Monday, January 29, 2018

Emergency Preparedness, Food Storage and Monthly Assignments (February 2018)

Suddenly . . .

Sometimes we get a warning before a natural disaster strikes, like hurricanes and flooding. Sometimes there is no warning, like earthquakes and tornadoes. Even when there is a warning how prepared are we? I find in most cases, no matter how far in advance a warning can be some people do not heed the warning and are found unprepared for what is coming their way. When is it sudden they are lost. Those who live in natural disaster areas like the South and East Coast, U.S., are often not prepared for their seasonal natural weather like hurricanes, blizzards and flooding. Many run to the grocery stores and local hardware stores for supplies, only to find many items they need are not available, or long lines at the gas station. How many hurricane seasons does it take to be prepared ahead of the storms? Why do people go through this nightmare experience each hurricane, each natural weather season? WHY?

I do not get it! Why not be prepared ahead of time with food (canned goods), drinking water, candles with matches, flashlights with extra batteries, a battery operated radio, at least a half of tank of gas at all times in each car, emergency supplies, an evacuation plan, supplies to secure and board up the house? The same thing goes where ever you live where there are seasonal weather situations that could become a natural disaster very quickly, and other natural disasters or man made situations.

We are admonished in the scriptures to be prepared over and over, and if we are, "there is no need to fear". Why not prepare ahead of time? 

This blog is all about being prepared before the storm hits. Having peace of mind knowing you are prepared for what may come your way. Of course, there may be some things we cannot prepare for, but we can prepare for most of them. Why not do it now???

There is an old saying, I love old sayings, they are true and to the point. "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink". I can share with you my knowledge about being prepared but I cannot make you do it. You have to have the desire and see the need.
Things we learned from our parents about self-reliance . . . 

Our parents were a great example of always being prepared, being very frugal and taught us to be 
self-reliant.  They  organized and planned way ahead. 
  •  Our mother grew her own vegetable garden and froze the vegetables so she had them throughout the year. She bought fruits in season and froze them for throughout the year. She bought a side of beef each year, had it cut up and kept it in her deep freezer, not only saving a lot of money, but having meats for the family throughout the year. 
  • She would take her old clothes and make them into play clothes for us. They never wasted anything. They believed in the old saying, "Use it up, wear it out or do without". 
  • They were wise and frugal, teaching us to make wise choices and the consequences there of.
  • They saved money for rainy days. They lived on less than they made. They taught us the difference between "wants and needs".  My Dad, and Mom, knew how to fix things when they broke, not having to pay someone to fix it or buy a new one, again, saving money. 
  • They taught the value of hard work and not to be afraid to work hard. 
  • They taught us to be as self-reliant and to take care of ourselves and our own needs. 
I am grateful for the things our parents taught us! 

Self-reliance . . . 

Sunday we had a special Stake Conference with a Broadcast from our General Authorities. Our Stake President spoke first.  I am grateful for his wise words of advise on self-reliance.

In Doctrine and Covenants 104: 11-15 we read, "It is wisdom in me, therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship (11). That every man may gave an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto you (12). For it is expedient that I , the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures(13). I, the Lord, stretched out the heaves, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine (14). And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. (15)."

"He will provide temporal blessings and open the door for self-reliance. Self-reliance invites and helps members (people) in faith, education, hard work and trust in the Lord. Blessings of self-reliance are hope, peace and progress. We need to council with the Lord on our finance, in family councils, council with our spouse and listen and follow our church leaders who are there to guide us and protect us." (Torrance Stake President, Roy Olsen)

February Monthly Assignment

3-Month Food Storage  . . . 

This year we are working towards a 3-Month Food Storage supply. Each families will be unique in that not one family eats the same things. You will tailor your food storage according to what your family will eat. Do not purchase items just because they are sale, your family will not eat foods they do not like, and you have just wasted valuable money that could be put towards foods they will eat.

A 3-Month Food Storage supply consists of commercially canned and packaged food and home canning foods. You can also include frozen foods.

Last month we worked on keeping track of what your family eats in a month. Go back to January 2018 posting to see the details and a printable chart to keep track. Now that you have figured out what your family eats in a month you can set up an inventory notebook.

Of course, you should already be purchasing cans and packages of commercial foods like in the photo above. Hopefully, you have cleaned out a cupboard, linen closet or some other places to store your food. See last month posting, January 2018, for ideas.

Setting up a Food  Storage and Emergency Supply Inventory Notebook . . .

Here is how I set ours up  . . . 

First, I purchased a light weight 3-ring binder from a local stationary store for about $2 and a package of dividers for about $4. I used my label maker to make the titles. 

Next, I inventoried our commercially canned and packaged foods, frozen foods and home canned foods. I set up this chart using a table/chart on a word documented. You can use Microsoft, Excel, Open Office (free app you can add on your computer) or any word document that allows you to set up a chart like this. I used Open Office, loved it and found it easy. Some of you may find Excel easy.

Note: Some of our children have small deep floor freezers for frozen foods. They keep the freezer in their garage or basement. When items go on sale then stock up. This also becomes your 3-Month Food Storage. Rotate to your regular refrigerator freezer when needed.  You could have a separate inventory chart for the deep freezer. Cost new $200-$300, used less than $200.

You can set up your inventory anyway you want.  You can set it up by categories; vegetables, fruits, meats, pastas, seasoning, etc.. Or, where they are stored; what cupboard, what shelf, etc. Each table should include the item name, how many of them you have, servings (optional), date/expires and where stored (5 columns across). I got about 25 rows down  on the first page due to the title. It is really up to you and how you want to set up your inventory notebook, what works best for you.

You should inventory your 3-Month Food Storage about every 3 months since it can change. If you use something from the 3-Month Food Storage replace it as soon as possible. Write it on your next grocery list so you do not forget to replace it. The new cans or packages need to go behind the older ones so you use the older ones first. Rotation is the key to any good food storage.  How I do it--When I use something from my regular pantry I replace it from items in my 3-Month Food Storage then I replace those items as soon as possible. This way you are continually rotating your food storage.

Note: I also set up a separate inventory chart for your long term food storage the same way. On our Miscellaneous and Emergency Supplies I only used 3 columns; "Item", "How many" and "Where stored". These items usually do not have expiration dates to be concerned about. I divided them by the type; Lighting/Electricity, Cooking, Sanitation, Fuel/Heating, Shelter, Communication/Radios, Water, Paper Products, Cleaning Supplies, Hygiene Products, Medical Supplies, 72 Hour Individual Emergency Preparedness Backpacks, Emergency Family Bag, Tools, Miscellaneous, etc.

Rules for the 3-Month Food Storage:

1. Never purchase dented or bubbled commercial cans of food. 
2. Watch for expiration dates on all commercially canned, packaged and frozen foods. Especially, if you purchase them at discount stores like the 99 Cent Store, the Dollar Tree or Dollar General. Many times they are selling them because they are either already expired or will expire shortly (with in a few months).
3. Most commercially canned foods expire 2-3 years from the purchase date. Frozen foods are usually 1 year. Packaged foods 1-2 years.  
4. Even if a commercially canned food has expired it is still good as long as the can is not dented or bubbled. The only problem is that the nutritional value diminishes over time. So use them as quickly as possible by placing them in your regular pantry and replace them in your 3-Month Food Storage immediately. 
5. Store all foods in a cool (70 degrees or cooler), dry, dark place.  Never store in garage or attic, they are too hot. If in a garage attached to the house store along the wall attached to the house. 
6. Rotation, rotation, rotation is the key to any food storage.

Blessings of a 3-Month Food Storage:

1. You feel peace of mind knowing you are prepared.
2. When there is a disaster and others are running to the grocery stores to stock up you hare already prepared.
3. When you find you are missing an ingredient for a dish for dinner in your pantry you do not need to go to the grocery store, you can pull it from your 3-Month Food Storage, then replace it the next time you go grocery shopping.  This has happened to me many times. 
4. You can purchase items when on sale and stock up. 
5. Heavenly Father will bless us when we following the admonishing of our church leaders and the scriptures because we are being obedient.
6. You can help others in time of need.

Below I have attached 3 PDF files in case you do not have a computer to set them up or want to print them  . . .


February Monthly Assignment
Emergency Preparedness Supplies

Lighting/Electricity/Power  . . .

A few days ago I woke up a little after 1:00 AM and found our electricity was out. The house was pitch black so I reached for the small LED flashlight on the night stand by our bed. I checked our neighbors across the street and they had electricity. I checked our neighbor next door and hers was out too, she leaves a front room light on at night. Our electricity was out for hours, downed electrical wires. So it got me thinking to make this month's emergency preparedness supply lighting.

If you already have emergency lighting items in your emergency supplies, check them to make sure they are working properly and you have extra batteries or fuel for those items that require them. Each room should have a small LED or regular flashlight near by.  You should have at least one LED lantern or propane lantern, candles with candle holders and matches. Warning: Do not light candles if you smell a gas leak, there will be an explosion. Candles can also cause fires, use with great caution.

If you do not have any emergency lighting supplies purchase at least one like a LED Lantern or a propane lantern and small LED flashlights for each room in your house. I also keep one in the glove compartment of the car and one in my purse. You can also attach one to your key chain. I purchased these at my local discount store for $1. Just remember to store extra batteries for the LED Lantern and fuel for the propane lantern. 

Another good one to have is the emergency plug in lights for your hallways and other rooms. When the electricity goes out, they come on.

For more information on lighting click on the link under "Postings" on the right of this blog posting, "Cooking, Heating and Lighting". Scroll towards the bottom for the Lighting information. 

Emergency Preparedness Ideas always has some great emergency tips on their blog. Please click on the links below :
"Prepared with Prescriptions: 5 Tips to Being Medically Prepared"
"Financial First Aid Kit: 5 Tips for Financial Preparedness"
"Preparing for Minor Emergencies"
"Preparing Pets for Emergencies"
The Haybox: Revisiting a Vintage Cooking Method 
How to Prevent and Respond to a House Fire
Smart Tips for Avoiding a Flood in Your Home

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