Why Food Storage and the like


This blog comes to help us all deal with FS questions and to build up from a starting place & build a more complete and full FS & how to be more Self Reliant. Let us all get Prepared & ready for anything that may come our way. You never know when Mother Nature, Man Made Disaster or Money Problems may come and you would need your FS to get you through! I will talk about Emergency Preparedness also!

Food Storage, Emergency Preparedness, Other tips and Ideas. Let me help you get ready for what ever may come!

I started Food Storage over 15 years ago. I have taught many classes and been a speaker and helped many people over the years. This is a place where I can state things or address issues I want to cover.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Generators and common sense

So with the Hurricane and being with power for days. There has been a lot of accidents and almost accidents with people using generators, BBQ's and grills, propane stoves.

Here is the basics on use. NEVER use these items indoors! All the accidents and there have been deaths in past because people bring in the generator, the propane stove or BBQ's to the house. These are outdoor items and need to be used out doors!

Here is the RED CROSS info on Generator use and guidelines. I did copy and paste as, there is so much info and the "professionals" put this info toegther!

The following information, developed by the Red Cross with technical advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Fire Protection Association (publisher of the National Electric Code ®) and the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is provided to address questions about using a generator when disaster strikes.
Purchasing a Generator
If you choose to buy a generator, make sure you get one that is rated for the amount of power that you think you will need. Look at the labels on lighting, appliances, and equipment you plan to connect to the generator to determine the amount of power that will be needed to operate the equipment.
For lighting, the wattage of the light bulb indicates the power needed. Appliances and equipment usually have labels indicating power requirements on them. Choose a generator that produces more power than will be drawn by the combination of lighting, appliances, and equipment you plan to connect to the generator including the initial surge when it is turned on. If your generator does not produce adequate power for all your needs, plan to stagger the operating times for various equipment.
If you can not determine the amount of power that will be needed, ask an electrician to determine that for you. (If your equipment draws more power than the generator can produce, then you may blow a fuse on the generator or damage the connected equipment.)
Using a Generator
The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. Follow the directions supplied with the generator. Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use.
Under no circumstances should portable generators be used indoors, including inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home. The CO from generators can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death, but CO can't be seen or smelled. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY - DO NOT DELAY.
Because you may have windows open to get fresh air while the power is out, be sure to place the generator away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow CO to come indoors. To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. To protect the generator from moisture, operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Dry your hands if wet before touching the generator.
It is a good idea to install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer's installation instructions. If CO gas from the generator enters your home and poses a health risk, the alarm will sound to warn you. Test the battery frequently and replace when needed.
Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can. Use the type of fuel recommended in the instructions or on the label on the generator. Local laws may restrict the amount of fuel you may store, or the storage location. Ask your local fire department for additional information about local regulations. Store the fuel outside of living areas in a locked shed or other protected area. Do not store it near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage. If the fuel is spilled or the container is not sealed properly, invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and can be ignited by the appliance's pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.
Plug appliances directly into the generator. Or, use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin. Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household protection devices.
Future Considerations
The only recommended method to connect a generator to house wiring is by having a qualified electrician install a power transfer switch. This switch must be installed in accordance with the National Electrical Code® (NEC), which is published by the National Fire Protection Association, and all applicable state and local electrical codes. Call a qualified electrician or check with your utility company to see if they can install the appropriate equipment.
For power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing backup power to the home. Even a properly connected portable generator can become overloaded. This may result in overheating or stressing the generator components, possibly leading to a generator failure. Be sure to read instructions that come with the generator to make sure you operate it within its limitations for power output.


Should I stay or should I go?

Well with the pending Hurricane Irene last week, we had many family accross the country calling us and emailing us saying that we should think about leaving the area for the storm. So what do you do?

We followed the news, and alerts in the area. We looked at the maps, the storm surge maps, we knew where the water is and have a good idea on where it may go for flooding. We followed the path of the storm and simply paid attention to what the officials in the area were saying. We said we would stay here at the house, due to the strength of the storm and where we are at. Now if there was a mandatory evacuation we would of left!

This is really, I mean really important! When there is a mandatory evacuation you need to heed the advice of the officials in the area and leave your home. They are not going to tell you to leave just because, that means it is not safe for you to stay where you are! By you choosing to stay in an area that has has a mandatory evacuation you not only put yourself but others in DANGER! 

So now that is is ok to stay in your home how do I prepare to be there and be safe. Of course this is when you are there. You may have to stay at work, the office, or school also. It all depends on the situation and what is going on. We are going to talk about sheltering at home for an emergency.

First of all you need to have a battery powered radio! Know what radio stations will be broadcasting the news about the situation. Some radio stations will only broadcast news when something big is happening. Some will simply stream the local news on the radio for those that have lost power and can not watch the news. Listen to the news, watch the news. Know what is going on and pay attention to any new alerts, issues and directions that your local officials may give out. I have said this before follow your local news stations on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets that they use. I was able to follow and get all the updates I needed via Facebook form all 3 news stations in the area on my phone. Most news stations can send you an email or text for alerts of breaking news, just the weather, etc. Check out your local news websites and see what they have to offer.

You also need your 72 hour kit. There are lists everywhere for kit ideas and things you may need.

A few things you will need, water, food, light, hygiene, first aid, medications; these are the very basics, check out some lists and even on here in previous blog posts for ideas. Here is the link to the Red Cross website and they have all kinds of information and handouts you can print off.  http://www.redcross.org/ 

You also need items to keep warm in the cold weather and how to stay cool in warm weather.

You will need things to entertain everyone. This is harder when you have little kids, but with a little preparations you can have a box, bag, etc filled with things to do in an emergency only. Adults also get bored, so remember them also. 

Here is a list of info that was on the VA dept of emergency management page:
Whether you are at home, work or elsewhere, it might be best to stay where you are. Emergency officials will advise you about what to do.
  • Stay indoors away from all windows. Take shelter in an interior room with no windows if possible.
  • Stay in your shelter until local authorities say it is safe.
  • Do not drive unless absolutely necessary.
  • Keep the phone lines open for emergency calls.
  • Keep your emergency supply kit with you.
  • Listen to local television or radio stations for updates.
  • You might be told to create a barrier between yourself and the air outside, a process known as "sealing the room.” Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is harmful, you can tape up windows, doors and air vents if you need to seal off a room from outside air. 
Sealing a room makes a temporary barrier between you and harmful air outside. Consider precutting and labeling materials. Anything you can do in advance will save time when it counts.
To Seal the Room:
    • Bring your family and pets inside.
    • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
    • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.
    • Take your emergency supply kit.
    • Go into an interior room with as few windows as possible.
    • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape.
    • Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
    • Stay informed by watching TV, listening to the radio or checking the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
Before you seal a room, if there is damage to your home or you are instructed to turn off your utilities:
    • Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.
    • Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.
    • Teach family members how to turn off utilities.
    • If you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

*****Do remember that is for information only and you need to use it as that. You need
to do your own research and decide what you NEED to do. I have no personal
responsibility if you used anything from here and it did not turn out all that great.*****

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Power Outage

Being with out  power for a few hours is a big pain. Try being with out power for days even weeks. Here are some things that I want to be sure to pass on to you.

If you are lucky enough to only to be with out power for just a few hours, then there is not much to worry about, especially with food. Food safety reminders: If you were without power for over 4 hours the perishable items in your refrigerator need to be discarded. If you lost power for over 24 hours and your freezer was half full or over 48 hours with a full freezer, the contents need to be discarded, they are not safe for consumption. When in doubt, throw it out!

What do I do to prepare before a power outage: 

Be sure to have ice, either make ice and double bag it, and store in the freezer. make bigger ice chunks, as I would call them, with using bigger bowls, etc, double bag them and store them in the freezer. by making your own ice and having it on hand will cost less then having to buy bags at the store, if you can find ice at the store after an emergency. You can even freeze water bottles, for this also. just be sure to leave some room at the top of the bottle for the water to expand as is freezes.

Be sure to have coolers or ice chests in your home, be sure to keep them clean and ready to go! 

May want to have a food thermometer to check temps of food, not only when cooking everyday to to check the temps of foods to make sure they are cool enough! 

When the power goes out keep the refrigerator and freezer closed! Keep a list on the front of the door so you know what is in them, and even where located to you can get in and out of the fridge or freezer as fast as possible. Get everything out at once and replace everything back in at once.    

Food in the fridge should be used first, then the freezer, then your non perishables. This is common sense, but people do tend to forget this at times. 

If your power is out for 12-18 hours prepare the ice chests/coolers for the food. Place in the ice and "pack" the cooler! Find the coolest spot in the house and keep cooler there, even if it is your bathtub. 

Unplug all electronics. Be sure to turn off the AC or the heat if during winter. Keep one light on or even just a nightlight plugged in and on. Everything else should be turned off and unplugged! This will keep things from power surges that may occur. 

Personally I would encourage anyone to get the glow sticks, chem sticks, you know the sticks you buy and break, shake and they light up. Be sure to get the ones that can last for 12 hours or so. Green lights up very well, orange not so much. Be sure to get enough of these little buggers. Simply because they are safe to have around and use with children, pets, and even a house full of a lot of people. Not everyone thinks, esp those that have been drinking. I would encourage you  to have at least one per ROOM, for up to 1-2 weeks. yeah I know that is a lot, but have you ever tried to go to the bathroom in the dark, simply because everyone else has the flashlights. Or if you have small children, or just children in general, or older family members. It is too hard for them to go into a dark room, turn on and hold a flashlight. So yeah glow/chem sticks for each room. You can get the kids for fun the bracelets, or necklaces that glow. It will help calm them down, and distract them from the darkness that comes at night when there are no lights on anywhere! Especially when you try to put them down for bedtime.

We put one glow stick a 12 hour green one in the bathroom and not only did it light up the bathroom, but part of the hallway as well. We were able to shower by the light the glow stick put out. The ones I bought have plastic cord that comes with it, so we just hung it up on a hook in the bathroom.

Be sure to buy extra flashlights, and BATTERIES! When it is announced to prepare for a storm of any kind it is too late to find the size you are looking for! Batteries can last a good long while, buy early and always have extras on hand.  That means you need to know what size of batteries to have, how many each item takes! Some items take 3-4 batteries, some only 1-2. it all depends on what it is. 

Starting the topics of the day back up

Well hello everyone...with looking for a new place to live, moving, waiting to get hooked up to internet and then an earthquake, and a hurricane, flooding, being with out power for days. wow a lot has happened in the last month.

I will be starting the topics of the day back up starting September 1 2011. In the mean time I will be posting and blogging about what happened before and after the earthquake, and hurricane.

I have made a lot of notes and want to help anyone with tips, ideas and ideas on how to deal with any emergency situation. 

Everyone be safe and as always be prepared!

Hurricane Preparedness

 Hurricane Irene:

So this is my First Hurricane that I had to prepare for and experienced personally. Here are a few things that I have learned and I would be sure to have for any Emergency.

Now I had bagged up ice from the ice maker for a week prior. I also made big ice chunks in the freezer. Knowing I would need them for after the hurricane. Due note need to make more ICE, need to have more ice made, and double bagged!

Mosquitoes are bad especially after the hurricane, so you really do need to have bug spray!

We had the rain come in under the doors into the house. we put down towels and cleaned it up. so be sure to check your weather stripping. make sure it is new, and not worn! We now live in an apartment complex, so will have to get on the maintenance people to fix that!

You can never have enough glow sticks. You will need 1 per room per night for a week or so. It is had to use the bathroom in the dark, or while trying to hold a flashlight in the bathroom.

Snack type food is something you may want to consider for people. when you lose power and the boredom starts in people will want to snack on something. We had food to snack on, but you can always use more. We planned on 3 people to be here. We ended up with 6 people total. We had to have extra people for their safety. I did not plan on 3 more mouths to feed, 3 more people to entertain, and 3 more people to find a place to sleep, shower, use the bathroom. So always plan for more people!

So by doing this for many years I have always had a plan, and a kit. I have lived through many natural disasters, and many other things, but once you have to go through something new first hand.

Well here is a basic list that Virginia is giving out to their residents and a link

Get a Kit
Having an emergency supply kit is essential to making it through a disaster safely. Make sure to have supplies on hand to last each person at least three days.
Put these essential items in your kit:
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of food that does not need electricity for storage or for preparation
  • Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Water, at least three gallons per person for drinking and sanitation
  • Battery-powered/hand-crank radio with weather band and extra batteries
  • Written family emergency plan [on line form]
Once you have the essentials you should add these items to your kit:
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Prescription medications and eye wear
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter where you are
  • Sanitation supplies: moist towelettes, toilet paper, soap and plastic garbage bags
Additional items to consider adding to an emergency supply kit:
  • Items for infants and toddlers
  • Items for pets
  • Local maps
  • Copies of important family documents, such as insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash in small denominations or traveler's checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person (consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate)
  • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and sturdy shoes (consider additional layers if you live in a cold-weather climate)
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper (when diluted in water, bleach can be used to kill germs)
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Paper cups, plates and plastic knives, forks and spoons, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children 
  • http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/getakit