Monthly Archives: October 2013

  • Happy Halloween!

    Happy Halloween from Emergency Essential

    Boo! Did I scare you? No? Oh . . .

    Well, you know what’s really scary? Coming up short on decorations, costumes, or treats on Halloween afternoon, with only a few hours left before the kids will be dragging you out the door for their annual candy gorge.

    Stumped for a costume? Bad weather? Out of tea lights for that jack-o’-lantern? Would you believe that a well-stocked emergency supply can bail you out of this seasonal disaster? Look back over our Baby Steps Halloween post from earlier this month for last minute ideas on how to make your Halloween safe, fun, and appropriately ghoulish.

    And as you celebrate All Hallow’s Eve, don’t forget that tomorrow, a new month will bring new blog posts, new sales, and a new appreciation for [freeze-dried turkey].

     

    Happy Halloween!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Halloween, preparedness

  • Make your own emergency kit

    Emergency kits come in all shapes and sizes, filled with all types of food, water supplies, shelters, and tools. But what is the right type of emergency kit for you? Building your own emergency kit is as simple as one, two, and three. For $10 or less apiece, you can arm yourself with the right products to help you meet your most basic needs in an emergency.

    1. Food & Water

    • Survival food packages like the Mainstay 3600 calorie bars work well because they are lightweight, compact, and delicious—they taste like cookie dough. Unlike traditional energy bars, these are formulated to withstand extreme temperatures and still last for 5 years. Keep them in your car, boat, RV, or inside your emergency kit at home. For only $7.50, these bars give one person enough calories for 3 days, or three people for a single day. 


    • Purified water in compact sizes can also be a good fit for adding to a backpack. Bottled water is a popular option, bottled water packages are prone to leaking and require frequent rotation. The 8 oz. Aqua Blox comes in sturdy packaging that is designed to keep your water safe for 5 years with the convenience of a juice-box-style package and straw. The water also comes purified, not just filtered, so it is contaminant free. Six of these blox would be sufficient drinking water for one person over 3 days for about $5. 


    • Filter Straws can treat natural water sources that you come across to allow you to find and treat water rather than carrying it. Simply suck water through the filter straw to remove common germs. If the source is frequented by humans or livestock, however, this filter would likely not provide the required protection. Cost is about $10.

    2. Shelter

    • Emergency ponchos pack up tight and are lightweight, yet provide substantial coverage to keep more of your body dry. Staying dry dramatically increases our comfort, making the emergency poncho an affordable and practical (about $1) addition to any kit. 


    • Portable Tents are another way to provide shelter—or even just to mark an area as your own. Unlike traditional tents, a tube tent is inexpensive, lightweight, and packs incredibly small to fit inside of your kit without forcing you to leave other items out. It is so light because of its simplicity – no poles, no stakes, just a tent wall. The tube tent is an 8 ft. long tube that shelters two people for about $4.

    3. Warmth

    There are two simple ways to stay warm in cold weather: 1) keep more of your own body heat, and 2) generate heat around you (campfires or heaters).

    •  Many of us use blankets and sleeping bags to retain more of our body heat.  Emergency sleeping bags are made of a high-efficiency reflective material that retains up to 90% of your body heat. They can be stored in very small spaces and only cost about $4. I’ve experienced a night in one of these bags and was very grateful I had it. 


    •  Having portable heat sources can keep your body from shutting down from loss of warmth. Disposable body warmers (larger versions of commonly-known hand warmers) provide heat for up to 20 hours and take up very little space. Their small size (and price – about $1 each) allows you to add several to your supplies. 


    •  Even if you aren’t a boy scout, you can start a fire with Emergency Essential’s various offerings of matches and strikers. One of my favorite options is Stormproof matches. Unlike conventional matches, these stay lit much longer to help you start a fire. Even if the matches get wet or the weather is windy, Stormproof matches will get the job done. You can buy a box by itself (about $4), or with a weather proof case for about $6. Check out the video on the link to see how amazing they are.

    See? Easy as 1-2-3. We have even set out to help you get started with the Basics Emergency Kit. This pre-made set includes many of these basic items and costs just about $20. This kit includes food, water, a poncho, 3 body/hand warmers, an emergency sleeping bag, a whistle, a lightstick, and an 18-piece first aid kit.

    With these basics, your emergency kit is off to a great start and can help protect you in a crisis. As your kit continues to grow, you can add more durable items to your supply, expanding it to prepare you for whatever the future may hold.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: warmth, shelter, preparedness, emergency kit, water, Survival, emergency preparedness, food, Emergency Essentials, survival gear

  • I don’t want to spook anybody, but the 31st is just around the corner. And you know what that means, right?

    . . . the end of October sales! Eek!

    If you haven’t checked our sale items out yet, take a peek to see all the wicked deals on gear and food that are going on right now.

    But beware, time is running frighteningly short! October sales prices are only good through midnight, October 31st if you’re ordering online; 6:00 p.m. MT if you’re ordering by phone.

    Hurry! Don’t delay! Don’t look back! And for heaven’s sake, don’t go down to the basement!

     

    black and white photo of a young woman opening a door

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: monthly sales, sale, sales, sale items

  • Datrex Water Pouches

    I received this guest post a few weeks ago, and I've been excited to share it with you. Jeff has found some fun and unique ways to use Datrex Water Pouches in his daily activities. It’s always nice to have some water on hand, and Jeff uses them for more than drinking.

    Thanks Jeff!

    --Kim

    WS-P100

    We purchased a case of the Datrex Water Pouches with the intention of using them for camping trips.  We keep them in the refrigerator so they are ready to go whenever we are ready for a trip.

    However, we have discovered so many more uses for them than just camping.  We also hike, bike, raft, and walk in the great outdoors.  We are able to make great use of the water pouches for all of our activities.

    We pack lunches when we are biking and hiking, and freeze several of the pouches to keep our lunch cold until we are ready to eat.  Then, after eating, we can drink the water that is in the pouch.  The pouch is usually not completely thawed, so we use the frozen portion as ice for our water bottles.

    The pouches take up very little space in our packs and bike bags, and are very light, which makes them perfect for outdoor activities.

    When we take MRE’s with us on our trips, one pouch is perfect for filling the MRE heater.

    The pouches are easy to pack after they are empty, which makes sure nothing is left behind when we leave the area where we stopped to eat.

    One other thought that we had about the pouches is that if they are frozen, they could be used for emergency ice packs for a sprain or injury while in the great outdoors.

    We also use them for our lunches for work, as they work as great ice packs to keep our food cold until we are ready to eat.

    These little pouches of joy are good for so many uses that the list could go on and on.  I am sure that we will continue to find new uses for them.

    Give them a try – You will not be sorry!

     

    -Jeff W, UT

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Gathering fire making supplies

    We’ve been talking a lot about fire lately—how to Build a Fire without Matches, how to Prevent Kitchen Fires, etc. Most of us have matches and maybe a lighter on our list of emergency supplies, but how many of us would have to scramble for everything else (you know, wood?) if we needed to get a fire going?  Here are some things you may not have on that list to help you gather fire making supplies.

    Tinder –Lots of different things can be used for tinder, and some are easier (and cleaner) to store than others. My personal favorite is dryer lint—I keep a jar in my laundry room and fill it regularly, then transfer it to a plastic ziplock for emergency packs. Discounting what you could find in the wild, here are some other easy tinder materials you could collect and store for your fire making supplies: wood shavings or sawdust, cotton fabric or cotton balls, frayed natural (jute) twine, char cloth, paper (Kleenex, toilet paper, newspaper, paper towel), or steel wool.

    Fire starters – You can’t go wrong with a supply of waterproof matches, like UCO Stormproof. Watch the video below to see UCO Stormproof matches in action.

     

    Some survivalists recommend keeping matches in a few different places (emergency pack, car, coat pocket), just in case. A less disposable idea might be getting a more durable fire starter and storing it with your fire making supplies. They won’t last indefinitely, but they’re good for anywhere from a hundred to a couple thousand sparks, depending on the material, and they store a little more conveniently than matches.

    Another way to get your fire started is using a gel fuel like Utility Flame. Simply squeeze the gel onto your tinder then light using a match or lighter. The gel will heat up and begin to burn your tinder, starting your flame. The gel burns for fifteen minutes, giving you enough time to collect kindling and fuel to keep the fire going. Utility Flame comes in handy little packets that are perfect for backpacks and emergency kits. 

    Fuel – For those of us who grew up without gas fireplaces (what do you mean, ‘switch it on’?), woodpiles were a part of life. They’re a rarer feature these days, but could be a lifesaver in an emergency. Whether you buy it by the cord or cut down your own tree branches and logs, there are important considerations regarding storage. Primarily, you want to keep firewood covered, but not enclosed; good ventilation is key to “seasoning,” or properly drying the wood.

    Alternatively, if you need to get and keep a fire burning somewhere away from your immaculately stacked woodpile, a firestarter like Fired Up! can save time and space. For fuel in bulk, Fired Up! comes in 12 oz. cans , 2.5 lb. cans, or 13 lb. buckets, and can store for 30+ years.

    First aid – So, maybe you got that fire burning just a little too hot. Don’t forget burn treatment along with all your other fire making supplies. BurnFree’s comprehensive line of burn treatment products includes everything from a fire blanket to treat full-body burns, to single dose packets of pain relief gel. Burnfree is specifically developed for first aid use on burns and scalds. By storing Burnfree in your camping or emergency supplies, you can begin to care for burns properly before it creates any devastating effects to your body. Burnfree allows you to treat burns in a variety of situations and of various degrees.

    Any other fire-related storage must-haves? What’s in your supply?

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, baby steps, Survival, Fire Safety, Fire Preparedness

  •  Homemade Baby food from food storage

    Here’s a unique way to use your food storage: make baby food! If you’ve got little ones, having a supply of homemade baby food on hand could help you save money and assure you that the food you’re feeding your baby isn’t full of preservatives. Since many freeze dried foods come chopped, sliced, and peeled, cooking baby food with food storage will cut the prep time at least in half.

    The best part is that you can use this pre-made baby food every day or store it for an emergency. If you make and can your own baby food, you can have supplies ready to toss in a grab and go bag if you need to evacuate, or ready at home if you have to shelter in place.

    Here are some recipes and tips for making baby food from food storage.   

    Mango Blueberry Puree (ages 6 months +)

    1 ½ C Provident Pantry® Freeze Dried Mango Chunks

    1 C MyChoice™ Freeze Dried Blueberries

    1 C Provident Pantry®  Freeze Dried Banana Dices

    Reconstitute ingredients following the directions on the can. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency. Serve.

    Variation for adults: Put all reconstituted ingredients into a blender with 1- 1 1/2 C reconstituted Provident Pantry Non-fat Dry milk for a smoothie. Add milk until smoothie reaches your desired consistency. (The smoothie is rather tasty! I HIGHLY recommend making it for yourself as a treat.)

    Blueberry, Spinach, and Apple Puree (ages 6 months +)

    1 C MyChoice™  Freeze Dried Blueberries

    2 C Mountain House®  Freeze Dried Apple Slices

    A Handful MyChoice™ Freeze Dried Spinach

    Reconstitute ingredients following directions on the can. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency. Serve.

    Spinach, Apple, and Blackberry (ages 6 months +)

    1 C MyChoice™  Freeze Dried Spinach

    2 C Mountain House®  Freeze Dried Apple Slices

    1 C MyChoice™  Freeze Dried Blackberries

    Reconstitute ingredients following directions on the can. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency. Serve.

    Tip: Make sure that the Blackberry seeds are blended well. Also, be aware that the Spinach has a strong taste. Consider adding more apples if needed.

    Tips for Cooking Baby Food from Food Storage

    • Many baby food recipes for fresh produce suggest boiling the food before you puree it, and using the water it was boiled in to preserve nutrients.
    • Once you rehydrate the fruits and veggies, they’ll already be soft, so you can skip the boiling step (unless boiling is called for in the directions to rehydrate the food) to preserve nutrients.
    • Use a little bit of the water that you drain from the fruits and veggies after re-hydrating to put into your puree to add nutrients.
    • You can make baby food in a blender or food processor. You may want to also consider getting a hand-operated food processor like this Food Strainer or the Kitchen Plus 2000 so you can puree baby food quickly and easily—with or without electricity.
    • Be adventurous and try new combinations—add or subtract ingredients to your taste.

     

    How to Store Baby Food from Food Storage

    • If you store your baby food in an ice tray, it will last in the freezer for up to three months! You can also use Ziploc bags, breast milk bags, or Tupperware to freeze your baby food in and to take with you on the go.
    • According to the USDA, it is safe to can homemade baby foods made from fruits that are highly acidic. The [USDA website] provides a chart for canning pint size and half pint size jars using a boiling water bath.
    • Do NOT can pureed veggies, low-acid fruits, or red meats or poultry meats using a boiling water bath (even tomatoes that are high in acid and considered a fruit). You will have to use a pressure canner like the All American Pressure Canner to preserve baby food recipes with these ingredients.

     

    Other Baby and Toddler Friendly Food Storage Items to check out: Food storage items are also great for toddlers because they’re great finger foods  and snacks that are soft and easy to eat. Here are some other food storage items that are good for babies and toddlers.

    Provident Pantry®  Yogurt Bites

    Provident Pantry®  Fruits and Veggies

    Provident Pantry®  Pudding

    Provident Pantry®  Dairy, Eggs, and Meat (depending on your baby’s age, items like white chicken meat dices could go over well)

    Have you ever made baby food from food storage? What’s your favorite recipe?

     

    Recipe Sources:

    http://weelicious.com/2012/03/21/mango-blueberry-puree/

    http://tinypaintedfingers.blogspot.com/2013/02/blueberry-spinach-and-apple-puree-baby.html?m=1

    http://lacewineanddrool.blogspot.com/2013/10/baby-food-smorgasbord-homemade.html

    Sources for Making Homemade Baby Food

    http://mychicbump.com/2013/05/the-baby-food-breakdown-by-hello-little-scout/

    http://prepared-housewives.com/2013/10/06/make-baby-food/?preview=true

    Sources about Canning Homemade Baby food Safely

    http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/general/baby_food.html

    http://nchfp.uga.edu//publications/publications_usda.html

    http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/tipcanning.htm#.UmaWTNJDsuc

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, preparedness, emergency preparedness, freeze dried food, DIY, baby food

  • A major disaster can strike at anytime—yet, everyone experiences mini-emergencies as well (usually more often) that require being just as prepared. There are certain items you can carry throughout your daily routine that can serve a useful purpose when you need help.

    Always carrying a full-blown bug-out-bag may be a little too bulky. Even though you should always have an emergency kit in your car and at home, take the following items with you the next time you are out and about (you’ll be glad you have them):

     

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier

    The first item you should carry is the Gerber® Suspension Multi-Plier. With its nylon sheath, it can easily hang from a belt, sit in a backpack, or slip into a pocket in a purse. It has 11 functions ranging from spring-loaded pliers to a locking blade, scissors to screwdrivers, and more. The Suspension weighs less than 10 ounces and is a great price for a Gerber product at only $30.

    [Picture of a Gerber Shard Keychain Tool (CU T125) and 11 Function Survival Tool (CU T120) side by side]

    Everyday Carry Suggestion:Gerber Shard Keychain ToolEveryday Carry Suggestion:11 Function Survival Tool

    The next item you will want to have is either the Gerber® Shard Keychain tool or the 11 Function Survival Tool. Both of these tools are a lot more basic than the Multi-plier, but they are smaller, lightweight, and easy to carry. The Shard is a simple, yet useful tool that fits perfectly on your keychain. It has 7 functions ranging from a mini pry bar (my favorite part) to screwdrivers and even a bottle opener. It weighs less than an ounce and features a Titanium nitride coating for durability.

    The 11 Function Survival Tool is a metal “card” that can slide right in your wallet. It serves as a knife-edge, a 4-position wrench, a saw blade, and more. It comes with a protective sheath and weighs just one ounce.



    Everyday Carry Suggestion: Katadyn Mybottle MicroFilter

    Water is always a primary concern when getting prepared. The Katadyn® Mybottle Microfilter serves as a water bottle that can turn into a MicroFilter (kind of like a water filter superhero). The filter insert can be kept separate in a backpack or purse while the beautifully designed bottle can be filled with clean water for drinking. If the need arises, the filter fits inside the bottle and you can drink from a dirty water source like a river or a stream. The filter will block Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and bacteria like E. coli. It even improves the water’s taste. You’ll probably carry a water bottle with you anyways, why not carry this one?

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: Paracord BraceletsEveryday Carry Suggestion: Paracord BraceletsEveryday Carry Suggestion: Paracord Bracelets

    Another recommended item, the paracord bracelet, can double as a preparedness item and a fashion statement. This bracelet is made from 7+ feet of woven, military-spec 550 Paracord rope (an easy-to-use rope that is strong and versatile). If you need to, just take the bracelet apart and you’ll have a solid strand of cord to use in a variety of ways.

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: Switch 8 Recharger

    Being able to communicate with loved ones is important while you are out running errands, on a hike, or on the road. The Switch 8 Recharger by Goal Zero® is a great way to have a back-up power source for your cell phone or other small electronics. Without fail, right when you get a flat tire or your car won’t start, you’ll notice you only have 5% battery left on your phone—great. By having your small Switch 8 in your purse or backpack, you can quickly plug in your phone and make the calls you need. It works great with smartphones—even the new iPhone.

    Everyday Carry Suggestions: New Millennium Bars

    What about the possible need for food? Of course you could carry an extra granola bar or bag of chips, but one of the fruit Millennium Calorie Bars would be a better option. With the consistency of a sugar cookie, each bar provides 400 calories of energy. There are nine different fruit flavors and one bar will easily fit in a pocket in a purse. They store for 5 years, even in a car during the summer months—you can’t beat that (especially not with a greasy bag of chips).

    Everyday Carry Suggestion: SHIELD Kit

    Let’s not forget about your kids while they are at school. The Shield School Emergency Kit is a compact group of essentials that fits perfectly in a school backpack as an everyday carry. Each item in this kit can store for several years and provides needed comfort and nourishment during an emergency event. This portable kit isn’t just for your kids. It is small enough to be carried in a backpack or left in a desk drawer at work.

    These are just a few ideas for an everyday carry that can serve as tools, water supply, power, or food when a need arises. Of course, there are several other items that work just as well, including portable survival kits. Take a look at what you carry with you everyday and ask yourself—will this stuff help me in an emergency? If not, it might be time to add a few items to your everyday carry.

    What are some items you carry with you to be ready? If you don’t carry anything yet, what items do you think you’ll start carrying?

    --Rob

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Survival, Emergency Essentials, Prepare, survival gear, gear, everyday carry

  • Flooded house after heavy rain in the evening sunlight.

    If you’re ever in an area affected by severe flooding, you may have to evacuate your home or walk to safety. If this is the case, there are 5  tips for walking around safely in a rural area that would be helpful to know. These tips come to us from the Craft Theory blog.

    In light of the recent flooding in Colorado, the folks at Craft Theory shared these 5 tips. The tips on their list include items that you may not have thought about when it comes to walking around in a flooded area. Some things they suggest are wearing comfortable and appropriate shoes (if you can) and bringing bottled water with you on your journey.

    Check out the rest of Craft Theory’s 5 tips for Walking around Safely in a Rural Area on their blog. Some of these tips may surprise you.

    Also, if you want to pick up more tips on flood safety check out our Insight Article, “What to do Before, During, and After a Flood.”

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: resources, emergency preparedness, natural disaster

  •  2013 Colorado Flood image

     

    In light of the recent Colorado Floods and all the damage that has occurred as a result, we want to share a series of posts from one Colorado woman’s perspective. Opinions expressed are hers and do not necessarily reflect those of Emergency Essentials. If you lived through the recent flooding in Colorado and want to share your story, please email social@beprepared.com.

    We asked Sandy what she learned about emergency preparedness and how she plans to continue to prepare in the future:

    They say it takes a village to raise a child.  It also takes a village to come together in an emergency. I saw communities starting to band together to help each other, and they need to continue to do so.  The trickledown effect from the Colorado floods is going to be felt for many years to come, because most of the farm lands are all under water.  It could take years for them to be cleaned up and productive again without community involvement.

    I am glad I could enlighten so many people in the past week about being ready for emergencies and helping each other during an emergency. It took a natural disaster for me to see that so many people were not even prepared for the first 72 hours. I learned that knowledge is power and survival.  The more you know the more you can help yourself, your family, and others to survive—and people will actually listen to you.

    Everyone needs to start preparing now and continue preparing, even when they think they have prepared enough. Before a disaster hits, everyone should think about what they really need, talk with their neighbors, and slowly put their emergency plan into action. You don’t have to go broke getting everything all at once to prepare. And even though food will be important to you during an emergency, there are other items important to your survival that you should stock up on as well.

    One thing that I learned from the flood is that having backup supplies is good to think about as you create an emergency plan. These backups should be stored in a different location than your home. It’s great to have your stock right with you so you can watch it, but you can lose it pretty fast in situations like this flood.

    Everyone should be prepared for every kind of emergency. You can be prepared by educating yourself on what to do. The reason I prepare is because I don’t want to be a victim. I am joining an emergency rescue organization so I can be better prepared in the future.  I want to help others as much as I can and have advance notice for any future emergencies.

    After living through the Colorado flood, I guess my motto would be “Help each other be prepared for anything.”

     

    For more information on how to prepare yourself, community, and loved ones for a flood, check out these articles:

    What to do Before, During, and After a Flood

    Planning for an Emergency

    Neighborhood Emergency Plan (downloadable)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, Colorado flood

  • With the change of seasons, it’s time to update your Grab & Go Bag—or 72-hour Kit, Bug-out Bag, Emergency Kit, Evac Kit, or whatever you prefer to call it! Update both your personal kit and one for your car.

    BABY STEP 1:  Update Your Personal Grab and Go Bag

    Items for a Winter Grab and go bag

    Think about what items you’d be glad to have if you had to leave your home in the spur of the moment with chilly weather waiting to greet you outside. You’ll definitely want things to help you stay warm and dry, right? Depending on your climate, consider adding a few items to each person’s grab and go bag.

     Reminder: have your kids grown enough to need larger disposable diapers or pull-ups? If so, you’ll want to remember those and store them in your grab and go bag.

     

    BABY STEP 2:  Update Your Emergency Car Kit

    Winter Car Emergency Kit

    Reminder: are your tires and windshield wipers in good condition? If not, consider getting them changed out before winter weather hits.

    Like it or not, Old Man Winter is on his way, and knowing that your grab and go bags are ready to go and you’re as prepared as possible will help you sleep when the wind blows—or when the snow falls.

     

    Sources:

    www.beprepared.com

    www.ready.gov/winter-weather

    www.quakekare.com/emergency-preparedness/winterstorm-preparedness.html

    weather.about.com/od/winterweather/ht/autosafetykits.htm

     

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

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