November, 2011

Container Choices for Food Storage

There are three types of containers that are excellent for storage.

The standard five or six gallon plastic bucket is the most common. They come in a variety of colors, some use blue for water for example. These are ideal for storing supplies such as food and non-food items. Examples include: Toilet paper, soap, shampoo, flashlights, batteries, etc. Spend a week or so and jot down what you use. Items that moisture will affect but temperature will not can be stored in the garage or storage shed. Give serious attention to how your family will cope when power is out and plan accordingly, utilizing pails to put books and games in.

There are two types of lids to use with the standard plastic bucket. The less expensive alternative is a lid that you will need a hammer to put on. This seals the contents from moisture and bugs. To remove the contents the lid must be removed with a special device. The other type of lid is a “Gamma” lid. It is a lid that can easily be screwed on and off. Both lids come in a variety of colors.

The second type of container is a specialty bucket. It comes primarily in white. This bucket/pail has a removable lid. It is more heavy duty than the first plastic bucket. In fact, these buckets can be used to dispose of waste if need be.

The last type of container, which continues to gain in popularity, is the “grain vault” type. This container is typically oblong, made of durable plastic, and comes with a screw on lid. All of these are reusable and ideal for food storage. Water storage containers are generally different and we will discuss them next time. Until then, enjoy practicing self-reliance and getting prepared.

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Water Storage for a Rainy Day

Fact: People can live without food longer than without water. Fact: Drinking water can be stored for long periods of time. Fiction: If there is an emergency, there is enough bottled water in local stores to handle the need. Fiction: The chances of you needing safe drinking water is less than average because natural disasters happen in other parts of the country, not here.

Why do survivalists say water is step one in emergency preparedness? Simple, for many natural or man-made disasters, safe drinking water may become a rare, priceless commodity. Having enough drinking water will, at a minimum, save you and your loved ones from unpleasant side effects, and best case, save lives.

For some, Emergency Preparedness feels overwhelming. Just wrapping our minds about needing water, food, first aid, etc. brings up uncomfortable feelings. While there is no scientific evidence indicating the world is going to come to an end in 2012, there is plenty of evidence to indicating natural and man-made disasters happen all the time, and so does the need to set some things aside for a rainy day. Rain happens. So where do you begin?
The easiest way of getting prepared is to pick up some commercially prepared water. Whether it is distilled, spring, or plain old bottled water, it does not matter. What matters is that you have enough. Minimum requirements: One gallon of water, per person, per day for three days. (Formula: 1g/p/dx3) It’s easy to pick up an extra case of water (which by the way can be stored for at least five years) and put it in your basement or in some out of the way place. Remember, if you have pets, they will need water as well. AND it is “smart” to set a little extra aside because you never know what or who might drop by and for how long.

Next, now that you have set yourself up for success for a 72 hour period, consider adding enough water for a long term emergency. Sometimes it takes weeks, even months, before everything turns back to normal. While water heaters, toilets, pipes, etc. can and will provide some water (as could rain water, rivers, lakes, streams), we suggest picking up a 30 or 55 gallon drum or two for water storage. Another option are 5 gallon pails for water.

Lastly, unless the water is from a sealed container, it is important to keep in mind that it is not always safe, regardless where it comes from. It is important to learn how to disinfect drinking water, especially any water that comes from a questionable source. To disinfect the water, simply boil it for about three minutes. There are commercially available treatment solutions and chlorine bleach (concentration depends on the number of gallons being disinfected), which can kill all dangerous organisms that may be present. Emergency Preparedness, its easy.

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Food Storage Made Easy

You don’t have to ask an expert to know home food and water storage are essential for surviving an emergency situation. It’s easy to see where not having enough food and water to sustain you can make a bad situation worse. Sadly, few of us maintain emergency food supplies because it is too easy to drive over to the neighborhood grocer.

Home food storage can be broken down into three basic categories: Survival, Emergency, and Long Term Storage. A survival food store, such as Emergency Essentials, should include everything you and your family might need to survive for three days without any outside assistance. Experts agree 72 hours is the absolute minimum. Ideally, survival experts suggest we work towards a month supply of food and water, but let’s walk before we run. Canned, dehydrated and freeze dried foods are the principle make up for this type of storage.

Emergency storage normally refers to stores of food that will allow you and your loved ones to survive for a minimum of a month, up to . When most survivalists refer to “emergency food storage” this is the category they mean. The food selection is similar to the aforementioned “survival storage”, there is just more of it. Stick with what works for you, add grains, rice, quinoa, flour, etc. to round out your canned goods, dehydrated and freeze dried foods.

Long term storage requires the most storage space. Most experts agree this type of storage is meant to support a family for upwards of a year or more. Canned goods and dehydrated foods are common, mix in staple items of grain and flour.

Lastly, careful consideration needs to be taken when choosing the containers you will store your food in. Everything should be carefully stored in containers designed to keep out pests and moisture, both of which will quickly destroy your supplies. Mark’s Barrel Company has three types of containers designed to do just that within your price range. Check out our website www.marksbarrelcompany.com for a list of helpful articles and videos to help you get prepared.

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Water Tanks for Beginners

Water storage problems? Before you consider a Rain Water Tank, Water Storage Tanks, Bladder Tanks, Underground Tanks, Slim-Line Tanks, Round Tanks, Steel Tanks (you can add to this confusing list), first answer to questions: What is the space available for fitting the water tank, and secondly, what will be the primary purpose of the tank?

Consider installing one of the different varieties of water tanks that are available in the market today. If you are satisfied with the answers to the above questions, and you are convinced you need a water tank and not a water barrel, here are a few descriptions of what is available on the market today to assist you in picking the right tank for your needs.

Bigger really is better – To start off, when picking a tank, get the biggest tank you can afford and can be installed in the space you have set aside. The most important reason first, the larger the tank, the safer you are if you are not getting water for an extended period of time. It is not uncommon to be without water for a few days to a week in some natural disasters. Secondly, if you have enough storage, you can always use the water to keep your garden and landscapes sufficiently hydrated. Next, the use of rainwater to fill your tank(s) can help solve any water shortage problems you may be experiencing.

Steel water tanks are available in a variety of sizes and are popular, especially in the larger sizes to help you store as much water as possible. They are available coated or uncoated, lined or unlined, and some tanks are galvanized to extend service life. Whether it is “ready-to-install” or in parts you need to assemble, a steel tank is a durable, long lasting alternative to other tanks.

Slim-Line tanks are a perfect fit for those who do not have much room to install a tank. These “high risk” category tanks are made of high quality materials and most manufacturers guarantee them up to 10 years. Like the steel tanks, Slim-Line tanks come in a variety of sizes. Unlike steel and other tanks, you can also get them in a few different color schemes.

If cost is your concern, consider a bladder tank or a round tank. They are generally the most economical and are available in different sizes to fit your water storage needs. Bladder tanks are ideal for those who want to carry tanks with you when moving to other locations.

Underground tanks, because of their very nature of being buried out of sight, can provide more water storage capacity. Concrete, plastic (poly), or steel are ready options depending on your budget and availability.

It is advisable to get the help of a professional when installing a water tank, above ground or underground. The utmost care must be taken when installing your water tank to determine best fit and proper installation to prevent waste. After your tank is installed, adequate care, repair and maintenance are critical to extending the life of your tank and ensuring your water is free of contaminants. Using un-hygienic water can cause disease. Try cleaning your water tank(s) often if you are using it for drinking purposes and always keep your tanks closed to prevent contamination.

Contact us at Mark’s Barrel Company should you have additional questions or concerns regarding water tanks.

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What to Pack to be Prepared in a Disaster? “‘da List”

Think of emergency preparedness as if you are going on a trip. Once we make a decision to go on a trip, we sometimes make a list of what we are going to bring. Your 72 hour kit is THAT list. Here are some suggestions:

Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days.

Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days — non-perishable packaged or canned food/juices — snack foods — non-electric can opener — cooking tools/fuel — plates/utensils – If needed: Extra powdered milk and food for infants and elderly.

Blankets/Pillows, (sleeping bags?) etc. It is important to be as comfortable as possible.

Clothing – seasonal / rain gear / sturdy shoes

First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs (check dates)

Tools – keep a set with you during the storm

Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes (toilet paper has lots of uses)

Flashlight/Batteries (It is a good idea to pack extra batteries)

Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio (Hand crank is a good option as well)

Telephones – Fully charged cell phone (car charger may be a resource) with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set.

Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards – Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods.

Keys

Toys, Books and Games (playing cards, crayons if you have children, puzzles, etc.)

Important documents – in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag — insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

Vehicle fuel tanks filled (If possible have an extra 55 gallon drum or two of fuel stored in the garage)

Special Items – for babies and the elderly (if needed)

Pet care items — proper identification/immunization records/ medications — ample supply of food and water — a carrier or cage — muzzle and leash

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