8 Ways to Practice Preparedness This Summer

We hope you are having a great summer so far and haven’t forgotten about food storage and preparednesstoo much with all the fun going on :) We actually have found summer to be a perfect time of year to practice different aspects of your preparedness and have a little fun while doing it. Here are eight ideas that you can use if you are looking to bolster your preps a little over the next few months.
8 Ways to Practice Preparedness {{image}}
CAMPING:
If you are camping with your family, grab your 72 hour kits and use those foods for meals. Practice cooking with your camping stoves, try different foods rather than sticking with hot dogs and s’mores. Use different fuels since you are cooking outdoors anyway. Use your Dutch Oven to make gourmet foods for your campout!
Dutch Oven Cooking Overview (with briquette chart)
 
KIDS’ ACTIVITIES:
Practice different emergency scenarios with your kids. Go over your Emergency Preparedness Plan together.  You can even try our disaster kit scavenger hunt if you don’t have yours put together yet.  Make some little #10 can stoves, ovens, and grills and let your kids cook something on them! Practice cooking new things and let the kids participate with you. Let the kids help you with your canning adventures.
 
BARBECUE:
Every time you barbecue you are really practicing powerless cooking. Try getting adventurous and cooking regular foods on your grill. You can do pizza, bread, vegetables, etc. It’s a good idea to monitor your fuel consumption so that you can have a better idea of how much to store. Figure out how to use it more efficiently to conserve fuel.
 
CANNING:
Summer is a great time to do your canning because your kids can be around to help. Having powerless options for canning is great in case you lose power and don’t want to lose all your meats from your freezer. Practice canning outside to keep your kitchen from getting too hot and practice powerless canning at the same time!
Helius Rocket Stove (can do pressure canning on this stove)
 
WATER ROTATION:
Summer time is a great time to work on your water rotation. There are so many thing you need water for in thesummer, you might as well use your stored water rather than waste brand new water if you are planning to rotate anyway!
 
BLOCK PARTIES:
If you are at block parties or family get togethers, you can practice preparedness and spread the word to your neighbors about being more prepared. Bring a volcano grill and build a fire or cook food. You could also use food storage foods to make your pot luck items and let people know.  This is a good chance to find out if your neighborhood has a preparedness plan in place and/or to organize something if they don’t.  Even a simple calling tree or group CERT class can be a great addition to any community.
 
ROAD TRIPS:
Road trips are a great time to evaluate your car kits while you travel. But it’s also a perfect time to talk about your preparedness plans and make a plan for what to do in the future, go over inventory lists, etc. You have your kids contained, and your spouse’s full attention. It’s a win win!
 
POWERLESS COOKING: 
It’s always a great idea to find ways to AVOID heating up your kitchen in the summer to save on A/C costs or unpleasant heat. Some of our favorite tools for doing this easily are the All-American Sun Oven and Volcano Grills.
 
If you give any of these ideas a try, post about your experiences in the comments or over on Facebook!

Food Storage Do-Over Week 17: Protection/Self Defense

We are excited to be starting week 17 (the FINAL week) 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 emergency shelter, heating, and cooling 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!

WEEK17FACE

Emergency preparedness is a very broad topic. This week we are going to be looking at our plans for protection and self defense. Since we are NOT experts on this at all, we have asked Angela Paskett from Food Storage and Survival to help us with this week’s education and tasks. Thanks ANGELA!


Thanks to Jodi and Julie for asking me to help them out on this week’s topic! Protection and firearms is a broad topic that would need a book to cover thoroughly, so be sure to check the resources at the bottom of the post for more information on any part of this topic that interests you!

Unfortunately, the world isn’t populated only with “good guys”. Violent crimes happen every day at the hands of bad people. Having a line or two of self defense at the ready can help you prevent these crimes from happening to you, and help you come out alive if they do.

Situational Awareness

One of the best ways to protect yourself from bad guys or bad situations is to be aware of your surroundings. Keep your phone in your pocket, keep your head up, and look around as you are walking or driving. For most of us, it’s really easy to get caught up in our thoughts or outside distractions and be less aware of our surroundings. Using Cooper’s Color Code for Situational Awareness, summarized below, consciously moving from level white to level yellow will help avert problems before they become bigger problems. Which color are you normally in?

White: You are totally unaware of what’s going on around you. Wrapped up in your thoughts of what’s for dinner or that cute boy that texted you or whatever other thoughts distract you from reality. Maybe you’re caught up in what’s happening on your phone or tablet in a public place. At any rate, you’re blissfully unaware that anything could happen. Attackers look for victims in this state! Don’t be one.

Yellow: You are alert and aware. Keeping your mind engaged in your current situation, you are aware of what and who you are surrounded by. There is no specific threat and you are not in any sort of paranoid freak out mode. You are calm but watchful. Yellow is the color you want to be when you are anywhere you could encounter a threat to your life or safety.

Orange: You have identified a possible threat and have plans to take action. No action yet, but you are ready to do what is needed to protect yourself and those with you.

Red: Now you’re in full blown fight mode and taking any action that may be necessary to stop the threat. Most of us will rarely, if ever, need to be in this state.

Situational awareness is your first line of protection. By being aware of your surroundings, you may be able to avoid trouble all together!

Basic self defense

Take a self defense class. Most martial arts are excellent exercise as well as training for close quarters self defense. Practice is key. Train your body to instinctively respond to being grabbed, pushed, or swung at and your brain won’t need to be fully engaged for you to be able to defend yourself. No license or special equipment needed, and it is also great for kids and teens. I trained in a karate class with my daughters (then age 8 and 11) and we had an absolute blast doing it together. You can find some videos online that show self defense moves, but be sure you don’t just watch! Get a friend to help you practice.

Pros

  • No license needed.
  • Most self defense skills only use your body and you always have your body with you.

Cons

  • The bad guy has to be within striking distance to use it.
  • Bad guy is not going to follow the rules so things may not go like they do in class.
  • Physically demanding.

Assignments for this Week:

  • Be aware of your awareness level.
  • Research self defense class options in your area and get yourself and/or your children signed up for one.

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

Ready to take the next step and add some tools to your protection plan? Let’s explore some of my favorite options!

Non-Lethal Self Defense Tools

Striking tools. If hitting with your fist is good, how much more effect can hitting with something harder have? Use a tool specifically designed for striking like a kubaton, or get creative with whatever is around. Baseball bats are particularly popular here for homes and vehicles, but you probably have keys, a pen, or a heavy purse that could be put to use without hauling a bat around with you. Here are some great suggestions for discreet weapons using items you may already be carrying.

Pepper spray. Containing the heat of about a gazillion hot peppers, pepper spray causes temporary blindness, swelling of the breathing tube tissues, and burning skin, minimizing the attacker’s ability to see and function properly. The blindness can last 15 to 30 minutes, with other effects such as burning skin lasting an hour or more. Look for pepper spray that sprays in a stream (so you don’t get affected by any overspray), and contains UV dye that helps police identify the perpetrator later. Damsel in Defense products fit the bill nicely. The idea is to spray and get away so you aren’t around when it wears off!

Pros

  • At time of posting, pepper spray is legal in all but a few states (DC, MA, MI, NY and WI). Always check your local laws before purchasing.
  • Inexpensive (most between $10 and $25).
  • Easy to use.

Cons

  • You have to be close enough and have good enough aim to hit your attacker where it counts.
  • Must have the pepper spray with you and be able to access and deploy it quickly.
  • Limited amount of spray in each canister.

Stun gun.
Stun guns use high amperage and low voltage to stun. The shock creates muscle spasms which incapacitate the attacker. The stun gun does not need to touch skin, but does need to physically contact your attacker in order to work. At a distance, the sound of a stun gun may be enough to deter an attack. As with pepper spray, this is a method to buy yourself some time to get away. Stun and run.

Pros

  • Easy to carry and use.
  • Looks and sound may be enough to deter attacker at a distance.
  • Can be used multiple times.

Cons

  • Must be carried with you and charged.
  • A little more expensive (most between $50 and $100).
  • Must be used in close proximity to attacker.
  • At time of posting, use is restricted in HI; MA; NJ; NY; RI; IL; MI; CT; DC; WI; MD; New Castle County, DE; Wilmington, DE; Newark, DE; Philadelphia, PA; and all U.S. Virgin Islands. Always check your local laws before purchasing.

Firearms

Yes! We’re talking firearms! One of my favorite topics. Now, just so you all know, I’ve personally invited Jodi and Julie for some good old fashioned shooting fun at my place this summer, so look for a report on that adventure once we’ve got it done. It’s going to be good. :) As with any self defense tool, practice is key with firearms. Get to know your gun like a trusted friend and it will serve you well when you need to use it. If you plan to carry your firearm with you, be sure to check local laws concerning open carry and concealed carry where you will be taking it.

Pros

  • Can hit targets at long distances.
  • Even a great grandma can win against a 250 lb. attacker.
  • Sometimes the sight or sound alone can be enough to deter an attacker.
  • Practicing is fun!

Cons

  • Can be an expensive option to acquire and practice with.
  • Firearm ownership and use is restricted in some areas. Always check your local laws!
  • Only works until the bullets run out.

There is a TON of information about firearms out there, and if you get looking you’ll see that everyone has an opinion, but we’re going to stick to the basics here to get you started. These link to a series I ran on my site a few years ago on firearm basics for beginners.

If you’ve never been shooting before, here are some great ways to get started:

  • Ask a trusted friend or relative with firearms knowledge to take you shooting. I don’t know anyone who loves guns and shooting that wouldn’t be willing to teach someone who wants to learn.
  • Head to your local gun store or shooting range and ask for classes. They may have concealed carry classes, basic firearm classes, classes just for women, and more. They’ll be glad to point you in the right direction. If you’re nervous, take a friend along with you!
  • Take a Hunter Safety class through your state’s Wildlife department.

And you adults aren’t the only ones that need to understand firearm safety! Make sure your kids know what to do if they find a gun. The National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program is a fantastic resource for teaching kids firearm safety.

In my experience, layers of defense are better than just one method. Awareness is always important, and if you can add some self defense skills and tools to your defense set, you’re that much more likely to have what you need if you ever need to get out of a bad situation. And whichever methods you choose for your personal defense, be sure to practice, practice, practice!

Assignments for this Week:

  • Research non-lethal self defense options and purchase one that will work for you and is legal where you live.
  • Inventory the items you carry every day to determine what could be used as a striking tool. Add something if you need to.
  • Inventory firearms and ammunition in your home. Write down firearm serial numbers and add it to your emergency notebook and/or homeowner’s insurance file.
  • Set a date for a firearms class with a friend!
  • Teach your children basic gun safety.

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

Screen shot 2015-05-07 at 12.15.20 AM Damsel in Defense: Pepper Spray, Stun Guns, Kubatons, and more. Damsel in Defense is about equipping women with the tools to not only keep them safe but also to give them the confidence to know that they have a way out if they ever feel threatened.
Legally Armed: A Concealed Carry Gun Law: The one guide you need for concealed carry gun law is here. This book covers carry laws nationwide, highlighting common points of law for each state and the District of Columbia, such that a reader should clearly understand how each jurisdiction differs.

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!

10 Things I Learned Earning my Karate Yellow Belt
10 preparedness reasons to put your kids in karate (also applies to you!)
Creative zombie apocalypse bats
How to defend your family in a home invasion
National Rifle Association
US Concealed Carry Association
Holsters for women
23 Firearm Truths for Women (although they really apply to anyone)
WikiArms (find ammo for sale online–yes, even .22lr)

Food Storage Do-Over Week 16: Shelter/Heating/Cooling

We are excited to be starting week 16 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 Powerless Cooking 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!

WEEK16FACE

Emergency preparedness is a very broad topic. This week we are going to be looking at our plans for shelter as well as for keeping cool or warm in an emergency. As with most preparedness topics, it’s best to start small and it least get SOMETHING, and then work towards larger longer-term solutions.

Shelter

Many families have some sort of camping supplies on hand already. These will be great to use in emergency situations too. Here are some things to consider and tasks to do this week to get your shelter preps started for evacuation purposes.

  • Inventory any camping supplies you already have on hand.
  • Put all shelter supplies in one large container or at least in one specific area of the garage.
  • At a minimum store some tarps and ropes to make basic shelters.
  • Save up for or purchase a high-quality all-season tent that is rated for +2 more people than your full family size. This will give you room to store supplies inside your tent and not be too squished.
  • Have a 0 degree sleeping bag for each family member. If you have room, also store a lighter-weight sleeping bag or blankets for summertime emergencies.
  • If you have space, consider also storing cots, air mattresses, foam pads, etc. to add to your comfort levels.
  • Store supplies to help you set up your shelter such as a hammer to stake down the tent, lanterns or flashlights to help set it up in the dark, basic fire-starting materials, etc.

Keeping Warm

One of the biggest safety concerns in an emergency is freezing. Whether you are evacuating or sheltering in your home, it will get VERY cold in the middle of winter in most areas, and you’ll need to be prepared. Here are some short-term tips and supplies you could get that can help.

  • Wear dry clothing, preferably made of wool. Wool clothing is insulating, water resistant, and keeps your body warm even if it is wet.
  • Wear a (wool) hat and gloves. You can lose up to 80% of your body heat through your head.
  • Wear insulated boots or shoes. You can also wear two pairs of wool socks or wrap a towel around the outside of your shoes to keep warmth in.
  • Wear layered clothing.
  • Wrap a scarf or towel around mouth to keep cold air from your lungs.
  • Share sleeping bags. Two people inside one large sleeping bag or two bags zipped together will be warmer.
  • Use your car heater if trapped in your car during a snowstorm. Run the heater 10 minutes every hour. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow and open one window a crack to allow ventilation.
  • Use mylar blankets or emergency blankets. Use a wool blanket between you and the mylar blanket if possible.
  • Store lots of hand warmers, survival candles, etc.
  • Wear thermal undergarments.
  • Insulate your clothing. Use leaves, newspapers, straw, etc. stuffed between layers of your clothing. If necessary use a plastic bag over top to hold the insulation materials.

If it is a long-term emergency, your best bet will be to get some sort of wood-burning stove or heater in your home to provide considerable warmth at least in one area of the house. If you have a generator you could also get electric heaters and use them as long as you have fuel.

Keeping Cool

While staying cool is more of a convenience, there are some safety real concerns with heat stroke and dehydration if you get too hot. Here are 50 ideas you can use to keep a little cooler when you don’t have access to air conditioner.

  1. Wear light-colored clothing, dark clothes absorb heat
  2. Use a damp cloth to wet face, arms and legs
  3. Find a cool breeze to sit in (especially after getting wet)
  4. Make a paper fan and fan yourself
  5. Hang out in the basement of your home
  6. Install attic vents to release the hot air that rises
  7. Sleep on the porch between wet sheets
  8. Relax during the hottest hours, do heavy chores/cooking in the morning and evening
  9. Do your canning and cooking outdoors
  10. Take an afternoon nap
  11. Use a buckwheat pillow, it won’t hold on to your body heat
  12. Close all blinds and window coverings (don’t let the sun in)
  13. Open all the windows at night to let cool air in
  14. Lie down on the floor in the lowest level of your house
  15. Keep a window open upstairs to pull hot air up and out
  16. Wet your hair
  17. Put white sheets over furniture, it will reflect heat instead of absorb it
  18. Wrap a wet towel around your neck
  19. Plant or find shade trees
  20. Take cool baths
  21. Make sure your home is well insulated, it will keep the heat out
  22. Drink lots of fluids
  23. Use a spray bottle and spray yourself down
  24. Hang wet sheets in open windows that have a cross breeze
  25. Keep babies in a light onesie (not naked) for when you hold them
  26. Dip feet in cool water
  27. Keep your body covered (in cool clothes) to shade it from the sun
  28. Don’t wear polyester, it makes you sweat
  29. Sit still, moving around makes you hotter
  30. Make recipes using mint/peppermint to cool the body
  31. Brush mint against the skin to cool you down
  32. Wear loose-fitting skirts
  33. Use battery-powered fans (like these ones)
  34. Put wet rags over a batter powered fan to make a “swamp cooler”
  35. Give the kids squirt guns and have a water fight
  36. Buy some evaporative cooling bandanas. These look so neat!
  37. Eat cold meals
  38. Eat spicy foods, they increase perspiration which cools down the body
  39. Buy some cooling towels/cloths
  40. Wear a large-brimmed hat to shade your face
  41. Spray your house down with a water hose for a temporary cool down
  42. Keep ice packs in your freezer and then use them for relief
  43. Go around naked (if appropriate)
  44. Use silk or satin sheets and pillowcases, they feel cooler
  45. Hang up bedding in cool areas of the house or shade during the day
  46. Get a waterbed, it will absorb heat and feel cool on hot nights
  47. Build porch awnings to provide shade
  48. Have a generator to plug in electric fans
  49. Make a homemade air conditioner or swamp cooler if you have a generator
  50. GO SWIMMING!

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 already have a lot of supplies on hand for sheltering and for keeping cool or warm as the seasons adjust. Your task this week will be to look at your inventory levels and also to make a plan to PRACTICE so you can determine what you are doing well on and what might still be lacking.

Tasks for this week

  • INVENTORY your shelter supplies. Is your tent big enough? Is it an all-season tent? Do you have enough sleeping bags for ALL family members? Are they low temperature sleeping bags?
  • PRACTICE setting up your tent. If one spouse usually does it, have the other spouse try to do it alone. Do you have all the tools on hand to set it up? Could you do it in the dark?
  • PURCHASE any items needed to round out your “shelter” plans.
  • Are you prepared to shelter in place? Print out some guidelines for safety precautions to take based on potential emergencies that could occur in your area (i.e. tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.)
  • INVENTORY your supplies for staying warm. What do you have on hand for evacuating versus staying home?
  • PRACTICE! Plan a camping trip for next winter where you go and live outside for several days. Try turning off the furnace for a few days this winter and see how well you can stay warm.
  • PURCHASE any items needed to round out your “keeping warm” supplies.
  • INVENTORY your supplies for staying cool. What do you have that will work for evacuating? What will you do if you are staying at home?
  • PRACTICE! Turn off the AC for a few days and see how will you do in the heat. Get your kids involved and think creatively on ways to keep cool.
  • PURCHASE any items needed to round out your “keeping cool” supplies.

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

All-Season Tents: Pick a tent that fits your family’s needs and price range. There are many options to choose from. Camping stores have a lot, but we love Amazon for good camping supplies too.
Hand Warmers: Always a great little addition to your disaster kits, evacuation kits, and even to keep on hand at home. You can never have too many of these little things around.
Evaporative Cooling Headband: These headbands work by running them under water to activate the cooling properties. They are reusable and can make a huge difference in your temperature if you are out in the hot sun for extended periods of time.

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 EMERGENCY HEATING/COOLING
How to Make an Emergency Heater – from MomPrepares
How to Make a Coffee Can Heater – from Food Storage Made Easy
Homemade Space Heater that Works – from Your Own Home Store
DIY Solar Powered Air Cooler – from Survival Life

Please pin and get your friends joining in too!

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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

Please pin and get your friends joining in too!

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

Please pin and get your friends joining in too!

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​

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

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