Food Storage

Muscle Memory in Emergency Preparedness

Ever heard the slogan: “Prefect practice makes perfect”?

With last year’s disaster in Japan and others including the Joplin, MO tornado and the BP oil disaster, the supposed “end times” coming up in December, more people bring up disaster preparedness. Some circles live with a preparedness awareness. For members of the Latter Day Saints faith community preparedness has been talked about for years especially centered around having a year’s worth of food and water storage.

One aspect of awareness that gets over looked is the actual practice of practice disaster drills. Think about fire drills at work and school. They can be very disruptive but if a fire broke out there do you know what to do? Can you do it in near automation mode? If the answer is yes then you know why drills are important. It is similar to “muscle memory” in exercise.

There are many good preparedness blogs though one of the best for the average person could be from one that survived Katrina and posted about the experience with worksheets on his blog, “Listening to Katrina.” He gives a great outline on getting prepared in your own region.

A key component of preparedness is practice. Consider having a drill every six months on getting out of the house in one minute or packing the car for evacuation in an hour. Turn off the power and see if you can hook up the generator if you have one or just see how you would manage without power or water one weekend. These practices can be as short or as long as your family wants to tolerate.

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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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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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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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Course 101: What to do in an emergency?

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and they can be devastating. The impact on roadways, power stations, water plants, and water sewage treatment plants can turn the “normal routine” upside down for hours, days, even months and years. Having fires with no water to fight them or local EMTs so swamped that there are no professionally trained people to assist in an emergency is no laughing matter.

Emergencies happen without warning. There is no time to think. Whether it be a natural disaster such as an earthquake (44 of the 50 states are earthquake prone) or severe weather, or a man made disaster caused by equipment failure, such as a power outage, it is important to be prepared. By thinking, planning, and preparing ahead of time, one is able to respond quickly and calmly. The benefits of being prepared are numerous: lives are saved, injuries are prevented, and property damages are reduced. It is easier to “bounce back” from an emergency. Lets review some basics to emergency response for various disasters.

How one responds vary depending on the type of emergency. A medical emergency is the most common. Getting proper first aid training helps one determine how to quickly assess a situation calmly and with control. It also reduces the fear that often comes up when one is in an unfamiliar situation. First and foremost always keep yourself safe. People are the number one priority. Be prepared to assist others as to the location and type of emergency. Dialing 9-1-1 may be all you can do.

For weather emergencies, stay out of harms way by seeking shelter. Stay inside and clear of falling debris. “Duck, cover and hold” may be apropos. That is, seek safety underneath a table or sturdy object, cover your head, and stay put until the situation becomes safe. Stay alert for aftershocks in an earthquake situation. The impact of tornados may have created an unsafe situation so care is to be taken. Be sure to secure equipment to prevent any possible lateral movement or having equipment tip over. Shut off main valves, such as gas lines to prevent leaks.

If there is a fire, notify personnel, shut down equipment and leave or evacuate the area safely. Use and knowledge of fire suppression equipment is critical. Check for broken connectors after shutting off main valves. Check with a flashlight, do not use a match. It is important to have a designated meeting area to re-assess the situation and determine if everyone is safe and what might need to be communicated to emergency personnel.

If a chemical spill happens, stop and think. Is it hazardous? Do I know what to do? Do I have the proper equipment? Am I trained? Is this a danger to you or the facility? Do not try to clean it up, but instead, rope it off and let properly trained professional personnel clean up the spill. Again, the first rule of safety is keeping yourself and others clear of potential dangers.

Keep food and water storage, first aid kit, tool supplies, sanitation, flashlight and batteries and other emergency preparedness materials in a place that is easily accessible. Utilize water supplies such as water heater, toilets, ice cube trays, when needed in an emergency. Pre-emergency drills go a long way to instill calm and focus. Remember it is not uncommon to be isolated from your loved ones during an emergency. Being separated due to work and proximity constraints happens often. Now is the time to practice and get prepared.

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ARE you Prepared?

Recently I was on the www.fema.gov website. There continues to be a growing concern in the U.S. about what is happening with the economy, natural disasters, and world events, including terrorism. I noticed the website had a map listing out the recently declared disaster areas in America. Most of those listed, whether it was in North Dakota or Texas, I was not familiar with. Are you?

Families and businesses are beginning to wake up to the importance of being prepared for potential situations, which will lend them powerless and unable to secure their long-term food, and water needs. Most people are vulnerable to outside influences and have not made an investment in preparing for a disaster. Given that no amount of money can keep someone alive in a crisis, long term water and food storage may be the most important investment we can make.

The food and water systems we have created in our local communities are designed to support our basic day-to-day needs. It is estimated there is less than a three-week supply of food in the national food distribution network. Grocery stores keep about a one-week supply of food in their stores. Most households have even less food readily available. A serious emergency could easily cause breakdowns in the supply of essential goods and services. The non-existent food reserves coupled with a water supply that could get easily contaminated would spell disaster for millions. Are you prepared?

Most survival experts suggest a minimum three-month supply of storable food and water per person. A wise person once said it is better to buy two years early rather than a day late. Still undecided? Personally, I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. How about you? There are a variety of people readily available to lend you assistance. Contact us atwww.marksbarrelcompany.com and let us help.

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Where To Get Started in Food Storage Containers

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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Why Food Storage?

An Anthropologist from Notre Dame recently discovered people were storing grain long before they learned to domesticate crops.  The circular vaults were some 11,500 years before Christ walked the planet. More and more we discover storing food in today’s economic climate makes as much sense in 21st century America as it did over 13,000 years ago outside of Jerusalem.

Repeatedly I re-discover that which I believed were stable are anything but. One thing that I can count on is I will get hungry – daily. Food is something I cannot live without and next to water, it is one thing I will be needing when times are good or bad, emergency or not.

There are a community of men and women who are getting the preparedness message out. They have devoted websites, Facebook pages, and regularly tweet messages about being prepared. When you start to think about it, there are many reasons to store food and water.

Emergencies are but one reason, but often the reason most point towards. Another great reason to store food, cooking at home and making meals are but a fraction of the cost of eating out. Truth is, most of us already have a pantry and in some form or fashion we are practicing food storage. We buy the foods we like. We rotate food to eat only that which has not expired. Even the few “stick it in the microwave” meals I buy from time to time are rotated.

I recently started hanging out with a group of people who like to go camping or on long backpacking trips. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are a staple in their bags (and they pack easy as well). This came in handy for me as I summitted the Grand Teton earlier this year. Getting the right balance of protein and carbohydrates were critical for our 20 hour car to car day. But if you are in an emergency situation, freeze-dried foods are easier to prepare and so have an advantage over dehydrated foods in certain situations.

Most do not understand our local grocery stores have enough food for about a week, based on normal purchases. In other words, to rely on the supply chains may backfire on you. It is prudent to have a week’s worth of food stored in your house. That way you will not be impacted during a natural disaster, which could mean a food shortage and out-of-sight prices for the food that is available.

Start today by taking an inventory. Get prepared. Utilize your storage space to stock the foods that will keep you and your family healthy and happy.

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What if?

Much has been said/written about the need for water in an emergency.  Medically we know we are largely made up of water and we will not survive long without it. Most say 72 hours or less. This makes water a crucial component of emergency preparedness.

It is staggering to discover just how much water an average family of four consumes here in the United States. We use approximately 400 gallons of water a day to wash, clean, drink, prepare food, water our lawns/plants/crops, flush, etc. [On average the number is closer to 25 gallons/person/day when we take away farming and industry.] What would happen if we did not have this water or have access to it?

Government emergency preparedness agencies have told us for years to get prepared. It only makes sense given the examples worldwide we have seen and read about: Haiti, China, Philippines, and closer to home, New Orleans, Nashville, and Houston. Consider some man-made disasters and their impact: the stock market, the mortgage industry, unemployment rates.

Being prepared is simple. It is the practice of setting something aside for a “rainy day.”  I believe one reason that only less than ten percent of Americans are adequately prepared is most do not believe a catastrophic event will happen to them or their communities. The “big one” is unimaginable.

But what about the power going out for 24 hours due to an electrical storm? What about your spouse coming home and informing you they were downsized and lost their job? What about small flash flood due to snow melt that contaminates the local water supply? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little something set aside just in case?

Are you prepared? What would it take for you to buy a 72 hour kit and set some water (we recommend a couple of gallons per day per person) and food aside? Many recommend having enough water for a week; do you have enough water storage containers to handle this? What would it take to get prepared?  Begin today to plan for a possible shortage of resources. If anything happens, you will be grateful you did.  There are numerous resources at your fingertips available to help.  Just ask.

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Start Getting Prepared – #6

Yesterday we talked about dependence, who are you depending on and just who is depending on you during an emergency situation. Question six fits like a glove in yesterday’s conversation and it goes like this: Do you have a list of essential or at least important supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency?

There are numerous lists available in books, videos, and on various blogs that cover the emergency preparedness subject. If you have been following along this past week, you understand it is critical that your list be designed to fit your estimated scenario.

Do you have a list of the essential categories your supplies fall under and is it prioritized? For example, we know people can go much longer without food than they can water, or it is easier to go without that comfortable pair of shoes or a book, than it is food or a blanket to stay warm with. Survival classes often teach the most important tool is a knife OR a tool that contains a knife, as well as a can opener, etc.

We at MBC believe it is best to take an inventory of what you have on hand right now. No sense re-inventing the wheel. Set aside some food and water items that will keep well in a cool place (preferably a basement). There are numerous resources readily available that can provide you with a list of what you will need in an emergency situation. Check in with some of these resources to insure you have what you and your family need.

Tomorrow we will talk about money and the potential financial implications your circumstance may bring up for you.

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