How prepared are you?
A few days ago I was changing channels on the television and caught the tail end of a program about a major earthquake in California USA. The person talking, whose name I did not get, stated even though there will be deaths from a major earthquake it is the aftermath they are most concerned about. People do not understand the lack of resources they will have after a major earthquake. They think first responders will be there in a few minutes to help them. They think drinking water, food, medical help, shelter and other needs will be provided within hours. Unfortunately, this is not the case!
We have seen unfold before our eyes on news programs reporting various natural disasters throughout the country, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, etc. The Katrina and Sandy hurricane and water damage took days/weeks before help could arrive with clean drinking water, food, medical help and emergency shelter. First responders and volunteer organizations could not get into the areas to help.
What can we do to help a situation like this before it happens?
Be as best prepared ourselves as we possibly can. We will to be able to take care of ourselves, our family and help our neighbors the best we can. If we are prepared it will lessen the need for first responders and volunteer organizations and give them an opportunity to help those who have not prepared.
There probably will be no immediate first responders, volunteer organizations, running water, electricity, medical help, food available, access to ATM machines, roads and freeways will be blocked, stores, gas stations, banks will be shut down due to no electricity, etc.. The experts say it will take 6 months to 1+ years to repair our water aqueducts, electrical grid and infrastructure.
We will need to have extra food on hand (some canned and snack foods you can eat without cooking), bottled drinking water on hand, emergency medical supplies on hand, flash lights and lanterns on hand, shelter items on hand, emergency cooking and heating on hand, first-aid skills, we will need to help ourselves and our neighbors to survive.
Are you ready for such an event? What do you need to do to prepare or be better prepared? Have you evaluated your situation and what emergency supplies you have or need? Do you have a plan?
Now, not tomorrow or next week, is the time to get prepared! Do not procrastinate anymore!
New September Monthly Assignments
Food Storage . . . Fruits
Fruits are an important part of our food storage. Other foods do not give us the vitamins and nutrition we need in our diet. Fruits can be stored in a variety of ways.
How much should I store? Determine how much fruit you or your family eats in a month and multiply that by the number of months you have set your food storage goal. Store a variety of fruits.
Shelf life of fruits: Commercially canned 1-2 years, home canned 1-2 years, home dehydrated in mason jars 6 months-1year, commercially dehydrated 1-2 years, commercially freeze-dried long term storage 20-30 years. Watch the expiration dates, especially when you purchase items from discount store.
Of course these all depend on how you store them. All fruits should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. The temperature should be below 70 degrees if possible. The higher the temperature the less time is will keep.
What types of fruits should I store? Only store the fruits your family will eat. It is a studied and proven fact, that even in a disaster, especially children, your family will not eat what they do not like. Store a variety of fruits in a variety of different ways. You can also store fruit juices. I usually work on these separate, but you can add them at this time too.
Different ways to store fruits:
Commercially canned: Store a variety, only the ones your family will eat. Do not forget the apple sauce.Do not purchase or store dented or cans with the lids bubbled.
Home canned: To home can fruits use the water bath method. Click here to learn how to can fruits. Purchase fruits in season to save money. Do not eat if the lid is springy.
Dehydrated: Home or commercially packed. Storage life is different. Home dehydrated, 6 months-1 year. Commercially dehydrated, 1-2 years. Keep your home dehydrated fruits in mason jars in cool, dry, dark place. Do not forget apple, banana chips, raisins and other dried fruits.
Frozen: Another great way to preserve fruits is to freeze them. You can purchase them frozen, limited in variety, and you can purchase in season and freeze in plastic freezer zip log bags for future use. They will keep for 1 year. They are great to use in jello salads, smoothies, over oatmeal and cereals and may other ways.
Fruit trees and berry bushes are another great way to produce your own fruit to can or freeze.
Fruit Trees: If you have the space plant a fruit tree or two. Checkout which types of fruits you can grow in your area. You cannot grow all fruits in all areas. If you do not have a large space try dwarf fruit trees or in large pots.
Berries: Also try to grow berries (blueberries, etc.) in your yard or large pots. I planted 2 blueberries bushes in large pots last year and they are doing great. I freeze the blueberries I cannot use at the time.
Emergency Preparedness . . .
First-aid and CPR
Every family member should learn first-aid and CPR. Each household should have a good first-aid kit in their home and in each vehicle. Take the time to practice first-aid and CPR skills regularly as an individual and family. Family Home Evening is a great time to review them. Practice first-aid skills on each other or a friend. Review symptoms and treatments in a first-aid book. Try to become first-aid and CPR certified. It could save a life.
Emergency Preparedness Ideas
Food storage Tips . . .
If you are just starting out with your food storage only concentrate on the foods your family eats on a regular basis, not the long term (freeze-died and dehydrated #10 cans and super pails) food storage. Set a goal for 3-months. Keep track of what your family eats in a month, including all ingredients in recipes, snacks and eating out. Once you have this information you can figure out how much it will take to meet your 3-month goal.
First start by getting 1-month supply of everything, then move on 2-months and then 3-months. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints advises us to work towards a 3-month of food and drinking water as needed. If 1-month seems overwhelming then do 2 weeks and keep increasing by 2 weeks as you go along until you have your 3-months supply of food.
An easy way to keep track is to make out a 2 week menus for your family, including all ingredients in each recipe, snacks and eating out. Most families eat the same thing within a 2 week time period. Do not forget the treats too.
After you have your 3-months food storage then you can start adding the long term freeze-dried and dehydrated #10 cans and super pails.
Remember, to rotate your 3-month food storage. As you use a can or package replace it right away. I keep my caned foods in line by date. The oldest in the front and newest in the back. That way I use them first. Also remember, even if a can of food has expired, as long as it is not dented or the ends bubbled, it is still good for awhile. It will loose some of its nutritional value over time, but still good to eat. Also, only purchase food items you know your family will eat. Do not purchase some thing just because it is on sale. It is a waste of your hard earned money, your family will not eat it and it will just go to waste.
The success of food storage is "rotation, rotation, rotation" and keep all canned and packaged foods in a cool, dry, dark place with the temperature under 70 degrees or less if possible. The higher the temperature the less time it will last.
Keep a record/chart of what you have. I keep a food storage notebook. I like to do inventory every 3 months just in case I do not see I am low on some items.
Remember, the best advise on food storage is to just start now. A few cans and packages at a time and before you know it you will have your 3-months food storage.
Note: Of course, the photo above is our ideal food storage space and shelving, but we can create areas in our home to store our food storage. Be creative. When you purchase end tables, coffee tables, or any type of table try to purchase ones with storage. Under beds, closets and cupboards are other great places. Go through them and throw out what you do not need, we all have to many things we do not use. Try to not store food in your garage, it can get too hot and dismiss the shelf life of your food.
Comments and Questions: Please share your comments and questions below. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, we all learn from each other. Thank you for your comments and questions.