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Maintaining Your Emergency Rations

A collection of items necessary to survive in the aftermath of a disaster

A collection of items necessary to survive in the aftermath of a disaster

An earthquake hits.  A category 5 hurricane leaves a coastal city demolished.  An ice storm takes down trees and power lines.  After a disaster occurs, your primary focus should be to first, assess the situation and second, move to a safe location if necessary.  Next comes securing food and potable water for you and your dependents.  Obtaining an adequate supply of food and water in a crisis situation could be at best difficult and at worst impossible unless you already have a supply of food specifically set aside for an emergency.   Most grocery stores operate on a “just in time” method of inventory control.  On any given day, a typical grocery store will inventory a supply of stock to last approximately three days; however, increased demand can render this three-day stock insufficient.  You only have to experience the rush on a grocery store when a snow storm is approaching to know that a three-day supply can disappear in hours.

The key to ensuring you and your loved ones have an adequate supply of life-saving food and water is to prepare BEFORE anything happens.  FEMA and Red Cross recommend at the very least to have a 72-hour supply of food and water stored away for each family member.  There are numerous types of emergency foods on the market which can make the task of building an emergency food supply complicated and time-consuming.  To simplify this task, we recommend you begin building your food supply with high-calorie, vitamin enriched food bars such as the ER 2400 Calorie food bar.  The ER Food Bar was formulated to contain 72-hours’ worth of calories and nutrition in one compact package that can be safely stored for up to 5 years.  3600 calorie food bars are available for those with higher calorie needs.  These bars are a convenient addition to bug-out bags and home, office or classroom survival supplies.

You can supplement the ER Food Bar with additional non-perishable food items as needed such as canned goods and preserved meats, but be mindful of expiration dates.  According to the USDA, canned goods do not necessarily spoil due to the commercial method of preserving food but they will lose nutritional value.  Low-acid containing canned food such as fruits and tomatoes should be consumed within 24 months for optimal taste and quality.  Low-acid canned goods such as meats and vegetables should be consumed within 2 – 5 years depending on the storage conditions.  Although studies have been conducted that show canned goods could potentially last for much longer than these guidelines, it is a good practice to rotate your survival goods and throw any cans away that are dented or rusted.   Consider adding Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to your survival supply.  Depending on the storage conditions, their shelf life can vary but MREs offer a diverse selection of food choices.  According to studies conducted by the U.S. Army Natick Laboratory, shelf-life on MREs can range from 18 months to 84 months depending on the temperatures at which they are stored.  Higher temperatures reduce the shelf-life while stable, lower temperatures extend shelf-lives.  For longer term survival, freeze-dried goods are available with shelf-lives ranging from 10 – 25+ years.  Be cognizant that many freeze-dried foods require water to rehydrate them.  Take into consideration this possibility when planning your emergency water supply.

The most fundamental need for human survival is fresh water.  Depending on the severity of the disaster, your home could be without potable water for several days or more.  Stores may be stripped of bottled water leaving you completely dependent on your emergency supplies.   An emergency water supply should contain 72-hours of water per person in the household.  This equates to about 1 gallon per person.  ER Water Pouches are a cost-effective and dependable solution for drinking water in an emergency.  Each Tyvek pouch is hermetically sealed to maintain the water’s freshness for up to 5 years.  Six pouches of ER water are all you need to keep a healthy person adequately hydrated for 72-hours. These pouches are easily stored indoors or outdoors in a bug-out bag or home survival kit and are a practical solution for drinking water.  Keep in mind store-bought water bottles have a limited shelf life especially when stored in an area that experiences wide temperature fluctuations.  On the website www.ready.gov/water, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends bottled water be consumed by its “use by date” which can range from 6 months to a year.  As with canned goods, these guidelines are subjective but exercise caution and periodically replenish your emergency water.

When faced with an emergency situation, drinking water is primary in importance, but you also need to consider a clean supply of water that can be used for cooking and cleaning.  For that reason, FEMA and the Red Cross recommend 1 gallon/person of water be stored for each person.  Consider keeping a 55-gallon drum of treated water outside your home or inside your garage or basement.  The water barrel sold on QK.com is specifically designed to block harmful UV rays from penetrating the barrel thus ensuring the safe storage of water both indoors and outdoors.  One bottle of Water Preserver Concentrate will treat 55-gallons of water for 5 years.   After 5 years, simply empty the water out of the barrel, fill it up with fresh water and retreat it to last another 5 years.

Disasters can happen anywhere at any time.  Don’t fall under the misconception that your area is immune to an emergency.  You will never regret being prepared for a disaster, but you will regret not preparing for one.  If your survival food and water are nearing their expiration dates, move it to your pantry and consume it.  Donate the ER bars to your local food pantry or homeless shelter and freeze the ER pouches to use as ice packs.  There is no need to waste money.  Just remember to replenish your survival supply.   Need advice on what you need to prepare your family?  Call us at 800-277-3727.

 

Sources

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/77ffde83-dc51-4fdf-93be-048110fe47d6/Shelf_Stable_Food_Safety.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

http://site.foodshare.org/site/DocServer/Food_Storage_and_Shelf_Life_Guidelines.pdf?docID=5822

www.ready.gov/water

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April Showers Bring May Flowers…and Spring Flooding

Flooded Road

Spring is finally here which means warmer temperatures, green grass and colorful flowers.  It also means changing weather conditions and in some areas of the country, rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is advising Americans to prepare this spring for another round of potentially disastrous flooding of the kind that devastated much of Louisiana, Missouri and Texas late December/early January.

Individuals and families are advised take certain precautions in flood prone areas.  These precautions are simple, but they are steps that could save your life.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the terms weather forecasters use to describe your area’s risk for flooding. A “Flood Watch” means a flood or flash flood is a possibility for your area.  A “Flood Warning” means a flash flood or flooding has already occurred or is imminent for your location.
  2. Ensure your house is stocked with emergency supplies such as a Home Survival Kit that contains a 72 hour supply of non-perishable food and water, emergency lighting, Mylar blankets, first aid items, and a hand-crank/solar powered weather radio in the likely event the power is out. Maintaining communication during a flood event is crucial in ensuring you and your family can safely evacuate to higher ground without encountering closed roads or other deterrents.  Your kit should also contain an emergency gas/water shut-off utility tool, medications, food/water for your pets and an extra set of weather appropriate clothing.
  3. Once a Flood Watch has been issued for your area, monitor changing weather conditions by tuning into your local news station or a NOAA weather band radio. Get yours here
  4. If a Flood Warning is issued in your area, don’t delay, head to higher ground via the safest evacuation route.
  5. Don’t travel through flooded roadways. According to Tom Graziano of NOAA, “flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.”  Standing water on roadsides can be deceptive.  A car can be quickly carried away in only 2 feet of water.   Don’t succumb to this avoidable dilemma.  Turn around, don’t drown!
  6. Ensure your home is adequately covered for flood damage. Check out FloodSmart.gov for more information.

Parts of Texas and the Midwest are already experiencing torrential flooding.  Houston, TX declared a State of Emergency this weekend after a foot of rain fell on the city in a matter of hours.  Evacuations are currently taking place and search and rescue operations are in effect.

Communities along the Mississippi and Missouri River basins, parts of the southeastern U.S. from Alabama to North Carolina and low-lying areas in the Ohio River basin and the Tennessee and Cumberland River Valleys are also at risk.

NOAA announced a precipitation outlook for April through June warning of above-average precipitation for these additional areas:

  • Most of California
  • Southwest
  • Gulf Coast
  • Southeast

It is going to be a wet spring.  Prepare, be vigilant and stay safe.

 

Credits: Red Cross Flood Safety

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Are You Concerned About a Nuclear Threat?

nuclear reactors, Georgia

With North Korea threatening the US and other Western countries, you may be wondering about our safety. Closer to home, an accident on March 31 at a nuclear plant in Arkansas resulted in one death. Even though the accident took place in a non-radiation area, it is almost impossible not to think of what could have been.

A nuclear emergency isn’t just stuff that movies are made of. It is a very real possibility that you should prepare for. Most people in the US live relatively close to a nuclear reactor site. Interestingly, 21% of states have no plans to monitor radiation if there is a disaster (according to a 2011 study), so that means you may have to rely on yourself completely.

Do you have a nuclear preparedness kit and a plan?

photo credit: BlatantWorld.com via photopin cc

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5 Wilderness Survival Tips

wilderness survival

Believe it or not, it is spring. At least according to the calendar. That means temperatures will start warming and we will start spending more time outdoors. For many, that means camping, fishing, hiking and a variety of other activities in wilderness areas.

Before you take off into the great outdoors, consider these wilderness survival tips to ensure that you come home safe and sound.

1. Have a plan. Decide ahead of time where you will go, what route you will take and when you will return. Make a copy of this information and leave it with someone who isn’t going along with you. If you do not return when expected, this person will be able to contact authorities for help.

2. Dress for the possibilities. It may be sunny and warm when you leave, but the weather can change quickly, especially if you are in mountain areas. Make sure you bring extra clothing just in case the temperatures drop or a sudden storm blows in.

3. Know the area. If you are visiting a place you’ve never explored before, have a map to help you find your way around. Stay on established trails if at all possible. Nothing ruins an outing faster than getting lost.

4. Be aware of your surroundings. Pay close attention to loose rocks and other hazards that may cause you to fall and injure yourself. Keep an eye out for local wildlife so you can avoid dangerous confrontations.

5. Bring emergency supplies. At the very least, bring a small first aid kit, extra food, water and/or a water filtration bottle, and an emergency blanket or two. Also carry a flashlight and have a way to start a fire. If you get lost or hurt, you will need these items to stay warm, build a shelter and signal for help.

photo credit: Zach Dischner via photopin cc

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Know Your Kit: Ultimate Deluxe Roadside and Severe Weather Kit

ultimate deluxe roadside and severe weather kit

I was watching Dual Survival last night and as the guys cannibalized a disabled vehicle to survive, I started thinking about what should have been in that truck. Of course, that got me thinking about my Ultimate Deluxe Roadside and Severe Weather Kit. Do you have one yet?

The first thing you need to know when you get your kit is what not to do. Do not just get your kit and throw it into the back of your vehicle. If you do this, when the time comes when you need to use it, you will have no idea what to do with it. And that is not a good thing.

Open your kit, and learn what’s it it and how to use it. Only then will you be truly prepared for an emergency.

Warning Reflective Triangle: This is in a red rectangular plastic case. It needs to be assembled in order to use it, so practice this a few times. If you’re in an accident, you may be too flustered to figure it out, even though it is simple to put together.

Auto Emergency Safety Hammer: This handy tool also has a light, you take it out of the box and put the batteries into it. It should also be mounted someplace where the driver of the vehicle has easy access to it in an emergency. In an emergency, you can use this hammer to cut your seatbelt and break the windows, if necessary, to escape the vehicle. Leaving it in the bag in your trunk will make it impossible to use.

Collapsible Safety Hazard Cone: This also needs the batteries put into the light in order for it to work when needed. Get it out, pop up the cone, and put the batteries in the light to try it out. When not in use, I prefer to keep the light in the little box it comes it, just to keep it protected in the bag.

Folding Shovel: This is easy to use, but it is a good idea to practice unfolding it and tightening it up, just so you’re comfortable with it.

Jumper Cables: Do you know how to use jumper cables if you need them? Here is a quick tutorial to show you how to do it:

These are just a few of the items in your Ultimate Deluxe Roadside and Severe Weather Kit. Make sure you are familiar with everything so you can get the best use out of it when you need it.

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