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Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

Last post Sat, Sep 7 2013 5:30 PM by AnotherBrandy. 8 replies.
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  • Thu, Sep 5 2013 8:56 AM

    Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

    Another discussion lit ideas on preparing ahead for emergencies and the struggle many have to be self sufficient at this time.

    Many of us are well into our storm seasons but some are just beginning the time of weather that winter presents. It's not too late to make some plans or to be better prepared next year.

    The key is planning ahead and being ready before the emergency comes. So how can you do that when you are on a limited budget? This site gives some tips for working your way up to being prepared. Does anyone have more to share?

    http://foodstorageandsurvival.com/7-ways-to-prepare-with-food-for-a-natural-disaster/
    $ Dollar Stretcher Community Manager $
  • Thu, Sep 5 2013 10:51 AM In reply to

    Re: Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

    After that discussion I challenged myself to write out a sample healthy meal plan of things one could buy that were healthy choices that could be used for disaster prep and still remain caloric, nutritionally dense, balanced meals that were within affordable price ranges. It used all dry, can, no cook foods and totaled out to around 2,560 calories (yes, I sate there and tracked all the calories - took a long time and then did calculations) that were NOT empty calories either. Time like this would not be a time to be picky and the most crucial time/need for proper nutrition to sustain during crisis. I will check out her site, thanks for the link.
    I am unable to delete my account. Therefore, I have signed out and will not be returning. Please do not contact me here, I will not get the message. God bless you all.
  • Thu, Sep 5 2013 11:06 AM In reply to

    Re: Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

    Great article, so glad they added #7 in there, so many forget about pet needs! Vitamins/supplements too. Garden of Life makes some amazing vitamins and raw-food meal packets to mix with juice or water or their protein shake. These are great and can be bought in individual packets. The comfort food thing, well, I can see the point entirely but the comfort foods most folks find interest in are not the kind we do. There would be no comfort in getting sick, headaches, toothaches, radical glucose changes and gut aches or IBS over the sugary processed foods listed... We do a lot of fresh fruit for dessert and find the fresh fruits and veggies I get very comforting. That is how we eat though and use to that, other things become foreign or occasional... Things that could work for me though - I do find comfort in canned sweet kernel corn... other things I could include in comfort foods - dried dates and figs, sugar snap pea crisps, raw fruit/nut bars like lara bars or the raw vegan sprouted bars I get, pinenuts and pistachios, raw kale chips (dehydrated kale chips), raw nut/seed butter, all natural canned sweet peas, artichoked hearts, olives, etc. - All these things happen to serve nutritional value/purpose too so they could be included in my kit regardless if they were comfort or not but would be a special bonus if included! I am wondering if anyone else finds comfort in healthy non traditional/standard American diet "comfort foods" too and what you might include?
    I am unable to delete my account. Therefore, I have signed out and will not be returning. Please do not contact me here, I will not get the message. God bless you all.
  • Thu, Sep 5 2013 5:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

    Dried fruit, nuts, crackers and pretzels are among the healthier things I get for emergency food.I also make a homemade granola or did as I can't find my recipe now. I bake loaves of homemade bread when I know a storm is coming, pop popcorn and buy breads. Beef jerky is also a food item I use and can be home done.

    To all this I add canned fruit, canned veggies, sandwich meat, peanut putter and other shelf stable spreads. I will get some of the less nutritious food like potted meat and even the pop-tarts because if we are out of power for a month it gets tiring to eat the same things.

    I like the emergency meals that I linked to but I am out of that sort of thing.
    $ Dollar Stretcher Community Manager $
  • Fri, Sep 6 2013 12:51 AM In reply to

    • Sea
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, Feb 24 2013
    • Posts 874

    Re: Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

     I have some bottled water, not nearly enough, jars and jars of pb, instant oatmeal, cans of beans, corn and peas. (the article recommends dried beans, but in a disaster there may well be no means of cooking anything and a water shortage, so I find this one impractible).

    I am also fortunate enough to have Rx's cans of supplement, some of which I have saved.

    As for comfort foods, I believe we should have them. Many use macaroni and cheese, stews, soups, favourite cookies, crackers. My comfort foods are oatmeal and hot cereal of almost any kind (except the flavoured oatmeal packets), pb and more pb, crackers

     Battery-powered short-wave radio flashlights and batteries, space heaters, two down sleeping bags and down clothing, artctic level boots, heavy socks, expedition mitts. Always at least two large bags of cat food. i should get more first-aid supplies. I do have extra on all medications, cell phone.

    Being hit by a disaster or attack is especially frightening for me because I am alone and cannot get out of here because of no transportion, and there no no shelter nearby.

  • Fri, Sep 6 2013 3:03 PM In reply to

    • Peanut
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Feb 17 2011
    • Suburbs of Boston, MA
    • Posts 141

    Re: Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

     It's so easy to get overwhelmed with all the "prep" stuff.  I think as a first principle, it's important to remember that doing *something* is better than doing nothing. A little step is still a step!  Keep a record of all the little steps you take - it's amazing how quickly it adds up!

     Over the past year, my family has been focusing on off-grid cooking in particular.  Our only way of cooking without power was an old propane grill.  Since propane isn't easy to store in volume, we agreed it was time to look at other options. 

     Charcoal is easy to store and fairly cheap (watch for sales around traditional grilling holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day) - the best deal I found locally was $10 for 40lb of charcoal.  We then found a collapsible charcoal/wood grill that's super efficient (uses 1/2 the coals of other grills).  It's lightweight, collapses to 5" tall and has a soft fiberglass lid for baking/roasting.  This is a great option for routine grilling as well as emergency/travel preparedness!

    Then we set out to learn other off-grid techniques to conserve the charcoal for "last resort".  It only takes a box/bin/drawer and old towels/clothes/blankets to make a "haybox" (aka "thermal retention cooker") - we can start a stew/dish over charcoal, boil for 10 minutes and stuff it in a haybox to finish cooking...leaving the charcoal available for the next dish/baking/grilling.  This really stretches your cooking $. 

    Finally, we delved into solar cooking.  Even at higher latitudes (Boston = 42 degree or so), we learned we can cook year round using solar!  Using solar parabolas to generate high heat, it's possible to pressure cook, can, deep fry...amazing!  Using less powerful cookers (ovens, panel cookers), we've roasted, baked, boiled, dehydrated...with free energy from the sun!

    The last area we've dabbled is "other options"...of which there are soooo many.  We found fold-up backpack stoves and flameless cooking gel packets - easy to stuff in the car.  Chafing dish cooking is another option, with Costco carrying huge boxes of sterno cans for around $20.  Portable butane burners run about $20-25 (though in the Chinese markets they may be $10-15!) - a higher-output indoor option (with ventilation!!!).

     I would encourage everyone to think about their cooking needs in an emergency.  There are so many ways to cook food, and many are very inexpensive.  (We bought a car sunshade for a couple dollars - that thing generates temps >300F on a clear-sky day!  We roasted baby back ribs!!)  I'm happy to post pics of what we have if anyone is interested.  I'd love to hear others' ideas too...so many ways to tackle the problem of emergency cooking!

    Babbling regularly at PeanutsAlmanac.Blogspot.com
  • Fri, Sep 6 2013 5:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

    I haven't had any luck with the solar cooking but we have made use of grills and a propane stove.
    $ Dollar Stretcher Community Manager $
  • Sat, Sep 7 2013 7:50 AM In reply to

    • Peanut
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Feb 17 2011
    • Suburbs of Boston, MA
    • Posts 141

    Re: Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

     Brandy, it took me a while to figure out the solar stuff.  The panel cookers especially (the lowest power cookers).  I'm at latitude 42' - I've found that the less powerful cookers aren't very effective from Nov-Feb or so because of the low angle, the short solar days and especially the lack of insulation on the (honestly, kinda flimsy) cookers.  For best results with the sunshade & "Copenhagen" style panel cooker (4 pieces of flexible cardboard that clip together with office binder clips), I put them up on something (a trash can with the lid removed is good) to insulate them frlom the ground - they lose heat if they're on a cold surface.  Next, I use an oven turkey bag around the cook pot, and put a cookie cutter (6" round) under the pot.  This creates an envelope of hot air around the pot, just like an oven would.  I use dark pans/bowls to absorb heat, and in really cold weather I add another layer of a pyrex bowl over the pot for an extra heat envelope - the hot glass helps even out the heat in the bag.  Finally, I position them *very* aggressively, adjusting them every 15-20 minutes in the fall/spring.  In the summer they can go a lot longer without needing to be repositioned.  I also use extra clips (and in the case of the car sunshade, two coathanger wires) to hold the panels exactly in focus.  Tricky in the winter, but I tell you what - in the summertime I'm able to get the cheapo cheezy cookers hot enough to roast turkeys!  The car sunshade topped out at 350F this summer, the cardboard panel cooker at 375F!

     The solar ovens can be used year round, though the homemade cardboard ones need to be protected from wet snow/ground.  The commercial solar ovens are well made - they work well.  I'm still finishing my homemade oven - two cardboard boxes, with insulating pieces between.  Paint the inside black, get a piece of double glazed glass cut to fit for a lid, then add reflectors (I'm gluing on empty food wrappers for the reflectors - the inside of snack bags, chips, etc are highly reflective!). A homemade oven will work year round here, too.

    If you just want a way to heat things up in an emergency, all you need is 2 jars!  The inner jar needs to be smaller than the outer.  Glue/bolt the inner jar lid to the underside of the outer jar lid.  Paint the outside of the smaller jar matte black (oven/grill paint is perfect).  To use, put the food in the smaller jar.  Screw on the small lid (which is joined to the bigger lid).  Put the smaller jar inside the big jar & screw that lid on.  You now have a perfect closed "oven" system, with the inner layer insulated by an envelope of air!  Stick it on the windowsill & your food/water will heat.  (You could also boost this with reflectors like a sunshade if you want to speed the process.)

    But if you want *serious* year-round cooking power, the parabolic cookers are the way to go. You can make them (inverted umbrella, old satellite dishes) or buy them.  I have one that cost $150 (including shipping) - that sucker generates 1500W of power.  I can deep fry, pressure cook, even can with it.  It's not quite as strong in the winter, but you can still fry bacon, steam/boil/roast/grill.  There's a collapsible German model (the dish inverts into an umbrella in bad weather!), literally folds up in minutes - It's just under $200 and comes with a carry box. There are fancier models with cutouts for the chef (to avoid getting a blast of solar power while stirring), different pot grates, etc.  There are also evacuated glass tubes with mini fold-up parabolas that cook smaller amounts (1 liter) but cook it HOT...so could roast game hens & such in these...and they're small enough to fit on a tabletop while generating temps up to 500F (even in winter).

    The solar cooker "community" is a very friendly group - they have a very active facebook page & loads of info to share.  ("Solar Cooker World Network")  If you want more general info or design ideas (and a LOT can be made at home for CHEAP), visit the Solar Cooker International website - they have an AWESOME wiki for beginners.

    Babbling regularly at PeanutsAlmanac.Blogspot.com
  • Sat, Sep 7 2013 5:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Preparing Ahead for Emergencies

    That is fantastic information, Peanut, thank you for sharing it.
    $ Dollar Stretcher Community Manager $
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