Long-Term Storage

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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Solving the EP Water Storage Riddle

Are you puzzled as to what to do in an emergency situation when it comes to water? You are not alone. In an emergency, you may not have access to clean drinking water. It is a good idea to have a back up plan in finding water during a disaster situation.  Here are five suggestions:

  1. In many cases, your tap water may still be flowing and pure. Listen to authorities for instructions (another reason to have a radio and extra batteries) as to the purity of your tap water. If there is any question, boil it or filter it.
  2. The water you have set aside for emergencies is ideal. Your 72 hour survival kit, or the cases, jugs or drums of water you put together for just this situation will come in handy.
  3. There are water sources within your home as well you might not have thought about. Water lingers in your garden hose and water pipes (first shut off the incoming water supply so you don’t contaminate this water, then turn on your lowest faucet to access the water). It is available in your toilet, and in your hot water heater (turn off the gas/electricity to the tank first).  The water found in the water feature in your yard (if you have one) or swimming pool (if you have one, play pools for your kids work as well) can be used to flush toilets or cleaning (not for drinking).
  4. Rain barrels are a great source of water. Cisterns have been used for over 5,000 years! Rain water can be pretty dirty and needs to be filtered using one of the “stand alone” water filters that are readily available in stores such as REI (think back country). Some have a solar still. This is a shallow hole, approximately four or five foot square and three feet deep. A collection container, such as a plastic 5 gallon bucket is placed in the middle of the hole and a six foot round piece of plastic is put over the hole. A small rock is put in the center, which causes the plastic to slope to the container. Water condenses on the plastic and drips into the collection container.
  5. Lastly, there are outside water sources to consider. Nearby streams, ponds or rivers can be a source of water, but obviously you should take measures to make the water safe by filtering it. Boiling, distilling and chlorinating it may help as well. You should never drink flood waters.

I hope this list helps you in an emergency. I hope you never have to tap into the emergency supply of water you have set aside for a “rainy day” or a catastrophic event, but if that emergency happens, take some peace in the fact that you will be prepared.

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Water Storage Made Safe

As discussed in previous posts, there are levels of preparedness and you get to decide what level works best for you: Survival (72 hours), Emergency (2 weeks up to six months) and Long-Term (6 months and beyond). Our suggestion is for you to make sure you have enough food, water, money, clothes, and medical supplies to provide for you and your family in an emergency for two weeks or more.

Our last article discussed our first priority, water storage, and walked you through three simple steps on how to get started: determine and purchase/collect containers for water storage, figure out where you are going to store the water, and lastly, fill your containers.  Now I want to talk about the water you are putting in the containers.

As long as the containers are clean, there is no need to add anything, such as chlorine or bleach. If the container was used prior to you filling it, consider using a mild bleach rinse (an ounce or so of bleach and a dozen or so ounces of water, shake for a minute or so, and rinse with water). It is not a bad idea to do a quick rinse before adding the water.

When filling, remember to leave a little “head-room” for freezing if you are storing the water outside in a climate where freezing is inevitable. It is a good idea to replace the water about every year or so (packaged water will last for five years or more). Water can taste “funny” after storing it for a long time. One thing you can do is to pour the water back and forth between containers. This will aerate the water and make it taste better.  Some suggest storing water on pallets and away from any chemicals. Not everyone has this luxury. Using common sense is always a best practice.

Practicing emergency preparedness is easy. Start by making your list and do a little each day or week. Sooner than you think you will be done and with that comes a peace of mind that is priceless.

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Water Storage for an Emergency: Easy as 1, 2, 3

There are numerous opportunities in and around your house to find water in an emergency situation. Pipes, water heater, toilets, ice cube trays, just to name a few.  So who of you is ready and equipped to take apart water pipes for water?

Obviously these choices are for desperate situations if you don’t have any options. Truth is you can stop by your local grocery store or wholesale warehouse and pick up a case of water. You can drop by Mark’s Barrel Company, or any outlet that sells water jugs or water barrels and pick up what you need. It is easy.

The pamphlet “All is Safely Gathered In” says, “Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply my be polluted or disrupted. If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source, then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pre-treat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices or soda. Keep water away from heat sources and direct sunlight.”

Water storage is as simple as one – two – three! 1. Determine just how much water you need. 2. Pick/collect/buy the containers you need. 3. Fill the containers you need with water and store them in a cool and dark location that is easily accessible.  Water storage is easy. Simply start with these three manageable steps.

A word about step three. Just owning an empty container for water will not help should you need water immediately. I know some who have purchased a couple water barrels and set them in their garage, empty. Take the few minutes required and fill up the containers and then store them away from direct sunlight or chemicals.  I have a friend in Houston who was able to fill additional water bottles and jugs as hurricane Ike was heading his way. He was glad he did as his area was one of the hardest hit and they were without potable water for nearly two weeks. Not everyone gets the opportunity to fill containers as the storm is preparing to hit so it is best to be prepared. Having water already stored is a sure bet.

Water storage is an on-going process. Many people continue to collect 2 liter plastic pop containers, rinse them and fill them with water. If your tap water is chlorinated or if it is filtered, nothing else is required. Water stored over a long period can get stale and taste “funny.” Simply pour the water between two containers and this will aerate the water and improve the taste. If you have the means, it is not a bad idea to switch out your water every year or so.  Simple put it on your calendar once a year or so to change out the water. Use the “old” water to take care of plants, water the grass, vegetables, etc. It is easy to get prepared and stay prepared.

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The 4 Step LDS Guide to Preparedness

A few years ago the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints introduced a new program for home storage. As with any plan, they encouraged their faithful to start “modestly.” In olden times, what seemed expected was out of reach for most. The new approach is within everyone’s grasp. Survivalists agree and encourage us to build a 72 hour kit to be prepared, and then build from there to a month, three months and so on.

The pamphlet, “All is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage,” published by the LDS Church, takes a simplified, four step approach to building home storage. This article is designed to take you through the highlights of those steps.

We begin with step one – to gradually build a small supply of food that is part of your normal daily diet until it is sufficient for three months. It may be obvious to some, but I want to mention the food we are being encouraged to set aside food that will store well; Canned fruit, protein, vegetable, cereal, and dried goods that will not need to be rotated every few weeks. Make a list of what you have and when it expires. Rotate your stock.

Step two – Store drinking water. We can live without a lot of things; water is NOT one of them. It is a high priority. I encourage people to have a month’s supply of water per person. That is a gallon of water per day for 30 days and I know what you are thinking, “That is a lot of water!” It can be and it can take up a lot of room if you are stacking cases of bottled water. Consider using water jugs or better yet, a plastic 55 gallon water barrel, where water can be easily transferred into smaller containers.

Step three – Establish a financial reserve by setting aside a little money each week, and gradually increase it to a reasonable amount. It doesn’t talk about “small bills” but according to friends who have been caught in emergency situations, smaller bills sometimes work best as not everyone has access to change.

Step four – Once families have achieved the first three objectives, they are counseled to expand their efforts, as circumstances allow, into a supply of long-term basic foods such as grains, legumes, and other staples. This objective speaks for itself.

I want to honor the local Church for their continued commitment to supporting their flock in terms of preparedness and in creating a guide each of their members can follow. It just makes sense. Fill in as you deem necessary with flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, medicine, extra clothes and blankets. Getting prepared and staying prepared is easy. You just have to get started.

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Getting Safe Drinking Water in an Emergency: The Facts

NEXT TO AIR, WATER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT FOR LIFE. MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS HAVE ENOUGH ON HAND.

The new millennium has come with a fierceness we have not seen, perhaps ever.  The last decade of disasters, including a tsunami, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and floods, have woke many of us up to this simple fact: WATER is a critical component of preparedness for any emergency situation.  Clean water is essential for emergency medical treatments, drinking, food preparation, and sanitation.  Government agencies (FEMAUSGS, OES, etc.) and relief agencies such as the Red Cross, have elevated recommendations for preparedness from the traditional “three days of self-sufficiency” to “five to seven days minimum and seven to fourteen days recommended” in recently published planning scenarios.

Why is water a key in these recommendations?  Experts indicate that some aqueducts and reservoirs may be inoperative for up to 3-6 months, and the piping systems required to distribute the water to homes and businesses could also be severely disrupted for long periods of time.  An all too painful reminder: The fall 2009 Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA) meeting was held in New Orleans.  I toured the NOLA community to discover it is still reeling five years after hurricane Katrina brought it to its knees.

Definitive care specialists have shown the importance of water on our wellbeing.  A loss of only 5-10% of a person’s body fluids can result in moderate shock that may become life threatening if left untreated.  The simple fact is that human body can not survive even one week without water.  In general terms, the body requires four times as much water as food.  For persons trying to respond to or recover from an emergency, body fluid loss can occur rather quickly depending on temperature, activity level, emotional state, and/or possible injuries.  A basic treatment for shock is to maintain body temperature and to give fluids, especially water.

It is important that an adequate supply of water be properly stored BEFORE an emergency so it is readily available without the need for filtration, boiling, or treatment.  Keep water stored for emergencies free from bacterial growth and other contaminants.  A recent Utah State University study showed much of the water they tested that was stored contained bacteria, 11% contained E-Coli.  They make two key recommendations: store the water below 21 degrees C and that all stored water have chlorine bleach added (16 drops per gallon – 3 tablespoons per 55 gallon drum) to ensure safety for emergency use.  In short, treat water with a preserver prior to storage or empty and replace regularly with fresh, clean water.  Store in a cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight.

Ideally, water should be stored in three forms: 1) In portable containers, suitable for dispensing, for personal drinking, food preparation and sanitation.  2) In large volume drums or containers with a dispensing pump for all uses.  3) In small portable containers or medical or first-aid use as needed.  The best material for 2.5 to 55 gallon water storage containers is food grade polyethylene that meet the US Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications.  While the containers may have components made from other materials, only polyethylene touches the water.  On smaller, pre-filled, packages, look for products with “sterile” packaging and a minimum 5 year shelf life.

The easiest way to store the bulk of your water is in 55 gallon polyethylene (plastic) water drums (Food and Drug Administration, FDA, approved for storing drinking water).  The drums available at MBC are the best industry has to offer and are designed to have weight stacked on them when filled with water.  This allows one to stack your food on them, thus saving space while keeping your food and water together.  Some survival experts recommend two 55 gallon drums of water per person.  This, along with collecting “rain water”, should be suitable.  When you consider most households use in excess of 100 gallons of water per day for drinking, bathing, laundry, dishes, sanitation, etc., this isn’t a lot of water.

Water that we take for granted when things are normal, become absolutely essential for life and a vital resource in any disaster.  The lessons we have learned this past decade have taught us if we take our water supply for granted, we will regret it.

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Food and Water Storage – Think in 3’s

Prepare for adversity by storing an emergency supply of food and water.
Earthquakes, fires, severe storms, and power outages are just some of the potential emergencies we may encounter. Imagine that you have no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service. What would happen if you are told to evacuate your home in the next ten minutes? Imagine that all the businesses are closed and you are without any kind of emergency services. What will you do until help arrives?

The 3 day emergency food and water supply is meant to be a quickly accessed, portable source of food and water that can sustain you and your family for several days. It should be stored in one or two containers for quick portability.  The foods chosen should be ready-to-eat without the need for cooking.

The 3 week3 month emergency food and water supply are meant for a disaster where food and water delivery may be interrupted. Hurricane Katrina was a perfect example where the normal delivery of food was interrupted. Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet by purchasing a few extra items each week. Expand on this until you reach your goal.  Not all of these foods will be ready-to-eat and plans must be made to store the necessary means to prepare them.

Long term food supply is stored for one to many years. This type of food storage emphasizes a mixture of canned goods that can be safely stored for several years and low moisture foods that can be safely stored for long periods (10-30 years). These foods must be stored along with equipment to prepare them. A typical long term food supply for a family of four could weigh as much as 1500-2000 lbs. That’s almost a “ton” of food!

Courtesy of Utah State – Thanks Aggies!

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