Sunday, December 6, 2009

Emergency Preparedness – Fuel for Cooking

Most thoughtful folks have all been working on emergency preparedness food storage for years. But – have you tried living from it yet? If so, how did you cook the items that need heat? Our electric and gas stoves work file now but what will we use during an emergency?

If you haven’t considered storing charcoal as your cooking food source, put it on your list of items to store. Combined with a couple of Dutch ovens, you can prepare at least one hot meal a day for a year with limited fuel costs.

Charcoal stores very well if you keep it in the original bags in a cool dry location. We try to buy our storage charcoal in plastic wrapped two bag packages. The best charcoal is the standard Kingston brand. It simply burns longer, at a more constant temperature and seems to store longer than any other brand. You DON’T want to use charcoal that has lighter additives because it will not only ruin the taste of your food but the briquettes burn too fast
You may also want to consider storing your charcoal supply in 6 gallon plastic buckets with screw type Gamma lids.  The lids provide easy access and will keep the charcoal dry.  Also consider purchasing just one Gamma lid and move it to the new sealed bucket when you empty the bucket you are using.

It is recommended that the ‘average’ family should store 500 lbs of charcoal for one year storage. Again, that assumes one hot meal cooked a day. Because Dutch ovens cook more efficiently, they help reduce the amount of fuel you need to store.  If Charcoal is stored in a dry location and left wrapped in its original paper bag and plastic wrap will store indefinitely.  Buy an extra bag each time you buy a bag for BBQ's.  It won't take long before you have a sizeable storage of fuel in the form of bags of charcoal.  City ordinances probably won't let you store much liquid fuel on site but charcoal is easy to store, has a very long shelf life if stored properly, can provide one large hot meal a day when coupled with a volcano stove and a Dutch overn and normally quantities in storage are not controlled.

When using a charcoal as fuel for a Dutch oven, there is an easy formula to use. Determine the size of the oven and add two more briquettes to the top than the oven size and two less to the bottom. Example: If you have a 12” oven, put 14 briquettes on the top and 10 on bottom under the oven. In a non-windy or very cold day, this will produce a 350F temperature in the oven. Cooking breads adds an additional couple of briquettes to the top.

To learn more about Dutch oven cooking, search the web. You’ll definitely want to visit the site.

You’ll want to consider the purchase of a Volcano stove because of the heat efficiency it adds to the cooking process. See their site at

Also consider other fuel sources such as propane and white gas, but know that they can only be stored in small quantities at a residence. Check local city ordinances for the current language of the law.
Choose a storage plan that works best for your family. Be sure to try the cooking system you plan to use now, while we aren’t in an emergency situation

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


1- Medical Supplies
a. Roller bandages, 10 plus. (Make you own – sheets?)
b. Triangular bandages, 6 plus
c. 2 x 2 bandages, 30 plus
d. 4 x 4 bandages, 30 plus
e. 6 x 6 bandages, 30 plus
f. Surgical tape, 4 plus rolls
g. Rubber gloves, 1 box. (Size that fits you!)
h. Particle masks, 10 ea.
2- Safety Equipment
a. Goggle
b. Leather gloves
c. Hard hat
d. Vest
3- Miscellaneous
a. 30 gal. Plastic bags, 5 ea.
b. Anti-bacterial soap, liquid, 1 pt.
c. 6 to 8 in. crescent wrench
d. Multi-purpose knife. (Leatherman, Schrade, etc.)
e. Sterile saline solution for open fractures.
f. Duct tape
g. Masking tape
h. Pens, pencils, magic markers, notebooks, extra paper, chalk for marking doors etc.
i. Portable radio
j. Flash light
k. Extra batteries
l. Boots suitable for traversing debris
m. Scissors – heavy duty
n. High-energy bars, etc.
o. Canteen or supply of water -- for you. (Possibly carried on belt)
4- Equipment you might bring to the command post
a. Shovels
b. Hand saws
c. Fire extinguishers
d. Pry bars
e. Cribbing materials (2x2, 4x4, by 18 to 24 in. long)
f. FRS radios
g. Ham radios
h. Rope
i. Axe
j. Large first aid kit
k. Blankets

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Emergency Kits for Grandchildren

Grandparents, few grandchildren are 'toy deprived' these days.. 
If you are looking for a gift that will have lasting value, consider putting emergency kits together for your grandchildren for Christmas.  Include a note that tells them to eat the goodies in it every six months and you'll guarantee that it at least it will see the light of day twice a year.
childs kit name tag Watch for backpacks or small rolling upright bags on sale.  Populate them with the basic supplies needed in any emergency kit.   Let their parents add the clothing and favorite foods.  Of course, it is ok and expected, that the grandparents will add the candy and goodies to the kit.
Put laminated name tags on each of them.  The information should include the child's name, address, parents names and contact information and the name and telephone number of an out of state contact.
In the bottom of the bag, include a laminated color photo of the family of your grandchildren with the family names, address, contact information and out of state contact information on the back.  In a major disaster, small children often become separated from their families and the photo and information will help emergency workers reunite the children with their families.
You'll want to keep the photo buried deep so that it won't be easily stolen by people for nefarious purposes.
Childs Emergency Bags Which bag should you choose?
It all depends.  Small children can't carry much weight.  When you add the weight of a little food, a change of clothing, book or game and some water, it can easily exceed their ability to carry the kit. 
Consider purchasing a smaller rolling bag instead of a back pack for younger folks.  The advantage is that they can put the weight of the pack on the ground rather than on their shoulders as experienced with a back pack.  The disadvantage is the rolling wheels and bag frame are more difficult to carry, even with rolling packs that have shoulder straps.
Lastly, ask the parents who is going to carry the water for the family. Water weighs about 8.5 pounds per gallon.  The rule of thumb for emergency water storage is one gallon per-person-per-day for drinking and incidental uses.  Thus the 72-hour kits for a family of four includes about 100 pounds of water.
Even athletic young fathers, can't carry 100 pounds of water for the family in addition to their own pack and probably the packs of a child or two for very long.  This fact alone will probably push you to purchase the rolling bags so the children can carry at least some of their own water. 
From personal experience, we know that three and four-year-old grandchildren can easily handle rolling bags that weigh up to 40 pounds.  The weight of the pack is on the ground and they only have to handle a pound or two in their small hands as they navigate their bags on their escape route.
This year, tell your grandchildren "Merry Christmas" with a gift of lasting love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Handy 72-Hour Kit Check List

72 Hour Kit Check List


  • Poly canteens, 1 quart

  • Sierra cup

  • Water purification tablets

  • Water purifier & extra filters

  • Water bag, nylon

  • Water bag liners, plastic

  • Solar still

  • Rubber surgical tubing


  • Personal daily rations

  • Energy bars, tablets

  • Trail snacks


  • Hiking boots

  • Trail sneakers

  • Socks

  • Underclothing

  • Thermal underwear

  • Shirts, short sleeve

  • Shirts, long sleeve

  • Shorts, hiking

  • Trousers, long

  • Belt and buckle

  • Sweater

  • Down vest

  • Down jacket

  • Parka

  • Poncho

  • Gloves, leather

  • Mittens, wool

  • Scarf

  • Balaclava

  • Bandanna, large

  • Hat

  • Swimsuit


  • Tent

  • Tent fly

  • Tent poles

  • Tent pegs

  • Ground cloth

  • Ultra light weight tarp

  • Visk clamps

  • Nylon line, 50 ft. 2 ea


  • Foam pad, closed cell

  • Sleeping bag

  • Air pillow

Cooking Equipment

  • Frying pan, folding

  • Cook set, nesting

  • Can opener, P-38

  • Eating utensil set

  • Book matches, water proof

  • Pack stove

  • Windscreen

  • Fuel bottles

  • Condiments

  • Salt & Pepper

  • Sugar

  • Flour

  • Honey

  • Milk, dry, instant

Clean Up

  • Scouring pads, soap filled

  • Sanitary tablets & dunking bag

  • Dish towel

Personal Hygiene & Sanitation

  • Toilet trowel

  • Toilet tissue, biodegradable

  • Feminine hygiene items

  • Shampoo

  • Comb and brush

  • Eye drops

  • Tooth brush & tooth paste

  • Shaving gear

  • Deodorant

  • Soap & soap dish

  • Bath towel

Preventative Aid

  • Foot powder

  • Body powder, medicated

  • Moleskins

  • Chigger powder

  • Mosquito repellent

  • Lip balm

  • Sun block

  • Body powder, medicated

  • Corn starch

  • Hand lotion

First Aid

  • Personal First Aid Kit

  • Family First Aid Kit

Emergency Gear

  • Signal flares, night

  • Signal smoke, day

  • Signal die, water

  • Signal mirror

  • Strobe light

  • Whistle

  • Space blanket

  • Hand warmers

Light, Heat, Fire making

  • Pack lantern

  • Spare lantern mantles

  • Flash light

  • Spare bulb, batteries

  • Candle lantern

  • Spare plumbers candles

  • Glow sticks

  • Match safe & matches

  • Magnesium block

  • Magnifying glass

  • Lighter

  • Spare flints


  • Map case

  • Maps

  • Map measure

  • Pedometer

  • Compass

  • Altimeter

  • Global positioning system (GPS)


  • Pocket radio, battery/solar power

  • Cell phone ... or

  • Two way radio: HAM, CB, GMRS, FRS

  • Spare NiCad batteries

  • Solar battery charger

Tools and Repair Kits
  • Leatherman.Gerber tool

  • Sven saw

  • Hatchet/Boys axe w/sheath

  • 8 inch mill file

  • Spare parts: pack, stove, lantern

  • Tent/ Pack patch kit: ripstop tape

  • Copper wire, spool

Personal Items

  • Cash
  • Camera, lenses, flash and film

  • Binoculars

  • Swiss Pocket knife

  • Sharpening stones and oil

  • Wallet

  • Extra house and car keys

  • Copy of important papers such as titles etc.

  • Change for pay phones

  • Handkerchief

  • Watch

  • Sun & prescription glasses

  • Pencil and note pad

  • Scriptures

Fishing Equipment

  • Pack rod case

  • Pack rod, spin -fly combination

  • Ultra lite spinning reel

  • Ultra lite fly reel

  • 15 lb test Spiderwire monofilament

  • 7DTF fly line

  • Fly line leaders, various lb test

  • Tackle boxes, small double sided (2)

  • Hooks, size 8, 10, 12

  • Fly assortment

  • Sinkers, split shot

  • Spinners

  • Spoons

  • Small plugs, poppers, bugs

  • Fanny Pack.

Pack and Pack Frame

  • Pack

  • Frame

  • Clevis pins

  • Stuff bags

  • Compression straps

  • Plastic garbage bags

  • Twist ties

Clothing Maintenance and Repair

  • Sewing Kit

  • Spare shoelaces

  • Biodegradable detergent

  • Woolite

  • Small scrub brush

  • Clothes pins

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Emergency Kit in a Can

Field and Stream magazine has posted a great article about creating a personal survival kit in an Altoids can.  The article has been hugely popular with scout troops and individuals wanting to create their own lightweight kits.


Photo c / Field and Stream

Read the article here.  Great Christmas presents?  Probably.  Great Saturday activity building them with your family?  Absolutely.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Preparedness Tips

  1. Get plastic car keys made at AAA or a locksmith. Carry the card in your wallet or purse.
  2. Sweat pants / shirts are ideal emergency clothing. Cut arms, legs short if used in summer.
  3. Put a dryer sheet in each baggie containing clothes, towels, etc. Stops stale smell.
  4. Put a flat bed sheet sheet in each pack. Use for privacy, shelter, triangular bandage, etc.
  5. Use small plastic bags for inserts in a pillowcase. Blow up, tie off with elastic. Saves space.
  6. Rotate storage water every 6 months. No Clorox in storage water. Use a few drops in the water you are going to rotate to clean out the container. Swish and dump on flowers. Replacement water is already treated by the city.
  7. DO NOT store water in plastic containers by sitting them on cement or near any household chemical. The chemicals will leach through the plastic and contaminate the water. Store it up on wooden pallets or other similar platforms.
  8. Packaged water keeps for 5 years.
  9. Beef MRE’s are the best tasting. Shelf life in 60-degree temperature is 10 years.
  10. Replace all batteries in your equipment yearly. Write on calendar for the change out date.
  11. DO NOT store water in colored plastic bottles. The color will leach out and contaminate the water.
  12. Make a carrier for liter-sized bottle out of strapping. Loop over shoulder, loop horizontal 6” above bottom of first loop, last loop at 90 degree angle starting on 2nd loop, sewn at bottom of first loop and then ending on the opposite side of 2nd loop. Liter bottle fits inside and can be carried over shoulder.
  13. Keep 2 flashlights in your vehicles. The odds of one failing are very high.
  14. Put a jacket and blanket in your car for each person it will carry.
  15. Keep 6 liters of water in your vehicle in a box. Each bottle should not be more than ¾ full to avoid splitting the bottle if frozen. The box will keep the bottles from rolling around and punctures.
  16. Port-a-potty: Line the 5-gallon bucket with plastic bags. Put a supply of the bags in the bucket along with Purell, hand wipes, etc. as well as a snap on toilet lid.
  17. Get dry chemicals for the port-a-potty. The chemical foams up and has the consistency of thick soup when reacting to urine and feces.
  18. Keep Band-Aids in your wallet and purse. You never know when you will need one.
  19. Secure the water heater in your home. Get heavy strapping from your appliance store. If the water heater falls over during an earthquake, the gas line will probably break and your home will be destroyed by fire.
  20. Use Quake Wax to secure your vases, etc. It comes in a jar and the objects and can be moved if needed but will not tip over during a quake.
  21. Use rubber grip liner material under TV’s, microwaves, vases, on the back of pictures, etc.
  22. Use Velcro behind pictures to secure them to a wall along with earthquake proof hangers.
  23. Use Velcro under blinds to keep them anchored on the bottom. This will stop most glass from entering if it breaks and will keep you from being hit in the head with the blinds.
  24. Use cords, bungee’s, etc. to keep your food storage items on the shelves. String from post to post at the desired height(s).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Do You REALLY Have a Year’s Supply?

It is hard to put away a full year’s supply of food for most families, but in most cases, it can be achieved over a period of time.  

Food Storage With careful planning, the purchase of a few extra items each week and not straying from the food requirement plan you’ve created, your success is on the horizon.

Not everyone is allowed to have this much storage on hand.  Do the best you can in your circumstance.

The stored food is as good (if not better due to inflation) than money in the bank. 

It is evident that world and local economies have and will vary wildly due to war, greed, drought and other factors during our lifetimes.  Employment is not secure for anyone today. 

When bad times arrive at your door, some of the pressures will be eased because you’ll have food for your family if you have planned ahead and acted on your plan.

How much is a year’s supply of food?

I never been able to find the original author of the below information, but have confirmed the math used to arrive at the stated figures.  The suggestions are the minimums for each adult:

400 lbs. Grains (17.5 oz / day)

60 lbs. Beans (2.6 oz / day)

10 quarts Cooking oil (0.87 oz / day)

60 lbs. Honey (2.63 oz / day)

8 lbs. Salt (0.35 oz / day)

16 lbs Powdered milk (0.70 oz / day)

14 gallons of drinking water (for 2 weeks)

Just how much is that?

Two 5 gallon buckets will hold about 75 lbs of wheat, rice or other grains. This means you need 11 buckets of grain for each person in your family. If you store all your grains in #10 cans...

Wheat, Rice, Corn, etc..

You would need 64 cans or 10.5 cases per person.


You would need 32 cans or 5.25 cases per person.

Rolled oats

These are lighter but bulkier, so they require more storage containers and space.

You would need 124 cans or 21 cases person.


A 25 lb bag of beans will about fit in a single 5 gallon bucket, with a little space over, so 2 buckets would hold a one person supply, or 12 -13 #10 cans or about 2 cases.

Daily Food

Dividing 400 lbs by 365 days, equals out to 1.09589 lbs, or just over 1lb of grain, per person, per day. That is approximately 2 cups of unground grain to cover your breakfast lunch and dinner.

Dividing 60 lbs by 365, this works out to 0.16 lbs of beans per day, or 2.6 oz— approximately 3/4 cup.

The other foods listed would also need to be used in limited amounts.

This is not much food folks.

Get the basics, then immediately begin to add more kinds of grain, soup mix, canned and/or dehydrated vegetables and fruit, etc to add variety and provide more than the minimal survival diet.

Without added items, consider this: The minimum recommended amount of grain, when ground and prepared will yield about 6 small biscuits or a plateful of pancakes. It’s enough to keep you alive, but a far cry from being satisfied and not hungry.  In other words, you’ll hate life.  Store additional food items!

Don’t forget to rotate your supply.  Use it as your own grocery store both to keep the supplies fresh and to learn to actually eat the food you’ve stored.  Remember to constantly replace the items you use.

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Helpful Items In Your Emergency Kit

· first aid book
· waterproof container
· assortment of band-aids
· gauze pads
· butterfly bandages
· cotton balls
· small roll of gauze
· adhesive tape
· cotton swabs (Q-Tips)
· safety pins
· Pepto-bismol tablets
· antacid tablets (good for bee sting)
· cold pack
· hydrogen peroxide
· alcohol (disinfectants)
· smelling salts
· medicine dropper tweezers
· alcohol wipes
· Benadryl capsules
· aspirin (promotes healing of burns)
· Tylenol (chewable for children)
· collapsible scissors
· thermometer
· crushable heat pack
· special prescriptions or equipment
· small tube or packets antiseptic cream
· ointment
· small spool thread/two needles
· toilet paper
· comfort food items
· book or reading material
· sleeping bag if you are going to exit your home or office
· change of clothing and comfortable walking shoes
· jacket(s) based on the climate in your area
· copy of your financial records, photocopy of your ID's and credit cards
· important telephone numbers including an out of state contact
· cash - $100 - $200 cash in small bills (you won't get change back)
· quarters - a roll or two of quarters for telephone calls - know where pay phones are located
· portable radio with fresh batteries
· flash light with fresh batteries

Miscellaneous items to consider for your emergency kit include:
· light stick
· small self-powered flashlight
· extra batteries
· pocket hand warmer
· compact fishing kit
· compass
· pocketknife
· 50 ft. nylon cord
· plastic poncho
· garbage bag
· paper or cards
· pen, pencil
· fine wire
· extra plastic bags
· small scriptures
· favorite songs
· small game, toy, etc.
· spare glasses
· additional money (small bills and change)
· field glasses
· toothbrush/toothpaste
· metal mirror
· comb
· razor
· pre-moistened wipes
· additional toilet paper - will be worth a lot in a barter
· feminine products
· sunscreen
· soap
· lip balm with sunscreen
· bandana (may be used for hat, washcloth, mask, sling, tourniquet)
· tube soap, bar soap, waterless soap
· identification/medical permission card
· special blanket or such for little people
· portable radio with extra batteries


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