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How much Emergency Food do You Need?


Trying to figure out how much emergency food you need? We’ve got an easy way to share with you, but you’ll need to think through your food insurance plan a bit first.

  1. How many people over 10 years old will you be feeding?
  2. How many children under 10?
  3. How many servings of freeze dried food per day do you want to plan for? Some families plan for 2 meals per day for reduced costs and storage space and some plan for 3 per day. If you have the space and budget we recommend planning for 3 servings per day per person, and not just because we sell survival food. In an emergency it’s likely you’ll end up with extended family, neighbors or unexpected guests in need – other mouths to feed in other words – and you don’t want to cut meals down to 1 per day.
  4. How long of an emergency do you want to plan for?

 

Photo credit: Indigo Valley Photography

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Flood Preparation and Safety Tips

 

Flood preparation

Floods cause more damage in the United States than any other weather-related event and can happen anywhere in any of the states or territories in any season. Floods happen fast; winter storms and snowmelts can cause mild to extreme flooding. Here are some tips for staying safe in a flood and getting prepared for a reduction or halt of normal services due to a flood emergency:

Assemble an emergency kit – the Red Cross recommends an emergency kit with these items:

  • Water—at least a 3-­day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3 -day supply of non­perishable, easy-­to-­prepare food. Dehydrated food or freeze-dried food is ideal because it’s light.
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-­day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Multi­purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Camera for photos of damage

Stay informed - NOAA Weather Radio, or local TV or radio stations will issue flood warnings and reports from the National Weather service. If a flood warning is issued for your area, be prepared to evacuate right away and move to higher ground.

Stay away - do not enter flood waters, even if it seems shallow. Water that only comes to your ankles can sweep you off your feet. If you’re driving, turn around and do not attempt to cross flooded roads.

Protect emergency food and water

  • Basements are excellent for emergency food storage because of their low, constant temperatures. However, if there is danger of flooding ensure that food is elevated enough to stay dry. Better yet, temporarily move your supply to the highest level of the house.
  • Keep a supply of bottled water or keep a water filter nearby. If you have a well, do not use the water from it until it has been tested and deemed safe.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables and prepare baby formula with safe water.
  • Don’t eat anything that’s come in contact with floodwater.
  • Throw out food that is not in waterproof containers (screw caps, pull tops and crimped caps are not waterproof).
  • Food in metal cans and flexible metal or plastic pouches can be cleaned by removing labels and sanitizing containers before opening.
  • Thoroughly sanitize food prep pans, countertops, dishes and utensils with hot soap and water or a bleach solution.

Return carefully

  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
  • Before entering your home, check for loose power lines and damaged gas lines. If you see or hear either one, leave immediately.
  • As you enter, be aware that wild animals, especially poisonous snakes can seek shelter in flooded houses.
  • Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster as water may be contaminated.

As illustrated by recent events, even if you’re not in a designated flood plain you may be at risk for high water damage in extreme weather conditions. Take some time to assemble a kit and familiarize yourself with basic safety information.

Photo Credit: K. Connors

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College Food Alternatives

 

If you didGourmet freeze-dried food: the fast food alternativen’t eat Ramen noodles in college we’re happy for you. Unfortunately, some of us did.  Also unfortunately, we’ve learned that Ramen noodles and fast food are still staples of dorm room living. In fact, forty-four percent of college students eat fast food at least once a week, despite growing evidence that it’s a habit we all really need to break.

Still, fast food is cheap, it tastes good, it’s accessible and, well…it's fast. With these perks, it makes sense that kids can be tempted to trade a little health (hey, it’s only one meal, right?) for time and money.

Except, you can’t live like that. Well, you can – but you can’t function well like that. People who skip meals or eat unbalanced meals experience a 25% drop in productivity. Add that to the inevitable sleep deprivation and you’ve got a college student operating at half-capacity.

The reality is that most college kids are low on cash, are busy, and aren’t going to spend a lot of time considering nutrition. With that, we’re going to let college students (and their parents) in on a little secret that hikers, climbers and outdoors people have known for years. You can have tastier food that’s faster and cheaper and healthier than anything you can get in a drive through or in a noodle packet. Our gourmet freeze-dried meals cost about $2.25 each (that’s two servings), are ready in 12-minutes, are very tasty, have good nutrition, and don’t require you to choose between health, time or money.

Here are some tips for creating a small dorm-room “pantry” of fast and healthy meals that don’t require refrigeration, won’t add to the dreaded Freshman Fifteen, and will beat a diet of noodles any day:

  • Wise freeze dried entrees (two to four servings per packet)
  • Small pop-top cans of fruit, or our freeze-dried fruit packages
  • Cans of 100% vegetable juice such as V8 or fruit juices
  • Walnuts for critical Omega-3
  • Apples for antioxidants
  • 75% dark chocolate cacao bars (it’s brain food, we promise!)
  • Small coffee maker to make hot water to rehydrate food, as well as to make tea or coffee

January may mean back to school but it doesn’t have to mean another semester of bad food.

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Time to Retire the Rice Cakes?

In 2006 a USA Today poll caused a stir when it revealed that the average lunch “hour” was not an hour at all but 42 minutes. In 2008, it was down to 35 minutes. In 2010, it was down to 29 minutes. A recent poll revealed that 76% of workers now say they take no break at all. Many said that lunch takes a backseat to meetings; some said they prefer to “graze” throughout the day Dieting and freeze-dried foodsinstead of interrupting their momentum and some prefer to skip a lunch break in order to arrive late or leave early so they can drop off and pick up kids from school.

Whatever the cause, the lunch “hour” is endangered, if not on the brink of extinction. Still, skipping lunch all together can cause drastic dips in energy and blood sugar, which affect productivity.  Skipping lunch can also lead to eating anything you can get your hands on as soon as you hit the kitchen at night. Which undermines that great American pastime:

Dieting.

80 million of us are doing it – in fact, we’ll spend billions of dollars on diet programs this year. Several of these programs work by delivering pre-made food in controlled portions to busy people who don’t like to cook but want to eat healthy food and lose weight. Though these programs take the guesswork out of meal planning, they cost around $600 per month, or around $7 per entrée. (Note that you have to add your own fresh fruits and vegetables.)

Why not use gourmet freeze-dried food to survive the 12-minute lunch “hour”, ease the burden of meal prep and take the guess work out of dieting? And the tastiest news of all: It could cost you as little as a third of what the national diet food programs cost!

Here’s an example of three balanced meals from freeze-dried Wise meals that come in around 500 calories each:

Breakfast – Crunchy granola (add 2% milk or low-fat yogurt)

Lunch – Tomato Basil Soup (add salad and low-fat dressing)

Dinner – Teriyaki & Rice (add roasted or steamed vegetables)

These three meals would cost you nearly $30 per day if you order them from a diet program. The three meals above cost under $10 a day, even adding in fresh vegetables and fruits. A variety of entrees, soups and breakfast choices are available so you won’t get bored and each packet costs a little more than $2. As always, 

Photo credit: cohdra

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Stuck, Stranded, Safe
 

Car stuck in snowIf your part of the world endures winter storms, or you have to travel through winter storms this season, a little preparation can go a long way toward keeping you and your family safe. In addition to carrying a bag of sand, rock salt or non-­clumping kitty litter to combat ice should you get stuck, the Red Cross recommends that your car is always stocked with warm coats, gloves, hats, boots, extra blankets, and warm clothing for all household members. It is also wise to carry emergency fool and water, and an alternate heating method such as a small wood ­or coal ­burning stove.

Prepare your car

If you must drive during or after a winter storm, prepare your car:

  • Check the tires for good tread and if you use snow chains (not a bad idea to carry a set), make sure they fit and that you know how to install them
  • Get a winter checkup – battery, belts, lights, brakes, wipers and heater
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times
  • Program the local emergency station into your radio
  • Ensure your cell phone is charged before leaving hitting the road

Create an emergency kit for your vehicle that includes:

  • Flashlight with fresh batteries as well as a spare set of batteries
  • Warm blanket
  • Warm snow boots with good tread
  • Heavy gloves
  • First-aid kit
  • Ice scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • 72 hours of dehydrated food for two to three people
  • Water in an insulated container
  • Road flares
  • Spare cell phone battery or car charger

If you get stranded, call for help, put on your flashers, light a flare and stay in your car while you wait. You are more likely to survive in your car for an extended time than outside in the elements for a shorter time.

After a storm

  • Stay indoors if possible, but do keep an eye on elderly or disabled neighbors Ensure pets and service animals are indoors and livestock has access to shelter, food and water
  • Never use a generator, gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices inside a house or car. Carbon monoxide poisoning causes over 2,000 deaths and 10,000 injuries every year
  • Take care of your pipes by keeping garage doors closed, but opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets that contain

Photo credit: ZeroSilence3