DIY First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first-aid kit can be a real lifesaver. An organized kit is the key to fast and effective treatment. Your first-aid kit shouldn’t just be some bandages thrown into a bag. It will be a pain to find what you need during a real emergency. A good first-aid kit should be separated into categories so you can quickly and efficiently find what you are looking for. Minutes matter in a life and death situation.

A simple toiletry bag can be used as a ready-made first-aid kit for around fifty dollars. Look for a compact, water-resistant bag, with lots of compartments for organization. Ideally, the bag should be red in color. Red is the universal color for medical equipment. A compact bag will be easy to carry with you no matter the terrain. A water-resistant bag is a must-have in a wetter climate, but you never know when you might have to cross a river or get stuck in a downpour.

Gloves will prevent the spread of disease from you to the patient and vice versa. Some people are allergic to latex so make sure your gloves are latex-free. You may have to cut clothes off to access the wound, safety sheers will make this quick and easy. Iodine wipes are a quick and easy way to disinfect a wound and help keep the area you are working on clean. Liquid iodine can also be used to clean wounds. A variety of different sized bandages and cotton pads will allow you to treat different injuries effectively.

Tweezers are great for removing splinters or other small debris that may become lodged in the body. Every dog owner should carry tweezers. Foxtails are especially bad this year and they can easily get stuck in Fido’s ears or nose. Tweezers will allow you to remove them quickly before they become a major health hazard.

It is a good idea to keep a few anti-inflammatory medications on hand. Allergic reactions are dangerous and can happen at any time, better to be safe than sorry. Simple over the counter painkillers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen will take the edge off and allow you get out of harm’s way if necessary. Saline eye drops can be used to rinse eyes if injured.

For more serious injuries a tourniquet could save your life. Massive blood loss is deadly, end of story. Colting agents such as Celox can be applied to a wound to quickly colt blood and stop bleeding fast. Wrap the wound with a pressure bandage to prevent it from bleeding again. Use a tourniquet if necessary. Be sure to remember the tourniquet was applied so you can inform emergency personnel.

Essentials Items  

  • Toiletry bag
  • Latex-free gloves
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Bandages of different sizes
  • Tweezers
  • Iodine wipes
  • Blood clotting agents
  • Compress bandage
  • Tourniquet
  • Safety Sheers
  • Gauze
  • Large cotton pads
  • Medical tape
  • Small cotton pads
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Saline eye drops
  • Liquid iodine

Water Storage–How Much Do You Need?

The human body is 65 percent water. Water is essential to life as we know it. Water carries nutrients and hormone through the body, regulates body temperature, lubricates our eyes, and cushions joints. After 1 to 2 day without water, the brain literally starts to shrink. Researchers found that the same task will take a dehydrated person twice as long to complete as a hydrated person. After 3 to 5 days without water, organs and brain functions will shut down.

Water storage should be a part of everyone’s emergency preparation. During a disaster, water lines easily can be interrupted or damaged. You might not have access to clean drinking water for several days. Authorities recommend having enough water for at least 72 hours. However, some areas remain out of water for 4 to 5 days, and others even longer.

As a general rule of thumb store 1 gallon per person per day. For example, a family of four would need 120 gallons for one month. Keep in mind children or nursing mother might require more water. More water will be necessary for warmer climates. Water needs can double in extreme heat.

Don’t forget your fur family when stockpiling water for a disaster. A healthy dog should drink about 1 ounce per pound of body weight. My 42 lbs Border Collie mix would need about 1/2 of a gallon per day. Cats, on the other hand, get most of their water through their food, but they still need 2-3 ounces of water per day. My family of 5, plus two dogs and cat would need about 21 gallons of clean water for 72 hours.

Daily Water Use 

  • 1 Gallon per person
  • 1 Ounce per pound of dog
  • 2-3 Ounces per cat

Store water in various sized containers. It will be extremely difficult to move a large  55-gallon drum during an evacuation. Bottled water is easy to carry. You will need 8 16.9 oz water bottles per person per day. My family would need about 56 bottles of water per day.

3 Day Water Supply Containers 

  • 4.6 water bottle cases (36 16.9 oz water bottles per case)
  • 21-gallon jugs
  • 12 2.5-gallon rectangular jugs

Water Tips 

  • Don’t ration water unless told to by authorities. Drink what you need. Limit your water needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
  • Don’t drink soda, coffee, or alcohol. Caffeine and carbonation will increase your water needs.
  • Avoid cloudy or questionable water. Drink the water you know is clean first. Treat the questionable water if possible. Don’t become dehydrated, drink the questionable water if there are no other options.




Do You Believe in Miracles?

I had a really motivational and inspiring experience at the gym recently.  Yes, this is one of my New Year’s goals (kind of the same ones I set every year) – to get in better shape and lose weight.  Now I know there are those who know me will stop me right here and say, “Wait, did you say you were at the gym?  I never would have guessed!”  The truth hurts but I’m not giving up on my dream of someday, someone saying to me, “Dude, do you like live at the gym?  You look awesome!”  I can dream, can’t I?

Anyway, back to my story.  As I climbed on my favorite treadmill (I like this one because the display is small enough that my upper torso covers the display while I work out so people around me can’t easily see my stats – super self-conscious, I know), I glanced to my left and saw an old friend who was assisting his son on the rowing machine.  I see his son at the gym often; he has such a kind smile but is faced with an unimaginable trial.  Over 20 years ago, my friend’s son was in a terrible motorcycle accident and was hanging on to life by a thread as the ambulance rushed him to the hospital.  In spite of the best efforts of the emergency room physicians, my friend’s son passed away.  His 23 year old son was pronounced dead.

I can’t even begin to imagine the overwhelming grief my friend and his wife must have felt.  Then a marvelous miracle occurred.   A young doctor, refusing to give up on this young man, tried one more last ditch effort to revive him – and it worked!  He was brought back to life after several minutes of being clinically dead.  Little did my friend know that in spite of this great miracle, there would be countless days and nights of pain, desperation and fatigue that the entire family would experience.  You see, there had been severe brain damage that occurred and his 23 year old son had reverted to an infant in mental capacity.  Now at the age of 45, he can talk in a very limited, broken fashion.  He can move all of his appendages, but he still can’t walk and has no balance.

When my friend saw me, he left his son and walked over to my treadmill and brought me up to speed as to his son’s progress.  Up till about six months ago, his son still had to use a wheelchair but had now graduated to using a walker with some assistance.  He had never let go of the absolute goal of someday being able to walk unaided again.  As my friend and I were talking, I kept looking over his shoulder at his son and watching him pull with a strong back the handle on the rowing machine.  Then all of a sudden, he fell over with his feet still strapped in the machine.  We rushed over to his aid and unstrapped his feet and we both lifted him back up to sit sideways on the machine.  When I reached under his arm to help lift, I was shocked at the massive muscles I could feel under his shirt.  It felt like I was lifting Hulk Hogan or some other WWF wrestler.

His dad explained that his son would often spend six to eight hours a day at the gym and could bench 350 lbs. and squat 900 lbs.  Wow!  I was so impressed!  But then I thought, this didn’t happen by just casually frequenting the gym when he felt like it.  He was absolutely dedicated to the goal of walking again and was willing to do whatever it took.  It’s been over 20 years now, and he still hasn’t given up and he never will.  He is totally focused on his goal and regardless of how long it may take, he WILL NOT GIVE UP!

Now you may be asking yourself, what on earth does this have to do with emergency preparedness – well I’m glad you asked.  Preparing for difficult times ahead is not necessarily an easy task, it will require time, effort and dedication.  This type of dedication is unfortunately rare today but is a trait I hope we all would like to develop to a much greater extent.  Making and keeping goals is certainly not a new idea for any of us but having the courage to never stop trying is indeed rare.

I took my wife to the movie “Darkest Hour” about Winston Churchill the other evening – really liked the movie.  I honestly had no idea how much opposition Churchill had during WWII from his own party as well as the balance of Parliament.  Churchill was adamantly opposed to giving in to Hitler and negotiating some type of treaty.  I loved seeing the movie “Dunkirk” as well that showed these extraordinary times from another very unique perspective.  I would highly recommend you watch both movies.

So after being motivated by these great movies, I came across a quote from Churchill that I really liked. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”  Even though at first blush it comes across a little negative, I really liked the message so I decided to text it to my daughter.  This was her reply, “Thanks Dad but that’s the most depressing horrible quote ever.”  I guess she needed to see the movies first.  I decided I better call her to explain why I really liked the quote and why I believe it’s critical that each of us keep a strong, positive outlook on our life, never giving up on our goals and aspirations, regardless of what happens, never ceasing to strive.

Interestingly enough, there are many out there who really feel strongly about providing emergency food storage for their families but just keep hitting some kind of wall that keeps them from following through.  Some may struggle with chronic procrastination, others with the lack of understanding of knowing how to begin.  There are those who don’t feel they have the space or are distracted with other important projects.  And there are those who may be struggling with just putting food on the table right now and the thought of putting 3, 6 or 12 months of food away for a rainy day is totally beyond their financial reach.

My simple plea for each of you that may fall into one of these categories is to set your preparedness goal and never give up trying to accomplish it!  I truly believe miracles will happen.  Some miracles just happen, like my friend’s son being brought back to life but most miracles happen only after a trial of our faith and commitment.  There will be set-backs and challenges; this life is full of them.  But if you keep your eye on the preparedness ball, always keeping in the back of your mind your goal and desire to prepare and provide for your family, miracles will happen that will allow you to accomplish your preparedness goals.  Please don’t allow the fact that you may be struggling keep you from striving – allow these miracles to happen in your life.

DIY Can Food Storage Rotation

A good rotating food storage system is one of the best ways to save time, money, and possibly help you in an emergency situation. Think about how much waste happens when your storage room is disorganized. Food gets pushed to the back of shelving, sometimes expiring before you get to it again. You don’t know what food you have or where you put it.  There are so many benefits to having your food storage organized. Even better, building a system is not difficult at all.

Save Money
Did you know that according to the Food and Agricultural Organization,  Americans waste $160 billion in waste every year?(1)  Most of that waste is perishable food, but expired canned food plays into that staggering number. If you have a good storage system, you know exactly what food you have and how much of it you have.  Because food doesn’t expire before you get to it, you save money by rotating your food and using it regularly.

Having an organized pantry and storage room means you know exactly what you have on hand and what you need to replenish. You’ll never run out of your kitchen staples if you know what you have.  You can use your system as rotating food storage, using your food daily and replenishing when you need it.

Stay Prepared
You have your food storage because you want to be prepared, right? But how prepared are you if you don’t know what food you’ve stored? An efficient storage system helps you be prepared for you emergencies because you know exactly what resources you have.

Even a small storage room can benefit from a good storage system. While there are many options,  sloped shelves are an excellent way to store canned goods to ensure they are rotated properly. Sloped shelves let gravity do the work.  If you’re tight on space, slope just a few shelves and leave the rest flat for other food or water storage. The shelves can be as large or as small as your space allows. Remember not all cans are created equal so make sure to measure the size of cans you want to store and build your sloped shelves accordingly.

DIY Rolling Can Shelves 


  •  2x4s
  • Plywood (2′ wide)
  • 8′ corner bead strips
  • Deck screws
  • Stud finder
  • Stapler
  • Level


  1. Build the outer frame and make sure it is square.
  2. Place the rails on the frame at a slope. It should be sloped at about 6 inches from the top of the rail to the bottom. This will help the cans rolls smoothly.
  3. Measure the cans and space the rails accordingly.
  4. Place the frame on the wall.
  5. Trace the rails.
  6. Use the stud finder to find the wall studs.
  7. Screw the second set of rails into the studs. This will form the back wall of the shelving unit.
  8. Measure the height of the cans. Place the corner bead strips along the plywood with enough space for the cans to roll smoothly. You can use CD cases as spacers.
  9. Staple the corner bead strips to the plywood. The cans will roll between the corner bead down the length of the shelf.
  10. Lay the shelves in the frame starting from the bottom and screw them in place.
  11. Screw a piece of wood to the end of each shelve. This will prevent the cans from rolling onto the floor.

DIY Rainwater Collection System

Rainwater harvesting has been used since Ancient Rome. Water one of the most valuable resources we have. It is estimated that the average person wastes about 30 gallons of water each day. A rainwater collection system could reduce your household water use by a third simply by collecting rain from the roof. A rain collection system could supply your home with an extra 4500 gallons of water in the Utah Desert, and even more in wetter climates.

Collecting rainwater is good for the environment as well. Storm rains pick up trash, nutrients, and other pollutants. The rain moves through drains and into local bodies of water such as rivers and lakes impairing water quality. Rainwater collection will lessen the initial flush of stormwater runoff and reduce the amount of pollution that reaches local watersheds. Rain barrels can reduce stormwater runoff by 12 percent. Harvesting rainwater will reduce water withdrawal from lakes and rivers. It will provide water for gardens and landscaping. It will allow you to conserve water and save money.

DIY Rainwater Collection System 


  • 55-gallon drum with lid
  • Paint Strainer
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Gutter strainer
  • Downspout fittings
  • Cinder blocks
  • 3/4″ spigot with turn ball valve
  •  Permanent marker
  • Drill with 7/8″ spade bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Half-round file
  • Utility knife
  • 1 1/4″ galvanized wood screws


  1. Drill a starter hole into the side of the 5-gallon bucket.
  2. Use the jigsaw to cut the top off of the 5-gallon bucket.
  3. Trace the outline of the 5-gallon bucket the 55-gallon drum lid.
  4. Drill a starter hole in the drum lid.
  5. Cut out the outline using the jigsaw. The top of the 5-gallon bucket should fit tight.
  6. Drill a hole at the bottom of the 55-gallon drum. Use the file to slowly widen the hole until the spigot fits snugly.
  7. Place the 55-gallon drum on top of the 3 cinder blocks.
  8. Attach the downspout fitting to your existing rain gutter. The new downspout should run directly into the top of the 5-gallon bucket.
  9. Make sure the new downspout is secure. Use brackets to attach it to the house if necessary.
  10. Cut a hole in the lid of the of the 5-gallon bucket to allow the end of the downspout through.
  11. Attach a paint strainer to the 5-gallon bucket. This will prevent large objects and bugs from getting into the water supply.  Make sure the paint strainer doesn’t hang too far into the rain barrel.
  12. Place a gutter strainer in the open gutter on the roof. This will stop large items from falling into the rain gutter and clogging it.
  13. Attach a hose to the spigot to water the garden easily.
  14. Link several rain barrels together with PVC pipes to collect even more water.

Be sure to follow local regulations for rainwater harvesting. 

Photo Credit:


How to Store Water Properly

According to a 2012 poll of US adults, 53 percent do not have a minimum 3 day supply of non-perishable food or water. That is a scary number of unprepared families. Survival during a crisis will be very difficult without food and more importantly water. After about 3 days without water, your brain will begin to shrink and organs will start to shut down.

Cape Town, South Africa has been hit by a massive drought recently. There is a very real threat of running out of clean drinking water completely. A 2014 survey found that 1 in 4 of the world’s 500 largest cities face growing stress on their water supply. It is estimated that by 2030 the global demand for fresh water will outpace supply by 40 percent.

Storing water will ensure your family has access to clean drinking water during an emergency. Water doesn’t have a real expiration date, however, if stored incorrectly it can become toxic. Water should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a basement or windowless pantry. Sunlight and heat create the ideal conditions for bacteria and algae to grow.  Heating plastic containers will leach chemicals into the water faster.


  • Only store water in food grade containers.
  • Plastic for water storage should be BPA free. BPA will leach into the water supply over time.
  • Glass containers can be used to store water, only if they haven’t previously stored something else.
  • Stainless steel containers won’t leach any chemicals into the water. Do not put tap water treated with chlorine in a stainless steel container.  The chlorine will erode the metal over time.
  • Water blatters allow you to quickly line a bathtub and fill it during an emergency. Bathtubs aren’t sterile and they are open to contamination. A water blatter keeps the water sealed and clean. They can’t store up to 100 gallons.


  • Do not store water in anything other than food grade containers.
  • Do not store water in a container that has previously housed oils or chemicals.
  • Avoid washed out milk jug and juice or soda bottles for long terms water storage.
  • Don’t store water in cardboard containers. Boxed water won’t last long.
  • Do not store water in metal containers (except stainless steel). The container will break down and rust over time.
  • Do not store water in containers that can’t be sealed. Open water is easy to contaminate.
  • Avoid sunlight and direct heat when storing water.
  • Avoid any containers that may have been contaminated.

Store water in a variety of containers sizes. This will make carrying water during an evacuation easier. Water should be rotated once a year even if stored in the best conditions.


What’s More Important – Calories, Meals, Servings, or Serving Size?

The quick answer is “yes” to all of them – it’s important to consider calories, meals, servings, and serving size when planning your food storage.  The longer answer is, some are more important than others.  Unfortunately, there are food storage companies that will be less than forthcoming with some of this data because it may shed some negative light on the products they are selling.

I remember years ago trying to deal with a real problem in the industry – the definition of a “year’s supply”.  That term was used and thrown about as if it was a universal description of a definitive combination of food items that would feed an adult or a family for one year.  As one would compare meal plans from a variety of companies, one would quickly discover that the term “year’s supply” could mean just about anything.

There were meal plans that were predominately whole grains, providing around 800 calories per day and yet were titled a “year’s supply”.  And then there were others who offered meal plans with extremely small serving sizes, yet they were allowed to call it a “year’s supply” as well.  One company’s representative shared with me his concern how there was no real quantifiable measuring formula in that day to make it easy to determine what a year’s supply really should be and how any given company should be compared to that standard.  He said it got so extreme that one could almost take an apple and cut it up into 365 small pieces and call it a year’s supply of apples.

You see, one unique characteristic of this industry is that most people treat the acquisition of their emergency food storage as they did the writing of a term paper when they were in school.  It was something that was easy to procrastinate, often dreaded and with what seemed great sacrifice finally accomplished.  Then, after the paper was turned in, they never wanted to think about it again.  They had checked it off their list and they were off to more enjoyable uses of their time and resources.

In other words, most people who purchase food storage simply store it away and really don’t want to think about it again, feeling as if they have accomplished this important task and can now check it off their list.  Very little thought is given to what life would be like if they really had to live off their food storage.  If fact, that’s the last thing most people ever want – to actually use their food storage.  As a result, far too little due diligence is performed in analyzing and comparing different meal plans and how their lives might be affected if they had to live off them.  Thus the need to discuss the fundamentals – calories, meals, servings and serving sizes.

Let’s start with calories.  If one could choose just one of these categories to compare all food storage plans out there, my vote would be to compare calories.  You see, of all these categories, calorie count is the only real definer of total food value.  In other words, how much energy will this food give me when I consume it?  How full will it fill my energy tank?  If there aren’t enough calories in the meal plan, regardless of the number of meals, servings or serving sizes, you simply won’t have the energy your body needs to function, you’ll lose weight and could eventually starve.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of meal plans provided by companies today range around 1,100 calories per person per day with some as low as 750.  This would be a great weight loss plan for many of us but in times of stress, it’s simply not enough food value to keep us healthy and provide the energy we’ll need during those difficult times.

With several companies, it may require a fair amount of searching and math to determine the true daily calorie count.  When that’s the case on any given companies’ website, that’s usually an indication of the numbers being low and the company not wanting to make it easy to see the real facts.  These companies will usually promote the number of meals or servings instead.  With such companies, a typical entrée will provide between 250 and 300 calories so if you are receiving three entrées per day, you’re talking about only 750 to 900 calories per day.

To see a real-life example of how critical calories are, Google the “Minnesota Starvation Experiment” or go to:

It showed how a diet of just 1,570 calories per day had a devastating effect on the 36 men in the study.  Calories do make a difference but to be fair, the source of the calories is equally important.  Just take it to the extreme and I’m sure you’ll agree.  If all one consumed was 3,000 calories per day of white sugar, I think we’d all agree those calories were empty calories and it wouldn’t take long for our bodies to shut down. This is where meals and servings help round out the balanced approach.

Let’s talk next about meals.  A meal is usually defined in the industry as a single serving of an entrée – breakfast, lunch or dinner.  This is unfortunate because seldom have I, or would I venture to say most people, consider one serving of an entrée as a meal.  For me, that’s more like an appetizer – something to whet my appetite and get me ready for the real main course.  But no, that’s the sum total of the meal.

Meals can be an important factor if there are a wide variety of entrees.  I remember being on a 100-mile backpacking trip in the Wind River mountain range of Wyoming and all I took for breakfast was a bunch of pouches of instant oatmeal.  By the end of that week-long trip, I was so sick of that oatmeal that I never wanted to even see a pouch of instant oatmeal again for as long as I lived.  I never knew I could become so disgusted with a single food item in such a short period of time.  I promise variety is an essential part of a balanced plan.

Now, let’s discuss servings.  This category is somewhat similar to the discussion we had earlier about the definition of a year’s supply.  This category, if looked at independent from the others, could be very deceiving because there is no standard as to the size of servings.  Remember the apple cut into 365 pieces?  Well, that could be considered 365 servings.

Now, this leads naturally to the subject of serving sizes.  If a company touts that they provide serving sizes that are larger than other companies, that’s great IF that also translates into a higher overall calorie count with a good variety of entrees.  You see, it would be possible to provide larger servings of low-calorie filler foods which would not increase the total calorie count.

So here’s the conclusion – you should look for a food storage plan that provides 2,000+ calories per person per day (my personal storage provides 3,500 calories per person per day).  These calories should come from a good variety of entrees as well as fruits, vegetables, grains, rice, beverages and deserts (gotta have those comfort foods!).  If these categories are properly addressed, the number of servings and serving sizes become a moot issue – you will be getting the nutrition and food value you need to not just survive, but thrive.

Is Looting Part of Your Food Storage Plan?

On the surface, that question may seem ludicrous.  Of course we would never intentionally plan on looting to feed our families, but unintentionally, is it a possibility?

I came across an article from the Associated Press titled “Venezuelans ‘Loot to Eat’ Amid Economic Tailspin”.  The country is facing not only severe economic challenges but as a result devastating food shortages.  At the country’s biggest port in Puerto Cabello, people are swarming corn-carrying trucks and filling up sacks with the grain while the drivers are held at gunpoint.

The article went on to report that even though the truck driver was afraid for his life, he sympathizes with his impoverished countrymen, who are becoming desperate amid Venezuela’s widespread food shortages and sky-high inflation.

“They have to loot to eat,” he said.

“Sporadic looting, food riots and protests driven by the hungry poor have surged in Venezuela, a country that’s no stranger to unrest”, the article continues. “These protests are coming from people of the lower classes who simply cannot get enough to eat,” said David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America.

I’ll never forget an experience I had many years ago while selling food storage by giving in-home presentations.  I had made an appointment with a family in a rural area of a small community and was hopeful I would be able to help them prepare by selling them a year’s supply of long-term food storage.  Part of my presentation focused around how much a typical family would spend on a monthly basis for food and as a result, show how economical our food storage plan was.

This was a family of eight, two adults and six kids so I was assuming they spent $500 to $800 per month on food (keep in mind, this was more than 25 years ago and the cost would be much greater today).  As my presentation proceeded, I asked the father how much they spent on a monthly basis at the grocery store.  When he answered, I thought I misheard him so I asked him to repeat his answer.  He replied that they spent about $50 per month.  I was shocked!  Even though they lived in a rural area, I didn’t see any garden or method of raising their own food so I was quite mystified by his answer.

I followed up by asking how on earth it was is possible to feed a family of eight on only $50 per month.  He replied by saying they didn’t shop in the front of the store, they shopped in the back.  Still confused, I asked him to clarify what he meant.  He hesitated for a moment and then said, “You wouldn’t believe how much food grocery stores throw away.”  It then all became clear.  He and his family were dumpster diving in the back of the grocery store to secure enough food to feed their family.  It became very obvious that they had very little money and were willing to do whatever it took to feed their family.  Needless to say, I did not make the sale but I did learn a lot as to the measures individuals would take to keep from going without.

I learned another valuable lesson about how the lack of food can totally change your behavior back in August of 2005 when I was caught in hurricane Katrina.  Here is an excerpt from my journal.

“Monday morning, August 29th, we woke up early and immediately turned on the TV to get the latest on Katrina. It was really pretty scary. Katrina had developed into a category 5 hurricane and was just beginning to pound New Orleans – right where we had just escaped from just a day and a half earlier.”

“There was a light rain outside but what really caught our eye was the way the clouds were moving. I have never seen clouds like that before. They were swirling around so fast, twisting sometimes in smaller circles inside of larger ones and coming closer to the ground than I had expected.”

“My son and I were still determined to take care of business and planned on attending a real estate auction that morning. On our way to the courthouse, we felt impressed to fill our tank – just in case. We still didn’t think we would be affected much by Katrina. We assumed it would die out or go off in another direction.”

“We hadn’t been at the courthouse more than an hour when they told us to evacuate, that the hurricane was headed right for us. I feel kind of stupid saying this now, but we were really kind of excited. We thought this was going to be just a fun adventure.”

“Having never experienced a hurricane before, we were anxious to see what it would be like. I remember laughing as we ran to our car because it was raining so hard, it seriously felt like buckets of warm water were being poured on us.”

“We drove back to our hotel and turned on the TV. We were told that an area wide curfew would go into effect at noon. I looked at my watch and realized we had only about 30 minutes before the curfew and we had no food, water or supplies of any kind.”

“We decided to try and find a place to buy some food and water before it was too late. As soon as we left the hotel, all the power went out in the entire area. All the stores were closed. We could not find a single place to purchase anything.”

“As we were returning to our hotel, I noticed a gas station with several cars parked out front. It looked like there were people inside the little mini mart and I could see that the door was open. We immediately pulled in and I ran inside to find several people buying up everything they could. They had to have cash since the power was off.  I was immediately struck with the negative, dark side of not being prepared. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about anyone else but me and mine. The thought of sharing with others was the last thing on my mind. It’s terrible to say but I was ready to even get physical if necessary to get what we needed.”

“They had one of those little food bars with potato logs and fried chicken, etc. I bought everything I could (there wasn’t much left) along with several bottles of water and Gatorade. I luckily had enough cash in my pocket to cover the cost.”

“After I paid for the food we headed back to the hotel and rationed out the food, not knowing how long it would be before we could get more.”

There was much, much more that my son and I learned during those challenging several days as we tried to escape the devastating effects of Katrina.  But the most important lesson I learned was the psychological and emotional effect of not being prepared and trying to figure out where your next meal would come from.

You see, at home I am very well prepared to weather just about any storm, but being thousands of miles away from home on a business trip with zero preps, it was a real eye opener.  Maybe one of the most concerning parts of it all was knowing that if things got bad enough, one would lie, cheat, steal and maybe even worse to keep their loved ones from starving.  As a result of that experience, I recommitted to doing all that I can so that the day would never come where I would need to “loot to eat.”


A Sense of Fear and Urgency About Preparing

I took a call from a woman this morning who felt she had put off preparing for far too long and had a foreboding feeling that if she didn’t do something right away, it may be too late.  She felt like the perfect storm of potential catastrophic events was quickly forming and it wouldn’t be long before she would need to rely on her food storage.  Indeed, these are feelings and emotions that an ever increasing number of people are experiencing and I hear these concerns from individuals across the country almost every day.

Fear can indeed be a great motivator but it can also be emotionally very taxing.  If an initial burst of fear is required to move us forward in properly preparing, then one might consider it a good thing.  But sitting in a rocking chair on your porch with a shotgun across your lap as you wait for the end to come is NOT a good use of that initial fear and concern.  By committing to steady, regular activities focused around properly preparing for the future, the day will come sooner than you think where you will experience a peace of mind knowing that if something happened and you were not able to go to the grocery store for an extended period of time, your family would be provided for.

It is my personal belief that this fear, or sense of sudden urgency, is a very natural outgrowth of the awakening to our awful situation.  As we come to more fully understand the true nature of the world we live in, and how fragile it actually is, the urge to prepare grows strong and hot.  As we first begin to see our unpreparedness, we are overcome with our vulnerability and may panic in our attempts to get ready as quickly as possible.  Consider the story of “The Farm Hand Who Could Sleep When the Wind Blew”.

There once was a farmer looking for a young man to help out at the farm. There were several young men who interviewed for the job and as far as the farmer could tell, they were about equally well qualified. He then asked each of them one final question, “Tell me,” he would say, “why should I hire you above the others?”

Of all of the applicants and their replies, there was one that was really different. One young man said, “Because I can sleep when the wind blows.” At first, the farmer thought it was just strange. The more he thought, the more he was intrigued and mystified by the response. So he figured, well I will give this young man a chance, and hired him.

Weeks went by and the farmer was pretty happy with the young man’s work. He still wondered sometimes what the young man had meant by his strange reply, but he never got around to asking about it. Then one night the farmer was awakened in the middle of the night with a phone call from a neighbor. “There’s a big storm coming in with lots of wind, maybe a tornado. Better get ready for it.” was the quick message.

Indeed as the farmer went to the door and looked out, he found that the wind was strong and rising, and rain had started. He quickly ran and tried to awaken the young man to help him get everything ready for the blow. Try as he might, the young man couldn’t be stirred. Muttering to himself about what a stupid thing he had done in hiring a lazy boy who wouldn’t wake up when he really needed him, the farmer went out to the farm.

He went out to tie down the hay but discovered that the hay was already tied down securely. Next, he went to the barn and the corrals. Everywhere he looked, everything had already been prepared. After a time of just wandering around the farm, learning that there was nothing that needed to be done at the last minute, because it had all been done (prepared) before, the farmer returned to his house, but instead of muttering, he actually found himself singing praises of this young man. He had realized, to his great joy, that the reason the young man could sleep when the wind blew was because before he went to bed each and every night he had already prepared for the very worst.

And so the farmer followed the example of the young man since everything was already prepared, he undressed and was soon fast asleep, with a huge smile of peace on his face. This young man had nothing to fear and was not stricken with panic at the onset of the storm because he was fully prepared. He had put forth the necessary time and effort to secure everything well in advance so he could rest the night through with little concern for the howling winds outside.

This story reminds me of how I felt years ago when a small earthquake hit our community in the middle of the night.  It was 1:30 AM on a Monday morning when I was awakened by the house shaking and the sound of dishes rattling in the kitchen.  The earthquake registered only 3.5 on the Richter Scale but the epicenter was fairly close to my house so it definitely got my attention.  I remember jumping out of bed and looking out the window to see what was going on.  There was a creepy sound and the wind was howling, perfect had it been Halloween but not too comforting that night.  After things calmed down and I got back in bed, this great peace of mind came over me.  You see, I was very well prepared with food storage and all the accompanying preparedness items and I knew that if that earthquake had been the big one, I was prepared and even though it would be a very scary event, my family would not go without.  That peace of mind is priceless!

For those who are feeling overwhelmed with the task of becoming prepared, or for those who are concerned that they simply cannot accomplish the tasks laid out before them to become prepared for the events to come, please remember that this new day is a gift, giving you at least one more day to take some form of action to move you and your loved ones closer to being prepared.

No matter what our level of preparedness, fear, and panic are not necessary if we are striving to put procrastination behind us and are wise in the use of our time and resources, for we have this promise from the Lord, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear”.

To take this a step further, it saddens me that there are so many who struggle to enjoy their lives after having “awakened” to the need to quickly prepare. When the events of the last days seem closer than we imagined, it’s difficult not to become preoccupied with the future. While it will become easier to “not fear” for ourselves as we become more prepared, we can still feel saddened for our loved ones who are not prepared. Such emotional preoccupation can quickly become overwhelming if we’re not careful. I encourage each and every one of us to prepare like the world will end tomorrow, but plan and live our lives as though the time is yet far away. If we can successfully find the balance between these two activities, we will each find comfort and peace in the days to come, regardless of what happens around us.

What Is a #10 Can?

You’ll notice that most of our freeze-dried and dehydrated food is stored in #10 cans.  But what exactly is a #10 can?

#10 cans are large cans with the dimensions of 6.25″ x 7″. To put that in perspective, they are about the size of large coffee cans. The #10 classification refers to its size. All cans are named according to size. For instance, fruit/soup cans are #2 cans.  You can fit the contents of about 5 #2 cans inside 1 #10 can.

Volume vs. Weight
Due to the density variations of foods, the weight of the contents held in the can is different according to what the food is. For instance, a #10 can full of freeze-dried strawberries weighs about 7 oz. while the same volume of a can of freeze-dried ground beef weighs almost 2 pounds. Also, servings per container will be different, due to varied serving sized of foods.

Benefits of #10 Cans
A #10 can is perfect for your food storage because it seals in the nutrition of your food while preventing bacterial growth. The sealing process prevents air and moisture from entering the can.

Opening #10 Cans
You can open a #10 can with a handheld can opener. Once opened, if you use the plastic lid and store your food in a cool, dry, dark place, your freeze-dried food will stay good for 6-12 months. In other words, you do NOT have to use the food immediately.