Food Storage Do-Over Week 15: Powerless Cooking

We are excited to be starting week 15 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! We are getting close to the end of this adventure. If you didn’t catch last week’s post which talked about Sanitation and First Aid you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK15FACE

Emergency preparedness is a very broad topic. This week we are going to be working on a plan for powerless cooking. We always recommend starting with inexpensive or do-it-yourself cooking tools so you at least have SOMETHING to use in an emergency. Then as you practice and learn what your family uses the most, you can start to invest in higher quality tools over time.

Fuels

In order to cook without power, you must have some sort of fuel. We love to use the sun as our main fuel source as much as possible, but if you don’t have a way to cook using solar power yet, here are some other fuel options for you.

For a printable overview of the common fuels click here.
For a video overview see below:


 

Do-It Yourself Stoves/Ovens

If you have empty #10 cans hanging around the house you can make a simple #10 Can Stove to use for boiling water or heating up just add water meals.

For a printable tutorial click here.
For a video overview see below:


 

If you’d like the option to cook baked items like casseroles, cakes, and bread you will need to make an oven. You can make an easy-to-use cardboard box oven that cooks using charcoal.

For a printable tutorial click here.
For a video overview see below:


 

Inexpensive Stoves

Any number of inexpensive camping stoves can be purchased at camping stores or from Amazon.com. Take a look at what fuels they use as that can impact your decision a lot.

Butane Stoves – We love these because you can cook INDOORS and store the fuel indoors. You can get about 4-5 cook hours out of one butane canister.

Cube Stove – This is an inexpensive little stove that burns fuel pellets. Lightweight and great to throw into 72 hour kits

Firebox – Similar to a cube stove but higher quality and folds flat. The design helps manage airflow so it is very efficient at conserving fuel. Lots of different fuels can be used in it.

TASKS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Research these fuels and inexpensive stoves
  • Purchase or make at least one stove you can use
  • Accumulate a 30 day supply of fuel to cook on whichever stove you buy/make

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

If you are an emergency preparedness veteran you may have already looked into some of the larger, longer-term stoves and ovens. Here is a summary of the ones that we have and use ourselves. There are others out there but these are the ones we have the most experience with. Do your own research and find what will meet YOUR family’s needs.

All-American Sun Oven

If you can cook with the sun, it is going to be best bet for conserving your fuel. Solar power is renewable and unlimited, as long as it’s a sunny day! We use Sun Ovens as our primary cooking device and keep other tools as back-up for cloudy days.

View our webinar (and special offer) on the All-American Sun Oven by clicking here.
View an older video featuring the Global Sun Oven below:


 

Helius Rocket Stove

This is a heavy duty outdoor stove that can be used as an open fire or to cook with pots on top. It can withstand the weight of a full pressure cooker, and can keep temperatures constant enough for pressure cooking. Designed for fuel efficiency and to reduce smoke, this is a great little stove.

View our post introducing this stove by clicking here.
View a video introduction below:


 

Volcano Collapsible Grill

The Volcano Grill is a more portable stove and is very versatile in that it can use a wide variety of fuels for cooking. It can be used as an open fire pit, as a grill, for dutch oven cooking, boiling water, or even for baking if you have the “tent lid”. Great to throw in the car for a quick evacuation or camping trip.

View more details about the Volcano Grill by clicking here.
View a video introduction below:


 

HERC Tea Light Ovens

The HERC Tea Light Ovens solve the dilemma of how to BAKE indoors when the power is out. It’s not always feasible or recommended to be outside in an emergency situation. You can bake in these ovens using just a few tea light candles. The smaller “eco” oven works like a crock pot and uses ten tea lights. The larger “XXL” oven uses twenty tea lights and cooks like a 350 degree oven. Fuel cost is about $0.40 per hour and you can get 4 hours of solid cook time out of each batch of candles.

View post introducing these ovens by clicking here.
View a video introduction below:


 

Tasks for this week

  • Inventory your powerless cooking tools and fuel
  • Determine how long you could cook using the fuel you have on hand
  • Research some of the longer term stoves/ovens shown above
  • Purchase or make a plan to save up for any appliances you’ve been wanting
  • Organize your storage area so that your tools are easy to access
  • Make a goal to practice cooking without electricity at least one time per week this summer

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

ReadyFuel: This is a new product from Lindon Farms. It is a gel that can be used indoors or outdoors, and won’t freeze, evaporate, or melt. It’s very light and each packet contains a little metal sheet that can be turned into a holder for your pot. It’s a great little fuel for camping or small cooking needs like boiling water.
InstaFire: If you’ve followed our blog for a while you will know that we think InstaFire is a great product. It can be stored inside in convenient buckets, it burns in any kind of weather, and will even burn wet wood. It is handy to use in any kind of portable stove or even just on the ground. It’s definitely a nice supplement to go along with your other fuels.
Fuel Disks: There are a few companies putting out fuel pellets or pucks that can be used in stoves such as the Firebox, or Cube Stove. The disks can be re-used if you don’t use the whole thing. They are easy to burn but must be used outside. They store easily and conveniently indoors or out. They are a very efficient fuel with one pellet lasting for one hour of cooking.

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

PINTEREST BOARD ON POWERLESS COOKING
Types Of Fuel
Cooking Stoves
Global Sun Oven
All American Sun Oven
Fuel Disks
InstaFire
ReadyFuel
Butane Stoves
Wonder Box Oven
Dutch Oven Cooking Overview
Video: Powerless Cooking Event
Handout: Powerless Cooking Fuels Handout
Handout: Tutorial On How To Make A #10 Can Stove
Handout: Tutorial On How To Make A Cardboard Box Oven
Handout: Tutorial On How To Make A Wonderbox Oven
10 Ways To Practice Powerless Cooking This Summer

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WEEK15PIN

Food Storage Do-Over Week 14: Sanitation/First Aid

We are excited to be starting week 14 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! If you didn’t catch last week’s post which talked about non-food items you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK14FACE

Emergency preparedness is a very broad topic. This week we are going to be working on evaluating our sanitation and first aid plans. There are a lot of ways to cover these areas so we will try to point you in the right direction to do your own research and come up with what works best for you and your family.

First Aid

If you are fairly new to the preparedness world you may not have a lot of first aid supplies stocked up yet. It never hurts to just purchase a basic first aid kit to at least get started. We saw this awesome more advanced list posted by Nancy over at the Preparedness 101 facebook group this week and wanted to share it here.

1) Sanitary pads for dressings
2) Roller gauze for bandages
3) Bedpan
4) Gloves (very sturdy for re-cleaning/sterilizing)
5) Urinal
6) Benadryl (allergic reaction)
7) Clove oil (tooth pain)
8) Superglue for lacerations
9) Washcloths
10) Oral analgesic for numbing
11) Ibuprofen for pain and fever
12) Nausea medicine
13) Pantyhose for bandaging any part of the human anatomy without tape
14) Plastic backed washable pads for bedridden patients/kids (can use alternatives)
15) Emergency dental kit
16) Anti-diarrhea medicine
17) No-more-tears shampoo for wound cleansing and general washing
18) Sheets for dressings, packing and slings

Notable things I left out:
- Bandaids (only for short term wound cover, your body will make you a scab)
- Tape (sticks to skin/ hurts to remove, gets old)
- Expensive drugs
- Peroxide, alcohol and Betadine -these wound cleansers are not needed and actually toxic to healing skin.

If you are interested in more natural styles of medicine you can look for ideas on our “Your Natural Medicine Cabinet” post. If you are looking for a more in depth list from a medical professional we recommend this “Nurse’s Fully-Stocked Medical Kit” post.

Sanitation

Having proper hygiene can make a huge difference to your health in an emergency situation. You need to have a plan for how to dispose of waste properly. You can buy a simple sanitation kit, or put your own together that includes these items:

• Two 5 or 6 gallon plastic buckets with tight fitting lids
• Two toilet seats that attach to the buckets
• Toilet paper
• Pre-washed and dried flannel, cut into squares, to use if toilet paper is not available—wash in hot water and bleach and re-use
• Paper towels
• Hand wipes, hand sanitizer and hand soap
• 13-gallon trash bags (to line toilets)
• 33- gallon trash bags (to dispose of smaller, used bags and other trash)
• Two (or three) spray bottles (for hydrogen peroxide & white vinegar, with the third for bleach)
• Hydrogen peroxide
• White vinegar (in a plastic bottle, if possible, to avoid broken glass)
• Borax and/or Bleach
• Essential oils and/or sprays for odor control
• Small funnel to fill spray bottles
SuperSorb
• Shovel
• Heavy gloves (for digging)
• Disposable gloves (for cleaning)
• Face masks
• Copy of this sheet of instructions, stored in a plastic sheet protector
• Empty plastic jug (the kind you keep in the fridge) to hold water for hand washing

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

If you are an emergency preparedness veteran you probably have a lot of first aid and sanitation supplies on hand already. Let’s take some time this week to inventory, re-evaluate, re-purchase, and add to our supplies! Here are some action steps for you this week:

  • Make a master list of all the supplies you would like to store. Use our basic lists above or check out some of the helpful resources listed below for ideas.
  • Go through your supplies and inventory exactly what you already have on hand.
  • Make a shopping list of the items you need to buy more of. You can get some things for really cheap at the dollar store or big box stores. For more specialty items we like to shop at Emergency Essentials or Amazon.
  • Consider larger medical emergencies that may occur in a long term emergency situation. Buy extra supplies and learn how to deal with those (i.e. childbirth, how to do stitches, setting bones, etc.)
  • Sign up for a CERT class or attend some other first aid training in your area. If you can’t find a class you can check out the notes from a local class we took at our church on CPR and basic first aid.
  • Buy some books or print out instructions for basic medical care and store them with your supplies.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

dtmlady Family Sanitation Kit:
This kit is designed to fill basic bathing, dental, and toilet hygiene needs. Specially made for a family of four, the Family Sanitation Kit meets the basic hygiene needs you would have in an emergency or on a short camping trip. – See more at: http://beprepared.com/family-sanitation-kit.html#sthash.gdqMjpbV.dpuf
dtmlady The Complete First Aid Kit
The Complete First Aid Kit is a comprehensive kit containing everything you need to keep your home or office prepared for an emergency including many innovative products like Save-A-Tooth. The products inside are stored in unitized boxes to cut down on mess, and the box has a waterproof seal to prevent humidity or moisture damage.

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

PINTEREST BOARD FOR FIRST AID
Basic CPR and First Aid Tips – from Food Storage Made Easy
A Nurse’s Fully-Stocked Medical Kit – from The Busy B Homemaker
Your Natural Medicine Cabinet – from Food Storage Made Easy
Printable First Aid Guide – from Your Own Home Store

PINTEREST BOARD FOR SANITATION
Emergency Sanitation Kits Handout – from Food Storage Made Easy

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WEEK14PIN

Helius Rocket Stove

titan-title
We recently had the opportunity to meet with Kris from Titan Ready USA and he showed us some of his products that we are excited to share with you. These products are simple but efficient solutions to some preparedness dilemmas we know we have faced and you may have as well. This post covers the Helius Rocket Stove, but be sure to check out the HERC tea light ovens as well.

Scroll to the to bottom of the post to see a GREAT introductory deal offered only to our Food Storage Made Easy readers.

helius

We’ve seen a lot of rocket stoves around but this is the first one we have seen that we’ve been really excited to use. This one sits high off the ground and has a great solid base you can cook on without bending over or needing a steady, safe surface to place the stove on. We love that you can use this stove to pressure can, camp, or in an emergency situation. Also this stove can use such a variety of fuels!

Here is a video of us being introduced to the Helius Rocket Stove with Kris:

Helius Rocket Stove

Cook complete meals using nothing but wood scraps and yard debris with the Helius Rocket Stove. The Helius Rocket Stove is a durable, clean alternative to outdoor cooking, using readily available scraps as fuel instead of more costly alternatives like propane or briquettes. The design of the rocket stove heats to cooking temperatures in only a few minutes with only as much fuel as fits in the fuel magazine.

  • Above ground, no crouching to cook
  • Can you it to pressure can your meats if power goes out and your freezer is compromised
  • Large enough to do things with larger pots
  • Very stable and heavy duty
  • Legs are workable to allow for level cooking surface
  • Flammable biomass – burn anything from wood scraps to dry, yard debris
  • Can vary temperatures with amount of wood
  • Quick-release ash drop means you can keep cooking while clearing the chimney of accumulated ash
  • Produces a clean burn – little or no smoke
  • Made by Americans for Americans​

SPECIAL INTRO PRICING FOR OUR READERS


For a limited time (until April 15) receive HUGE discounts on the Helius. Use COUPON CODE: foodstorage to save $67 off a Helius!

HELIUSCOUPON

HERC Tea Light Candle Ovens

titan-title
We recently had the opportunity to meet with Kris from Titan Ready USA and he showed us some of his products that we are excited to share with you. These products are simple but efficient solutions to some preparedness dilemmas we know we have faced and you may have as well. This post covers the HERC tea light ovens, but be sure to check out the Helius Rocket Stove as well.

Make sure to scroll to the to bottom of the post to see a GREAT introductory deal offered only to our Food Storage Made Easy readers.

herc

While butane stoves are great for stove-top cooking indoors, we have yet to find a good solution for oven cooking indoors. Having a diversified preparedness plan is great to cover yourself in different scenarios. For example, a Sun Oven is great if you don’t have any fuel, but not so great if it’s rainy or you’re trying to be discreet in a crisis. That’s why we recommend having different options. All have their pro’s and con’s.

Here is a video of us being introduced to the HERC XXL with Kris:

The HERC tea light ovens are great for many reasons:

  • Can be used indoors
  • The XXL acts as an oven
  • The Eco acts as a crock pot or dehydrator
  • Can be used discreetly
  • You can fit a standard 9 by 13 pan in the larger one (this is huge)
  • Can get 4 hours of cook time out of 20 tealights in the XXL
  • The fuel is fairly inexpensive, about 40 cents per cooking hour
  • You can store tealights inside safely, indefinitely, and legally
  • The thermal energy cooks the food evenly
  • The stove folds down for easy storage
  • Made by Americans for Americans​

HERC XXL Oven

The HERC XXL Oven is the larger oven. Inside cooking dimensions: 18 inch x 11.75 inch x 7.25 inch. Cook anything, anytime, anywhere, regardless of the situation. Bake, cook and dehydrate without the use of electricity or gas, indoors or out. The HERC is extremely portable, durable and economical. The HERCules (Home Emergency Radiant Cooking)™ XXL Oven harnesses the thermal energy from tea light candles, storing it in quarry stones and releasing radiant energy back into your food.
HERCMORE

Eco HERC Oven

The Eco HERC oven is the smaller oven. Inside cooking dimensions: 11.75 inch x 11.75 inch x 6 inch Cook anything, anytime, anywhere, regardless of the situation. Bake, cook and dehydrate without the use of electricity or gas, indoors or out. The Eco HERC is extremely portable, durable and economical. The Eco HERC harnesses the thermal energy from tea light candles by releasing radiant energy back into your food.
ECOHER

SPECIAL INTRO PRICING FOR OUR READERS


For a limited time (until April 15) receive HUGE discounts on the Herc Tea Light Ovens. Use COUPON CODE: foodstorage to save $90 off the XXL Herc Oven or $42 off the ECO Herc Oven.

HERCCOUPON

Car Emergency Kit Do-Over

This week we are working on updating our car kits and our evacuation plans as part of the Food Storage Do-Over 2015. I have been working a lot on trying to figure out the best car kit situation for my family. I put together a small kit for my husband to keep in the car that he drives because we don’t usually have the children if we are driving that car. I have a much more intensive kit that we keep in the van that includes items for the entire family. I’ll show you details of each kit below.

car-kit-do-over

Family Car Kit

For the basics I bought an Auto Emergency Kit from Thrive Life. Here’s everything that was included in the kit:

thrive-kit

The basic kit comes with a little bit of water and a 3600 calorie meal bar. I supplemented with some additional snacky foods that my kids would like. The fruit pouches from Thrive Life are great snacks with a long shelf life.

car-kits2

I made a little coffee can heater to provide some warmth. The toilet paper goes in the smaller can and then you pour the alcohol over it and it will burn cleanly and provide a little warmth. It all stores inside the larger can.

car-kits3

Next I looked at all of the emergency tools and supplies. A lot of good things were included in the basic kit. I added a compass, some extra fire starter tools, an all-in-one tool, a headlamp, a couple flashlights, and a radio. I like the hand-crank items so I don’t have to worry about batteries.

car-kits4

For keep warm and covered we needed more than the basic kit provides. I bought enough emergency blankets for each member of the family. I also threw in some extra blankets and an old comforter in the back of the van. I have a tube tent and also a tarp and extra rope. They won’t be awesome shelters but are better than nothing! Hand warmers and foot warmers are great too.

car-kits5

The basic car kit had a small first aid kit. I supplemented that with a few of my own items like children’s medicines, cough drops, wet wipes, carmex, etc. I figure those things are great for those little everyday emergencies, I might as well throw them in.

car-kits6

Last but not least, spare shoes. My kids are notorious for running out of the house in bare feet and I sometimes don’t notice it until we are at a store, restaurant, etc. Well if there was an emergency and we had to WALK far, they would be in trouble. I went to a second hand store and bought one size too big for each child and a pair of cheap running shoes for myself. (I often am out and about in high heels and wouldn’t want to have to walk far in those). I’d like to add spare sweatshirts or jackets for each child too but I didn’t get that far yet. I also threw in a card game and an extra water filter bottle.

car-kits7

I put everything in a large rubbermaid bin and it resides permanently in the back of the van.

Individual Car Kit

For the basics I bought a second Auto Emergency Kit from Thrive Life, then I filled an animal cracker container from Costco with everything else. It’s a great sturdy little container and can fit a lot of stuff. Here is a list of things I added:

  • Coffee can heater and alcohol (the green chilis can in the picture)
  • Matches
  • All-in-One tool
  • Snacks
  • Water pouches
  • Basic tube tent with rope
  • Emergency blankets
  • Wet wipes

  Screen shot 2015-01-30 at 1.47.27 PM

Food Storage Do-Over Week 3: Car Kits and Evacuation Plans

We are excited to be starting week 3 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here. You should also make sure to check out the amazing spreadsheet Julie put together for us all as part of her do-over.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK3FACE

In the Emergency Prep Basics section of our website we cover putting together a car kit and evacuation plans. Car kits can help provide life-saving resources in case you get stranded in your vehicle somewhere, and they can also be helpful in case of a quick evacuation if you don’t have time to grab 72 hour kits.

startingfromscratch

Car Kit

If you are BRAND NEW and don’t have any emergency supplies in your car yet, spend this week creating your car kit. Here is a list of items that you may want to consider including, modify as necessary to meet your needs.

  • Water (mylar pouches or cardboard boxes are best for extreme temperatures)
  • 72 hour kit food, high calorie meal bars, or other snacks
  • Cash ($20-30 in small bills and include some change)
  • Diapers/Wipes if you have kids
  • Emergency blankets/hand warmers (and/or an old spare comforter)
  • Jumper cables
  • Car shovel/pick
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • First aid kit
  • Radio (hand crank or battery operated)
  • Flashlight (hand crank or battery operated)
  • Package of batteries (for flashlight and radio)
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Spare clothes/walking shoes for all family members
  • Coffee can heater

Evacuation List

In order to prepare for a quick evacuation, the best thing to do is have a list already written out with the items you need to grab in order of importance. You can get very in depth with this or just jot down a simple list and tape it near your exit door. An example of some of the things you may want to include are as follows:

  • 72 Hour Kits
  • Emergency Binder
  • Pets/Pet supplies
  • Photo albums/scrapbooks
  • Journals
  • Extra food/fuel/water
  • Camping equipment

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

Car Kits

If you already have a good start on your car kits chances are you will need to do a little update/refresh to make sure you have everything you need and rotate food and water supplies. Here are some ideas of things you might want to check on:

  • Make sure jumper cables work (I had a set of broken ones once)
  • Rotate food items that have a short shelf life
  • Check water supplies, rotate as needed
  • Swap out kids clothing and shoes for proper sizes
  • Check expiration dates on medicines in first aid kits
  • Test/swap out batteries for radio and flashlight if necessary
  • Review some of the posts in the resources section below for other ideas on how to bump up your car kits with additional items you may want to consider adding

Evacuation Plans

If you already have your basic evacuation plan and grab list in place there are some advanced things you can do to really “Do-over” your plan. This topic can be as simple or as complex as you feel it needs to be for your personal needs.

1. Split your grab list up by person and in order of importance. Have separate lists taped up in the area near your 72 hour kits. In case of an emergency each person will grab their list and go down it until you run out of time. If a family member isn’t home someone else would grab their list and work on those items. Make sure to include tasks like “Load small children in car”, “Grab purse/wallet”, “Load pets and pet food in car”. Things you would think are automatic, you may just forget in an emergency. (ok you probably won’t forget your kids but it helps to know when in the process you will get them loaded so they aren’t underfoot and slowing you down)

2. Go through the 13 Part Evacuation Plan from iGetReady.com. This is the most in depth plan we have come across. Her plan is to have your items separated into bins so you can grab the bins based on why you are evacuating and you go in order of importance as well. I have loved working through her lists and filling in the holes in my evacuation plans. We highly recommend it!

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

products
Thrive Life Auto Emergency Kit
Emergency Essentials Auto Emergency Kit
Auto Emergency Kits on Amazon.com

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

View our Car Kits board on Pinterest
View our Evacuation Plans board on Pinterest
How to Make a Coffee Can Heater from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Create a Mommy Emergency Car Kit from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Keep Emergency Water Unfrozen in the Winter from The Survival Mom
Assembling a Car Emergency Kit and Printable Checklist from Food Storage and Survival
15 Items for Your Car Emergency Kit from Food Storage Moms
How to Make a Coffee Can Survival Kit for your Car from Survival Life
13 Part Evacuation Plan from iGetReady.com
Evacuation Imminent – How to be Ready from Your Own Home Store
Are You Ready for an Evacuation? from Cooke’s Frontier
Thoughts on Fire Preparedness and Evacuation from Food Storage Made Easy


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Food Storage Do-Over Week 3 - Car Kits / Evacuation Plans

Food Storage Do-Over Week 2: Financial Preps

We are excited to be starting week 2 of our food storage do-over! Last week we saw a lot of great progress from all those participating and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

FINANCIALPREPS

In the Emergency Prep Basics section of our website we talk about how each family should have an Emergency Binder put together. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a death in the family, or some other crisis, every household needs a plan in order to survive, cope, and recover. By creating an Emergency Binder, you and your loved ones will be better equipped to endure unexpected adversity and enjoy peace of mind. It’s a great feeling to be prepared! Along with your emergency binder we want to look at a few other financial/legal areas this week.

startingfromscratch
If you are BRAND NEW and don’t have an Emergency Binder check out our post on how to make your own which includes compiling the following documents etc.

VITAL DOCUMENTS
✓ Birth certificates
✓ Passports
✓ Immunization records
✓ CASH – keep small bills
✓ Copy of your will
✓ Medical information
✓ Military and church papers
✓ Diplomas and transcripts
✓ Marriage certificates
✓ Adoption papers
✓ Current pictures of family
✓ Pet records
✓ Proof of citizenship
   INSURANCE INFO
✓ Homeowners insurance policy
✓ Auto insurance policy
✓ Life insurance policy
✓ Medical insurance policy
✓ Pictures and lists of all your personal belongings
✓ Contact information for insurance agents
   FINANCIAL INFO
✓ Copies of your credit
✓ Bank statements
✓ Retirement statements
✓ Social security statements
✓ Internet passwords
✓ Utility statements
✓ Work/tax documents that would be difficult to replace
✓ Deeds to properties
✓ Titles to cars, boats etc
✓ Warranty information

We recommend storing your binder in a portable waterproof/fireproof safe. You can grab it and run in an emergency but it will be safe in case your home burns or floods while you are not home. It’s also a great idea to make photocopies or electronic copies of all the contents and store it off-site in a safety deposit box or at the home of a trusted individual.

If you get your binder finished, consider looking at some of the “other” suggested tasks in the DO-OVER section below.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

Emergency Binder

If you already have a good start on your Emergency Binder chances are you will need to update it. Here are some things that require frequent updates:

- Password lists for all your financial accounts (Facebook thread on managing passwords)
- List of bills you pay, and how you pay them (auto-draft vs. check etc.)
- Wills
- Medical records
- Insurance paperwork
- Financial account statements
- Go over your plan with anyone in your family that needs to know this information

Other financial/legal tasks to consider this week

  • ONLINE BACKUP: Do you have a plan for backing up your computers and other devices? It’s always a good idea to have multiple backup options. We recommend backing up to an external hard-drive while also using an automatic online backup service such as Mozy, Carbonite, or Crashplan.
  • LEGAL MATTERS: A basic will should be included in your emergency binder but there are also other legal documents you may want to explore. We shared our learnings from a class on estate planning given in our church in this blog post that explains about wills, trusts, power of attorney, etc. Review that post and consult a lawyer if you think it is something you need to work on.
  • BUDGETS/RETIREMENT PLANNING: Preparedness planning includes being financially stable and planning for your future. Take a look at your monthly budget and see where you can cut any expenses. Look at your retirement accounts and commit to contributing a little more each month. Dave Ramsey has some great BabySteps to follow to really get your financial life under control. We recommend his book The Total Money Makeover.

    Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

    helpful
    Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

    View our Emergency Binder board on Pinterest
    How To Create An Emergency Binder: Food Storage Made Easy
    Planning For Your Family’s Future: Food Storage Made Easy
    Basic Family Binder Printables: Thirty Handmade Days
    Assembling a Red File: Iwillprepare.com
    Facebook thread on managing passwords
    Financial Planning Advice: DaveRamsey.com
    products
    Prepare My Life Emergency Planner
    Fireproof/Waterproof Safes to store your binder in
    External Hard Drives for computer backup
    The Total Money Makeover


    Please pin and get your friends joining in too!

    WEEK2PIN

72 Hour Kits: Jodi’s Do-Over

This week we’ve working on 72 hour kits during our Food Storage Do-Over 2015. If you haven’t signed up to do the Do-Over with us it’s not too late! Today I wanted to share a little of my thought process as I work on the tasks this week, hopefully it helps you as you go through your OWN do-over!

1. Evaluate my needs
I talked through a few potential evacuation scenarios with my husband. In our situation I need to be prepared to evacuate quickly with a high probability of him not being there. This means I need a complete bag for myself and can’t depend on being able to have him carrying anything. I can put a few “non-essentials” in my bigger kids’ packs but they may be at school and unreachable temporarily so again I don’t want to depend TOO much on that.

Each individual bag will have clothes, food, water, and warmth items for that specific person. It should also include a current picture, contact info, and an emergency whistle for signaling in case we get separated. My kids are all big enough to be able to carry their own packs now, hurray!

2. Look at what I already have
I had a big hodge-podge of stuff in my kits from various times I’ve re-organized them in the past. Sometimes I decide I want real food, then other times I decide I don’t want to rotate the food (see this post for why) so I get a bunch of meal bars, then I discover my kids hate them so I try to add food back in (see my daughter pictured below, lol). It’s a vicious cycle! I decided to dump it all out and go down the list we posted for week 1 and make sure I’ve got all of the tools loaded into MY pack, extras loaded in my husband, and a few bonus items in my big kids packs. Then I evaluated food and water needs AGAIN.

   

3. Packs
I have purchased inidivudal 72 hour kits from Thrive Life and Emergency Essentials in the past to get a bunch of the basics tools/supplies all at once. I love their sturdy RED backpacks. I use those for my husband and I since our kits are the heaviest. For the kids’ packs we just use random old backpacks from around the house. We seem to have no shortage of those. They pick the one they want to use so it’s easy to remember whose is whose.

72 Hour Kit Re-Do

4. Tools/Supplies
Matching up my actual supplies with the list posted earlier this week helped me find a few things I need to get. Some of the ideas in the Do-Over Facebook Group also added to my “to-buy” list. I put this list in my phone and started checking things off and sticking them in the packs as I got them purchased.

72-redo

5. Food/Cooking
As mentioned above, I do have enough 3600 calorie bars for each person (needed to buy one more for my youngest child). I decide what I would like to have is one cooked meal per day plus three meals worth of foods plus snacks that don’t require cooking. I used lots of the ideas found on this post to make my master shopping list. I bought my meals from Thrive Life (they are the best tasting and most filling of the ones I’ve tested) and the rest of the food just from Wal-Mart. I made sure to add in a cooking container and fuel to cook the meals.

6. Clothes
Here is where my biggest fail was. While I had gone in and messed around with food over the years, I hadn’t swapped out kids’ clothes for about two years. My kids had a big giggle trying on the old clothes from their kits. We decided to go to a second hand store and buy two outfits for each kid in one size too big (we also grabbed a pair of shoes to keep in our car kits while we were there). That way I don’t have to feel bad wasting outfits in a kit that will never get worn. In the spring when I rotate my kids again I will hit a second hand store again and move those two outfits into their wardrobe since by that time they should actually FIT.

To finish up I am going to type up a contents list of what is in each bag so that when I am looking for a specific item in an emergency I can know where to find it. I haven’t made it that far yet but I’ll share it here when it’s done!

How is YOUR 72 hour kit do-over going???

8 Tasks to Help You “Prep” For Winter

Fall is the perfect time of year to get your yard, vehicles, house, and preps ready for winter. Here are eight tasks you can do to get ready for the change in seasons.

8 Ways to "Prep" for Winter

 

Clean Up Your Gardens

Harvest all remaining vegetables. Pull up all plants and add to your compost pile. Add compost/mulch to your garden beds. Prune all fruit trees and bushes. Plant garlic if desired. Bring in potted plants for the winter. Plant decorative bulbs.

Rotate/Winterize Your 72 Hour Kits

Rotate food and water as necessary. Check/rotate matches and other fuel supplies. Swap out seasonal clothing and shoes. Update kids’ clothes to correct sizes. Rotate baby supplies (diapers in correct size, formula expiration dates, etc.). Check batteries for flashlights and radios. Check medicine expiration dates and supply levels. Update pictures and medical information for each family member. Update emergency contact information. Click here for more on building 72 Hour Kits. Click here for some pre-made kit options.

Rotate Your Water

Whether you have treated your stored water or not, it’s always a good idea to at least CHECK your water every six months. Fall is a good time to pull out each container and rotate if necessary. Click here for more tips on water rotation. Click here for some storage containers that help reduce the need for frequent rotation.

Add Winter Gear to Your Car Kits

Make sure to add extra clothes, good winter boots, warm blankets, simple heaters, tire chains, etc. to your emergency car kit. Swap out food items that need to be rotated. Click here for more resources on car kits.

Clean Out Your Pantry and Freezer

Go through your pantry and freezer and throw away expired foods. Update your three month supply inventory list and replenish to be fully-stocked with all of your chosen meals.

Give Your Furnace a Tune-Up

Vacuum any dust from around your furnace. Wipe off any dust on the blower fan. Change your furnace filter now and once a month during the winter. Light your pilot light if necessary. Consider getting a carbon monoxide detector if you don’t already have one.

Winterize Your Sprinkler Systems

If you live in an area where the ground freezes below the levels of your sprinklers, you’ll want to make sure to get all of the water out of your system to avoid frozen/cracked pipes. Click here for some helpful tips.

Swap Out Seasonal/Outgrown Clothing

Go through your children’s clothes and remove anything that doesn’t fit any more. If you store seasonal clothes elsewhere, bring in the winter clothes and box up the summer items.

Happy Prepping!

8 Ways to "Prep" for Winter

30 Days of Preparedness Day 13: Practice Living Without Electricity

September is National Preparedness Month and is something we celebrate every year with our 7 Day Challenge (have you signed up yet???) This year we are also participating in a little blog hop called the 30 Days of Preparedness. You can check out each day’s post over at the Prepared Bloggers Network site and get a crash course in emergency preparedness this month. We will be featured on September 13th but you get to have a sneak peek of our day today!

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Our post is DAY 13 which is an ACTION DAY! You get to practice living without power on this day. It will be a good warm-up if you plan to join in the 7 Day Challenge coming on a surprise day sometime in September. So let’s turn off that power and get started! Here are 5 action items to do to participate today:

1. ACTUALLY TURN OFF YOUR POWER
It’s very easy to accidentally flip on a light switch when you are supposed to be practicing living without power. There are a few ways you can “turn off” the power to practice today. You can turn off your main circuit breaker but that will cause your fridge to turn off too which you might not ACTUALLY want to do. So we recommend going to your circuit box and flipping the breakers on all the switches except your fridge circuit. If you don’t want to mess with your breakers you can tape duct tape over all the switches and sockets and unplug everything just to keep you “honest”.

2. Cook all three meals using the powerless cooking methods from day 10
Cooking is one of the biggest immediate concerns when the power goes out. You may have a barbecue grill or camp stove but there are other options you should consider as well. We did a powerless cooking class showing a variety of options you can use ranging from free/inexpensive tools to more substantial tools useful for long term powerless situations. You can also view DAY 10 of the 30 Days of Preparedness series for more ideas!

3. Don’t use your fridge or freezer foods
Even if you haven’t actually turned off the power to your fridge, it’s a great way to practice by only using items that are shelf stable or from your pantry. It’s nice to have freeze-dried or canned meats to add some bulk to your meals, but there are lots of meatless recipes you can make too. Use our Shelf Stable Cookbook for lots of ideas on pantry meals you can cook.

4. No electronics!
In a technological society it may be harder than you think to go without your electronics for even a day. Today will be a good day to practice unplugging. That means no tv, no cell phones, no computers! This may especially be a struggle for kids who may not understand the benefit of “practicing” this. Plan fun activities that don’t involve electronics. We like using a crank lantern and telling ghost stories at night. Candlelight board games are fun too. Be creative and have fun.

5. No air conditioner or furnace
One of the hardest things about having no power is the lack of heating and cooling devices in our homes. It’s good to practice days like this in extreme weather to know how you will manage in a true emergency. If you don’t have a fireplace, you’ll want to have some other powerless means of providing heat. If you live in extremely hot areas it will be equally as important to have a way to stay cool. We put together a list of 50 ways to keep cool when the power is out to help with some ideas.

30-days-prep2

Thanks for joining the Prepared Bloggers as we work our way through 30 Days of Preparedness. September is National Preparedness Month so you will find everything you need to get your preparedness knowledge and skills into shape.

Take one post each day, learn as much as you can about the topic and make it a part of your preparedness plan.

Day 1 – Ready, Set, Get Prepared! Welcome to 30 Days of Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 2 – The Family Meeting Place and Escape from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 3 – I’m Safe! How to Communicate with Family in an Emergency from PreparednessMama
Day 4 – Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? from Home Ready Home
Day 5 – Preparedness For Pets from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 6 – The Escape Exercise from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 7 – It all Falls Apart Without Mental Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 8 – It’s a Matter of Emergency Kits from A Matter of Preparedness
Day 9 – Nine Great Emergency Light Sources Other Than Flashlights from Food Storage & Survival
Day 10 - Cooking Without Power from Mama Kautz
Day 11 – The Importance of a Shelter & Staying Warm and Dry from Trayer Wilderness
Day 12 – The Importance of Having The Right Tools In Your Pack from Trayer Wilderness
Day 13 – Practice Living Without Electricity from Food Storage Made Easy
Day 14 – How We Choose The Right Gear – (including the MultiFlame Tool) from Trayer Wilderness
Day 15 – Water Storage & Purification from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 16 – Food and Water for a 72 Hour “Go Bag” from Homestead Dreamer
Day 17 – 8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How from Melissa K Norris
Day 18 – Planning Your Pantry from The Organic Prepper
Day 19 – Stocking Up on Non-Food Items from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 20 – Dutch Oven Cooking: Off-Grid Before Off-Grid Was Cool from The Backyard Pioneer
Day 21 – Pressure Canning the Harvest from Timber Creek Farm
Day 22 – Personal Protection & Awareness from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 23 – KISS First Aid from Herbal Prepper