This weekend some very good friends of ours spent several hours at our house. At one point over dinner, the husband, James, began asking about food storage. How did I know what to store? How long would it last? His wife, Dawn, had questions of her own and I began making a simple list of how to start with preparedness.
I asked them both what their concerns were. Dawn mentioned the news about the solar flares that might cause problems with electronics on Earth and James said his main concern was a war developing in the Middle East. Since we had never talked about preparedness before, I was surprised that those concerns were on their radars. Previously, we had just chatted about work schedules, homeschooling, and whether or not our kids should go to church camp this summer.
After James and Dawn left, I started writing out a list of the most simple steps we had talked about and then decided to post them here. If you are new to the idea of preparing for an emergency or worst-case scenario, here’s where you can start! I’ll be posting additional lists throughout the year, all titled, “How basic can you get?”
Here is List #1.
1. Start saving empty soda bottles for easy water storage containers.
Eventually, you’ll need 28 of them for a water supply lasting a family of four for one week. That’s about one gallon of water per person, per day. If you live in a hot and/or humid climate, add another gallon per person. Clean out the bottles and run the caps through the dishwasher. Refill with water. You can add 1 drop of bleach if you wish. Cap tightly and store these in out of the way places.
This step will give you enough water for one week for a family of four. Continue adding to this supply until you have at least a month’s worth.
Put 3-4 in your vehicle, underneath the back seat. This car water is back-up water, something you’ll only use and drink in a dire emergency. It won’t taste good but it will keep you hydrated and alive until you can get help.
TIP: Do NOT use empty milk jugs or fruit juice containers. The plastic (non-BPA) used for the soda bottles is a heavier quality and meant to last longer. According to the FEMA website, the downside of using fruit juice containers for water storage is that sugars from the juice are difficult to remove from the plastic bottle and could cause bacteria to grow. I know many people, however, who use these bottles for water storage.
2. Continue saving and cleaning soda bottles to use for food and water storage.
If you don’t drink soda, ask friends to save their empty bottles for you. When you go to a party where soda is served, ask if you can have the empty bottles. Fizzy soda water can be added to fruit juice for a nice, light drink, and it’s very inexpensive. That would be one way to get the bottles without having to start drinking soda!
3. Begin looking for cheap rice, pinto beans, lentils and other legumes.
As you buy them, pour them into clean soda bottles and cap tightly. Once 25 or more of these are filled, you’ll put one 100 cc oxygen absorber in each bottle. You can buy these on Amazon, at Winco stores, at Honeyville Farms stores, and at LDS canneries.
4. Talk things over with your spouse or significant other.
Set aside an hour or more to chat, and list everything you’re worried about that could affect your family’s, “life as we know it.” Solar flares? Massive earthquake? Banking crisis? Riots? Civil war? Include every concern and then discuss the likelihood of each. Finally, select the top 4 or 5 that have the greatest likelihood of occurring as your preparedness focal points.
That’s all. With these four steps, you’ll have a good start on water storage, a supply of free food storage containers, the beginnings of a dried goods storage, and a specific idea of what you’re preparing for. Here are the rest of the articles:
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