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National Preparedness Month: What are you doing/have done to prepare?  RSS feed

 
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Erica Strauss has been putting out an awesome series on preparedness this month, and it's really made me get my act together and be prepared. And, since all the segments are in bite-sized chunks, I've been able to actually get the things done! Here's the current segments of her series, and hopefully they help you, too--or make you feel good because you've already accomplished all these things!

Preparedness 101: What's Your Preparedness Philosophy This is post is all about getting yourself thinking about what preparedness means for you and why you might want to be prepared. It's not the "fun stuff," but it's necessary, just like the design philosophy of permaculture is necessary, but not usually considered as "fun" as techniques like swales, hugels and herb spirals.


Preparedness 101: Everyone has a Zombie Apocalypse Scenario This one gets you thinking about what sort of disasters are likely in your region. Like Erica, I live in the pacific northwest, so preparing for tornadoes and hurricanes isn't really that necessary, but getting prepared for the BIG earthquake we're due to have, is. In many ways, if you're prepared for one disaster, you're prepared for them all. But, sometimes that isn't the case. I used to prepare thinking that my husband would walk home from his work after a earthquake. It might take him almost a day, but he'd get here as long as I prepared his Get Home bag well. ... Then I realized that since he works at a hospital, and one of the few hospitals that would withstand the big earthquake, he might not be able to leave work for weeks. I'll be on my own with two small kids and a likely-destroyed manufactured home!


Preparedness 101: Assembling a 72 Hour Bag This isn't your typical "Bug Out Bag." This is a bag to have if there's a fire and you have to evacuate your house, or if your car breaks down, or if you have to evacuate to a shelter ahead of a hurricane. Reading through the list, I discover that I had most of the items spread between my diaper bag and my purse (my "purse" isn't a normal purse--you can read about it here: https://permies.com/t/53463/guys-feel-prepping-survivalist-culture#437900). But I did realize that I don't have any flares, nor a radio in either bag, nor spare clothing for myself and my husband. I don't know if I should get another bag for those things, or not worry about them...


Preparedness 101: Information Preparedness with a Family Reference Binder This is something I've been meaning to assemble since I read about it in the blog Listening to Katrina (which is a fantastic resource, by the way! It explains all the things you need if you only have 60 seconds or 1 hour or 12 hours to respond to a disaster). I'm happy to say that, aside from scanning the documents--which I can't do while baby is sleeping--I've got that document DONE. FINALLY!!!

So, what have you done to prepare for your storm season, fire season, chance of house fire, chance of an earthquake, etc?


EDIT: adding in the last two installments here at the top for ease of viewing!

Preparedness 101: Determine Your Evacuation, Meetup and Emergency Procedures I just finally got this one done, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER for having it done! This section is about more additions to your Family Reference Binder. You figure out where you'd be evacuating in the case of various emergencies and make maps to them. You get all your financial information (title to your house, home and medical and auto insurance, etc) in one spot. You print up any necessary first aid information and add that in, as well as any other really useful bits of information (I printed up instuctions on how to dig a latrine and an outhouse, as well as how to make a well bucket and make soap from wood ash lye).


Preparedness 101: Hunkering Down At Home This is the section where you figure out your biggest problem if you were stranded/sheltered-in-place in your home, without power, etc for two weeks. Is it water? Food storage? Feed for your animals? Fuel to keep warm? How to stay cool? Figure out what it is, and work on ways to solve it! My biggest problem is water--we have various sources and ways to filter it, but with two little kids and me likely being on my own, I really wanted to make sure I had everything ready and planned out in case an earthquake destroyed our well.

EDIT: EEK! Another installment in the preparedness series. Erica is amazing!

Preparedness 101 How to Build a Two Week Emergency Pantry In this installment, Erica goes over two different ways to ensure a two-week emergency pantry. The first is a deep larder (aka, having more of the types of food you normally eat always stocked up). The second is having some extremity shelf-stable, likely freeze-dried, emergency food. There's pros and cons to both, and some suit some people more than others, and you can always do both! We have more of a deep larder, just from constantly buying a ton of whatever non-perishable we normally eat whenever we see it on sale or at outlets grocery stores.
 
pollinator
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I've been following Erica's blog as well. It's given me some things to think about.

I have to say, I think that everyone should memorize at least one emergency contact number. And this isn't just about natural disaster emergencies. Lost phone, stolen phone, violence, arrest, you never know. The police don't let you use your cell phone, or even look at it for numbers. If you don't know those numbers, you aren't calling anyone, once you've been processed.

There are barely any pay phones left, and people are not so generous to allow you to borrow theirs in an emergency.

I have it easy with doctors/insurance, Kaiser, one number my whole life. Memorized.
 
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I live effectively in the middle of nowhere. We are truly the end of the Grid, the last tendril of a feeder line. We have weather that can take out the power for days and often during a blizzard. And it may take days for things to get patched back together. We also have a minimal hospital which along with our ambulance, may be the only medical response for 2.5 hours in some directions from here. If this hospital closes, those numbers will go up to 4.5... you subscribe to air ambulance. To the next burg a chopper flight starts at $1800 without the subscription. We have had the water tower go dry during blizzard because everyone thought running their taps would keep their pipes from freezing... and when the tower went dry everything froze. It took a solid day of people with bars to chip out the ice and get to the pump and get it going with a portable generator they borrowed to get water back into the system. And the number of mains issues they had because of that, they are still repairing that nearly a decade later. When we looked at houses, the one we bought, the realtor said 'oh good this one has a fireplace'. We asked why. She told us why. And to get some kerosene or oil lanterns. And brace for two days average on an out.

We are in tornado alley, though usually they skirt town. We can get horrible hail. We can flash flood (a few years ago I took an acre foot on the east 1.25 acres and that was a lot of damage). We are the original Dustbowl. People here endure and we do pull together (during the one winter blizzard someone came and looked in our windows and realized we did have a fireplace and were otherwise okay. An elderly neighbor, they picked up in one of the County's road grader D9 Cats and gave her a ride to the hospital to shelter, that was about the only thing that had a chance of going down the street...

I have food and clothing stashes as well as basic first aid stuff in all four buildings. I rotate food and first aid stuff as needed. I have 1/8 cord stacked at the ready and the rest of that cord not far away. The lamps get a yearly checkout, and refill. I also have a few plain white 'saint's candles' that will burn for about a week, as backup lighting.  In the clothing stashes I also have shoes.

Paying attention during red flag burn ban (it's so dry don't think of farting) about anything starting up and having bugout stuff ready to grab and sling into a vehicle and leave.

Paying attention to the weather and radar during bad weather season, or looking that way and seeing a suspicious cloud. Knowing how the weather usually tracks in this area, also helps in deciding what to do. Very recently we had one come in from the 'tornado angle' and the clot blew up a few miles out of town and hit us... temperature dropped 18 degrees in a minute, and I said 'hailbreath' and radar showed the white pop up, we had like three minutes to run stuff under the carport awning. (quarter sized hail)

Food forest in progress, so as to fend off the zombies. Hide it in plain sight. Food stash in house that looks like something else, yes (learned that from Y2K prepping, hubby had a fit-thank you NOT Art Bell in the middle of the night).

General bugout bags for us, yes. A few jerry cans of gasoline hidden, rotated, and ready to grab if vehicle is the way we're leaving.

Stamina and endurance built up. I can walk out if I have to. This may be overlooked. Five to ten miles is no longer an issue.

I grew up farmgirl so used to tending critters, and was trained to certification with the ambulance crew when I was late teens. Years since tending self and spouse, so issues of first aid are hopefully handled. Hopefully. Basic things.

What do you do? What do you need? Where do you go? How do you get there? What then? Hopefully I have those sorted. And more than one way to deal with it. That's what I've done.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Deb Rebel wrote: I also have a few plain white 'saint's candles' that will burn for about a week, as backup lighting.



I had to look these up, then I realized I'd often seen these in stores, but just didn't know their names. In case anyone else is wondering what these are, here's a picture.



You can find them on Amazon, but they're likely a whole lot cheaper in your local ethnic grocer or dollar store.

But, you probably can't find a "Secular Saint's Candle" at the dollar store . Amazon has all sorts, like Jane Austen, Einstein, and Nikola Tesla https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BLQOZ2A/ref=twister_B01LZ0KTV6?_encoding=UTF8&th=1



From what I'm reading, the candles burn for something like 80 hours to 7 days, though they don't do too well in drafts. I also have no idea how natural their wax is. But then, most oil lamps aren't natural either. Speaking of, if you're interested in a non-petroleum lamp oil that can burn in your average hurricane lamp or oil lamp, I did find a company that makes their lamp oil out of palm oil. The oil itself is smells kind of...soapy, and not in a good way, but it doesn't smell when you burn it. Just don't spill it on stuff! Somehow our jug of the stuff tipped over and the childproof seal leaked and it made our vinyl floor bubble up and denatured the glue holding it down. Crazy stuff. But, normal lamp oil would probably do the same thing. Here's a link to the stuff: https://www.amazon.com/Firefly-Paraffin-Lamp-Oil-Smokeless/dp/B0096Q6ONQ/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1506193743&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=firefly+lamp+oil&psc=1



 
Deb Rebel
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We feed off a cross country line in the next state, they drop a line down a few counties over then run it across the panhandle going west. Our county is the end of the line, and my town feeds a few small small towns and rural off it.

The substation had something go out last night and it was pretty serious. Off, then the couple of reset flicks... power for five minutes, off, two reset flicks, annnndddd... dead. Call the number and the automessage says they've been working on it for over an hour. I call it in and the rep says sorry, they have no idea when it's coming on. So the entire service area is out.

Fine, it's not going to be below freezing, I have a gas stove (the oven won't work as it has a glow plug and if that's not on it don't burn or stay lit) and I have the lanterns, the saint's candles, etc and get them all sorted out. Then finally power comes on. Oh good, it's 10 pm but those tomatoes have to die. Fine, I get to it, and am going along swimmingly, and the power goes off again for about 45 minutes. Lantern doesn't give me enough light to do the 'find the ick' in the tomatoes-most are great but a few have evil in their hearts and need to be sent to compost. Lights come on again and I clean up for the night. I took the hint!

It stayed on after I went to bed. Today the rest of those tomatoes met the salsa crusher and I have a gorgeous batch of same simmering in the 18 quart rectangular crockpot (they call those slow roasters, those big ones, I have two) Hubby is in heaven and has been threatened with various bodily harm if he eats half of that in the first two days. (hopefully all that work that will last more than a week?)

Still, just reminded how far out to the end of the world we are. For some reason the other half has spent today on the generator we inherited in a parts swap and thinks he has it just about ready to fire...  rather than thinking about it in December...
 
Nicole Alderman
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Sorry it took me so long to get the last two installments added. I felt bad about posting about them if I hadn't done them yet. BUT, now I have my family reference binder finished. And, man, it's nice to have all that info in one place!

As I was hole punching all the papers, my son wanted me to hole punch a piece of his red cardstock. That gave me the brilliant--and really easy and cheap--way to make dividers for the notebook. Since i already had colored construction paper, I just hole punched one in a different color for each category--financial is green, emergency info is red, sanitary how-tos are brown, etc. I'll try and post a picture of it later. It's not the most beautiful folder, but it's useful and easy to work with!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Here's a bad picture of Family Reference Binder. The tabs aren't evenly spaced, and the "Table of Contents" isn't nearly as pretty as I'd like. But, I'm posting it because it's better to have it done and functional rather than perfect. My nature is to be a perfectionist, and so I often don't do something if I don't think I can do it perfectly. But, with something like this, it's better to have SOMETHING done, than nothing.

So, I'm posting this to encourage others to get whatever you can done. Something is better than nothing. Functional and ugly is better than not doing it because you don't have time to make it look professional or pretty.

And, just getting something done really does feel like a load off your back. I'm rather amazed at how much peace of mind I have from my little reference binder. It's so nice having the info all in one place!
104_7029.JPG
[Thumbnail for 104_7029.JPG]
My not-pretty, not-perfect, but FUNCTIONAL Reference Binder :D
 
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Like many of you I am on the end of the line when it comes to the grid, and even for rural Maine we are known as being "really rural." So we have learned to cope. Our longest power outage to date has been 14 days. At that time they were announcing how many people were without power starting at 125,000 people, until they got down to 500, then they stopped saying. At that time we were still without power. Yes that is how rural we are.

We have livestock so "sheltering in place" is really our only option. We have food for a year, a hand dug well we can access instantly, and back up generators, kerosene lanterns everywhere, fuel, firewood, stoves that do not need electricity and lots and lots of games for the kids.

The biggest issue we have here in Maine is Blizzards, which of course we are used to handling, and some bad ice storms. When I was a kid we got slammed head on by a hurricane, but generally speaking the Gulf of Maine is too cold to allow Hurricane's to blast us full-force.

 
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oli lamps:

i just read this book : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KB7F9SU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00KB7F9SU&linkCode=as2&tag=continmoti-20&linkId=4LECUEWPOUQVWWVC

it s about using many kinds of food-oils and -fats and how to make your own lamps

EDIT: best oils should be canola (should burn without much odor), olive and sunflower.
veggie oil will be harder to ignite, but you can use a drop if flammable fluid on the wick
wicks can be made from cotton balls, cotton fabric, toilet paper etc. strands from a mop (to clean floors) would make good and cheap wicks. don t use synthetic stuff, it ll melt.
some oil lamp designs will drip, so put the lamp on a plate or something.

using oils is easier than using (semi-)solid fats like butter, lard etc.


preparedness: it s a good thing to stock some veggie oils. they are cheap and calory-dense. i read an experiment where a lady stored canola oil for 9 years. In a trash bag and that in a non-airtight garbage can. After 9 years it was a little bit rancid but still good to use. But even WHEN the oil goes bad, you ll still have fuel for oil lamps and you can build cookers for oil. ... stacking functions ...
 
pollinator
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Because I live in the Netherlands, the first disaster I think of is flooding. Earthquakes here are minimal, storms only good for blowing the dead branches out of the trees. But when whatever disaster happens and everything doesn't function anymore, about half of the country will flood. Where I live is exactly at sea level. But when sea level gets higher (global warming), I will get wet feet here.
Something else I think of is riots, plundering mobs, that kind of disaster.
In both cases I will leave the house, pack my camping gear on my bicycle, and my 'disaster bag' too, and ride my bike to the east, where it's higher and more quiet. If I don't have the time to pack, I only take the 'disaster bag'. There's food (canned nuts), water and clothes in it, and a hand-powered flash light (turn the handle some rounds and there's light). If I'll have to stay away from here for longer time: I know about wild edibles and building a shelter in the wood.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Tobias Ber wrote: EDIT: best oils should be canola (should burn without much odor), olive and sunflower.
veggie oil will be harder to ignite, but you can use a drop if flammable fluid on the wick
wicks can be made from cotton balls, cotton fabric, toilet paper etc. strands from a mop (to clean floors) would make good and cheap wicks. don t use synthetic stuff, it ll melt.
some oil lamp designs will drip, so put the lamp on a plate or something.

using oils is easier than using (semi-)solid fats like butter, lard etc.



Can the canola, olive &/or sunflower be used in a traditional "oil candle" or hurricane oil lamp? I have a LOT (like 30) oil lamps (both the "hurricane" style and the simpler oil candle style). I would love to burn something in there other than traditional, petroleum lamp oil, but I don't know it would wick well enough in those style oil lamps. I would much rather store giant jugs of sunflower oil that I could use for either cooking or burning, rather than storing both edible oils and toxic oils.
 
Stacy Witscher
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The fires are pretty bad around here. My parents friend had to evacuate with her livestock a couple days ago. They've let her return at this point. But it is a concern.

There is only so much you can do about livestock in an emergency. I wouldn't think that it would be feasible to be able to move all of them at a moments notice. All of the places that I want to live have wildfire issues.

The air quality is terrible, I do need to stock up on proper breathing masks.
 
Tobias Ber
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Can the canola, olive &/or sunflower be used in a traditional "oil candle" or hurricane oil lamp?



it depends... there is a certain max height that a wick can vertically lift the oil. the author states it as 1,75 to 2,5 inches for a cotton mop strand wick. if distance of the oil level and the flame is smaller than that, it might work. probably it won t work in most hurricane lamps, or may just work when the tank is totally full.

but you can make lamps ypurself or get special lamps vor veggie-oils.

Here are two link (both in german, but the pictures/video should be enough to get the idea)

floating oil light



EDIT: it s nice to see that folks here think about what threats might be most applicable to their certain situation.
For us it is: blackouts, minor storm damage (probably with blackouts), violence/civil-unrest/terrorism and flooding (ok, we live in 2nd story and have an attic for some storage). maybe certain pandemics, who knows. we had alerts because of poultry-plague something, but that affected mostly owners of poultry and free-roaming pets
 
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I am lucky I suppose we have no big meteorological issues , nor flooding nor fire nor earthquakes . Nor am I worried by zombie hoards either in the metaphorical or literal sence .
Terrorism is far far away and I am frankly more worried by my neighbours cows invading than the Russians coming or a fascist  take over. ( being on the far far left * a communist take over is no threat )
Yup we could have a power cut but we have a wood stove and cook on that .
Also we have a good health system here in France so I am covered there.
But what I am afraid of is fear , fear i believe make folks stupid and together with paranoia I think is being used to sell stuff and influence people . So how can we prepare for that ?
David

* I am a socialist rather than a communist which puts me still far far far left in USA terms
 
Tobias Ber
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fear is one thing ... assessing the potential risks of a given situation is another.

preparedness may transform an "unspecific fear" into an actual strategy to mitigate potential risks/threats.

but ... i think, preparedness should be stacking functions so that it has benefits, even when the shit stays where it belongs and does not decide to hit the fan

most of preparedness falls into categories of homesteading, natural life, approiate technology etc. ... and i feel free to just assume that we all here like that kinda thing already

what i realize that the "prepper mindset" in germany is much different than in the US. We rely heavily on good infrastructure and full supermarkets. I have lived in walking distance to supermarkets nearly all the time and have experienced just a few blackouts here, most just a few minutes. So most people are not used to it and do not think very much about it. That might be true for most of the younger generations that have grown up in cities or larger villages.
 
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Tobias Ber wrote:preparedness may transform an "unspecific fear" into an actual strategy to mitigate potential risks/threats.



Yup, it's good to be able to assess potential situations and come up with risk management strategies for them.

I usually have enough wood for 2 months and enough food for at least 1 month. My basic tools are in a cabinet next to my door along with fire starter, different clothing etc, and would only take 5 minutes to gather and put in a bag.

Water is the weak point of my set up, but I'm also used to living without drinkable water as I'm very rural and so we're told to only use it for bathing. I was lucky enough to find someone selling used food-grade barrels for $10 each locally, so next year I'll have a little fresh water in reserve. I just need to buy a small cast iron pan for portable use. I'll feel pretty confident after that.

---

I skimmed through some of the articles in the OP and there is a redundancy in the power suggestions. They say to have a powerbank which is just a closed system of charger+batteries, and then they want you to buy flashlights + more batteries. (not sure why they suggest to buy alkaline AAA's..)

You can buy chargers which function like powerbanks. You put in one fully charged 18650 battery and you can charge your phone via USB. Or, you take the battery out of the charger, and put it in a flashlight which provides the best portable light possible. They can be recharged about 200 times or more which is several months of use for most applications while a small portable solar panel to charge them is $25. Just like permaculture, things should have as many uses as possible.
 
David Livingston
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They want you to buy ............................................

I agree Janet its part of  consumerism.

David

I was amused that you said you have wood for two month as I plan my wood on a three year cycle
 
Nicole Alderman
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Jarret Hynd wrote:

I skimmed through some of the articles in the OP and there is a redundancy in the power suggestions. They say to have a powerbank which is just a closed system of charger+batteries, and then they want you to buy flashlights + more batteries. (not sure why they suggest to buy alkaline AAA's..)

You can buy chargers which function like powerbanks. You put in one fully charged 18650 battery and you can charge your phone via USB. Or, you take the battery out of the charger, and put it in a flashlight which provides the best portable light possible. They can be recharged about 200 times or more which is several months of use for most applications while a small portable solar panel to charge them is $25. Just like permaculture, things should have as many uses as possible.



I can't remember seeing the power suggestions, but I do know that a big guiding principle of preparing is that "Two is one and one is none." In other words, back ups for your backups can be a really good idea. Redundancy is something to aim for. So, there's flashlights in case the powerbank fails. And, in my family at least, I like to have multiple flashlights/headlamps because (A) There's four people using them and (B) My kids love to lose things, especially flashlights.

I love the idea of a small solar panel to charge the charger! Do you have one you recommend?

David Livingston wrote:They want you to buy ............................................

I agree Janet its part of  consumerism.  



In one of the articles, I noticed Erica posted links to various preparedness items. I don't think she did this to get us to buy them, but to make it easy to locate quality items if we wanted/needed them, without having to spend as much time doing research as she'd already done a lot of footwork. I also noticed a lot of really cool things that I had put on my Christmas list (if family is going to get some things, I'd love for them to be useful!) Also, I know she hates having ads on her site, and so linking to Amazon products helps support her super helpful site...much like links to items on Amazon here also help support this site .
 
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Preparedness the question is for what most of you have natural disasters in mind and there have been many recently. It makes absolutely sense to prepare for that to know when to leave and what to take. The other point is economically. How do you prepare for job loss or simply you can't keep up with the raising prices or raising taxes or healthcare costs.
The third and important thing is out of control governments, police etc. are we helpless?
 
David Livingston
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I dont mind discussing the appropriateness of what you suggest Angelika however here on Permies we only discuss such obviously political topics in the cider press and I for one would be happy to discus this very interesting topic there .

David
 
Nicole Alderman
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I think it's a fascinating subject, too. I gave Angelika a apple for it to bump her up to 8 apples, so now she can post in the Cider Press if she wants to :D.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Erica has a new post in her series (https://www.nwedible.com/preparedness-101-how-to-build-two-week-emergency-pantry/). I added a little summary of it in the first post, but I thought I'd go into more detail here. Erica goes into the difference between a deep pantry/larder and a stash of emergency foods. For a long time, I thought I needed to have specified emergacny foods--you know freeze dried meals and staples that last like 25 years. Now, I look at my house and realize we've manage to accrue almost a month's worth of non-perishable foods.

How it happened was a mix of "retail therapy" and only going shopping like once a month because our baby and four year old hate the car. We don't let ourselves buy much, but food is necessary, so when we find food we eat at good deals, we tend to "stress-buy" and get LOTS of it. But, since it's all non-perishables, it just means we've ended up with a deep a larder. The only problem is trying to figure out where to store the food in our small house!

Our main staples (my husband has Crohn’s, so is on the SCD/GAPS diet. We have a 1 year old and a 4 year old and we all avoid gluten):

– Aroy-D tetra packs of coconut milk. Less than $1/each if bough by the case at asian markets. We always buy a case these days!
– Cashews and macademia nuts from Trader Joes
Organic canned black bean (I know, I know, I should learn to cook beans from scratch, but I cook so much else from scratch I REALLY don’t want to cook beans from scratch, too).
– Rice
– Salt –bought in bulk through SaltWorks (www.seasalt.com/)
– Canned pumpkin
– Lara Bars
– Organic Fruit Snacks: We tend to buy a lot when they’re at Grocery Outlet because they usually cost an arm and a leg.
– Trader Joes Gluten Free Flour
– Trader Joes Coconut Sugar
– Canned salmon and tuna
– Kippers (my husband and son love these things. BLECH!)
– Potatoes from our garden
– Coconut oil
– Palm Shortening
– Chocolate–I need to buy more. Can’t run out of chocolate!!!
– Molasses–great for electrolytes and cooking
– Collagen – bought in bulk to get discount
– Pouches of applesauce (you know, those drinkable baby food things)

What kind of food stores do you all have? Any goals on better food storage? I know I would love to store more from my garden. So far we just have frozen berries and dehydrated kale and apples, as well as some potatoes in a metal can in the garage. That's better than last year, when we just had some frozen berries, but I would love to preserve even more next year!!!
 
garden master
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Nicole Alderman wrote:  
What kind of food stores do you all have? Any goals on better food storage? I know I would love to store more from my garden. So far we just have frozen berries and dehydrated kale and apples, as well as some potatoes in a metal can in the garage. That's better than last year, when we just had some frozen berries, but I would love to preserve even more next year!!!



Nicole, thanks for sharing.  I have enjoyed reading everyone's responses,

Our local food store is 30 miles away.  I consider it a glorified convenience store with high prices so I usually only buy things I need to replace or things on sale. We only go every two weeks or less.  Next door to the grocery is a Dollar General so I buy some things there.

I have been doing food storage for a long time.  From your list I buy: Rice, Salt, Canned Pumpkin, Canned Salmon and Tuna.

I buy Flour, Cornmeal, Sugar; Salad Dressing and Canola Oil; Canned Green Beans and  Canned Carrots for the dog;

My Emergency Food List has Canned Fruit; Canned Chicken, Spam, Chili, Beef Stew; Canned Soup, Jars of Ragu, Jars of Gravy; Pasta products like spaghetti, macaroni, egg noodles.

Every 3 or 4 months or less we go to a bigger city and shop the big grocery chain or maybe Sam's Club.  There are no Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or Asian groceries that I know of.


 
gardener
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My wife and I didn't actively set out to prepare, but what we've ended up doing I think could qualify as a form or the beginnings of preparedness. What I mean by that is we do have three chest freezers full of food, but didn't do that to prepare for natural disasters or zombie apocalypse. For example, we buy our meats (chicken, beef, pork and lamb) from local farms. Instead of running to each local farm once a week or every other week to buy two steaks or a whole chicken or a pack of bacon like we used to with the grocery store, we'll spend a few hundred bucks and stock up, mainly for one reason: we learned that you gotta get while the getting is good. The small farms generally process animals once or twice a year, so it's only available during those times and sells out kinda fast. Also, we'll never buy industrially raised CAFO meats again.

The meats occupy one chest freezer, and the other two we have are filled with things we make. For example, we'll make 4 gallons of chicken and beef stock at a time and put those in quart canning jars. Pasta sauce seems to be about 6 gallons once a year in July, and close to the same amount of tomato soup, along with other smaller batches of things like potato leek soup or french onion. The sauce and soups always last thru the winter and spring and we're usually running out by the following summer when ripe veggies are in the garden and we're making more again.

We also dehydrate a few things, and put up a little bit of things that really don't need processing, like dry shelling beans.
 
Stacy Witscher
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I have an extensive larder and could probably eat for several months off of it. I love my pressure canner. Stocks, sauces and meat dishes are pressure canned. I keep back ups of commonly used foodstuffs, like various flours, rice, pasta, peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, cherry juice. Vinegars and oil is bought in gallon containers. I buy meat from local farmer, typically whole animal at a time.

As far as non-food stuffs, most of it is bought in bulk, toilet paper, ingredients for cleaning supplies, etc. I shop mostly at Costco, my daughter works there so I will always live near a Costco.

Just to mention how little emergencies pop up, in my battle with MRSA, I'm just getting over a large abscess on my chin, feeling very poorly, my supply of ready prepared food was great to get through the week.
 
master pollinator
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Zombies again!!! I can help. Will likely add much more info later when time permits. For now, here's an excellent product that is new since this thread was started. After the recent huricane in Puerto Rico they were literally begging for them. It saved some lives. Probably many.

Biolite
 
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I live in a rural part of Georgia and have gone without power for a week at a time in both the summer and winter. No power means no water or heat.

It is just me, my dogs and the chickens so I keep a food pantry with probably two months of food on hand. For the dogs I keep bulk rice and canned food (they usually eat kibble). Also have some pasta/crackers/flour stored in mylar.  For the chickens 50 lb bags of feed wheat or whole corn can be sealed in 5 gallon mylar bags and that lasts indefinitely (unlike chicken feed). Kerosene heaters keep us from freezing to death if the power goes out in the winter.

Three items that I have found really help keep things comfortable when the power is out for a week include:

1) Propane camp stove. The little stove sets up in 3 minutes and cooks faster than my electric range. When the power goes out it sits right on the kitchen counter and lets me make coffee/tea or hot meals any time I feel like it. Plus they can be picked up for $25 or so. A 1 lb propane bottle ($3.50) gives me about a week's worth of cooking and hot drinks.

2) Book lights (the little clip on kind). I use a book light as my primary light inside the house because it easily clips to clothing, runs 40 hours on a few AAA batteries, and provides a fairly bright light for close up tasks plus enough illumination to walk around the house etc... Of course they are also perfect for reading. Candles and an oil lamp are nice for "ambiance" but they are a fire hazard especially for households with pets and kids,  I only use them if I am sitting there watching them, and not as a basic light source.

3) Sony Walkman Radio is my near constant companion when the power is out for days. The sound is MUCH better than  emergency crank radios and it runs 50 hours on just one AAA battery. I actually keep it in my car/get home bag in case of emergencies and bring it in the house during outages. Being able to listen to the news, music, talk radio etc....for as long as you like without worrying about burning up batteries is very nice.
 
Travis Johnson
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We routinely lose our power here, last fall losing our power for 9 days, and in 1998 for 13 days, so it can be trying. I have a pretty big, 20 KW back up generator with 275 gallons of diesel fuel storage, the food to last many, many months (canned). I have a couple of hand dug wells so I can always retrieve water by bucket and rope, and for meat I always have livestock running around in the fields. Really to me that is what it comes down too, having the old skills to survive. As long as I know how to butcher, then my family can get through a tough time.
 
pollinator
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My prime preppy thing is making dog food.  I make one months worth every week with the aim of getting up to a year in store. They are two adopted boxers and we have a responsibility to care for them, zombies or not.
 
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James Freyr wrote:My wife and I didn't actively set out to prepare, but what we've ended up doing I think could qualify as a form or the beginnings of preparedness. What I mean by that is we do have three chest freezers full of food, but didn't do that to prepare for natural disasters or zombie apocalypse.



What do you do if the power goes out? Generator? Anywhere close to get dry ice? You might want to can some of what you currently freeze. But what many won't think about is that depending on the power and weather situation, canning jars can freeze.

A friend of mine in NE Texas lost 1000+ jars of canned food that were stored in her garage. Typically, they don't get really hard freezes for hours on end. But one year, they did. And it was a mess. Her husband didn't want to deal with cleaning them out, so he hauled all or her jars off to the dump.

So we all need to have a plan for how to keep your food from thawing and/or freezing when the power is out.
 
Mike Barkley
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After reviewing the initial post & all the links contained there (again) I feel that's it's quite thorough & adequate for almost everyone. Much very good advice in the other posts too. I would like to add or emphasize a few things though. Let's start with a couple of links.


Neighborhood Watch   It's not just about you. We're all in this together. It needs to have teeth, not just make us all feel good with warm & fuzzy signs. Do it right.

$50 first aid kit   This woman knows her stuff & has excellent advice. Start with this video.

Her home page  

Water is crucial!!!  There are many types of filters & purification available but I recommend starting with one of these per person. Minimum. I own several types of filters for different situations & sizes of groups. I keep one of these in each of my backpacks & use them often in the wilderness. They're cheap, strong, light, reliable, easy to use, & they work exceptionally well. I strongly suggest having multiple ways to purify & disinfect water in all your first aid kits, bug out bags, car, & anywhere you might plan to be. It's that important. Bleach, chemical tabs, UV (think SODIS solar distillation here), activated carbon, slow sand filters, etc. Also learn how to make a filter from things gathered in the woods. Then practice it a few times. Many thousands of people died during hurricane Katrina for lack of clean water. Don't be next.

hammock tent   Can't say enough good things about this type of portable shelter.

sectional maps  This an excellent type of map I've never seen mentioned on prepper/survival websites or books. They clearly show excellent aids to traveling & navigating on foot.

radio  One for each person in your group. Besides being excellent for communication the ham radio function gives you access to NOAA weather radio almost anywhere in the USA. Extra battery &/or some off grid way to charge them is also highly recommended.

Know how to make fires exceptionally well. Not only with lighters, matches, & magnifying glasses but also the old fashioned ways. Hard to beat a beeswax candle for starting wet wood in primitive conditions. Practice practice practice until you trust your life on your ability.

Large amounts of toilet paper, or at least many old phone books or newspapers. Just in case the emergency lasts far too long. Waterproof it all. Store in multiple locations.

Large amounts of feminine hygiene pads. For the obvious reason but they are also excellent first aid items. Keep some waterproof tape with them. Also waterproofed in multiple locations.

Seeds. I'm going to assume that needs no explanation here.

I've had many people ask me to teach them survival techniques. They usually expect big knives macho eat some bugs with Rambo & Sasquatch adventures in the wilderness. Unless I know they're truly ready for that I save them some pain & suffering by telling them to (unexpectedly & without warning to their families) turn off their water main, gas main, & all their circuit breakers for two days. The exception being the freezer. No use wasting good food. No going to the stores for anything. Start with that.

I keep a month's worth of basic food. In my car. Realistically though, that would most likely be used to keep a small group alive & comfortable for a few days. I also keep a lot of camping gear in there plus a very good first aid kit large enough for a dozen or so people. I keep my gas tank mostly full. Personally I don't need much of that but I have to store it somewhere, might as well be where the unexpected emergency might occur. I also have several well stocked backpacks stored in various locations. The one I use for actual backpacking is all I really need. But I also have more typical bug out/get home bags with some nice to have items. Plus an INCH bag. (I'm never coming home) Strictly for zombie situations. I am obligated to help YOU if it ever gets down to zombies. I keep over a year's worth of food at home & use that as my normal food supply. Store what you eat, eat what you store. I keep another year's worth of food & essential supplies somewhere else. Very remote. Very inaccessible. I also have a small amount of essential supplies enroute, via the hard way. I'm not a lunatic. I'm not scared either. I'm just old & have experienced firsthand some of the very worst that can happen in this world. I have skills. I have a plan. With several alternative plans. I'm a survivor. My entire dinky hillbilly town will survive.

Don't wait until something bad happens to get started.

Peace, love, & grooviness to all.

 
Stacy Witscher
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Mike Barkley - wow, you take you survival seriously. I'm with Inara on this one, if we get raided by Reavers, I want a hypodermic with a sweet end. Surviving isn't enough. But I am aware most people are afraid of dying. I just want to be prepared for short-time emergencies.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Gail Gardner wrote:

James Freyr wrote:My wife and I didn't actively set out to prepare, but what we've ended up doing I think could qualify as a form or the beginnings of preparedness. What I mean by that is we do have three chest freezers full of food, but didn't do that to prepare for natural disasters or zombie apocalypse.



What do you do if the power goes out? Generator? Anywhere close to get dry ice? You might want to can some of what you currently freeze. But what many won't think about is that depending on the power and weather situation, canning jars can freeze.

A friend of mine in NE Texas lost 1000+ jars of canned food that were stored in her garage. Typically, they don't get really hard freezes for hours on end. But one year, they did. And it was a mess. Her husband didn't want to deal with cleaning them out, so he hauled all or her jars off to the dump.

So we all need to have a plan for how to keep your food from thawing and/or freezing when the power is out.



Never thought about canning jars freezing. Good point!

Stuffed full freezers will stay frozen for several days, and running a generator for 30 or so minutes every few days can keep them frozen.

Course if people live in the burbs then running a generator to keep your food frozen for weeks on end presents other issues. If it is Florida during hurricane season that is fine as people are used to going weeks without power, but  in many other populated areas a loud generator would be the equivalent of a sign that says "Rob us! We have lots of food and other stuff!".

I have also heard that generator thefts are a problem in some areas. Apparently the thieves will steal/crank up a lawnmower or similar machine and leave it running as they shut off the generator and haul it away. Guess the people inside the house spend a little while checking appliances/cords before going outside since they can hear their "generator" running.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Mike Barkley - wow, you take you survival seriously. I'm with Inara on this one, if we get raided by Reavers, I want a hypodermic with a sweet end. Surviving isn't enough. But I am aware most people are afraid of dying. I just want to be prepared for short-time emergencies.



The thing is in the vast majority of cases (including a nuke strike) you won't die quick (if at all) or know how serious the disaster is for possibly days/weeks. Having hardly any supplies means you will run out of food/water before you have any real clue whether the disaster is regional/short term or long term and not worth surviving. The dilemma becomes much much worse if you have kids, pets, or others depending on you.

Having a few weeks or months of supplies gives you time to figure that out and come to grips with that reality of the situation.

Another thing a lot of prep minded people store is fish antibiotics. The good brands (like Thomas Labs) are made in the same factories/form/strength as those sold for human consumption and they are fairly inexpensive. I recently bought a 100 count 500 mg Amoxicillen tablets off ebay for $28.
 
Mike Barkley
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I'm just old & have experienced firsthand some of the very worst that can happen in this world. I have skills. I have a plan. With several alternative plans. I'm a survivor. My entire dinky hillbilly town will survive.  



I should have been dead long ago. Here I'm trying to help everyone else have a long happy life. It's not just about mere survival, it's about living life to the fullest no matter what comes your way. Aim for that.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:My prime preppy thing is making dog food.  I make one months worth every week with the aim of getting up to a year in store. They are two adopted boxers and we have a responsibility to care for them, zombies or not.



What recipe do you use?

I will pressure cook and then can ten pounds of chicken leg quarters for dog food tomorrow (first time using a pressure canner, am a bit nervous). I don't normally cook for them these days but want to put up some cans of chicken and pork in case of emergencies.
 
Amanda Launchbury-Rainey
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Dog food 1 I make bone broth from chicken carcasses, add the now soft bones, broth, cooed lentils and cracked white rice and can under pressure..  When we have more veg next year I will add carrots, green beans, squash and soaked corn  to the mix and supplement with eggs..  
Good enough for us too almost!
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:Dog food 1 I make bone broth from chicken carcasses, add the now soft bones, broth, cooed lentils and cracked white rice and can under pressure..  When we have more veg next year I will add carrots, green beans, squash and soaked corn  to the mix and supplement with eggs..  
Good enough for us too almost!



Sounds good.

I am just canning the meat (including the mashed chicken bones, fat and broth) because I want to be sure to have enough protein/fat in their diet. The canned food I bought is only 9% protein which isn't enough once mixed with rice (their regular kibble is 24% protein and 20% fat, or maybe 20% of the calories are from fat, regardless they need a lot of fat ). Have thought about storing lard as a fat source too. Will just store the rice dry and cook it up on demand.
 
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