It is important for everyone in the family to learn how to escape. You may even want to teach your children how to escape out of windows in case the door is unavailable to exit. A good fire escape ladder is essential if your exit is through a second story window. You may want to arrange the furniture so a dresser or nightstand is under the window to make it easier to escape, especially through basement windows.
    • Place your 72 hour kits strategically near an exit so they are easy to grab in a hurry. When you practice, assign certain family members to be in charge of grabbing the emergency kit.
    • Practice turning off utilities (gas valves, etc.). Caution: Don't really turn off the gas. If you do the gas company will have to come out and turn it on again. A gas wrench is a useful tool for this.
    • Practice other life-saving habits such as always leaving a pair of shoes, gloves and a flashlight or lightstick at each person's bedside.
    • Practice with time in mind. Try running through your disaster plan at least 4 times each year and adjust your plan according to the ages of family members.

    Other Things to Keep in Mind:

    • Designate an out-of-town and an out-of-state contact person for your family to call in case you separate. Have emergency and contact numbers posted by a phone and have everyone memorize the phone numbers.
    •   Practice using your 72 hour kit supplies. Make sure you include a good first-aid kit, including Burnfree pain relieving gel.

    Posted In: Insight, Planning

  • Water Filtration vs Purification: A Basic How-To

    |14 COMMENT(S)






    By Scott Pedersen, Vicki Tate, and Barry Crockett

    Next to air, water is what man needs most. In a challenging situation, it is critical to be able to find, store or treat water. Our bodies are about 80% liquids. We lose water in three ways: perspiration, breathing and urination. Dehydration of 6 to 8% of the body’s weight results in decreased body efficiency. In the summer heat, we lose about one gallon of water per day. Within three days of water depletion or loss, the body and organs can experience severe damage. Blood loses its density; heart attack and stroke possibilities increase; the kidneys begin to fail; the brain begins to hallucinate.

    Bubbles breaking the surface of water

    Not only is drinkable water essential to maintaining health, it is also important for cooking, personal hygiene, sanitation, cleaning wounds, sprouting seeds and reconstituting dehydrated foods including baby formula. Because water is so essential for survival, it is wise to have both a stored supply of drinking water and a way to acquire water for your continuing needs.


    In order to understand how to make water potable (suitable for drinking), we must first understand what things make water unsuitable for drinking. Most surface water (rivers, lakes, streams, reservoirs) contains some types of microorganisms (protozoa, bacteria, viruses) and/or pollutants (chemicals, foul odors, sewage, spilt fuel).

    Microorganisms are living microscopic cells that, when consumed, can cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis. Some microorganisms can even cause death for those with weak immune systems (children, elderly, sick).

    Protozoa (the largest of all microorganisms) include such parasites as Giaridia Lamblia and cryptosporidium. Bacteria (medium-size microorganisms) include E. coli, Vibrio Cholerae, campylobacter, and salmonella, all of which are found in human and animal waste. The most common occurrences are in preparing and processing food at home and in the food industry (especially associated with not washing hands after using the bathroom). Viruses are the smallest of all the microorganisms. They include hepatitis A and E, Norwalk virus, rotavirus, poliovirus and echovirus.

    Pollutants generally fall into two categories: man-made and natural. They include water contaminants such as minerals (salts) and heavy metals. Man-made pollutants are introduced into water sources by manufacturing plants, poor waste and disposal management, air pollution, and so on. Most often these pollutants are chemicals, fuels, sewage, or their by-products. These pollutants can cause water to taste foul, and they can cause physical ailments or death.

    For a long-term emergency plan you need to have a method to make questionable water "potable" and safe. You should also have a method of replenishing your drinking water. There are three primary methods to convert "raw" undrinkable water into safe "potable" drinking water: purification, filtration, and stilling (solar). Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. NOTE: Start with the cleanest, salt-free, and least polluted water in your surrounding living area. Cold river water that is running is preferred over warm stationary water. Realize that no method is perfect and sometimes combining methods is the best solution.

    There are three general ways to make surface water free from disease-causing microorganisms: A) add extreme heat to the water (boiling and distilling), B) add disinfectant ( purification, chemical or silver), and C) add light (ultraviolet).

    Historically, boiling water has been the main way to disinfect water from microorganisms because it kills them all if done correctly. Recommendations are to boil water for at least three minutes to kill all viruses. Bacteria and protozoa are dead at the first bubbles. But there are drawbacks to boiling water. First, boiling can require a lot of fuel and cooking equipment. Second, you must consider the long cool-down period. Third, some of the water will evaporate before it is ready to drink. Fourth, the water will still have particulate substances in it, so you should use a clean handkerchief to filter it before drinking. Last, boiling water does not eliminate pollutants, poor taste or foul odors. In fact, boiling can give water a stale taste. A helpful hint to improve the taste is to transfer water from one container to another several times while boiling.

    Two primary chemicals are used for purifying water: iodine and chlorine. These two chemicals are lightweight, low-cost and relatively easy to use.

    Iodine has been found to be very effective against viruses, bacteria, and protozoa with the exception of cryptosporidium. Using iodine has some drawbacks. The colder the water you wish to disinfect, the more required time is needed for disinfecting. Because iodine is absorbed into dirt and debris, which is found in water, its purification dosage varies. Pregnant women and people with thyroid conditions should not drink water purified with iodine. Additionally, iodine is a short-term water-purification solution and should not be used regularly for more than three months. Iodine does not change the clarity of water but it does change its taste. Iodine is not necessarily a flavor that people enjoy. This taste can be improved by adding a sugar-based drink/juice mix. A good product is Potable Aqua™ Iodine Purification Tablets—Just add two tablets per liter of water.




    Chlorine bleach can also be used to purify water. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Clorox® Company and the Red Cross have recommended using Clorox Bleach to purify raw water. Their pamphlet states, “…use regular household bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color safe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.” When using bleach to purify, “add 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.” The process of chlorination will cause dirt and debris to settle to the bottom of the water container and make the water visually clearer. There are some drawbacks to the chlorination method. If the household bleach is over six months old, it may not have enough potency to disinfect. You must be very careful if you attempt to use household bleach as a purifier. Chlorine is very poisonous and adding too much can cause illness, internal organ damage or even death. If you decide to use bleach, be sure to add it at the time you intend to use your water, NOT when you store it.


    Because ultraviolet light requires electricity, it is mainly used as a home filtration method for water; it is not typically practical otherwise. Water enters an ultraviolet-lighted chamber and swirls around a high output, low-pressure mercury vapor lamp, which emits powerful ultraviolet light. The energy components of microorganisms absorb the light energy, which disrupts their DNA preventing them from reproducing. UV lighting literally sterilizes the microorganisms rendering them ineffective in making one sick. UV lighting adds no chemicals to change water’s taste. Beyond requiring electricity, UV methods demand some form of filtration to remove dirt, debris, chemicals, tastes and odors. UV purification is considered a good “stage” of the purification process, but it is not complete by itself.



    Water filtration simply means to strain out the impurities from a water source. The larger the impurity particulate the easier it is to filter. The opposite is true also, the smaller the impurity particulate, the harder it is to remove. Thus, the size of the filter pore and the durability of the filtering element are important to the filter’s longevity and ability to perform. Most filtering elements are made of ceramic, glass fiber, hard-block carbon, or materials that resemble compressed surgical paper.

    Ceramic elements (most expensive, most durable, and maintainable) have the smallest pore size (0.1-0.5 microns) and are used by some of the leading portable water filtering companies in the world. Portable ceramic filters boast an impressive list of long-term users, such as: International Red Cross, World Health Organization, Armed Forces (USA, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, and US Navy Seals), United Nations, and the FBI. Ceramic elements can filter only free floating particulates and microorganisms. They do not remove chemicals, poor tastes, odors, or pollutants.

    Glass fiber elements and compressed surgical paper (mildly expensive, medium durability, and usually not cleanable) also have small pores (0.2-1.0 microns). Like the ceramic filter, they remove only particulates and microorganisms, but they do not help much with pollutants. These are good low-cost filtering elements for home, backpacking and scouting needs, but they are not good for long-term storage because they can develop mold and mildew and they are hard to clean.

    Hard-block carbon elements (less expensive, brittle, and not cleanable) have a small, but still effective pore size (0.4-2.0 microns). They are also used as an absorption filter. The best contribution that carbon makes to filtering is its ability to reduce chemical quantities, poor taste, odors and many pollutants. Because carbon is only mildly effective in filtering out particulates and microorganisms, it is mostly used as a second or third stage filter in home and portable water use. It is seldom used as a stand-alone filtering unit.


    Solar stills operate upon the "greenhouse effect." A clear plastic barrier (a plastic bag, ground cloth, or a plastic grocery sack) is placed over a “source,” such as the ground, tree branches or other organic materials. The sun’s (solar) energy passes through the barrier and heats the source material. Moisture from the source vaporizes, rises and then condenses on the underside of the plastic barrier. The moisture is then collected as drinkable water. Solar stills are capable of distilling almost any tainted water, even seawater. Solar stills can condense drinkable water from substantially anything that contains moisture. The only source materials that it cannot distill drinkable water are materials that give off toxins, such as fluids with high amounts of chemicals, radiator fluids, and fuels.

    Solar stills are easy to assemble and require only two essential components: 1) a container to catch the water, and 2) a large sheet of clear plastic (from 6’ x 6’ to 9’x 9’). Optional items include a long plastic drinking tube with end cap, a small shovel, and duct tape.

    Solar stills are inexpensive to make and most of their component parts can be purchased at a hardware store. However, solar stills should not be your only method for finding drinkable water during an emergency. This distilling process is extremely slow and only small amounts can be collected daily. A solar still is good when you have exhausted other methods.


    Combining methods can make water safe to drink and taste better. Become aware of your area’s surrounding surface water and determine what methods work best to make that water safe to drink. Educate yourself to know what works, what doesn’t, and how you could get more drinkable water if needed.

    We hope this information has proved to be valuable. The time to store water is now. The water that we take for granted becomes absolutely critical in an emergency. Water is not an item you can afford to overlook in your preparedness program.


    Editor's Note (3/26/2014): The Hydropack is another method that can be used to filter and purify water.

    The Hydropack has .05 micron (5 angstrom) sized holes for water to pass through when dropped into a water source. Simply drop the Hydropack into your water source and let it absorb the water, filtering out chemicals and other contaminants to create an electrolyte drink much like a sports drink. However, there could also be situations when the pollutant in the water is small enough that the Hydropack won’t solve the issue.


    Vicki Tate is the co-author of the book Cookin’ with Home Storage and Designing a Livable Food and Water Storage (an audio cassette).
    Barry Crockett is the author of the book A Year's Supply, How to Assemble a 72-hour Emergency Kit and Diaster Action Guide.

    Posted In: Insight, Water Storage

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