Monthly Archives: September 2012

  • Food Costs Rising Worldwide

    Drought conditions are increasing the price of food

    On average, the cost of food in the US rises 4% a year. This year because of drought conditions and other factors, global food prices went up 10% in July, and may increase more depending on how successful harvests are this season.

    From June to July this year, corn and wheat prices each rose by 25% while soybean prices increased by 17%, the World Bank said. Only rice prices decreased - by 4%.

    “The [World] Bank warned countries importing grains will be particularly vulnerable [to increasing costs]… The organisation is urging governments to bolster programmes to protect their most vulnerable communities from the increase in the cost of food.

    "We cannot allow these historic price hikes to turn into a lifetime of perils as families take their children out of school and eat less nutritious food to compensate for the high prices," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.[i]


    Most of us have enough to feed our families and at least think about putting up extra food for an emergency. Few of us have had to pull our children out of school to help earn extra money to feed the family.

    If you have extra resources to share, consider making a donation to a charity that provides help for families and children who don’t have enough to eat. Choose one whose mission you believe in, whether it’s a local soup kitchen or something on a national or international scale.

    Another thing to think about is stocking up on crucial grains that are packed for long-term storage or buying heirloom seeds that will allow you to raise your own crops in coming years.

    Have you noticed rising costs in your area? How are you planning to mitigate the effects of rising costs?


    --Urban Girl


    Photo Courtesy of BBC

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  • Goal Zero Saves the Day

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    Yesterday we had an unexpected event at Emergency Essentials’ corporate office.

    The power went out. Not one of those little blips where the power goes off for thirty seconds. The power went OUT—and we sent everyone home. A power pole nearby had caught on fire, interrupting service completely until the power company could address it.

    It seemed like everything was under control—except for one major issue. One of our server computers was in the middle of updating, and there wasn’t enough backup battery power to keep it running long enough to get updates installed properly.

    I’m no IT genius, but I asked our head IT guru what the consequences would be if a server died—and it involved taking the server elsewhere to get all the files downloaded onto a new server and re-installing the operating system so everyone in the office could get to their saved files.

    Of course we have backup files saved, but since it’s better to keep the server to keep running, guess what we did? We got a Goal Zero®Yeti™ generator (which we ship fully charged—so luckily it was ready to go), and had all the backup power we needed to keep things running.

    Have you thought about what you would do if your business was without power for an hour? Four? Twenty-four?

    Take stock of what your needs would be, and start planning to meet those needs so you’re not caught unprepared.

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  • Life-saving Cockroaches?

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    Could a cockroach save your life?

    If these researchers have anything to do with it, then it absolutely could.

    Could a cockroach save your life?

    The researchers have found a way to direct a cockroach’s movement by sending wireless signals to its antennae with a tiny back-pack like device strapped to its back.

    “The trick is to fire wireless signals at a roach’s antennae and other sensory organs to guide it to a desired destination. What we do is similar to riding a horse…They use their antenna as touch sensors, so stimulation on one side directs these insects towards the opposite direction.”[i]
    -- Alper Bozkurt, Assistant Professor, NCSU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    What does this have to do with you? Because cockroaches can fit into such small spaces, researchers believe that by controlling a roach’s movement, they can send them into compromised buildings and rubble after a disaster to find victims.


    So maybe it’s a good thing cockroaches are so… resilient. (Maybe.)


    --Urban Girl




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  • What are your plans for this weekend? I’m getting over a week-long bug, so I’m planning to take it easy this weekend. I still want to do some prepping baby steps, though.

    1. Create a bedside kit.

    This is a small thing you can do to prepare for an emergency that could happen in the middle of the night. Include the following items (and other items you think you’ll need based on your location):

    • Shoes - to keep your feet safe and clear of broken glass or other dangerous items
    • Light stick or flashlight - to help you find your way out in the dark
    • Jacket – to keep warm if it’s cold outside and you can’t return inside immediately
    • A snack – because a snack is always a good idea (especially for keeping kids distracted and to help mitigate grumpiness brought on by low blood sugar)

    2. Make a meal using your emergency cooking equipment.

    If you’ve got emergency cooking equipment, be sure you know how to use it. Cook an entire meal this weekend using only your emergency cooking supplies. Make note of the items you wish you had available, and add those to your emergency storage shopping list.

    3. Add a week’s worth of food to your storage supply (or one day, one month… etc.)

    Add some items to your food storage. If you can’t afford an entire week’s worth of food storage items, add enough for a day or two, and do that each time you go shopping. If you’re consistent, you’ll have a good supply of food before you know it.

    I’m putting a bedside kit together this weekend—I’ve got an extra tote bag lying around somewhere that should fit all those items in it, and I’ve got an old pair of sneakers that look about ready to retire; those will give me a good start to my kit. Now all I need is a light stick and my favorite snack…

    --Urban Girl

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps

  • By now, most of us are aware that September is National Preparedness Month, or as we like to call it, Preptember™. Emergency preparedness is in the air, with local, state, federal, and volunteer organizations offering an abundance of advice. This is a great time to focus on preparedness. Whether you’re a preparedness pro or just a beginner, we hope you’re taking some time to assess your preps. If you haven't had a chance to do so, it's not too late. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of Preptember™.
    1. Make a Plan.
    If you don’t already have a family emergency plan, now is the time to make one. There are many emergency planning guides available online to get you started, including FEMA’s,, and our Insight Articles on disaster planning. Your plan should include a way to communicate in case your family is separated during an emergency, such as an out-of-state contact to pass messages and a designated meeting point away from home. preparedness checklists, including a customizable family evacuation plan in PDF format. Make sure all family members understand and practice your emergency plan at least twice a year. This plan should not only include an evacuation plan, but a plan to build up your emergency supplies. Plan what you will do in an emergency and how you will store enough water, food, and other needed supplies.
    2. Focus on the Basics.
    A good approach to preparedness is the focus on the most immediate needs first. Here is an ordered list of basic emergency preparedness
    -          Water: Clean drinking water is absolutely critical for daily life, in good times or bad. Each person should store enough water to provide on gallon a day for two weeks (14 gallons). A family of four will need at least 56 gallons. That’s a lot of water! Do you have enough water stored for your family? Do you have portable and stationary water storage? If you have water stored, does it need to be rotated? Do you have a way to filter or treat water?
    -          Three-Day Emergency Kits: FEMA recommends storing emergency kits with at least enough food, water, and supplies for 72 hours. This is because it may take a few hours or many days for local officials and relief workers to help you depending on the situation.[i]It’s best to keep these supplies in a backpack or duffle bag for easy transport in case of evacuation. Remember, clothing and other shelter items are seasonal, so make sure your kit is appropriately stocked for the coming weather. Do you have an emergency kit? If so, are there any items that need to be rotated? Do all the members of your family (including children) know how to use the items in their kits? Are there any special needs items like prescription medications that need to be updated or added? If you’re not sure what to include in your kit, see our Emergency Kit Checklist.
    -          Three Month Supply of Everyday Food Storage: You’ve probably heard the popular saying, “Eat what you store and store what you eat.” This is a great place to start for food storage. This type of storage includes non-perishable items your family eats on a regular basis, like canned and dry goods. Find out how many calories per day the members of your family need, and then fill your pantry with enough food to feed them for three months. You can do this by purchasing two or more extras of the  items on your shopping list each time you shop (especially if they’re on sale) until you have enough. Then, you simply buy the regular amount and rotate, using the oldest items first. How many days’ worth of food do you have in your home right now? Have the caloric needs of your family members changed? Does your family have a regular menu? What are the expiration dates on the foods you regularly buy?
    -          Build a Long-Term Emergency Supply: The seven basics of long-term food storage items are wheat, legumes, dry milk, honey, salt, and oil. These are the longest lasting and least expensive items you can store. You can build a supply of these and other items packaged for long-term storage (like dehydrated or freeze-dried foods in #10 cans) over time or all at once. Many experts recommend storingat least a one-year supply for each member of your family. In addition to food, you will need to store water and other necessities like first aid, sanitation, and hygiene supplies.  This is perhaps the most daunting aspect of emergency preparedness, but with careful planning, you can build your supply over time.
    Use our free Food Storage Analyzer™ to assess your food storage. This helpful online tool allows you to determine your family’s daily caloric needs, input items you already have stored, and assess the nutrition of your food storage. The Food Storage Analyzer does more that calculate calories. It breaks down the nutritional information of the food you input, helps you see what nutrients you need to add, and allows you to order food storage items directly from This is possibly the most comprehensive and easy-to-use tools available for planning your food storage.
    3. Make Preparedness Part of Your Lifestyle.
    There are few things more inconvenient than an unexpected emergency. Preparing for such events takes time, money, and practice. Still, the more you prepare the better off you and your family will be. Integrating long-term food storage items into your family’s daily meals, practicing a home evacuation plan, and practicing ways to live with a minimal amount of water for cooking and bathing may not sound fun to everyone. But if you do these things during the good times, you’ll be better able to deal with the bad times.
    For more information on emergency preparedness visit
    Happy Preptember™!

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  • Make your own paracord bracelet to help you survive an emergency

    Paracord is a great addition to any emergency kit.  It was originally used as parachute suspension cord during World War II.  Since then, hikers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts have praised its versatile uses in emergency situations.  Paracord can easily be woven into bracelets, belts and other compact wearable items.  It can later be unraveled and used for any number of emergency applications.

    A common, commercially-available paracord is known as “550 Cord,” which means it has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds.  This heavy-duty, yet lightweight, nylon military grade rope has 7 inner yarns made up of 3 strands.  It can be purchased from online and retail stores in a variety of colors.  I bought 100 feet of pink paracord for only $10 at a local military surplus store. [Editor's Note: You can also purchase from Emergency Essentials by clicking here.]

    Here I will teach you how to make a survival bracelet using a total of 10 feet of paracord.  At a cost of only about a dollar a bracelet, this is a great activity for scout troops, church groups, and families.  As an additional activity, see how many uses you can think of for the paracord or its inner yarns and strands.

    You will need a 2-foot long piece and an 8-foot long piece of 550 paracord.  You will also need a pair of scissors to trim the ends and a flame to singe the ends to keep the cord from unraveling.  Singe the ends before you start.  You can use a lighter, candle flame, or flame from a gas stove – just be careful not to burn yourself!  You can view the attached photos for help with each step.

    Step 1: Begin with the 2-foot long piece. Fold it in half and tie an overhand knot with the two loose ends. Wrap the doubled-up cord around your wrist and slide the knot through the loop (see Image 1). You should be able to fit a finger between the cord and your wrist. Adjust the length accordingly.

    Step 1

    Step 2: Place the 8-foot long piece of paracord in front of you horizontally. Place the base cord, with the loop at the top, over the middle of the 8-foot cord, forming a “T” shape.

    Step 2

    Step 3: Make a cobra knot. Do this by taking the right end of the 8-foot piece and bring it over the top of the base cord, like a “Z” shape.

    Step 3

    Step 4: Take the left end of the 8-foot piece and thread it down through the loop on the left side of the base cord. Weave it under the base cord and up inside the loop on the right. Pull the cord tight.

    Be sure the overhand knot will fit through the loop you’ve just created at the other end of the base cord. Adjust the loop as necessary.

    Step 4

    Step 5: Next, starting with the left piece, reverse the process by first making an “S” shape instead of a “Z” shape.

    Step 5

    Step 6: Finish reversing this step by bringing the right end of the cord down through the loop on the right side of the base cord. Weave it under the base cord and up inside the loop on the left. Pull the cord tight.

    Step 6

    Step 7: The first cobra knot is now complete! Continue making cobra knots until you are about a quarter inch from the overhand knot.

    Step 7

    Step 8: Check the fit by pulling the overhand knot through the loop at the other end. Adjust the knot to fit your wrist. The bracelet should fit snugly without being too tight. Trim the ends again and singe them again as needed. (There is no need to knot them as long as you have pulled the cobra knots tight and flattened the ends after singing them so they don’t slip back through and loosen on their own.)

    Step 8

    To wear your new survival bracelet, simply pull the overhand knot through the loop around your wrist. To use the paracord, just unweave the bracelet.

    As a variation, you can add a buckle or button.  You can also use longer lengths of paracord to make an ankle bracelet, belt, pet collar or leash!

    --Carolyn, CA

    Urban Girl says: I made a bracelet following these instructions, and it actually worked! I didn't doubt Carolyn, but more my ability to follow the instructions. However, they were very clear once I got started and had the paracord in front of me. I increased the size of my overhand knot (it kept slipping out of the loop). I created a normal overhand knot, but before tightening it, I took one of the loose ends and re-looped it through the knot. It increased the size of the knot just enough to keep it in place.

    Stay tuned—we’ll be back soon with more ideas for using paracord.

    Thanks, Carolyn!

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