Saturday, April 16, 2011

M is for Matches

Matches are an important item to have in your emergency preps. They can light candles and lamps, start a warming fire, or sterilize medical equipment in a pinch. Here are a few tips on what to buy and how to properly store matches:

1. Buy strike-anywhere matches or, better yet, storm matches. Strike anywhere matches don't require that special strip found on strike-on-box matches. They can be lit in almost any condition. Storm matches have a chemical component that keeps the match burning even in high winds. It is also coated in wax to keep the matches water-proof until needed.

2. If buying strike-anywhere matches, vacuum seal the box in plastic to keep waterproof. Store in a dry location where the matches won't be disturbed. The vacuum sealing will also keep out the oxygen required to light the matches should they accidentally rub against each other.

3. Buy smaller packages of matches and vacuum seal separately so that you do not have lots of matches exposed to the elements at the same time.

4. Store a total of at least 2,000 matches in your emergency preps. Regardless of the source of the emergency, one of the most common results is a loss of power. You will go through a lot of matches keeping lights on and keeping warm.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

C is for Chickens

While I have a love for preparedness, I also have a desire for sustainable living. Sometimes, these two lovers complement each other but sometimes, they compete for my affection. Having chickens here on our tiny semi-urban homestead definitely creates conflict.

Chickens create food security- meaning that we can rely on our own property to produce eggs and meat. That will be an important safety feature in a long-term emergency that disrupts food shipments for weeks or months. My first and foremost reason for keeping chickens, though, is because it is a way to live lightly on the land and provide my family with healthy, natural foods. I know how my chickens were raised and that they haven't been fed antibiotics their whole lives.

I raise heritage breeds that are facing extinction due to the new "Frankenchickens" that you find in your grocery store. Those hybrids have been genetically manipulated to provide lots of meat in the 8 weeks of their life. If you let them live longer than that, their bodies will become so heavy, they won't be able to walk and they are likely to die of heart failure. In other words, they cannot live a "normal" chicken life. Not much different than growing meat in a test tube.

I'm digressing from the main point of the blog post, though. Having chickens can make emergency preparedness more challenging. In our neck of the woods, hurricanes are the biggest threat. In the four years we've been here, we have not had to face the prospect of evacuation. For that, I am thankful. But when we do- and it will surely come- I will have to decide what to do with the chickens.

As far as I'm concerned, they come with us in a trailer attached to our car. My husband is not necessarily on board with that idea, though. I can't imagine leaving them in hurricane. That goes against everything I believe about raising livestock responsibly. Finding an inland motel that will take 20 hens, 2 roosters and 6 cats might be tricky, however.

If you raise livestock, be sure to include them in your emergency preparations. What will you do with them if you have to evacuate the area? If you are going to stay and hunker down, how will you protect them? Make your plan ahead of time so you don't have to make hard decisions under pressure when the emergency strikes.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

B is For Bug-Out Bag

The best option in almost every emergency is to bug in- meaning to shelter in place at home where you have the most provisions available and do not have to brave the roadways and other gathering places. However, that's not always possible and sometimes, it's safer to leave the area quickly.

If that happens, having a bag already packed with critical supplies will save you a great deal of time and will ensure that you have everything you might need. A typical bug-out bag might contain:

  • rain ponchos
  • a first aid kit
  • N95 breathing masks
  • candles and waterproof matches
  • photocopies of all vital documents, sealed in plastic
  • two days worth of easy-to-eat food, such as canned chili, granola bars, and MREs
  • a collapsible set of camping dinnerware- plate, bowl, cup and cutlery
  • a manual can opener
  • a multi-tool and jackknife
  • heavy-duty leather work gloves
  • a reading book for every family member
  • a hand-cranked radio
  • copies of all current prescriptions
  • a deck of cards
  • personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner, and combs and brushes
  • garbage bags
  • 2 rolls of quarters 
  • $100 in cash in small bills
  • a list of other things that need to be packed into the car at a moment's notice: 2 gallons of water for each person, a change of clothes for each person, an empty gas can, sleeping bags, pillows, phone chargers, prescription drugs, diapers, toilet paper, shovel, and mapbooks. If you have been diligently prepping, all of these items are close by and easily accessible. 
Depending on the nature of the emergency, you may wish to pack more or less. However, to avoid panic and forgetting vital items, it's important to know what you are going to pack ahead of time and to make sure that you can get at it at a moment's notice. 

At least twice a year, go through your bug-out bag and rotate out food and other perishable items to make sure that it is always fresh. That way, you are always set to jump in the car and evacuate at a moment's notice. 

A is for Apocalypse

If you become an avid prepper, you will most likely have friends and family convinced that you are off your rocker and may need to be locked up. While some of them grocery shop for what they're going to have for dinner tonight, you have 3 pantries full of the basics: canned goods, water, beans and rice, and sugar and flour.

You may even get jokes about the apocalypse- as if that is the only scenario in which you would need supplies. But everyone can have their own personal apocalypses (apocalypsi?). Prepping ensures that you can survive any kind of personal emergency such as sudden job loss or electrical outages. Here in Georgia, we have frequent summer storms that can be violent and can take down the electrical grid for a day or more. Most of my neighbors scramble to get to the local Kroger while they still had backup power but we were comfy and safe in our house with oil lanterns. I wasn't even worried about my freezers because I knew they were full and would stay frozen for two or three days. Even if the power outage lasted longer, I had the ability to cook and can everything in the freezer.

Being prepared means prepping for unknown as well as known emergencies. It doesn't mean you will always have what you need when you need it, but you will be a lot better off than those who might have to put themselves in danger during an emergency to get supplies. And, it always means that no matter what your financial situation is in the future, you can put food on the table while you are getting through it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Storing Eggs Without Refrigeration

In a long term emergency without electricity, many food items in your refrigerators and freezers will have to be eaten, processed, or otherwise re-stored. There are many ways to preserve eggs without refrigeration. Some work better than others. Here's the run down on what works and for how long:
It has only been for the past fifty years that refrigerators have been a staple in kitchens across America. Prior to that, fresh foods were stored without refrigeration in a variety of different ways.Households had to store seasonal produce, meats and other homestead products like milk and cheese to tide them over through the winter.

Storing fresh eggs without refrigeration was a very important task as hens lay more when days are long and begin to shut down production in the winter. Because eggs were a staple not only as a breakfast item but also as an ingredient in many homestead staples, spreading them out throughout the year was a critical skill.

While it may seem like being able to store fresh eggs without refrigeration has no application in the modern kitchen, it can make a huge difference in emergency situations such as hurricanes and ice storms when power is out for extended lengths of time.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Should You Store Soda in Your Emergency Preps?

In many of the emergency preparedness and survivalist groups I belong to, there is talk of storing soda so that water is not all there is to drink. In a true survival situation, however, it is important to treat your body well and to take in only nutritious calories. There are many other reasons why soda is a bad idea in an emergency situation...and also why you might want to rethink drinking it now.

When Survival is Key, Soda Doesn't Fit the Bill

For those of us who stock food and other supplies in case of emergencies (here, the main threat is hurricane), there is often talk about prepping morale-boosting supplies. In the event of a long-lasting crisis, like Katrina, it can be demoralizing to eat out of a can every day and drink stored water. Some preparedness experts suggest storing soda to brighten spirits and make people feel more "normal" during an emergency. 

There are several reasons why soda should not play a part in your food preps: 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Necessary Supplies for a Zombie Apocalypse

A humorous look at preparing for a zombie invasion from my friend Tammy!

Stockpile What You Need Now Before the Zombies Eat You

When planning and preparing for a zombie apocalypse, it is important to be prepared. There are a few common items that can help you in case of zombies. These are items that will come in handy whether there are zombies or not, but they can help you make it through with your life and limbs if zombies come after you.