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Monday, March 29, 2010

Tip of the Week…Preparing for Emergencies…Food Storage in the City…EMPs and Solar Flares

grocery store case nicole
Wednesday someone in the yahoo group asked about EMPs and solar flares wondering if they are really a serious threat to our safety. I spent the night and yesterday doing some brush-up research so I could discuss this armed with the latest information. While there has been some great info shared in our yahoo group, I have decided it is time to deal with this issue in a bigger way. Beginning Tuesday and continuing every week, until we have most of the answers, since you never have all of the answers, I will attempt to help you understand and prepare.
For those in the city food storage can become more of a challenge. Last week we looked at our homes and discussed how to make room for our preparedness supplies before we bring them home. If you missed that please go back and review it. Room seem to be the biggest obstacle for those living in a city.
Don’t fall into the trap of storing cans and cans of dehydrated or freeze dried foods believing these will provide you a way to store more in less space. There are three big problem with this approach.
First, they are very expensive.
Second, dehydrated foods require four times the amount of water to ingredients to reconstitute so, one cup of carrots takes four cups of water to prepare. During a crisis, especially a natural disaster you may be without clean water and would need to conserve the water you have available. As you know from the  my ebook  Mother Hubbard: What She’s Doing Now, I believe in storing the foods we normally eat. The calculator in the book will help you formulate  your storage plan.AS you store canned foods you will be increasing not only your food supply but also your water storage. You can cook your oatmeal in the juice you have saved from canned peaches. You can drain green beans and use the water to cook pasta.
Finally, these foods take a long time to cook. Again if you are without power these could not be cooked adequately in a few minutes on a barbecue grill or alcohol/TP stove.
We have seen from past disasters that food supplies can be cut off, and store shelves remain bare, for weeks after a disaster. Should we be hit with an EMP or solar flare or should the power grid be down for any reason supplies will be scare for many, many weeks. Food cannot be delivered to city stores if there is no gas. Gasoline takes electricity to pump. I always advocate a three month supply of the foods you eat but I realize for an apartment dweller this may not be possible.
It’s time to make friends. Now is the time to become acquainted with your neighbors. I would recommend talking the those who live in the same building as you, or in the building next door or across the street, about emergency preparedness. Any further away and sharing becomes a problem. Try holding a neighborhood meeting, maybe under the banner of a neighborhood watch. Feel out the guests about their concerns about disaster preparedness. Contact those you feel would be good partners after the gathering and see if they would be interested in planning together. You would now have allies. During an emergency you may want to gather together into one home making food preparations and keeping warm more efficient and also safer. There is safety in numbers. During a crisis if everyone brings the foods and equipment they have stored to one apartment who cares if the place has cans and boxes of oatmeal everywhere?
If you have a car, hard to believe but some city residents don’t, remember your trunk. The trunk of your car should always have a good car kit but if you lack space you may consider storing your 72 hour kit and some non food supplies in the car. Many supplies would not be appropriate for trunk storage, such as liquid medications. If you are planning to evacuate to a friend’s home outside the city consider storing items in the trunk that would be a welcome addition to their storage. For me, TP!  Toilet paper takes up a great deal of space but it is an absolute necessity in a good storage plan. It will be a great item to trade in addition to the obvious need. So, think trunk!
Back to food storage. Begin this week to store canned foods and grains which are easy to cook such as oatmeal and pasta. You may want to follow the plan we followed last year to fill the shelves in our General Store. You may just want to look and the spread sheet and calculator in Mother Hubbard and jump in. I would begin by getting a complete supply to last three weeks and then increase to a month…and so on. Remember to have the strength necessary to meet the demands of an emergency you will need a well balanced diet. No matter how you begin, just begin.
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