Monday, September 19, 2011

Time to Stop Laughing and Prepare

I started this post shortly after the San Diego/ So Cal Blackout last week. It was a warning for all of us. . When the power went out the entire Counties of San Diego, Riverside, Orange, Imperial Valley and the Yuma, Arizona and Mexico went dark. This means all internet and power went down. Land-lines (olde phones) were jammed. In many places cell reception was gone or barely working. I heard the next day that many people living in gated communities couldn’t get home because the electric gates and doors into their communities didn’t work or open. I also heard that many didn’t have anything to eat since they had become reliant on the microwave or the local restaurant for their meals. Luckily, the blackout was only 12 hours long.
Over the years, Viking Dad and I have been gently, and sometimes not so gently, teased by friends, family and neighbors for our sustainable homestead and our “eccentric” ideas. The most recent jibe was over the 55 gallon water tanks we have on the property to collect rain. Last week our neighbors stopped laughing. We were the only ones with light, food, water and relative comfort on our street. While many of our neighbors pulled out their generators to keep their RVs A/C running we noticed that many had to siphon fuel from other vehicles to keep them going. One word---solar!
Running a farm is not easy. It is not for everyone. The sweet smells of chicken poo and goat aren’t for everyone. But, everyone should be prepared with the basic. The Viking Homestead is situated in what our insurance company loves to call “Wildland Fire Country.” Our family is also on extremely strict diets due to diabetes and celiac disease. Food at any shelter could be problematic in future evacuations. This is what motivated us originally to be prepared for the inevitable emergency. Let me share what we use in the case of an emergency or evacuation.

A Basic Emergency Check List
All of these items can be stored in a Rubber Maid container.

· Prescription medications and glasses

· Infant formula and diapers (keep some for sharing if you don’t need them)

· Pet food and extra water for your pet (Don’t forget a can opener.)

· Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

· Cash and traveler’s checks and change. Don’t rely on ATM’s working.

· Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from

· 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 and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

· Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

· Fire Extinguisher (or two)

· Matches in a waterproof container

· Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

o Don’t forget the toothbrushes and toothpaste.

o Toilet Paper if you have the room (great for trading too)

· Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels (A good camping set is ideal.)

· Paper and pencil Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
Additional Items
· Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
· Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
o Don’t rely on the shelters for food. Especially, if you are on a restricted diet.
· Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
o Radio Shack
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· Several good solid pillar candles with matches
· First aid kit
o Check on specialized medication and make and make sure they are current.
· Whistle to signal for help
· Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
· Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
· Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
· Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
· Local maps
· Cell phone and chargers. Also, buy and keep safe the “Old School” plug in phones. These are the ones that plug directly into the phone jack. Cell phones may be unusable if towers are damaged.
Now, here is a tough one, especially if you are in a place prone to sudden evacuation. Walk through your home and pick 5 things that are important to you and irreplaceable that are not on the list above In many occasions you will have less then 30 minutes to evacuate.
Now, list those five things so when the time comes you know where they are in the house.
All these items fit in a Rubber Maid sealable container and backpacks. They can be easily thrown into the truck of a car.
Weapons??? That is a personal decision for each and individual family.
Now, to be honest I really don’t know if it necessary to stock up on gold and silver like some economic doomsayers claim is necessary. But, toilet paper, water and anti biotic creams can and are more immediately useable commodities to trade and barter. First aide items are also tradable items. .
Food Insurance
We all have auto, house and medical insurance. But, do you have food insurance? If you think about it, food and water are vital to our survival. A human being can only live for a few weeks without food and only a few days without water. In light of the tragic events in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the power outage in Southern California that brought the southern part of the state to a standstill, and the constant threat of fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters across the country, it is important to make sure we always have the basic necessities of life with enough home food storage for your family to survive for at least two weeks.
Preparing for food storage can be done in several ways.
1. In the past food was preserved through canning, dehydration and pickling. This takes some time and creativity but it is easy and fun to do. The added bonus- You know what goes into the food and it will be food you and your family will enjoy.
2... Stock piling- This is possible if you have the space. Keep in mind you want food that can last several years and can be easily cooked. Beans, rice, noodles, canned meat, fruit and vegetables.
3. Food Insurance aka freeze dried food. There are several companies that now supply freeze dried food that tastes a whole lot better then the military Meals Ready to Eat aka MRE. is one company that provides affordable freeze dried food for emergencies or for stock piling.
Are you prepared? Are you prepared for the next emergency? Who knows what lurks around the next corner? Check out what could happen in your neck of the woods at