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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The First 72 hours: Water & Food

The Next Big Thing for your area is overdue and you want to get ready, but you think family or economics will keep you from preparing? Living in an apartment, condo, or house in the city is not a reason to ignore planning for you or your family's safety.

As I am currently rebuilding my preps, I will be following these recommendations as well as writing about them every week. I will also list how much it costs to do, because I am on a Blue Collar Prepping budget.

Your plan should list your goals for 24-72 hours, 3-14 days and then multiples of 14 days as your budget allows. Write the plan down, put it on your tablet, on your phone and your home computer, but have printed hard copies as your back-up.

There will be a bibliography of the books I have read and use, with excerpts noted to the best of my ability.

The topics to be covered were outlined in my last post, so let's get started.


Water

You need water to survive and with the power off, water mains and sewer lines damaged, do you trust what comes out of the faucet? The answer is a qualified YES. The chance of contamination is low for the first hour after an earthquake (my planned-for disaster), so fill up your bathtub and any containers (with screw lids) you can to supplement your stored water. Save this for your last resort supply. 

How much water do you need to store? 2 gallons per person, per day is the recommended minimum for health, cooking and cleaning. So, you need 12 gals of water for 3 people, per day, stored safely. Walmart* has 5-6 gallon soft/collapsible or hard side water containers for as little as $9 (soft) to $12 (hard). Spend what you can, when you can. Remember that I mentioned recycling? If you have to, use 1 gallon screw-top milk or juice containers to start. Cleaned with soap and rinsed, filled, set in the sun (to remove flavors) and then refilled, you will be fine. Remember, Some Is Always Better Than None. So if you don’t see a movie this month, give up one lunch out, and don’t buy a half-caff Mochajavafrappachino or two this week, you could have $20-$30 to spend!

Food

As I’ve said, this is a project that I’m doing right now for myself, so take all of this as a guide, not Gospel. Tailor it to your situation financially, storage-wise and disaster-wise.

The food you are eating now should be the core of what is purchased for your emergency supply, but in another condition. Whether this is dry, dehydrated or freeze-dried is entirely budget defined. To get the most from your blue collar budget, you should be shopping at the local dollar store, food outlet, ethnic markets, and if you can afford the membership, Costco or Sam’s Club. Start with buying 2 extra cans of the core foods you regularly buy when you shop and put those aside. Start purchasing extra packages of rice, flour, pasta, beans (dry and canned), lentils, couscous and whole grains. Don’t forget oatmeal, tea, coffee, brown and white sugar, dry soup and your favorite seasonings and spices. Also put away canned tuna, chicken, dried and canned fruit and other family picks. Don’t forget hard candy! 

As you purchase these supplies, use a permanent marker to mark them with date of purchase and type (in case of label damage) to prevent spoilage. These items will be rotated into your kitchen, used up and re-supplied as you go. Canned goods will store well if placed off concrete floors, away from moisture and temperature extremes. Bagged goods that might get crushed need to be stored in other containers like 5 gallon plastic pails with snap down lids, or metal trash cans if space allows. Try to get discarded restaurant food storage pails, purchase food storage pails and specialty food storage bags. At the least, double-bag your items in white kitchen bags, duct tape them closed and mark what is inside before placing in your cans. If you find restaurant pails, try not to use sliced pickle or garlic cans! Remember, start with what you have, do what you can, and Some Is Always Better Than None.


Next week: Shelter and Energy



* Walmart will be used for much of my shopping, since it gives me more bang for my buck. Many items stocked there come from China. Get over your geo-political sensitivities; I don’t like a government who murdered 30-50 MILLION of their people either. However, I am not willing to die nor let those I care about die for a political statement. After our families are safe and homes secure we can have that trendy coffee and compare notes. Until that time, let’s stay alive.

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