Do You Have Enough Oil for Your Lamp?

The parable of the ten virgins can be found in Matthew chapter 25 in the New Testament of the Bible. It is the story of ten young girls on there way to meet the bridegroom. Unsure of when he would come, they must wait throughout the dark night. Five of the wise ladies prepared in advance by gathering oil for their lamp so that they would last all night long. The other five girls didn’t think to prepare in advance. When the bridegroom finally arrived the five prepared women were able to join the party without any problems. The five foolish unprepared women begged the others to share, but there wasn’t enough for everyone. So they were forced to rush to the shops to try and buy oil for their lamps. Due to the big party, all the shops were sold out and they were unable to purchase any oil to light their lamps. They arrived late to the party and were denied entrance.

You might be wondering why this story of a few silly girls is important. It is important because five of the girls were not silly. They prepared in advance. They didn’t know how long their lamps would need to last so they bought extra oil just in case. As the night dragged on their oil kept their lamps burning bright. The girls who didn’t prepare were left in a state of panic rushing to the store only to discover there was not more oil.

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it is a Category 5 Hurricane and sometimes it is a trucker’s strike that halts shipments to your local grocery store. The point is you don’t know which one you will be faced with. You might only need food and water for 72-hours, or you might need to replace everything own. Don’t get caught in the dark of night unprepared. 

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. The five foolish women didn’t plan ahead. They were just as excited about the party as everyone else, but their lack of planning prevented them from joining in the fun. If you don’t have the supplies you need to ensure your family’s survival then you’ll surely regret it.

Why didn’t the girls just share their supplies? They didn’t have enough to share among themselves and the others. You shouldn’t rely on the preparations of others. Governments and charity organizations do a lot to help a lot of people but don’t count on them when things get tough. Your failure to plan shouldn’t create an emergency for someone else. 

Part of your preparation should include self-defense. The unprepared women asked for help, they could have put up much more of a fight. If you have the only food and water on the block be sure someone will come knocking at your door. Share if you can, but there might not be enough supplies to go around. Hungry people are not the most friendly. Be prepared to protect yourself and your supplies. 

DIY First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first-aid kit can be a real lifesaver. An organized kit is the key to fast and effective treatment. Your first-aid kit shouldn’t just be some bandages thrown into a bag. It will be a pain to find what you need during a real emergency. A good first-aid kit should be separated into categories so you can quickly and efficiently find what you are looking for. Minutes matter in a life and death situation.

A simple toiletry bag can be used as a ready-made first-aid kit for around fifty dollars. Look for a compact, water-resistant bag, with lots of compartments for organization. Ideally, the bag should be red in color. Red is the universal color for medical equipment. A compact bag will be easy to carry with you no matter the terrain. A water-resistant bag is a must-have in a wetter climate, but you never know when you might have to cross a river or get stuck in a downpour.

Gloves will prevent the spread of disease from you to the patient and vice versa. Some people are allergic to latex so make sure your gloves are latex-free. You may have to cut clothes off to access the wound, safety sheers will make this quick and easy. Iodine wipes are a quick and easy way to disinfect a wound and help keep the area you are working on clean. Liquid iodine can also be used to clean wounds. A variety of different sized bandages and cotton pads will allow you to treat different injuries effectively.

Tweezers are great for removing splinters or other small debris that may become lodged in the body. Every dog owner should carry tweezers. Foxtails are especially bad this year and they can easily get stuck in Fido’s ears or nose. Tweezers will allow you to remove them quickly before they become a major health hazard.

It is a good idea to keep a few anti-inflammatory medications on hand. Allergic reactions are dangerous and can happen at any time, better to be safe than sorry. Simple over the counter painkillers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen will take the edge off and allow you get out of harm’s way if necessary. Saline eye drops can be used to rinse eyes if injured.

For more serious injuries a tourniquet could save your life. Massive blood loss is deadly, end of story. Colting agents such as Celox can be applied to a wound to quickly colt blood and stop bleeding fast. Wrap the wound with a pressure bandage to prevent it from bleeding again. Use a tourniquet if necessary. Be sure to remember the tourniquet was applied so you can inform emergency personnel.

Essentials Items  

  • Toiletry bag
  • Latex-free gloves
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Bandages of different sizes
  • Tweezers
  • Iodine wipes
  • Blood clotting agents
  • Compress bandage
  • Tourniquet
  • Safety Sheers
  • Gauze
  • Large cotton pads
  • Medical tape
  • Small cotton pads
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Saline eye drops
  • Liquid iodine

Water Storage–How Much Do You Need?

The human body is 65 percent water. Water is essential to life as we know it. Water carries nutrients and hormone through the body, regulates body temperature, lubricates our eyes, and cushions joints. After 1 to 2 day without water, the brain literally starts to shrink. Researchers found that the same task will take a dehydrated person twice as long to complete as a hydrated person. After 3 to 5 days without water, organs and brain functions will shut down.

Water storage should be a part of everyone’s emergency preparation. During a disaster, water lines easily can be interrupted or damaged. You might not have access to clean drinking water for several days. Authorities recommend having enough water for at least 72 hours. However, some areas remain out of water for 4 to 5 days, and others even longer.

As a general rule of thumb store 1 gallon per person per day. For example, a family of four would need 120 gallons for one month. Keep in mind children or nursing mother might require more water. More water will be necessary for warmer climates. Water needs can double in extreme heat.

Don’t forget your fur family when stockpiling water for a disaster. A healthy dog should drink about 1 ounce per pound of body weight. My 42 lbs Border Collie mix would need about 1/2 of a gallon per day. Cats, on the other hand, get most of their water through their food, but they still need 2-3 ounces of water per day. My family of 5, plus two dogs and cat would need about 21 gallons of clean water for 72 hours.

Daily Water Use 

  • 1 Gallon per person
  • 1 Ounce per pound of dog
  • 2-3 Ounces per cat

Store water in various sized containers. It will be extremely difficult to move a large  55-gallon drum during an evacuation. Bottled water is easy to carry. You will need 8 16.9 oz water bottles per person per day. My family would need about 56 bottles of water per day.

3 Day Water Supply Containers 

  • 4.6 water bottle cases (36 16.9 oz water bottles per case)
  • 21-gallon jugs
  • 12 2.5-gallon rectangular jugs

Water Tips 

  • Don’t ration water unless told to by authorities. Drink what you need. Limit your water needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
  • Don’t drink soda, coffee, or alcohol. Caffeine and carbonation will increase your water needs.
  • Avoid cloudy or questionable water. Drink the water you know is clean first. Treat the questionable water if possible. Don’t become dehydrated, drink the questionable water if there are no other options.

 

 

Source: https://simplypreparing.com/weeks-worth-of-water-storage-for-less-than-20/

https://www.ready.gov/water

https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/05/07/dog-water-consumption.aspx

DIY Can Food Storage Rotation

A good rotating food storage system is one of the best ways to save time, money, and possibly help you in an emergency situation. Think about how much waste happens when your storage room is disorganized. Food gets pushed to the back of shelving, sometimes expiring before you get to it again. You don’t know what food you have or where you put it.  There are so many benefits to having your food storage organized. Even better, building a system is not difficult at all.

Save Money
Did you know that according to the Food and Agricultural Organization,  Americans waste $160 billion in waste every year?(1)  Most of that waste is perishable food, but expired canned food plays into that staggering number. If you have a good storage system, you know exactly what food you have and how much of it you have.  Because food doesn’t expire before you get to it, you save money by rotating your food and using it regularly.

Convenience
Having an organized pantry and storage room means you know exactly what you have on hand and what you need to replenish. You’ll never run out of your kitchen staples if you know what you have.  You can use your system as rotating food storage, using your food daily and replenishing when you need it.

Stay Prepared
You have your food storage because you want to be prepared, right? But how prepared are you if you don’t know what food you’ve stored? An efficient storage system helps you be prepared for you emergencies because you know exactly what resources you have.

Even a small storage room can benefit from a good storage system. While there are many options,  sloped shelves are an excellent way to store canned goods to ensure they are rotated properly. Sloped shelves let gravity do the work.  If you’re tight on space, slope just a few shelves and leave the rest flat for other food or water storage. The shelves can be as large or as small as your space allows. Remember not all cans are created equal so make sure to measure the size of cans you want to store and build your sloped shelves accordingly.

DIY Rolling Can Shelves 

Materials 

  •  2x4s
  • Plywood (2′ wide)
  • 8′ corner bead strips
  • Deck screws
  • Stud finder
  • Stapler
  • Level

Steps 

  1. Build the outer frame and make sure it is square.
  2. Place the rails on the frame at a slope. It should be sloped at about 6 inches from the top of the rail to the bottom. This will help the cans rolls smoothly.
  3. Measure the cans and space the rails accordingly.
  4. Place the frame on the wall.
  5. Trace the rails.
  6. Use the stud finder to find the wall studs.
  7. Screw the second set of rails into the studs. This will form the back wall of the shelving unit.
  8. Measure the height of the cans. Place the corner bead strips along the plywood with enough space for the cans to roll smoothly. You can use CD cases as spacers.
  9. Staple the corner bead strips to the plywood. The cans will roll between the corner bead down the length of the shelf.
  10. Lay the shelves in the frame starting from the bottom and screw them in place.
  11. Screw a piece of wood to the end of each shelve. This will prevent the cans from rolling onto the floor.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141013-food-waste-national-security-environment-science-ngfood/

DIY Rainwater Collection System

Rainwater harvesting has been used since Ancient Rome. Water one of the most valuable resources we have. It is estimated that the average person wastes about 30 gallons of water each day. A rainwater collection system could reduce your household water use by a third simply by collecting rain from the roof. A rain collection system could supply your home with an extra 4500 gallons of water in the Utah Desert, and even more in wetter climates.

Collecting rainwater is good for the environment as well. Storm rains pick up trash, nutrients, and other pollutants. The rain moves through drains and into local bodies of water such as rivers and lakes impairing water quality. Rainwater collection will lessen the initial flush of stormwater runoff and reduce the amount of pollution that reaches local watersheds. Rain barrels can reduce stormwater runoff by 12 percent. Harvesting rainwater will reduce water withdrawal from lakes and rivers. It will provide water for gardens and landscaping. It will allow you to conserve water and save money.

DIY Rainwater Collection System 

Materials 

  • 55-gallon drum with lid
  • Paint Strainer
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Gutter strainer
  • Downspout fittings
  • Cinder blocks
  • 3/4″ spigot with turn ball valve
  •  Permanent marker
  • Drill with 7/8″ spade bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Half-round file
  • Utility knife
  • 1 1/4″ galvanized wood screws

Steps 

  1. Drill a starter hole into the side of the 5-gallon bucket.
  2. Use the jigsaw to cut the top off of the 5-gallon bucket.
  3. Trace the outline of the 5-gallon bucket the 55-gallon drum lid.
  4. Drill a starter hole in the drum lid.
  5. Cut out the outline using the jigsaw. The top of the 5-gallon bucket should fit tight.
  6. Drill a hole at the bottom of the 55-gallon drum. Use the file to slowly widen the hole until the spigot fits snugly.
  7. Place the 55-gallon drum on top of the 3 cinder blocks.
  8. Attach the downspout fitting to your existing rain gutter. The new downspout should run directly into the top of the 5-gallon bucket.
  9. Make sure the new downspout is secure. Use brackets to attach it to the house if necessary.
  10. Cut a hole in the lid of the of the 5-gallon bucket to allow the end of the downspout through.
  11. Attach a paint strainer to the 5-gallon bucket. This will prevent large objects and bugs from getting into the water supply.  Make sure the paint strainer doesn’t hang too far into the rain barrel.
  12. Place a gutter strainer in the open gutter on the roof. This will stop large items from falling into the rain gutter and clogging it.
  13. Attach a hose to the spigot to water the garden easily.
  14. Link several rain barrels together with PVC pipes to collect even more water.

Be sure to follow local regulations for rainwater harvesting. 

Photo Credit: http://struckcorp.com/diy-rainwater-harvesting-systems/

Source: https://extension.usu.edu/waterquality/files-ou/Publications/Rainwater-Harvesting-in-Utah.pdf

How to Store Water Properly

According to a 2012 poll of US adults, 53 percent do not have a minimum 3 day supply of non-perishable food or water. That is a scary number of unprepared families. Survival during a crisis will be very difficult without food and more importantly water. After about 3 days without water, your brain will begin to shrink and organs will start to shut down.

Cape Town, South Africa has been hit by a massive drought recently. There is a very real threat of running out of clean drinking water completely. A 2014 survey found that 1 in 4 of the world’s 500 largest cities face growing stress on their water supply. It is estimated that by 2030 the global demand for fresh water will outpace supply by 40 percent.

Storing water will ensure your family has access to clean drinking water during an emergency. Water doesn’t have a real expiration date, however, if stored incorrectly it can become toxic. Water should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a basement or windowless pantry. Sunlight and heat create the ideal conditions for bacteria and algae to grow.  Heating plastic containers will leach chemicals into the water faster.

DO

  • Only store water in food grade containers.
  • Plastic for water storage should be BPA free. BPA will leach into the water supply over time.
  • Glass containers can be used to store water, only if they haven’t previously stored something else.
  • Stainless steel containers won’t leach any chemicals into the water. Do not put tap water treated with chlorine in a stainless steel container.  The chlorine will erode the metal over time.
  • Water blatters allow you to quickly line a bathtub and fill it during an emergency. Bathtubs aren’t sterile and they are open to contamination. A water blatter keeps the water sealed and clean. They can’t store up to 100 gallons.

DO NOT 

  • Do not store water in anything other than food grade containers.
  • Do not store water in a container that has previously housed oils or chemicals.
  • Avoid washed out milk jug and juice or soda bottles for long terms water storage.
  • Don’t store water in cardboard containers. Boxed water won’t last long.
  • Do not store water in metal containers (except stainless steel). The container will break down and rust over time.
  • Do not store water in containers that can’t be sealed. Open water is easy to contaminate.
  • Avoid sunlight and direct heat when storing water.
  • Avoid any containers that may have been contaminated.

Store water in a variety of containers sizes. This will make carrying water during an evacuation easier. Water should be rotated once a year even if stored in the best conditions.

Source: http://www.skilledsurvival.com/water-storage/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959

What Is a #10 Can?

You’ll notice that most of our freeze-dried and dehydrated food is stored in #10 cans.  But what exactly is a #10 can?

Size
#10 cans are large cans with the dimensions of 6.25″ x 7″. To put that in perspective, they are about the size of large coffee cans. The #10 classification refers to its size. All cans are named according to size. For instance, fruit/soup cans are #2 cans.  You can fit the contents of about 5 #2 cans inside 1 #10 can.

Volume vs. Weight
Due to the density variations of foods, the weight of the contents held in the can is different according to what the food is. For instance, a #10 can full of freeze-dried strawberries weighs about 7 oz. while the same volume of a can of freeze-dried ground beef weighs almost 2 pounds. Also, servings per container will be different, due to varied serving sized of foods.

Benefits of #10 Cans
A #10 can is perfect for your food storage because it seals in the nutrition of your food while preventing bacterial growth. The sealing process prevents air and moisture from entering the can.

Opening #10 Cans
You can open a #10 can with a handheld can opener. Once opened, if you use the plastic lid and store your food in a cool, dry, dark place, your freeze-dried food will stay good for 6-12 months. In other words, you do NOT have to use the food immediately.

 

Freeze-Dried vs. Dehydrate Food

If you’re new to the food storage game, you might be wondering why so many emergency prepping companies choose to freeze-dry instead of dehydration for many products. Looking at the process for both preservation methods will help you understand the benefits and drawbacks to both.

The Process
Dehydration-  Dehydrating food is a relatively easy process that can be done from home.  Dehydrators simply circulate hot, dry air across the food removing much of the water (usually between 90-95%) Dehydrating is ideal for grains and legumes.  
Freeze-Dry-   Freeze-drying is a more complicated process. In systems that have only recently become available to households, foods are placed on sheets in chambers where they are frozen to -40 degrees F.  At this point the freeze-dryer creates a vacuum around the food and then warms it. As it’s warmed the ice turns to vapor and evaporates.  Freeze-drying removes up to 99% of water. Freeze-drying is ideal for meats, fruits, and vegetables.  Most freeze-drying is done commercially, but recently at-home freeze-dryers have become available.

Shelf Life
Moisture causes food to decompose and grow bacteria. The less moisture in your food storage, the better.
Dehydration – Grains and legumes are ideal to dehydrate because of their low moisture content. However, meats, fruits, and vegetables will retain up to 5% of their naturally high moisture, making it less than ideal for long-term storage (but great for short-term preservation).
Freeze-Dry– Because freeze-drying takes 98-99% of moisture out of meats, fruits, and vegetables, it is the ideal long-term storage option.

Nutrition
Dehydration – The dehydration process can break down several key vitamins and minerals.
Freeze-Dry – The freeze-drying process actually is conducive to retaining all vitamins and minerals except for Vitamin C.

Reconstitution
Dehydration – Rehydrating dehydrated food typically requires boiled water, which can be time-consuming.  However, some foods (jerky, fruit leather, etc.) do not need reconstitution. (Note- Meats should be precooked before dehydrating.)
Freeze-Dry – Rehydrating freeze-dried food only requires water, hot or cold. Like dehydration, freeze-dried meats should be precooked.  However, fruits and vegetables can be freeze-dried fresh. Once water is added, it just takes a few minutes for the food to be reconstituted.

Cost
Typically, because of the easier process, dehydrated food costs less than freeze-dried food.  However, don’t compare pound per pound because freeze-dried food is significantly lighter than dehydrated due to the water content.

Texture/Taste
Both foods will retain the original taste. Freeze-dried foods will be softer and airier, simply because there isn’t any moisture in the food.

 

 

Emergency Sanitation and Hygiene

You have your food and water storage, but have you considered how important sanitation and hygiene will be in the event of an emergency? Improper hygiene can cause an infectious disease outbreak, escalating emergency situations. Here are some tips for creating your family’s sanitation/hygiene plan.

Bathroom Activity
Take a few days to see how many times your family uses the toilet in one day. See how many diapers are used. Note how quickly you go through bar or gel soap.  This information will determine the supplies you need to keep on hand.  Items you’ll need to help you with bathroom sanitation:

  • Portable toilet- A portable potty lid fits over a bucket.
  • Potty bags – Sealable, double layer bags with bio-gel can help keep your family clean. These bags can be thrown away at an approved facility (not in normal trash cans).
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Soaps
  • Toilet paper/wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Disposable gloves

Bathing
It’s a good idea to designate some of your water storage for bathing and hygiene. Whether you want to use a separate container or calculate your water needs with the storage you already have, remember that water for hygiene is an important item to have on hand. Here are some items to keep for bathing storage:

  • Cleansing cloths- Whether or not you have a baby in your home, baby wipes are great to have on hand for fast, waterless baths.
  • Dry shampoo- This can extend the time between showers
  • Body wash/body soap
  • Razors
  • Shampoo/Conditioner, etc.
  • Lotion to prevent cracked skin

Cleaning
You will want to have a good amount of cleaning supplies on hand. A disinfected house will help prevent the spread of disease. Important items to keep on hand:

  • Water purification tablets/water preserver
  • Bleach – While bleach is not recommended for water purification due to conflicting dilution information, it can be used if another water purification is not available.
  • Disinfecting spray- Disinfecting spray is an important thing to keep on hand to spray on door handles and other high traffic areas. This can help stop the spread of most germs.

First Aid
Part of good hygiene is a thorough first aid plan. Besides a complete first aid kit, anti-diarrhea medicine and cold/cough medicines are important for preventing the spread of family disease. Also, a set of dust/particulate respirator masks can help keep the rest of the family disease free when an outbreak happens.

Misc
Be ready to hand wash clothes, dish rags, etc. If your washing machine is out of commission or uses too much water, a wash basin will be a great asset. Keep liquid or powder detergent on hand so you can hand wash without having to break open small pods. Also, if you have space, you might want to store a drying rack.

Prepare Your Family For an Emergency

Unthinkable emergencies can happen at any time to anybody. These can already be high-stress situations. However, if you have a family with small children, it can be even more stressful. There are, however, ways to prepare now to minimize the stress later.  Here are a few ideas to help your family be better prepared for an emergency.

Create and practice specific plans
Your family needs to have plans for every possible emergency. Recognize possible emergencies for your area and adjust accordingly.

  • Fire evacuation- Have your kids help you create an evacuation plan complete with different routes and meeting places. If they help create it, they will be more likely to remember the plan.
  • Earthquakes- Show your kids how to be safe in an earthquake. Teach them to get underneath a sturdy piece of furniture and make themselves into a small ball, protecting their necks with their hands.
  • Tornadoes- Children need to know where the shelters are in school and at home so they know exactly where to go.

Emergency Packs

Each child should have an emergency pack next to his/her bed to grab and go. That pack does not need to be a heavy, complete pack. Have some food and water, a change of clothes, a flashlight, 2-way walkie/talkie radios, and small toys in that pack. Parents’ packs can be more inclusive.
Also, for emergencies while your child is at school, designate a pocket in your child’s backpack for emergency items. Insert a water pouch, a few granola bars, emergency blanket, and a picture of your family with a little note on the back.

Teach Through Recreation

Family camping trips are not only fun, but they can help teach your children important survival skills. Teach your children fire-starting techniques,  how to build emergency shelters, which plants are edible, etc. These activities don’t need to be in the name of emergency preparedness. If you make them fun, your children will learn important skills without even knowing it.