The Survival Mom » Preparedness 101 http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Mon, 13 Oct 2014 21:46:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Top 10 Foods for Stocking Up http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-ten-foods-for-stocking-up/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-ten-foods-for-stocking-up/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:00:55 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=1245 You’ll want to pin this list for future reference! Click here. To get started with the basic building blocks of food storage, these are the top 10 foods I recommend. If these aren’t a good fit for your family, for Read More

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You’ll want to pin this list for future reference! Click here.

top 10 foods for stocking up

To get started with the basic building blocks of food storage, these are the top 10 foods I recommend. If these aren’t a good fit for your family, for whatever reason, stock up on the alternatives that you’re currently using. Be very aware of the enemies of food storage and always try to store your food in the most optimal conditions possible.

Wheat 

Once ground, wheat is the building block for varieties of bread, tortillas, flat bread, pizza crust and more.  I’ve stocked up on hard red wheat for hearty breads, general purpose hard white wheat, and soft white wheat for pastries.

Rice 

On its’ own, it’s a side dish.  Mixed with herbs and a vegetable or two, it’s a simple main dish.  It’s a great meal-stretcher when topped with, or served alongside, main dishes such as a stir fry.  Note: brown rice contains oils which will eventually become rancid. If you can keep it stored at very chilly temperatures, say below 60 degrees, it will be fresher, longer. Otherwise, plan on a shelf life of about a year or so.

Dried milk

Without electricity, fresh milk will go bad in hours.  In an emergency situation, fresh will be difficult to come by unless you own a cow or a goat.  Dried milk provides not only milk to drink, but milk to use as an ingredient in other dishes. Also look for shelf-stable milk that comes in cardboard cartons. It’s a very good option to dried milk.

Salt

Stock up on table salt at your local Costco.  It’s inexpensive and has multiple uses. I’ve purchased boxes of Kosher salt, along with the regular iodized table salt.

Beans

Buy canned beans and dry beans in different varieties.  Versatile,  economical and a good source of fiber. Dried beans can be ground into a powder and added to everything from cookies to soups.

Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato puree, etc.  Watch for them on sale and then grab a few dozen cans.  Learn how to can and dehydrate tomatoes. They’re the basis for salsas, soups, stews, and sauces. I’ll bet you’ve eaten something made from tomatoes in the past 48 hours!

Other canned veggies and fruit

These will help provide important nutrients, variety to your recipes, and have a very long shelf life.  If you can’t stomach canned veggies, try dehydrating your own or purchasing freeze-dried.

Peanut butter 

High in protein, yummy on warm, freshly made bread!  Add some honey and you have a winner! Keep a new, sealed jar in emergency kits for a quick dose of protein when you might need it most.

Oil

Without oil, you’re pretty much stuck with boiling your meat and veggies. The problem is that oil goes rancid very quickly. Most oils have a shelf life of only a year. Some food storage experts recommend packing vegetable shortening in canning jars and then using a Food Saver jar sealer to vacuum out all the air/oxygen. Stored this way, shortening can stay fresh for years as long as it’s stored in a cool location. When the time comes to use it, just measure out what you need for a recipe, melt it, and you have oil. While many of us have moved away from the use of vegetable oil, this is probably the best option for having a supply of oil on hand, long term.

Dried pasta

Another meal stretcher and a kid-pleasing dish any day of the week.  My own kids have been known to dip bow-tie pasta in ranch dressing. I really, really like the egg noodles from Ready Reserve Foods, which are actually dehydrated. As they cook they expand and become thick, hearty noodles, much like the homemade noodles my mom used to make.

Sugar and honey

Okay, that makes eleven, but I’ve known women who were ready to kill when deprived of sugar for too long! Both honey and sugar will last indefinitely.

NOTE: This article was originally published on September 3, 2009. My blog had launched only 4 months prior! This list continues to be what I recommend for basic food storage, so I wanted to publish it again with additional information.

 

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If You Just Moved Here… Living in Tornado Country http://thesurvivalmom.com/just-moved-living-tornado-country/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/just-moved-living-tornado-country/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:00:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17123 Where exactly IS “tornado country?” Most people know about Tornado Alley which includes northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska at its core (though the boundaries are not completely defined).  Some may even know about Dixie Alley, the Southeast’s tornado corridor Read More

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AVR Living in Tornado CountryWhere exactly IS “tornado country?”

Most people know about Tornado Alley which includes northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska at its core (though the boundaries are not completely defined). 

Some may even know about Dixie Alley, the Southeast’s tornado corridor that encompasses much of the lower Mississippi Valley, including parts of Texas and Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and parts of both North and South Carolina. Tornadoes are less frequent in numbers in Dixie Alley but often are stronger and have longer tracks. They also cause more damage because of greater population density than in much of the Tornado Alley region.

Here are some facts that many people DON’T know… 

The United States has more tornadoes than any other country, averaging about 1,200 per year.

EVERY state has had tornadoes. Most occur east of the Rocky Mountains. Florida has the most per year per square mile but they are typically small. Oklahoma has the most violent tornadoes per year per square mile. Alaska has only had two tornadoes since 1950. Texas. Mississippi and Alabama have had the greatest number of tornado deaths.

Tornadoes have occurred in EVERY month of the year. The main “season” is March through August but different areas have their own “peak” months. For example, historically Alabama sees more tornadoes in April and November than any other month.

Tornadoes have happened at EVERY hour of day and night, but are most common between 2 and 8 pm.

So, if you’ve moved into a more tornado prone area, here’s what you need to know.

Understand the Terminology

Tornado Classification

Tornadoes are classified using the EF (Enhanced Fujita) Scale from weak EF-0 tornadoes to a catastrophic EF-5s. The scale is based on wind speed and expected damage to certain types of buildings and vegetation.

AVR EF Table

Watch-Warning-Emergency

You may hear the weatherman giving you information about tornado watches, warnings, and emergencies. Here’s what each means and what actions you should take.

  • Tornado Watch – Conditions are favorable for thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes. Prepare your safe place if it is not already set up.
  • Tornado Warning – A funnel cloud has been reported, a tornado has been sighted, rotation is seen on weather radar, or a waterspout is headed toward land. If this is in your area, you need to be waiting it out in your safe place.
  • Tornado Emergency – A strong or violent tornado is on the ground and significant, widespread damage, injuries, and loss of life is expected. If a tornado emergency is declared and you are in the path of the storm, you must be taking shelter, preferably underground, and bracing for impact.

Watch the Weather!

While you can learn a lot and get broad information from a source like The Weather Channel, nothing beats your local weather forecasters. They know the specific meteorological history, topography, and unique characteristics of the areas they cover. With the advanced weather forecasting technology available today, forecasters can sometimes give several days “heads up” to potentially tornadic weather.

One of the best ways, besides watching local news, to keep on top of impending weather is to have a weather radio in your home. It can be programmed for your specific location and will run on batteries during power outages. Most can even be customized to only alert you to certain information. Mine is set up to sound for warnings and emergencies, not for watches.

Determine if your neighborhood has tornado sirens. If it does, find out what each warning sound  means to you. Some only have one sound. Others have multiple sounds depending on what they are warning for. For example, on or near military bases, there may be different sounds for weather, for general shelter in place order, and for hazardous materials issues.

Remember, tornado sirens are really intended to warn people who are outside of their homes when impending weather approaches. You may not hear it from inside your house during the day. During the relative quiet of the overnight hours, the tornado sirens might be more clear inside, but do not depend on them to wake you up. (But your weather radio will!) If you do hear a siren, be sure to move indoors and turn on your television or radio for more information.

There’s an App for That

You can still get warnings even if you aren’t at home as a storm approaches. There are plenty of weather apps available for your phone. The American Red Cross has a tornado app and many news stations have their own specific weather app.

Like your weather radio, you can often customize the warnings based on your address, current location, and/or type of warning you prefer. A benefit of many of the weather apps is that you can put in other addresses besides your home and receive alerts for all of them. You can include the address for your work or a family member’s home, or even your child’s school or college.

Stay Safe

A lot of articles have already been written about how to stay safe in a tornado. I encourage you to start by reading these:

Shelters are your best option during a tornado, but what if you don’t have one? Click here to read “No Shelter, No Basement, No Problem.

Want even more tips? Read “23 Tips to Help You Prepare for Tornado Season.” 

Don’t be scared! Be Prepared!

Even in more tornado prone areas of the country, the odds of a twister hitting your home are slim. But it does happen. Be as prepared as possible, stay informed, and be alert.

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5 Reasons Why Bugging IN is Smart http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-reasons-bugging-in-smart/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-reasons-bugging-in-smart/#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2014 10:00:59 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15800 I have seen many articles and posts about bugging out should some major disaster happen. These writers go on and on about having Bug Out Bags (BOBs) and heading to their Bug Out Location (BOL) to hide away until it Read More

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5_Reasons_Why_Bugging_IN_is_SmartI have seen many articles and posts about bugging out should some major disaster happen. These writers go on and on about having Bug Out Bags (BOBs) and heading to their Bug Out Location (BOL) to hide away until it is safe. I can imagine several reasons why having a bug out plan is a good idea but honestly, it should be a last resort.

If your immediate home is not threatened, staying put and “bugging in” should be the first option for several reasons. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not to hunker down or Bug Out, but consider the following reasons for staying in, at least at first.

Why Bug IN?

  1. Higher security. You know the layout of your home. Most people feel safer in familiar surroundings. Knowing the quickest way through the house gives you an advantage of being able to get to a weapon before some intruder gets to you. If you are bugging out, you are out in the open and more vulnerable. You also know escape routes out of the home in case it is imminent that you will be overcome.
  2. Knowledge of  the Neighborhood. Unless you just moved in last week, you know the immediate area around your home. Chances are you know what your neighbors look like, if not their names. You may even be close friends and that is very powerful. You can identify people who are new to the area. An armed stranger is more of a threat, generally speaking, than your next door neighbor. Having a group of ‘known’ people come together in a crisis raises everyone’s chance of survival. There are more eyes for security and more hands to do the work. Yes, there are more mouths to feed but also more people to acquire the food needed.
  3. Knowledge of Terrain Layout in Surrounding Area. Since most people commute, they know a rather large area out from their home. If you really stop and think about it, you can estimate the terrain – the cities, towns, and neighborhoods close to your home. All that knowledge will help you locate resources and avoid dangerous areas. Chances are pretty good that if an area had a high crime level before the disaster, it will be even higher and more desperate afterward.
  4. Home Base has more supplies and resources. There is no way you could pack all the items you need to survive and be as comfortable as possible in your car or on your back. Even if you focused solely on food and water, there is still no way you can carry what you need. If you bug in at home, you have more resources to get by. An example would be stuff in the junk drawer; you open it and find 2 adapters for charging some electronic you aren’t even sure you have anymore. What can that wire be used for, even if the power was out indefinitely? How about that end roll of duct tape? The bottom line is you are more adaptable in your own home with all your ‘stuff’ in one place.
  5. People who love you will look there first. Unless you are some hardcore survivalist and have a plan of action for your friends and family, the ones who love you will come to your house first to try and find you. It is truly the most logical place to start looking and head out from there, retracing steps if needed. If you do not know your neighbors or have a group to rely on, holding out for your loved ones to find you may be the very best option. Many people claim they will be the lone wolf, but that is unrealistic in my opinion. Eventually, even the lone wolf needs the pack. The same is true with humans. We need each other and people we can trust to make it.

 

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The 15 Commandments of Food Storage http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-commandments-food-storage/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-commandments-food-storage/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:00:06 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14665 Who doesn’t love that bit from Mel Brooks’ History of the World ,Part 1 where Moses descends from Mt Sinai clutching three stone tablets proclaiming: “The Lord has given you these 15 ( one tablet falls, smashing into a thousand Read More

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food storageWho doesn’t love that bit from Mel Brooks’ History of the World ,Part 1 where Moses descends from Mt Sinai clutching three stone tablets proclaiming: “The Lord has given you these 15 ( one tablet falls, smashing into a thousand pieces on the desert floor)…Oy, um…ten! Yeah, Ten Commandments!”

Ever wonder what those other five might have been?

Try as I might I just couldn’t keep limit myself to only ten commandments when it comes to food storage. So if 15 commandments are good enough for Mel Brooks, it’s good enough for me!

The 15 Commandments of Food Storage

1.  Start now

If you buy even one extra can of tuna tomorrow or box of crackers tomorrow, it will give you a sliver of peace of mind until next week. Worst case scenario, it’ll keep you alive for another few days. Over time, every bit adds up.

2.  Store water, too

All the food on an Army base will do you little good without adequate water.

Remember the survival Rule Of Threes: you can survive three weeks without food but only three days without water (three hours without shelter, three minutes without air).

Don’t count on canned food for more than a tiny amount of water. There’s not much in there and most of it is swimming with salt or sugar.

In addition to storing water, it’s essential to have at least two ways to collect and purify more for replenishment. The internet and your local library abound with advice on both replenishment and conservation.

3.  Store what you use and use what you store

We’ve all heard this, but what does it really mean? A couple years ago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons or LDS), the original food storage experts, reiterated the call to start with three months of ordinary foods your family eats every day while building up basic staples like wheat and dry milk.

Some people had a rude awakening when they realized just how many Spaghettio’s and chicken nuggets they were eating. Convenience foods are also more expensive and typically occupy much more space than staples. Which leads to…

4.  Eat and cook real food

Not food-like substances. It’s cheaper to eat the real thing, it keeps longer, is healthier and far more versatile! A can of chili is a can of chili. But a can or bag of kidney beans opens up a whole world of possibilities and doesn’t contain a nutritionally criminal amount of salt.

You can pay the grocer or the doctor when a poor diet gets the best of you, and the grocer is cheaper. The cry of the last 20 years that healthy food is more expensive than chemical and additive laden convenience food is total codswollop, and there are whole books and websites devoted to it. If you haven’t read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, it takes less than an hour but the benefits last a lifetime.

5.  Don’t buy a years’ worth of one thing at a time

Buying basics in bulk is economical and absolutely should be part of your plan, but what happens when all of one item expires or goes stale at the same time? If you spread out your buying, then you spread out your expiration dates, particularly with basic staples. In an actual disaster, how would your family fare if you’ve got 100lbs of wheat, 100lbs of rice, 50lbs of powdered milk – and nothing else – to actually live on?

6.  Condiments will save you

Extracts, herbs, and sauces spice up a bland diet, and a years’ worth of cinnamon only costs about $6!

Since the goal is to cook real food, picture this: you’re making pasta sauce from jarred tomatoes, olive oil, and onions from your root cellar but…no oregano, rosemary, or bay leaf. That’s not going to make much of an impression with your loved ones.

I talked to someone a few years ago who was living on their food storage due to prolonged job loss. One day she realized that she had a vast array of baking ingredients but no vanilla. Or any other extracts.

Every family is different, but for most families the most versatile ones to start with will be ketchup, soy sauce, and something spicy like chili powder. They’re good for something else,too…

7.  Have a few convenience/luxury foods for barter and illness

As has been asked here on The Survival Mom, what if you were sick, injured(or worse) and your 9 year old was suddenly in charge of feeding the family? They need the temporary option of popping open a can and sticking a spoon in it.

Now imagine a prolonged disaster. Power has been out for over a week, propane and gasoline are gone, or nearly so. People are cooking basic staples and wild game in fireplaces and back yard pits either in their homes or in evac shelters.

Under those conditions, what do you think would be the new value of a $2 box of water-only pancake mix? How about “luxury” items like chopped clams or chocolate chips? I just bought 14 cans of chopped clams because I had a rain check that got me extra gas points.

8.  Replenishment is the 8th commandment of food storage

What if the emergency went on for years? It doesn’t have to be Zombie Apocalypse. It happens in war all the time.

What if your preps were stolen? How do you get more food? Sharing and barter are helpful, but it’s folly to count on them.

That leaves three choices: foraging, hunting/fishing, and gardening. Do you know how to find and identify wild edibles? Do you have even rudimentary fishing/hunting equipment and knowledge? It’s harder than it looks.

Store heirloom, non-hybrid, non-gmo seeds and learn how to grow them! Remember to include grains, beans, herbs, and even fruits, if you can. Protect them from moisture, heat, light and oxygen in that order. A brown paper lined canning jar in the fridge or freezer does nicely. If you buy a ready made “vault”, make sure it is from a seed company and not a food supplier.

9.  Store the rainbow

My parents used to say that God color-coded the plant world for a reason: eat all the colors and you’ll be healthy. We laughed and thought they were hayseeds. Who’s laughing now? There are different protective chemicals attached to each color and you don’t want to miss any. In both food and seeds, make sure to have multiple sources of all colors plus some vitamin tablets, just to be safe.

10.  Multiple layers of storage

Simply put, have some dry, some canned, some freeze dried, some frozen, etc. When the fridge is gone, there’s dry. If you can’t cook at all, there’s canned, etc. Just make sure you have a good can opener for the canned goods.

11. Store multi-use items

Your food storage can include medicine, hygiene items, and household cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda, coconut oil, lemon juice, peppermint, and ginger, among others, serve myriad purposes besides cooking and baking. That’ll save space, money, and toxic chemicals.

12. FIFO and Par

Those aren’t Norse gods. They’re restaurant concepts. FIFO means “first in, first out.” Write the date you buy it or the use-by date ( whichever works for you) on items and rotate them so the oldest is used first. This also helps you track how much you really use of an item.

Par is the amount you’ve decided to keep in stock. When do you buy/make more? At half-par. Let’s say you’ve decided to keep 40 lbs sugar around. You buy more at 20 lbs. Going lower is a good way to invite disaster. Kind of like the way washing your car causes it to rain.

13. Dishes

What are you going to eat all this food on? Traditional dishes and dish washing eats up a lot of precious water and space. Buy some multifunctional dishes like shallow bowl/plates, pie tins, sporks, and metal cups that can go on a fire. Dishes can be wiped with a damp cloth and sanitized with alcohol or witch hazel. Cast iron pans and can go right onto coals and should never be subjected to soap. Sturdy paper plates can be used several times and then composted or used for tinder.

14. Location, location, location

This means store your supplies in more than one location. There’s potentially some loss at any one location due to water, natural disasters, mice, or whatever. The rest is safe.

One of the biggest threats is theft. Unless we’re talking about a total Road Warrior scenario, marauders tend to hit and run quickly. If there’s stuff in every room, under the beds, behind the books, in the suspended ceilings and so forth, they’ll never find it all. Which brings us last, but certainly not least to…

15. OpSec

Operational Security. If you ever watch “Doomsday Preppers” and similar shows, the people sometimes get their score and cryptically comment that they didn’t show the cameras everything. And they often use the phrase “undisclosed location.”

Then there are other people whose house is easily located by their identities. They then show you where the guns are, where 90% of their food is, and even the “secret” escape hatch in the garage floor.

Which of those approaches sounds least likely to get your carefully collected preps stolen? Also, when others don’t know exactly what you’ve got then they also don’t know what you AIN’T got, which is equally important. I don’t just mean guns and dogs. Say it comes down to barter time and someone knows you’re out of something vital like medicine or fuel. They’ve got you over a rather large barrel, haven’t they?

Everyone has to eat, so food is the most obvious place to start getting prepared. Just remember the goal. This is not panic fodder. It’s panic prevention.

I was a child when the Blizzard of ’78 hit New England in the days before Doppler radar and we had no idea how bad it was going to be. People were housebound or stranded all over. Stores ran out of supplies in hours. People were unprepared and all my friends’ parents were pretty scared.

My parents hardly raised an eyebrow because they were Upstate New York farm kids. We always had several months’ food in the house and I had no idea that other people shopped week to week. I had trouble wrapping my mind around causing so much anxiety and danger when it’s so easily avoided. I still do.

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Step-by-Step with The Survival Mom: Lesson 2, Define your disaster & Set priorities http://thesurvivalmom.com/step-step-survival-mom-lesson-2-define-diaster-set-priorities/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/step-step-survival-mom-lesson-2-define-diaster-set-priorities/#comments Wed, 02 Oct 2013 21:26:47 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12507 Click HERE to download the complete lesson and study sheet. As a mom, it’s sometimes hard to set priorities. Is it more important to get dinner ready, put the laundry in the dryer before it molds, stop the kids from Read More

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Click HERE to download the complete lesson and study sheet.

The_Survival_Mom_1As a mom, it’s sometimes hard to set priorities. Is it more important to get dinner ready, put the laundry in the dryer before it molds, stop the kids from fighting, or listen to my husband telling me about his day?

Not even Calgon can take me away from days like this!

I get the same feeling at times when I start thinking about preparedness. There are emergency kits to pack and maintain, food to store (and make sure it’s in a cool, dark, dry place), security issues to worry about, and so much more.

It’s a good thing that Survival Moms are more than capable and can leap over screaming toddlers in a single bound.

Today’s lesson is all about defining what we should be prepared for and then setting priorities. These 2 steps, along with taking action, will ease any panic and make Calgon baths a luxury, not a necessity!

Define your disaster

When we first begin thinking of planning for a disaster, we may feel reassured since these aren’t events that happen every day. Depending on where you live, you might even feel insulated against hurricanes, earthquakes, or tornadoes. Those things happen to other people, right?

Well, in today’s world, there are other concerns to prepare for, events that touch us all, no matter where we live. In the words of our own government, there are “man-made disasters” that include terrorist attacks, power grid failures, environmental disasters, wildfires, nuclear events, wars, riots…

Still feeling insulated?

Add to that pretty impressive list of man-made disasters are a variety of personal crises, everything from a cancer scare to divorce, and it becomes even more necessary to define exactly what to prepare for.

In fact, random preparedness, going in all directions at once, can actually do more harm than good because it may provide a sense of security without any actual, real security!

To get started defining the first disasters you should prepare for, read pp. 6-13 in your textbook (Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios).

You’ll be listing the disasters that are most likely to affect you on the chart in the downloadable study sheet. This activity will provide a visual of your own reality and might even be a comfort to you when you realize how many things you don’t have to worry about!

Before completing this lesson’s study sheet, be thinking about:

  • The top natural disasters that might affect you, depending on where you live and spend most of your time.
  • The top man-made disasters that are most likely to occur in your area
  • The top extreme weather events to prepare for
  • The most likely personal disasters/crises that would affect you and your loved ones

Peace of mind

Years ago when I ran a home-based business, it seemed as though I always had a dark cloud hanging over me with all the many things I had to do or had forgotten to do. The cloud contained my guilt, my failures, worries about all kinds of things and I never felt free to enjoy life.

I hated that cloud.

If you’ve felt like a black cloud has been hovering over your head filled with fears for the future, scary headlines from the news, and all of the prepper things you’ve been meaning to do, the step of simply defining what you need to really prepare for will make that cloud a little smaller and give you more peace.

As part of this lesson’s assignments, you’ll be identifying only the top 4 disasters that are most likely and imminent in your particular circumstances.

Four big, scary events may still seem daunting, but what if you reviewed the list and selected just one for your primary focus? You may not have the time or resources to prepare for a job loss, tornado, EMP, and a winter blizzard all at once, but certainly you can prepare for one of these!

Remember, this curriculum is called “Step-by-Step…” not “Your family is going to DIE because you didn’t prepare!!”

Of the 4 events you have identified, only one will be your Top Priority Emergency. This will be your first, primary focus.

Dark storm cloud, gone. Poof!

Setting priorities

Once you’ve determined your Top Priority Emergency, you’ll need to tackle it in a smart way.

All too many new preppers immediately rush to buy an expensive water purifier or a truckload of “survival” food. Before you go crazy with that Visa card, let’s establish the most important areas, regardless of the event:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Security
  • Special needs unique to your family

(Shelter, security, and special needs will be included in Lesson 3.)

Water

Water storage sounded so silly to me at first until I heard about an outbreak of meningitis in a town not far from me. Two young children died from the bacteria in their drinking water. I was so grateful for the 50 large water bottles I had stored under various beds throughout the house!

For details on how to store water and different ways to purify it, read pp. 21-28 and complete the Family Preparedness Plan worksheet on p. 34, if you haven’t already done so.

By the way, if a job loss or reduction in hours is a major concern, you may want to pay a bit extra on your water bill each month, just in case. The City will come out to turn off your water if a bill remains unpaid, but a nice credit on your account can help avoid that.

Food

I spent 2 chapters and almost 70 pages in my book devoted just to food storage. If you want to get the full dose of this information, read Chapters 4 and 5.

Otherwise, I want you to start your emergency food storage by focusing on foods that are shelf stable, meaning they can be stored at room temperature, and can be prepared and eaten without any cooking, if necessary.

No one ever died from eating cold ravioli. That I know of.

A list of these Handy, No-Cook Foods can be found on p. 71 or at this link.

Organize your emergency food by meals (breakfast foods all together in one bin, lunch foods all together, and so on) or in containers with enough food for each day. Example: a small bin contains all the food for one day, breakfast (oatmeal energy bars, fruit cups), lunch (cans of juice, cracker/cheese packets, jerky, and cookies), and dinner (canned beef stew, pilot bread, pudding cups, and vodka).

This lesson’s assignment is to collect at least 2 weeks worth of these foods. Write out a daily menu for 14 days using the foods you have stored and still need to buy. You’ll find a form for your daily menu in this lesson’s study sheet.

Store this emergency food in a location that is easily accessed but won’t be so available that the kids will be sneaking into it whenever they’re hungry for a snack! The food should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. Yes, storage conditions are important and can greatly increase, or decrease, the shelf life of your food.

Read pp. 100-108 for more details about proper storage conditions.

A word about organizing supplies

I don’t know about you, but in a severe crisis, the first thing to go is my brain. When the adrenaline is pumping through our veins and we’re faced with something sudden and scary, we very often find it hard to make rational decisions and might easily forget where certain things or stored or even our home address.

Even if you are organizationally challenged, take some extra time to categorize and label emergency supplies.

For your containers of stored food include a list of what they contain and a menu. Don’t assume that you’ll be thinking clearly when the tornado siren sounds.

Organizing now means even more peace of mind later.

Moving forward

After you’ve completed this lesson and its activities, you will have identified your Top Emergency Priority, along with 3 other likely emergencies, and will have stored enough water and food to last you and your family for at least 2 weeks.

In Lesson 3, we’ll focus on making your home disaster-proof, security steps you can put into place, and any special needs considerations.

Click HERE to download the Lesson 2 Study Guide and worksheet.

 

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Survival Mom to Survival Mom! Tips to help you prep,Part 1 http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-to-survival-mom-tips-to-help-you-preppart-1/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-to-survival-mom-tips-to-help-you-preppart-1/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 10:43:12 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12105 This month we had more readers than ever enter the Survival Mom of the Month, and they all had great tips for prepping. I wanted to thank them personally and include some of their tips here, so we can all Read More

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This month we had more readers than ever enter the Survival Mom of the Month, and they all had great tips for prepping. I wanted to thank them personally and include some of their tips here, so we can all learn from each other.

From TS:

  • Many folks who comment have been prepping for years. If you have a relative who lived through the Great Depression, ask about their life and times, it will really open your eyes.
  • I convinced my youngest to join scouting as a way for everyone to learn basic survival skills. I freely admit I was clueless in this area and needed help but couldn’t afford to spend $$$ on survival schools or take time off from work. However after joining scouting, we did plan our family vacations around badges and involved the whole family in the learning process. My son earned more arrow points for accoplishments than we could fit on his small uniform. This lead to my older daughter and son joining a Co-Ed venture scout organization. Where else could they learned how to scuba dive and shoot a .22 in one day?

From Cara:

  • Having a basement was a top priority when purchasing a home for my family. Both shelter and storage for inventory are resolved with this decision.
  • Begin a food inventory and track your families food patterns. Having the right food during a crisis will be comforting and create stability during uncertain times.

From Judy:

  • We have created a nucleus group of 4 families (My husband & myself; our daughter #1 & her family–husband, 2 children; our daughter #2–herself & her 11 yo daughter; and a close family friend & her husband). Each of us possess a skill set that will be invaluable in any of these events.
  • We have family meetings to review what we have learned individually & to plan for the month to come.

From Angie:

  • Start small. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Work on a weeks’ worth of food and water and build from there.]

From Liz:

  • We have watched online sales to stock up on long-term storage foods (Freeze-Dry Guy, GoFoods, Shelf Reliance). There are some fantastic promos, but you have to keep a sharp eye and price compare. Plus, we get a wide variety of foods, including some smaller pouches that are easy to pack and are great for family camping.
  • For birthdays in our family, each celebrant gets to choose a way to increase our preparedness or a camp-friendly item. It may be taking a class on how to build a solar panel (including supplies to build it!) or a campfire cooking rack.
  • Start with items you’d use for a weekend campout at a local park, then think of camping necessities if you had to camp in the back woods for a week. Finally, supplement with camping items that can be easily carried (e.g., personal water filter vs. Big Berkey). I like to think of prepping as multiple levels of camp readiness. The idea of being ready for a campout is more fun than telling your family and friends you’re prepping for a calamity.

From Kim:

  • We’ve stocked up on repair supplies, like plumbing parts and stocked up on firewood, batteries, etc. in case of power outages. Also, tractor chains to pull trees from roads, fuel for chainsaws to clear.
  • Give every family member a responsibility. Have a common meeting place. Give everyone the number for a family member out of the area to call in case of emergency, they can let everyone else know you’re ok or how to help.

From Louise:

  • Start with emergency kits and teaching your children how to use them, and how to utilize a family emergency plan. Make a “what my family needs to know” binder. Then start storing extra food stuff that you cook regularly, and start storing water. Eventually you will begin learning to cook items from ‘scratch’, because it is so much more economical and practical in case of a long term household income loss such as a job loss.
  • We practice bugging out in minivan and on foot, teaching my children how to cook with food storage and to forage for food while on bug-out walks, teaching my children first aid, teaching my children how to fix mechanical things (small engine repair, replace the brakes on our vehicles, change oil, etc,.) teaching my children how to use the contents of the their bug-out bags (build fire, setup shelter, purify water, etc,.), teaching my children about quarantining themselves from people who may be sick, and how to properly use a plunger. A LOT of teaching my children things, in case I’m not with them….practice, practice, practice.

From Jamie:

  • I am most concerned about natural disasters and food shortages/rapid price increases. It just seems natural to me to be concerned about a blizzard or about peanut butter prices tripling because both of those examples have already happened. So why not do the best that you can to be prepared?
  • I tracked how long it took us to use a pack of toilet paper and then used that information to stock up on a year’s supply when toilet paper was on sale. I always keep track of the sales and stock up.
  • At first I just started doing a little bit here and there, but then I came up with a master plan. This summer we are re-roofing and insulating the house and installing a container garden on the porch. Next summer we are going to install a wood burning stove (we live in northern Michigan) and plant blackberries/blueberries/grapes. Then the summer after that we will probably be installing a grey water system for the garden/lawn/plants and/or building a greenhouse.
  • Don’t stay up late at night worrying. Start now. Do what you can. And don’t get so caught up in the details and to-dos that you forget why you are preparing in the first place. Remember to relax and spend time with your family!

From Shannon:

  • Over the last few years I have educated myself more than anything, to prepare for a disaster of any type. I invest in myself and my family. We have been transitioning to become fully self-sustaining. We have skills that are necessary in today and tomorrow’s unknown.
  • The smartest prep I ever started was filling 2liter bottles and storing them in the freezer. We have had many power outages and those bottles have saved us in more than one way! Best piece of advice…have someone you can trust to discuss.

From Carol:

  • We’re using our second floor for most prepping supplies in case of flooding. Also looking into storing underground, with large concrete cased waterproof area for earthquake or flood situation.
  • I try to cover all my bases each time I purchase something or gain a new skill. Not focusing in on just one area for prepping is important. Food, water, clothing, shelter, “money”, electricity, all are important and should be given priority each week/month or however you purchase for prepping.
  • Make sure you have a way to protect yourself, your family and what you have so carefully obtained for your survival. It doesn’t have to be guns, but guns are the most versatile deterrent. Knives, pepper or bear spray, bats/sticks are all good as well. Even paint ball guns, air pistols and bows and arrows will work. A closed mouth attitude is also good, as you don’t want everyone within range of your voice to know what you have and where you live.
  • Apple cider vinegar is useful for food, personal care like hair rinse, antibacterial and disinfecting properties and it has many medicinal uses, so with the purchase of this one item I have many needs covered. Coconut oil is the same: it has medicinal uses, food uses, it can even be used as fuel or lighting. White vinegar is great for many cleaning and disinfecting uses.

 

 

 

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Survival Mom Tutorial: 3 Layers of Food Storage, Part 2 VIDEO http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-tutorial-3-layers-of-food-storage-part-2-video/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-tutorial-3-layers-of-food-storage-part-2-video/#comments Sun, 07 Jul 2013 15:48:34 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12079 The second layer of food storage is made up of individual ingredients, often purchased in bulk. By far, this layer is the most versatile and has the longest shelf life. With a wide array of grains, seasonings, vegetables, fruits, and Read More

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The second layer of food storage is made up of individual ingredients, often purchased in bulk. By far, this layer is the most versatile and has the longest shelf life. With a wide array of grains, seasonings, vegetables, fruits, and different forms of protein, you can create hundreds of satisfying and nutritious recipes.

In this video I provide several do’s and don’ts for storing ingredients, tips for getting started, basic information about buying wheat, and suggestions for where you can buy larger quantities.

 

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Survival Mom Tutorial: 3 Layers of Food Storage, Part 1 (VIDEO) http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-tutorial-3-layers-of-food-storage-part-1-video/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-tutorial-3-layers-of-food-storage-part-1-video/#comments Sat, 29 Jun 2013 10:29:04 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12035 If you’ve started a food storage pantry, good for you! When I first started, my first few shelves became overloaded with grocery store foods, including a lot of prepared, convenience foods, such as canned ravioli and boxes of cereal. Over Read More

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If you’ve started a food storage pantry, good for you! When I first started, my first few shelves became overloaded with grocery store foods, including a lot of prepared, convenience foods, such as canned ravioli and boxes of cereal.

Over time, I realized there was a better way to stock my shelves, and although grocery store foods remain in my pantry, I now have a better balanced pantry because it contains 3 different layers, each important in its own way:

  1. Grocery store food
  2. Ingredients and bulk foods
  3. Just-add-water freeze dried entrees

In this video I briefly explain these 3 layers and then discuss smart strategies for incorporating grocery store  foods in your long-term storage pantry.

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20+ Foods that must be re-packaged for long-term storage and how to repackage them http://thesurvivalmom.com/20-foods-that-must-be-re-packaged-for-long-term-storage-and-how-to-repackage-them/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/20-foods-that-must-be-re-packaged-for-long-term-storage-and-how-to-repackage-them/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2013 18:21:24 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11969 As a follow-up to my blog post about which foods you shouldn’t plan on storing long-term, here’s a list of foods typically found at grocery stores that can be stored but must be repackaged. Keep in mind, that by repackaging Read More

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As a follow-up to my blog post about which foods you shouldn’t plan on storing long-term, here’s a list of foods typically found at grocery stores that can be stored but must be repackaged.

Keep in mind, that by repackaging these foods you will also be protecting them from oxygen, pests, and humidity, three of the five enemies of food storage. (The other 2 are heat and light.)

  • Raisins and other dried fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Any type of cookie or cracker
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread crumbs
  • Cornmeal
  • Candy
  • Pancake mix (Sometimes these are packaged directly inside the cardboard box without any type of inner plastic bag.)
  • Pasta, rice, and potato convenience mixes, such as Rice-a-Roni, Pasta-Roni, instant potatoes, scalloped potato mixes, etc. (These may either have microscopic insect eggs inside the package already and/or be invaded by insects and rodents from the outside.)
  • Tea bags (Repackage for best flavor and longest possible shelf life.)
  • Dried, instant milk (If not already in a sealed can.)
  • Spices and herbs packaged in plastic bags
  • Shortening
  • Chocolate chips, baking chips of any flavor
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar
  • Any type of mix to make bread, cornbread, pizza dough, etc.
  • Most anything else that is packaged in flimsy plastic bags and/or cardboard. This type of packaging is not intended for long-term storage, but that doesn’t mean the food inside can’t have a longer shelf life if repackaged correctly.

Repackaging instructions

Most everything on this list will do very well packaged by any of these procedures:

1.  A vacuum packing machine, such as the Food Saver. These can be found on eBay and Craigslist at very affordable prices. Walmart, Target, and Cabela’s carry them as well.

Pour the food into one of the plastic bags suitable for your machine and follow the machine’s instructions for vacuum sealing the bag. Use a Sharpie to mark the date sealed on the outside as well as the name of the food. (“Golden raisins, June 21, 2013″)

If a food can be easily crushed, such as cookies or crackers, place them in a large canning jar and seal it with your machine and a jar lid attachment. This is very convenient and gives long term results. If you want to store shortening, pack it into a canning jar, place the lid on top, cover with the jar sealer and seal it.

This video shows how to seal foods in canning jars.

Some foods with sharp edges, such as pasta, can wear through the plastic storage bag. To avoid this you can seal the food and then place it in a second sealing bag and seal a second time or place it first in a zip-loc bag (do not seal) and then into the food storage bag. The machine will suck the air out of both bags, sealing them shut at the same time.

2.  Use oxygen absorbers. Pour your food into a canning jar, mylar bag (available on Amazon) or a food-safe bucket of an appropriate size. Just before sealing with the lid, drop in oxygen absorbers according to this chart:

100 cc absorber            32-ounce canning jar

300 cc                             #10 can

300 cc                              1 gallon container

1500 cc                            5 gallon container

For more detailed  instructions, read this.

I also use empty and sanitized 2-liter soda bottles for things like rice and oats and add a 100 cc absorber just before capping the bottle.

Keep  mind that as you open the package of absorbers, they start absorbing oxygen. You’ll know this is happening because they get hot. Quickly place the required number of absorbers in each container with the food and then store the remaining absorbers in a canning jar. (The lid of a canning jar gives a much tighter seal than other jars.)

3.  Dry pack canning. This is simpler than water bath or pressure canning and since you’ll be canning dry foods only, it’s just a matter of filling canning jars, heating them in a low-temperature oven (200 degrees), and then sealing with a jar lid and ring. The heat kills vermin eggs and the tight lid will keep out any extra oxygen. However, adding an oxygen absorber will help food from oxidizing over time, thus extending the shelf life.

By the way, if you place filled canning jars and vacuum sealed bags in a plastic bin or bucket and then cover with a lid, you’ll be protecting the food from light as well as oxygen, pests, and humidity.

Taking these extra steps is worth it because of the money you’re spending on food and the fact that you’re storing this for long-term. When you actually really need to start using it, you want it to taste fresh and be as nutritious as possible.

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10 Essential Skills Necessary For Survival http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-essential-skills-necessary-for-survival/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-essential-skills-necessary-for-survival/#comments Tue, 12 Feb 2013 18:18:26 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=3266 Guest post by Tess from Ready Nutrition! It’s a classic and I wanted to bring it back to life from the archives! Although it is important to be prepared for disaster situations, many are not adequately trained to handle the Read More

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Guest post by Tess from Ready Nutrition! It’s a classic and I wanted to bring it back to life from the archives!

Although it is important to be prepared for disaster situations, many are not adequately trained to handle the disaster situations in which they find themselves in. Having the proper skills and training will provide an individual with a well diversified knowledge base on how to survive during and after a disaster.

Medical Training

In a survival situation, medical training is going to be a big one.  Due to the increase use of saws, axes and knives, there will be more medical emergencies involving deep lacerated cuts.

image by Bruce Turner

image by Bruce Turner

Knowing how to properly clean wounds, stitch wounds, as well as knowing how to treat infected wounds will be extremely important.  Additionally, there will be an increase in burns from being in closer contact to fires.  Burns can get infected very quickly, and knowing how to decipher the degree of the burn is and how to treat it will be a concern amongst survivalists and preppers.  Typically, there are online courses offered for basic CPR/First Aid, however, those basic skills will not give a person the fundamental training they need.  Finding a local Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class that is offered for paramedics and first responders to accidents will be a better knowledge source and better equip a person to handle emergency medical situations.

Disaster Training

Disaster training is typically offered by FEMA, the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations.  A person who is equipped with knowledge on how to plan for a disaster, how to properly prepare for a disaster, and how to mental handle the after effects of a disaster will be able to better adapt to the situation more quickly compared to those that are not.  The American Red Cross offers extensive courses in disaster safety and training as well as basic First Aid/CPR courses.  There are also online courses offered through FEMA.

Gardening Skills

In a long term survival situation, seeds will mean the difference between life and death.  The only problem is, many have lost the necessary skill of gardening because there is a grocery store on every corner of the streets these days.  It’s time to get your hands dirty and get back in touch with nature.  Learning necessary gardening skills such as companion plants, crop rotations, beneficial insects, natural ways to replenish soil, and knowledge on proper gardening tools will be beneficial.  Another relevant knowledge source is understanding the medicinal value of plants and herbs.  It is amazing how many uses there are for plants besides spicing up our cooked entrees.  Researching natural medicines is another major need in a survival situation, especially if the person has a pre-existing condition.

Firearm Certification and Training

There are dozens of firearm courses offered through the National Rifle Association.  In a situation where a person needs to defend themselves, 99% of them would want a gun.  I’m sure the Survival Mom would agree how beneficial these courses can be as a female and for teaching children.  And, the more a person practices, the better their aim gets.  This is one survival skill that a person should be as proficient as possible.  Also, knowing gun safety and being able to educate others is essential when a firearm is around.

Canning and Food Preparation

Knowing how to can and preserve foods to eat during the long winter months is essential.  Just think of all the delicious jarred goods a person can store up for when their food supply dwindles in the winter.  The canning jars can be a bit of an investment. However, this author has found people selling their canned jars on www.craigslist.com, garage sales and even at second hand stores.  Canning jars would also make an excellent bartering item.

Amateur Radio Classes

Having a radio is encouraged by many disaster relief organizations.  And having knowledge on how to work and maneuver a HAMM radio will provide a person with an emergency communication source during a time when most communication is down.  The National Association of Amateur Radio provides information based on a person’s location and course information on their website.

Sewing Classes

Typically if there is a fabric store, there are sewing classes and sewing events that are offered at the store.  Everyone has heard of how their great grandmothers would sew quilts out of material from tethered or worn clothing.  Not many of us have this skill anymore.  Sewing classes will not only teach a necessary skill, but it will also get the survival mindset in place: make something new out of what you have available.

 Outdoor Survival Skills Courses

Most preppers and survivalists are planning to “re-connect” with nature.  Learning the necessary outdoor skills will provide a person with fundamental knowledge on how to better survive.  The Boy Scouts offer adult classes as well as some community colleges.  Get creative and search around the internet.  There are some survival courses offered online (some offer free survival courses) that a person can learn from the comfort of their home.  There are also wilderness courses offered at a variety of facilities such as local colleges, the YMCA, community park and recreation facilities, etc.  Additionally, finding books, and e-books on survival skills is another way to find information on this topic.

Candle/Soap making Conventions

Soap and candle making are a lost art form in my opinion.  Having a background knowledge of these skills would also be a great bartering skill.  There are classes a person can take that are usually offered at homes as well as some conventions in certain areas.  Searching on the internet would be a great start for finding these classes.

Hunting Skills

As many are planning to hunt wild game for a food source, they will need skills on how to gut the carcass, skin the fur and properly cut the meat.  The “hunter-in-training” will also have to have a proficient knowledge on the different types of hunting tools used to prepare animal carcasses (and these tools come in different sizes based on the animal).  The National Hunting Association is a portal that can take a person to their local area hunting association in order to get more information for their specific area.  Also, this website offers the hunting guides for all of the states within the USA.

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