Friday, February 15, 2013

Emergency Preparedness Month: Getting Started

So.  What should I do first to feel like I can take care of my family, in case of emergency?

1) For me, the first thing I wanted to make sure I had was getting a 96-hour kit put together for everyone.  It's still not totally complete - I need to put together a more complete first aid kit.  Feeling like I can take care of my own kids in an emergency gives me great peace of mind-- especially if we ever had to leave from forest fires or were stranded from flooding or earthquake.  Since we have 3 small children that can't carry their own, I have one large rolling duffle with all of their stuff in it, and a backpack for Jay and one for myself.  Everything is in individualized baggies inside, so when they get old enough to carry their own, I can easily transport it.

I made a google template here, if anyone wants to keep track of what they have in their kit.  I decided it would be less hassle to just get MREs, so that is what we have done to avoid needing to rotate the food every 6 months.  (it just gets so expensive!)
(note: I originally made it for 72 hours, but the the church suggested we now have a 96-hour kit, so I have added extra clothes and an extra day of food to mine.)

2) After that, I wanted to make sure we had enough water.  Scientists have said you can go up to 8 weeks without any food, as long as you have water, however, 8 weeks of water is a LOT of water!!  So, my plan is to have enough water for everyone for at least 2 weeks (14 gallons per person), and then have methods of purification.  We have 2 55 gallon water barrels (don't buy them for more than $50, they always go on sale) full and waiting that we will rotate every April and October, and then I also keep water bottles from Costco that Jay and I just drink regularly, so they get automatically rotated that way.  (We'll use one bottle for a week or two, refilling it from the tap, and then recycle it and get a new one.)
(If you want the awesome storage like we have, you can get the plans here.  Though, my dad realized if it was raised off the ground a bit more, you could more easily fit a bucket under the spigot, so he raised it by attaching some more wood under.  maybe 4 extra inches?  He also put in additional supports, which you can see by the blue-painted wood.  Thanks dad! You did an awesome job!)

Next, what I would do is just every time you need to buy something for dinner, if it is something that lasts a long time (pasta, rice, oats, oil, bouillon, canned goods, condiments, etc.), buy extra- whatever your budget will allow.  This way, you will at least have things on hand that you know you use and you may end up saving yourself a trip to the grocery store in the future!  However, you must stay stocked up.  Every time you use one, be sure to add it to your grocery list, otherwise it will be depleted without your noticing, and you're back to square-one.

Now for building up to a year's supply...

How do you know how much to store?
I like this food storage calculator because it's just a spreadsheet and you can adjust the number of adults, kids, and months you want to save up for.  I would start saving for 1 month.  Once you have that, work on saving for 2, etc.  However, if wheat ever goes on sale, I would just buy extra to stock up. is free to sign up and you can actually keep track of what you have and tell it when you use something or buy something and it will tell you what percentage you have.  It's pretty too.

Just so you don't all feel like I'm perfect- we don't have a year supply.  Not even close.

a glimpse of my awesome storage room

notice the wheat buckets on bottom, and the water bottles we cycle through

Only you will know what would work for your family.

How do I rotate through it so it doesn't go bad?
  The trick is to only store things you would actually eat, which means you need to incorporate it into your cooking!  I'm going to talk more about using wheat and powdered milk and eggs in your cooking, but other things like pasta, rice, oatmeal and beans, you probably already use regularly.  So just buy the types of pasta, rice, etc. you like!  Everyday Food Storage and  Food Storage Made Easy also has lots of recipes.

Also, if you are like me and need a plan, I decided to make a one week menu- breakfast, lunch and dinner- and calculate how much food I would need for each thing on there.  Then you can multiply that by 5 for one month storage, 27 for 6 months, or 52 for a whole year.  Then if you just eat one of those meals every week, you can rotate through the things you have.

My hope is to eventually get a 2 week list of recipes, because if you know me, I enjoy variety in my food.

This isn't pretty, and it's all in the works, but you can see what I've done so far here.  When I'm done, I'd like to make a template so other people can actually use it.

I'd love any food-storage menu item ideas!

Are you overwhelmed yet?


WalkConkies said...

Way to go Libby! I love the water barrel holder your dad made. I love stocking up on food items we use when they are on sale - it saves a lot more than you realize when you think of the gas and time it takes to run to the store for all those last minute things. But, I should be more organized about meal planning like you!!! We should work on first aid kits together!

Keegan said...

Wow! We really need to work on emergency preparedness. This is not our strength at all. I love your ideas here, though!

Mama Chick said...

Lib this is awesome! I didn't know the church suggested 96 hour kits. I miss living in Utah and being able to buy something like wheat barrels. They just don't have that here (at least not close by, that I'm aware of). I'm hoping our next move will give us more space for food storage. Right now, I think I'd only have space for a months worth of food.

AngelaMuir said...

i kind of hate food storage. it boggles my mind when i start to really think about it. :( i really enjoy reading your posts though!