Friday, March 30, 2012

Longer Term Preparedness - Your Home

I believe it is time for me to do more posts about longer term preparedness. To me your home is an important part of being prepared for the long haul. Aside from transportation, keeping your home comfortable will probably be your biggest expense and use of energy. Even if you are a deranged Rush Limbaugh fan, convinced that nukes are wonderful, you probably don't want to spend more than you have to on keeping your home at a comfortable temperature.

A way of keeping your heating and cooling expenses to a minimum is to build your home underground. It is possible to have a dry, light and airy underground home for much less than building a regular home.

I recently read a book by Mike Oehler, about how to use his method of underground home building. He has his book written for novice home builders to allow you to have the information to build your own underground home. The title of his book is, "The $50 & Up Underground House Book". 

If you want to have a self-sufficient lifestyle, or if preparedness is important to you, then you should take a look at Mike Oehler's book. If you think of the book as only a book it is expensive. If you think of it as a way to save thousands of dollars on having your own home by substituting elbow grease for money, it is a bargain. He also offers a set of videos of one of his workshops on planning and building a home using his methods for $99.00. 

For videos that is expensive, but in his videos, he lets you attend a workshop that allows you to participate vicariously in drawing up your own home building plans.

The back of the book has tables to help you calculate how many support posts you need depending on post diameter and length. He had an engineer help make those tables. They take into account snow load on top of your roof, once it is built. This is particularly gratifying for me, since I live in Alaska and we get a fair amount of snow.

Mike Oehler's method of building underground homes allows a lot of light and air into your home. There are videos available on the internet of Mike's own home and those of other people who have used his methods. You can see for yourself that they are not dark dank places. The plans are made so that moisture is not a problem for underground homes made with his methods.

Mike has thoughtfully provided tips on how to find recycled (cheap or free,) materials to make building your underground home easier on your budget. He makes allowances for the cowardly who wish to use a contractor and still save over the costs of building a more conventional home.

I don't believe that this post does justice to Mike Oehler's underground home building methods, so will continue telling you about it in my next post.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Building Your Own Home Cheaply

I am going to continue to tell you more in this post about Mike Oehler's underground home building methods.

Mike built his first underground home in the 70s and has continued to build more since then. Others have also built using his methods. Mike is in continuous demand to lecture to students about his underground home building methods. He is even invited to lecture and teach about his methods in architecture schools in other countries around the world.

Fortunately for those of us who are interested in using Mike Oehler's methods, he wrote several books and published a set of videos about his building methods.  The title of his book is, "The $50 & Up Underground House Book". He also wrote one on building underground greenhouses.

Mike Oehler does not just tease you with the propect of having an affordable, comfortable home that you can build yourself. He takes you step by step through the process from planning and designing through landscaping afterward.

Mike's method of building an underground home is so well thought out that he helps you to do it so that you will never have to push a wheelbarrow full of dirt uphill. When you use Mike's method, you prepare a site for a terrace when you begin your project. You push your wheelbarrows of dirt that will be more than is needed for walls and roof on level ground or downhill and fill in your terrace. The terrace will make for easier entrance and exit to your home when it is built and make gardening more convenient as well.

Mike provides a numbered list of the steps that you must take in your building process to make the work flow smoothly. His list also saves on your labor. An example is the way he uses the dirt in the building process. You wait to dig out the uphill terrace in front of your windows until your roof is ready for dirt to be placed on it. That means every shovel that you take off of the uphill terrace goes right onto the roof. It is an easy shot to the roof and  you don't have to move that dirt twice. I was in awe at that trick.

There are lots of black and white photos and diagrams in Mike's book about building your underground home. They make it easier for an amateur builder to understand what he is talking about. Since the biggest project I have previously tackled is a large shelving unit, I appreciate the liberal illustrations.

I will give you some links to videos about Mike's underground homes, so you can see for yourself how nice they can be. Mike's own home was built in the 70s, so we know they last at least 30 years or so. He is quite frank about problems that he has experienced. He also tells us how to avoid the same problems. 

An example of this is his drip boards along the eaves edges of the eaves. He got a leak because he failed to correctly place a drip board along an eave. Once the drip board was done properly - no more leak.

Since earth is used for heat storage Mike Oehler's methods will probably require some modification for permafrost areas like Alaska. There is a somewhat different approach to underground home building that will probably work better with permafrost. I will post about the other underground home method that is better for permafrost.

Flood Maps And Other Things To Help Yourself

There are a lot of things people can do to protect themselves from disasters.  Learning what these things are can save your and your loved ones a lot of misery and maybe even your lives. 

The USGS not only has earthquake maps, it has lots of other things that can help you. One of these is flood maps. Some of the maps are for current flooding.  Other maps show year round patterns of flooding. One of the maps even shows flooding levels for a specific point on a map. The resolution is good enough to tell whether the home you are considering buying is going to be underwater.

Google satellite maps shows amazing things all over the world. I do not know what is available in different countries, but Google goes almost everywhere. If your country does not have an equivalent to the USGS, then you can still tell quite a bit by looking at Google satellite maps. 

I posted earlier on forest fires, or wild fires becoming much more common worldwide because of climate change. That post showed maps of real time fires burning all over Africa. The maps were done by satellite and had amazing resolution. You could clearly see the fires and how big they were.

Our biggest protection is to not go to places where we will be unnecessarily surprised by a disaster. If you choose to locate in an area that has predictable disasters, you can often take measures to avoid the disaster entirely or at least make their effect on you and your loved ones less severe.

If you know that wildfires will be common in your location, you can make sure to keep your property as free as possible from flammable materials. This can be as simple as clearing a fire break along the perimeter of your property. 

I have been looking into the advantages of underground homes as a way of being safe from many kinds of disasters. When built right, an underground home can be almost fireproof. I understand a properly planned and built underground home is also comparatively safe from earthquakes, because they simply move with the ground movement and are not destroyed like regular buildings.

Here is the link to the site about flooding from the USGS:

Mike Oehler wrote the book I just read about building underground homes. I am not certain that his plans will work for my area without adjustment, because I live in an area with extensive permafrost. Using the earth surrounding an underground home as Mike Oehler did could cause permafrost to melt more rapidly than climate change alone is doing. I believe his basic idea will even work here, with some slight modifications.

I think that I will describe Mike Oehler's ideas in a post to this site. It may even require more than one post, since his ideas are very good for people who want to be prepared for emergencies. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Can Help Study Earthquakes

The USGS has a program to study earthquakes using information from people who have just been in one. They want you to tell them what happened to you. 

Here is what they have to say about it:

This web site is intended to tap the abundant information available about earthquakes from the people who actually experience them. By taking advantage of the vast numbers of Internet users, we can get a more complete description of what people experienced, the effects of the earthquake, and the extent of damage, than traditional ways of gathering felt information. And best of all, with your help we can do so almost instantly.
By contributing your experience of the earthquake, either immediately afterward, or whenever it is possible for you to do so, you will have made a contribution to the scientific body of information about this earthquake. You will also ensure that your area has been represented in the compilation of the shaking map. This is a two-way street. Not only will you add valuable information on the extent of ground shaking and damage, but in the process we hope you will learn more about how other communities fared and gain a greater understanding of the effects of earthquakes.  

I think this is a great idea and hope that readers will tell the USGS what happened to them. Who knows what all those little bits of information from many people will add up to? You may help make a great discovery that will save lives some day. Now is your chance to be heard and make a contribution to science. 

Here is their site. If you don't like clicking links you can type it into your browser.

The site has lots of information about earthquakes that will make you better informed, and perhaps safer. 

The USGS will use the information that you and other people who experience earthquakes give them to make online maps. The maps are called The Community Internet Intensity Maps, or CIIM. The maps will change every five minutes. They will use zip codes to sort the information they get and average the responses to apply to the CIIM maps.

The USGS uses geocoding to do maps of earthquakes that affect larger areas. They use a company that does the geocoding to use latitude and longitude of the street addresses of people who respond. The information is used by the USGS to do more precise calculations for the larger maps.

Here is the site of the company that does the geocoding. You can use it to get a geocode of your home or another location if you want to.

I really like the idea of these maps. Even if you are not in an earthquake you can look at the maps to see really current information about what is happening to people who are there.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stupid Earthquake Tricks To Save Lives

The first disaster risk reduction that I remember reading about was so simple and cheap that it was almost ridiculous. I read about it a very long time ago and am not sure it is still being done.

Some relief agencies had discovered that adding dental floss to the adobe mix destined to become bricks for buildings saved lives. The dental floss did not keep the buildings together and save property loss. It simply held the buildings together long enough for people to have time to get out before they collapsed.

I had never realized how valuable dental floss could be before that. Since then I have discovered my own uses for this overlooked wonder. I reinforced packages that I made myself out of paper mache when I mailed them to a relative who was living far away, sometimes in another country. The packages needed to be very strong to make to their destination in one piece. I had brownies and cookies in the packages most of the time.

The cookies or brownies were completely demolished into tiny crumbs, but they were eaten with gusto by the recipient anyway. The package was intact so every crumb got there.

Another use for dental floss that was not commonly known was for repairs of shoes and luggage. I discovered that waxed dental floss makes an admirable substitute for waxed leather thread. Most of the items that broke were black and I usually had black shoe polish or dye with me, so I applied that to the finished repair with a q-tip and the repair became invisible, or close enough anyway.

I watched a video about building a survival shelter using zip ties to hold tree branches together and make a camp chair and shelves, etc. Somebody commented that it was not realistic to expect to have that many zip ties handy. 

It would be if you planned it that way. Between zip ties and dental floss we might eventually come up with shelters that will let more people survive all the nasty disasters in store for us in the future. :-)

A video on traditional Japanese buildings showed men straightening out a building that got knocked cockeyed by an earthquake. The men had a very large long and were all lined up along it. They pushed against the building until it went back into its normal position. 

The traditional buildings of Japan were planned that way, so they would not be lost in every earthquake. I was informed that traditional Japanese carpenters spent part of their apprenticeship carving little interlinking puzzles that taught them, in miniature, the carving skills they would later need to make a building. I was amazed and impressed by this information. 

Japan does have a lot of earthquakes and it is a very good idea to make buildings that can simply be pushed back into shape after an earthquake. They don't fall down and crush the occupants either. 

That is definitely an advantage to homeowners. Since I live in Alaska, this is quite relevant to the frequent earthquakes we experience here.

Where is a good traditional Japanese carpenter when you need one?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Free Medicine For Emergencies

I believe that eventually for at least a while, medical care in the USA will be affordable only for the very rich. A lot of people are effectively experiencing this situation right now.

This bothers me a lot. The hippocratic oath is largely hippocritic at this point. It wouldn't be so bad if allopathic medical people were not so industrious in attempts to wipe out alternative medical practitioners. This is pretty merciless, leaving the poor without a shred of comfort.

Before allopathic medicine existed there were natural medical treatments available. They are still out there for those who have not given up hope. Herbs that are used for food and those known as weeds are available to people who want them enough.

I have been looking up stuff about herbs. One of my favorites is dandelions. People are always trying to get rid of them because they regard them as eyesores messing up pristine green lawns.

Dandelions are quite pretty if you care to really look at them. They are beautiful if you examine the traditional uses, because they are small medicine cabinets for free. Every part of dandelions from the flowers to the roots has uses.

A liquid made from the roots of dandelions is supposed to be such an effective antibiotic that it will still kill MRSA.

People have made dandelion wine for ages. That is made from the flowers. Dandelion wine is supposed to be very good for you. The leaves are said to be good in salads when they are very small. They get a little bitter when they are too big.

I have read that most herbal practitioners pick out about ten different plants that each have many uses and do most of their treatments from those then plants. The prospect of learning enough about the uses of herbs was very daunting to me before I read that I can pick out my favorite ten and concentrate on those. Ten of them is doable. Maybe this news will encourage you as well.

Blackberries are another favorite of mine. They grow almost anywhere. They like lots of water and can often be found near streams and other waterways. I picked blackberries because they are easy to grow and are another pharmacy in a plant. 

All parts of blackberries are also useful for different problems. If you have sores in your mouth or tooth problems, chewing blackberry leaves is said to be very effective when you chew a (clean) leaf and swish it around in your mouth and leave the pulp near the sore spot for a few minutes. I believe this works from personal experience.

Tea made from blackberry leaves and fruit is delicious and good for your health as well. 

If you plan to use herbal medicine you need to learn about infusions, poultices essential oils, etc. Just take it a little at a time and try it out carefully so that you understand it. Read all of the cautions and learn them. Herbal medicine is gentler and slower than allopathic pharmaceuticals, but that does not mean it can not be strong stuff. Caution is always good.

I do not intend to instruct anyone about herbal medicine, but if you are desperate I would like for you to take heart and know that some comfort is available in nature. 

There are many excellent sites available about herbal uses for health. Start reading and pick your ten favorites. Don't be discouraged.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Worried About Earthquakes Lately? Quake Notification

I went to an earthquake seminar today. We have had a major quake in 4 out of 4 of the last 4 days. 

Relatives of mine come unglued on the subject of earthquakes because of being in big ones. Those would be the Whittier and San Francisco ones. I have friends here in Alaska who lived through them here as well.

I have not experienced any damage during an earthquake, although the magnitude was impressive. The closest for me was one in New Zealand that went right by me. It sounded like a truck releasing air brakes. I wondered how a diesel truck could get through the trees, until I realized what the sound was.

I wish to offer some small comfort to those experiencing anxiety due to the recent increase in major earthquake activity. I found the USGS earthquake site they offer a reassuring service that I thought readers might like. It is a twitter feed to notify you of earthquakes. Here you go:

USGS Twitter Earthquake Alerts

Before you randomly empty local grocery store shelves in a state of panic, please take a look at some lists of suggested emergency supplies for disaster preparedness. I even have some among my blog posts.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Uncollapsible Bridges And Disaster Risk Reduction

My family used to live in a remote area. Their land was across a creek that was sedate most of the year. During flood season the creek was a raging torrent.

They requested that a bridge be built for easier access to the road. The county answered the request with a bridge that would not collapse during flood season. The bridge was high above the normal water flow and even above the height of the water during most floods. You had to climb up to it. 

It was a small bridge, made only for foot traffic. It was made only of cables. There were a couple of cables to hold onto. Your feet were on another cable. There was not much to block large objects that came whizzing down the river in extreme floods. Whatever came through, just went right through the bridge. Even if the bridge was destroyed it was easily replaceable and would not cost much to replace.

I read a long time ago about a bridge that was built out in the desert. There was a situation that was similar to the one with my parent's bridge. 

Most of the time the river in the desert was a lazy muddy stream. During the flood season it swelled to an enormous raging torrent that swept large boulders and smaller debris with it.

The bridge that was built across that river was uncollapsible. It spanned the river only when it was not flooding. During floods the bridge just sat out in the middle of the river, submerged. The raging waters rushed right over the bridge until the floods were gone. Once the floods were gone the bridge appeared again.

The bridge was not usable during flood season, but people would not be able to use whatever else might have been built anyway. If a more traditional bridge had been built to span the river during flood times, it would have had a short life. A boulder or several would have wrecked it during the next flood. The way the bridge was built only for non flood times, gave people a bridge when there was no flood and did not get destroyed.

Both of those bridges were a form of disaster risk reduction. Sometimes people have done disaster risk reduction without ever even using the term. It is a good way to use money. The money goes farther and does not have to be wasted cleaning up the same disaster over and over. I wish we would do a lot more of this kind of thinking and act on it. I am sure the world will be better for it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

News Flash: The Way Foreign Aid Is Spent Does Not Make Sense

We have barely begun this century, but we have gone well over a trillion dollars in economic losses due to disasters.  This is according to a new report by Development Initiatives, an independent organization that is working to end poverty. They want to do this by getting information about poverty and making it understandable by ordinary people. They believe that once poor people and the people working to help them understand what is going on they can be more effective.

The new report is about what money for disaster risk reduction is used for. They basically say, how the money is being used, does not make sense. 

Here is how the woman in charge of disaster risk reduction for the UN put it:

 GENEVA, 20 March 2012 - The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, today launched a new report by Development Initiatives which highlights major discrepancies in the way that donors allocate funding for disaster risk reduction despite economic losses of over one trillion dollars from disasters so far this century. 

Ms. Wahlström said: "This report is a very timely examination of funding for disaster risk reduction when it is now clear that we have broken through the trillion dollar ceiling for economic losses so far this century. As of the end of 2011 we can conservatively state that disasters so far this century have cost over $1,380 billion" 

Jan Kellett, a Programme Leader with Development Initiatives and co-author of the report, said: "at a time when humanitarian needs are at an historic high, and donors are under considerable pressure to spend less and prioritise value for money, a reassessment of spending is imperative. This report reveals the critical need for a revised financing model which places greater emphasis upon the reduction of risk, based on comprehensive assessments of need and appropriate prioritisation of funding, as well as improvements in the quality of reporting".

That was the end of the UN comments and those from Development Initiatives. If Development Initiatives wants to make things easier for poor people, I think they need to hire an interpreter for the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström. She may be speaking English, but so what? That does not mean that what she says is going to be understandable to a lot of the people most affected by what she says.

I am a word geek. Even I have to think a bit to figure out what Margareta Wahlstrom said above. This does not look well for poor people, who are most affected by disasters most of the time. The above report from Development Initiatives says that 80% of the people who die in most disasters are poor people. 

Last year (2011) apparently was an exception to the most disaster deaths being among poor people. Development Initiatives said that last year most of the people who died were middle income people instead of poor. They explained where the deaths happened last year, on their site:

I would like to see disaster aid give us some better results. It seems to make sense to spend more to keep people from getting killed and made even poorer in disasters. It does not seem to make sense to randomly throw money at disasters and expect things to get better. The Development Initiatives report said that only about 1% of the development aid to poor countries goes to disaster risk reduction. That does not make good sense. Surely we can do better than that.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Disaster Risk Reduction

Government agencies,including the United Nations, are exploring a new direction with disaster preparedness. It is called Disaster Risk Reduction, D.R.R. for short.

The United Nations has appointed a Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction. Her name is Margareta Wahlstrom. I don't know how to get the two dots over the o on her last name, so you will have to supply that yourself for now.

I particularly like this approach to prepareness because it saves a lot of money and lives. Naturally, not everyone is going to be happy with it. 

The majority of my readers are usually Americans, so I will use an example familiar to most Americans to explain how this works. Since Europeans and others like to stay abreast of international events, I am sure you will be able to keep up well.

The example I wish to use is New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. Most of you probably know many people who had their homes destroyed during Hurricane Katrina are still living elsewhere or in temporary housing like trailers.

Some of the reason for this is that some of the people who relocated from New Orleans have made new lives for themselves elsewhere and do not want to go back. Some of the reason for this is because insurance and other types of assistance have not provided enough money to rebuild. Part of this is because spending money to live while rebuilding, can eat up the money to rebuild.

Part of this is because government agencies are beginning to encourage/insist residents of disaster-destroyed homes rebuild in another place less likely to get the same kind of disaster again.

I love New Orleans and it's historic value is a lot of the appeal to me. Jazz is one of my favorite kinds of music and the unique varieties of foods that developed there are wonderful too. 

In spite of my love for New Orleans, I do not think a lot of people should live there any more. It is too dangerous. Hurricanes and other storms are not going to stop hitting New Orleans. This wonderful city can be rebuilt and it will only be a matter of when it will be destroyed again, not if. Maybe they can find a safer place to rebuild it?

The climate of the world has changed for good. It is not dependable or predictable. We can no longer depend on knowing what the weather will do to us. Hurricanes, and tornadoes and floods are happening in places that were not used to these kinds of weather events. Snow and cold weather are doing the same. 

We need to face this change in our world and deal with it realistically. If we do this, we can save more lives and prevent more property damage. Our funds for helping with disaster recovery will go further if we don't keep rebuilding the same places over and over. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tsunami Warning Signs

There are traditional and fairly well-known warning signs that a tsunami will hit. A little girl on vacation on an Island during the Asia Pacific tsunami saved about a hundred lives by paying attention to these and a few less well-known warning tsunami signs. She shared them with her parents who warned others. They all evacuated immediately and it saved their lives. Over 200,000 other people died in that tsunami.

The usual signs to look for are:
There is a sudden low tide that is not expected.
The ocean withdraws suddenly. Some people report a "sucking" noise as the ocean retreats.
The girl who saved 100 lives, noticed strange froth on the ocean and a "sizzling" noise coming from the froth.
Sea birds often fly inland and refuse to land.
Elephants headed inland before the Asian Pacific tsunami. They crashed into things in their haste.

Some of the people who died in that tsunami were down on the beach catching flopping grounded fish, or examining the exposed sea bed.

You do not have a long time before the wave from a withdrawn sea, getting ready for a tsunami, comes back and hits. When you see the ocean suddenly retreat you have to move fast to higher ground to save your life. Tsunamis are very fast. You will not be able to outrun the tsunami if you wait until you see it coming.

I took these from a site that helps you live through tsunamis:


    • 1
      Be conscious of earthquakes if you are in an area near the ocean. A tsunami is the displacement of massive amounts of water, often caused by an earthquake below -- or near -- the ocean. Pay attention to the news, not just in your area but worldwide. Earthquakes thousands of miles away can cause a potentially deadly tsunami at your location.
    • 2
      Listen. Many survivors have repeated that tsunamis make a sound, similar to a freight train, upon their approach.
    • 3
      Watch water levels. If there is a noticeable and rapid fall in the coastal waters and it's not time for low tide, head inland immediately. Think of how waves work: Water first pulls back, then returns with force. An excessive or unusual retreat of water in the ocean is the biggest indication of a tsunami. Many people died in the Indian Ocean tsunami because they went to observe the bare sea floor after the ocean retreated.
    • 4
      Stay away from the coastline. The first wave of a tsunami is not always the most dangerous, so keep away until reputable authorities give the all-clear. Do not assume that because a tsunami is small in one place it will be the same size at all locations, as the waves vary. And don't assume that you're automatically safe inland: Tsunamis can travel up rivers and streams that connect to the ocean. Stay away from all bodies of water until an all-clear is given.
    • 5
      Trust your gut. If the water doesn't feel or look right to you, even without feeling an earthquake, head inland. There may be as little as five minutes from the first warning sign of a tsunami to its actual hit. If you do feel an earthquake, do not wait for an official warning as authorities may have no time to issue one.

The Facts

  • Tsunamis that strike coastal location in the Pacific Ocean Basin are most always caused by earthquakes. These earthquakes might occur far away or near where you live.
  • Some tsunamis can be very large. In coastal areas their height can be as great as 30 feet or more (100 feet in extreme cases), and they can move inland several hundred feet.
  • All low lying coastal areas can be struck by tsunamis.
  • A tsunami consists of a series of waves. Often the first wave may not be the largest. The danger from a tsunami can last for several hours after the arrival of the first wave.
  • Tsunamis can move faster than a person can run.
  • Sometimes a tsunami causes the water near shore to recede, exposing the ocean floor. The force of some tsunamis is enormous. Large rocks weighing several tons along with boats and other debris can be moved inland hundreds of feet by the tsunami wave activity. Homes and other buildings are destroyed. All this material and water move with great force and can kill or injure people.
  • Tsunamis can occur at any time, day or night.
  • Tsunamis can travel up rivers and streams that lead to the ocean.

What You Should Do

Be aware of tsunami facts. This knowledge could save your life! Share this knowledge with your relatives and friends. It could save their lives!
  • If you are in school and you hear there is a tsunami warning, you should follow the advice of teachers and other school personnel.
  • If you are at home and hear there is a tsunami warning, you should make sure you entire family is aware of the warning. Your family should evacuate your house if you live in a tsunami evacuation. Move in an orderly, calm and safe manner to the evacuation site or to any safe place outside your evacuation zone. Follow the advice of local emergency and law enforcement authorities.
  • If you are at the beach or near the ocean and you feel the earth shake, move immediately to higher ground. DO NOT wait for a tsunami warning to be announced. Stay away from rivers and streams that lead to the ocean as you would stay away from the beach and ocean if there is a tsunami. A regional tsunami from a local earthquake could strike some areas before a tsunami warning could be announced.
  • Tsunamis generated in distant locations will generally give people enough time to move to higher ground. For locally generated tsunamis, where you might feel the ground shake, you may only have a few minutes to move to higher ground.
  • High, multi-story, reinforced concrete hotels are located in many low-lying coastal areas. The upper floors of these hotels can provide a safe place to find refuge should there be a tsunami warning and you cannot move quickly inland to higher ground. Local Civil Defense procedures may, however, not allow this type of evacuation in your area. Homes and small buildings located in low lying coastal areas are not designed to withstand tsunami impacts. Do not stay in these structures should there be a tsunami warning.
  • Offshore reefs and shallow areas may help break the force of tsunami waves, but large and dangerous waves can still be threat to coastal residents in these areas. Staying away fro all low-lying coastal areas is the safest advice when there is a tsunami warning.

If You Are on a Boat or Ship

  • Since tsunami wave activity is imperceptible in the open ocean, do not return to port if you are at sea and a tsunami warning has been issued for your area. Tsunamis can cause rapid changes in water level and unpredictable dangerous currents in harbors and ports.
  • If there is time to move your boat or ship from port to deep water (after you know a tsunami warning has been issued), you should weigh the following considerations:
    • Most large harbors and ports are under the control of a harbor authority and/or a vessel traffic system. These authorities direct operations during periods of increased readiness (should a tsunami be expected), including the forced movement of vessels if deemed necessary. Keep in contact with the authorities should a forced movement of vessels be directed.
    • Smaller ports may not be under the control of a harbor authority. If you are aware there is a tsunami warning and you have time to move your vessel to deep water, then you may want to do so in an orderly manner, in consideration of other vessels. Owners of small boats may find it safest to leave their boat at the pier and physically move to higher ground, particularly in the event of a locally generated tsunami. Concurrent severe weather conditions (rough seas outside of safe harbor) could present a greater hazardous situation to small boats, so physically moving yourself to higher ground may be the only option.
    • Damaging wave activity and unpredictable currents can effect harbors for a period of time following the initial tsunami impact on the coast. Contact the harbor authority before returning to port making sure to verify that conditions in the harbor are safe for navigation and berthing.
As dangerous as tsunamis are, they do not happen very often. You should not let this natural hazard diminish your enjoyment of the beach and ocean. But, if you think a tsunami may be coming, the ground shakes under your feet or you hear there is a warning, tell your relatives and friends, and move quickly to higher ground.
Return to Tsunami, The Great Wave

Here are more links about preparedness for tsunamis:

  • Always keep an emergency kit containing medical supplies, any necessary medications, food, water, a battery-operated radio and even some basic tools. In the event of a tsunami or other disaster, it may save your life.
  • Research any foreign destination you plan to spend time at. Look at the weather and the area's history, not just hotels and restaurants. That will tell you whether the location is at risk for tsunamis.
  • If you're in a boat on the open sea, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration advises you not to return to shore upon hearing a tsunami warning. Tsunamis cause dangerous changes in water levels at the shore, but are imperceptible in the open ocean.

  • Monday, March 19, 2012

    Stay Healthy In An Epidemic

    Just because an epidemic comes to your area does not mean you have to get sick. There are ways for you to stay healthy and not catch whatever is going around. You can practice with the yearly flu season.

    Do your regular epidemic prevention measures. If you don't get the flu or at least don't get it as bad as everyone else does, your epidemic prevention is working. If you get the flu, you know you have a little more work to do on your epidemic prevention techniques.

    Here are some of the epidemic prevention measures you should be doing:

    1. Train yourself and your loved ones to not touch yourself, especially on exposed mucous membrane areas such as eyes, nose and mouth. This is especially important in public places.

    2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. (Some bacteria have become resistant to the alcohol in hand sanitizers.) This needs to be done frequently especially when in public places and as soon as you get home.

    3. Thoroughly cleanse all surfaces that are touched often, by many hands, daily. These are things like doorknobs light switches and the plates around them, water faucets and handles, and toilet flush handles. Look around your home and think about what is touched a lot. This should be done daily. 

    4. Carry a small bar or partial bar of soap with you. Public restrooms are frequently out of soap.

    I believe a steamer and microfiber cloths are the best way to do this. This is because microfiber cloths are naturally antibacterial. They also clean well with only water. This can save you a lot of money and keep a lot of dangerous chemicals out of your home and out of you.

    The steamer is another item that kills even more bad disease causing things than the microfiber cloths. It does not require extra poisonous and expensive chemicals either. I believe the vapor steamers are the best because the steam that comes out of them is hotter and kills germs better. The areas you clean also dry faster after you use the vapor steamers, if that matters to you.

    They have hand held steamers and ones that have wheels that roll around behind you. Since you will be using this tool a lot, you may want to pay more for the rolling one. Some of the hand held ones are not too heavy, but that means you have to stop and refill them often.

    When I use mine, (a hand held one,) I hold the steamer in my right hand and a microfiber cloth in my left hand and scrub and wipe with the microfiber cloth after I steam. It is easy and fast to do this way.

    I do the daily cleansing and may not scrub or wipe with the microfiber for this part of my disease prevention. The rest of my cleaning is done less frequently and involves scrubbing with the microfiber cloths. How often you do this part of your cleaning depends on what you think is needed.  

    If an item or area gets frequent, heavy use, it would be better to clean it more often. If you eat daily on your dining room table that should be cleaned daily. If you eat daily on trays in front of the TV, then those should get the daily cleaning, for example. If you use your dining room table once a week, then once a week is plenty for it.

    Since I got my microfiber cloths and steamer, I have saved enough money on cleaning supplies to make a noticeable difference in my budget. I rarely get cold and flu either since I got them. That is worth a lot more than money to me. Knowing that this gives me a better chance during an epidemic gives me peace of mind that is priceless as well. 

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Flesh Eating Bacteria On Buses And Trains MRSA

    My readers get even with me for posting about epidemics by not reading my blog. That can make it hard to keep on. I am going to anyway so you have a chance to live. This is about MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. The popular name for it is "Flesh Eating Bacteria."

    I have personally known five different people who have had this disease now. I have been doing research to help out someone I know who is dealing with this right now. 

    One of the things that I just learned is that you can get this in public places like trains and buses now, not just hospitals. I recently posted about how some disease organisms have become able to live through alcohol-based hand sanitizers now. Fortunately, soap and water still works. That means we have something to use to fight against getting MRSA.

    I used to carry a small hotel size bar of soap around with me so I could wash my hand when public restrooms were out of soap. I stopped that when hand sanitizer became available. Back to the tiny bar of soap. You might like to do the same.

    There are hand wipes that contain something that will kill MRSA. I am not sure I want to use them, because if people use them irresponsibly, that stuff will probably quit working as bacteria and viruses become resistant to that as well. It will probably stop working even if people used them responsibly (very unlikely) in the long run.

    The Center for Disease Control even says that we need to get used to a world without antibiotics. That is a huge change. Safe surgery, for example, could be a casualty of this change. That could change childbirth again. We have a big adjustment coming.

    Anyway. I found you some stuff about it so you can go out on the internet and find out more about all of this if you want to. Here is some of it below:

    The highly infectious strain, MRSA USA300 , is resistant to many front-line antibiotics and has now been discovered in public places, such as buses and trains. Though people can avoid direct contact with a sneeze or cough, Professor Thomas from the University of Birmingham highlights the possibility of becoming infected from touching surfaces.  In this way, every day settings and public surfaces act as viable means to contract an infection.  According to the Daily Mail, MRSA USA300 has been called “flesh-eating” due to its ability to lead to large skin boils, abscesses, blood poisoning and even fatal forms of pneumonia that destroy lung tissue.

    Me again. One of the things we can do to protect ourselves from this is to learn the actions that will protect us from any other epidemic. An example of this is to train yourself not to touch your face any more, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. Those areas are more vulnerable to hostile disease organisms like MRSA. Learn to wash your hands more frequently and wash them immediately when you get home.

    I believe a regime of cleaning on a daily basis is a good preventive for MRSA and other diseases for you and your family. I think a steamer is good for this, as it does not require a lot of dangerous and expensive chemicals and is very versatile and easy to use. I am not going to recommend a particular type, but will give you my knowledge of the ones I have experience with.

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Hazards To Your Health From Politicians Preparedness

    The things that politicians all seem to do can be hazardous to your health. They can even kill us. I am not even talking about the obvious stuff that we mostly ignore like nuclear weapons and biowarfare and chemical weapons. This is about the more subtle stuff that gets in under your radar. 

    I first noticed it when I lived in a large city in California. Why does this apply to you? It is because the politicians there did not and do not act much differently than the ones where you live. You need to know this so you can keep an eye on those fatherless offspring. They can't get away with this stuff when people are paying attention. It is not an accident that listening to politicians is boring. It makes you stop paying attention.

    Ok. Back to my story about the politicians in California who are clones of yours.

    This large city in California has a population within its city limits that is larger than the entire population of Alaska. It has only two main road leading out of it. I has a lot of hills around it.

    The hills around that city of fatherless offspring politicians (FOPs for short), are full of old dams. The dams are approaching 100 years old and they are earthen dams. In order for earthen dams to keep holding water, they must have some maintenance. The maintenance is not complex. You just don't let a lot of plants grow all over them and crack them.

    The FOPs decided to save money by taking it away from paying people to take care of the earthen dams. Plants started growing on the earthen dams. They are very good earthen dams, so they have not failed yet. They will.

    The city of the FOPs is located on an old flood plain. It is mostly dried up now because there has been so much agriculture around there that it made the river mostly disappear. The countless blue swimming pools in and around the city have made a good contribution to the dry river too.

    A lot of government programs pay the agriculture people who sucked up the river, to not grow some of the crops they used the river water on. Some of them make more money not growing crops than they did growing them. They like that, so they keep not growing those crops.

    Other things like increasing problems with alkali soil and other nasty things have made more agriculture people stop growing things with the river water, too.

    Climate change has caused more extreme weather in this area of the FOPs, including bigger droughts and storms. some of the bigger storms produce record of amounts of water. Than gives the old earthen dams more of a work out than they were designed for.

    The regular insurance companies will not cover any flood insurance in the flood plain areas of the FOPs. The only way you can get any flood insurance at all is to buy it from a special department of the US Government. Even that department will not insure some areas of the flood plains, so the people on them are not insured. 

    Not being able to insure your property can present problems when you want to sell it. One popular way around this difficulty is going into politics and passing laws that help out.

    The politicians get elected; serve long enough to sell (unload), their property on the next batch of FOPs and retire to Florida or Mexico.

    None of the local FOPs volunteered this information to me when I lived in their fair city. I found it out myself. It happened gradually after I noticed there was a problem when I innocently asked my insurance company for flood insurance.

    I got kind of excited at the thought of over a million people drowning and not being able to get out on the two roads out of there. I was so naive that I went right to the mayor. Naturally I was surprised to learn that the mayor had done nothing about this and there was no disaster plan for the situation.

    That mayor adroitly evaded me the rest of his term. I tried the next mayor. She said she would get right on that, every time I talked to her. When she got to the lame duck stage of her term as mayor she got more frank with me. She told me it was not possible to evacuate that many people in time for a flood with only two roads out. 

    She said that people would needlessly panic if they were made aware of the situation. She retired somewhere else, after selling her property, and it was on to the next two mayors. 

    Eventually I found out that each succeeding group of FOPs got a steal of a deal on property before they were inspired to go into politics and left shortly after they unloaded it. Each group of FOPs managed to keep people from finding out about the property/flood plains/old dams/insurance situation before they passed it on.

    If you look around a little, you too can see what the FOPs in your area are doing to you and your fellow citizens, while they get ready to head to Mexico.

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Save Yourself With Long Term Disaster Planning

    You and your loved ones have a very good chance to deal with a disaster soon. That disaster that you face is likely to be a long term one. That means you will have changes so that your life will not go back to normal soon.

    I won't feel right unless I try to help you and your loved ones deal with  the kind of disasters you are likely to face. I believe that the whole world will have more disasters in more places and there will be bigger disasters too.

    I already explained this in earlier posts, but I am going to do it again and try to explain it in an easier to understand way this time.

    Weather records are being broken all over the world. People are facing record heat, and record cold. They are getting new records for the most rain ever in their area, and the least rain in their area. We just got the most snow where I live and it topped previous most snow records by a lot.

    This is not a coincidence. It is because humans have done things that have disturbed the balance of Nature in the whole world. We can not depend on what kind of weather we will get in our part of the world any more. We can not depend on what kind of weather we will get in other parts of the world any more either. 

    There are people who seem to know a lot saying that there is no climate change. They bring out a lot of statistics to back them up. Those people are very loud and get on the news a lot. That does not make them right about what they say.

    All but a very few scientists agree that we have a change in climate that has never happened in recorded history. They agree that this is a problem for humans. Here are some links about scientists who say we need to deal with climate change to protect ourselves:

    Those links are up so that people who want to see for themselves can do so. I am going to tell people who do not want to do that, about what they would find on those links.

    I am telling you about this because this information needs to be taken into account in your preparedness. Agencies and NGOs (Non Government Organizations will be increasingly over whelmed with the number and size of disasters they deal with. They will take longer and longer to bring you help when you have a disaster. There will not be as much help to go around. You will be more on your own to help yourself during a disaster. 

    This means you need to be prepared for a longer time than you used to need to be prepared for. Sometimes after a disaster, things never are the way they used to be. You will have to be more self sufficient and grow and make more of your own needs than you did before the disaster. 

    I think local economies will become vastly more important than they used to be. In other words you better figure out how you are going to get food from closer to home. 

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    USA Nuclear Disaster Waiting To Happen

    Disaster preparedness for government agencies and others is increasingly involving more actual disaster prevention. It falls under "mitigation", which in the past has mostly been picking up the pieces afterwards.

    It sometimes involves things as simple as encouraging people not to rebuild their homes where they will be destroyed in predictably repeated disasters. One mitigation technique that I particularly liked was building reinforced safety platforms that allow people who can't run fast enough to avoid flooding to go there. They have more time to be gotten to safety by boats or helicopters once they reach the safety platforms.

    It can involve getting uncooperative nuclear power plant operators to build in safety margins that are greater than ten feet higher than maximum historical flooding. This has not been done in some USA nuclear power plants yet. The ten foot safety margin is not going to cut it indefinitely, because climate change guarantees that we can expect more water in floods in areas of the country that contain nuclear power plants.

    The Japanese have been making serious changes to protect themselves from more disasters. These changes involve all parts of their society working together. This has not been an easy process for them. Their bureaucracies and traditions have been more "set in concrete" than comparable ones in the USA. 

    Containment pools in US nuclear power plants typically hold a lot more nuclear waste than the ones that caused the problems in Japan. That means that when we have a disaster with our power plants it will be much worse than the one in Japan.
    I would hate for the USA to have a large nuclear disaster before it begins to take commonsense measures to protect itself. 

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Earthquake Warning Chickens

    The best Earthquake warning system I have had experience was chickens. I believe the ones responsible for the warning were a rare breed of chickens called Black Astralops or Black Astralopes. (I have seen it spelled both ways.)

    Quite a few people have insisted that this breed does not exist because they assume that I must be misspelling the name of another breed called Black Astralorps. Those are an Australian breed and may be related to the Black Astralopes. They look similar, but are not exactly the same.

    All of my 4 Black Astralope hens had spurs that were bigger than some roosters I have seen. All of those hens were enthusiastic about using their spurs in the right situations, so they are pretty tough birds when they feel the need to be.

    I babied my Black Astralope hens a lot, so they were very cuddley with me and any people they were properly introduced to. I could hardly believe the change that came over them when they felt the flock, or eggs needed to be protected from my dogs, for example.

    I had a couple of other breeds of chickens as well, but I never did like them much. They were not nearly as smart and interesting as the Black Astralopes. 

    There were earthquakes in the area before I got the Black Astralopes and the other kinds of hens never reacted to them ahead of time.

    The first big earthquake after I got the Black Astralopes was different. 

    In the morning of the day of the earthquake all of my hens disappeared from their yard. I saw the empty yard and ran out to see what was going on. I had ideas of a chicken thief or horde of raccoons or dogs making off with the whole flock.

    I looked in the coop. There all the chickens were, sitting on their roosts and in their nesting boxes. It was bright daylight, so they were not being faked out by no sun.

    I tried picking one of the Black Astralopes up and carrying her out into the yard. She squirmed and squawked until she I let her go and she ran back into the coop with the rest of them.

    The chickens mostly stayed in their coop for the  rest of the day. The earthquake came in the early evening. The chickens came out for a little while after the quake before they went back to bed for the night.

    The chickens roosted in daylight again before another big earthquake, so it was not a coincidence. 

    That was many years ago and those chickens are long gone. I do not know if it was a particular talent of that set of Black Astralope hens or not. As soon as I have a place to put them, I want more Black Astralopes, however. I live in an earthquake prone area. I will take all the possible warning I can get.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Talking To Loved Ones Who Won't Prepare

    You probably have some loved ones who just will not do any emergency preparedness. No matter what you do, they will not do anything to get ready to make it through a disaster.

    I have a few of those myself. There are some approaches that produce some good results. Unfortunately I found a lot of the approaches that do not produce good results first. Maybe I can share some of this experience with you so that you can avoid some of my mistakes.

    One of my more successful attempts to encourage my unprepared relatives to become a little better prepared is through saving money. Even if they stick their fingers in their ears every time they hear the word, "preparedness", they usually want to save money.

    If you buy larger quantities at a time, or buy in bulk, you can usually get things cheaper. Fifty pounds of rice, for example, is usually cheaper to buy per pound, than ten pounds at a time. You can also save money by getting extra food that is on sale, than if you buy only a little at a time.

    Once your unprepared relatives see for themselves that they can save money by buying in bulk and on sale, they will start to like it and do it more. At some point, instead of having to go to the store to get something for every meal, they will be able to stay home and use what they already have at home to make a meal. At that point you can remind them that they are now saving time and gas money as well. They may like the calmness and peacefulness of not having to rush at the last minute to get a meal together.

    It may be helpful to point out how nice this peacefulness is, and that they can have more of it if they plan entire meals and even days of meals ahead of time. They don't have to shop as often, and, "Just think how nice it would be to only need to go to the store to shop once a week or once or twice a month?" 

    They might have to make more frequent trips to the store for perishables, but they would not have to stay in the store as long as if they needed a lot of different food.

    Another way they could save money by keeping some food at home, would be because of not spending so much time in stores. 

    Stores are designed to make you spend money - more than you really need to spend. The less time you are in stores, the less money you spend.

    Once your unprepared loved ones see for themselves the benefits of keeping some extra food on hand, they may be more open to other kinds of preparedness. One of these is being prepared for illness or job loss. They may be able to cope with the thought of personal emergencies better than they can general disasters.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Free Emergency Preparedness Safety Maps

    I would like to share a great emergency preparedness tool with my readers. It is a site called Safety Maps. It makes it easy for you to make and print out maps for yourself and your family members. You can print out different sizes, including wallet and refrigerator size.

    Pick out a safe place for your family to meet after a disaster. 

    Make maps of the meeting place. Mark your safe meeting place for your family. This is a Safety Map.

    Print out the sizes you need for each family member. Wallet size is very portable for each family member to keep with them at all times.

    Give one to each family member and post a larger one so everyone can see it.

    Explain what the safety map is to all family members. 

    Make sure they put them in a safe place so the map will be with them all the time.

    You may like to walk with all family members as a group to the safe meeting place so they know how to find it on the map.

    If you have an individual family member who needs more personal attention for using the safety map, you can take a special trip with them.

    Now your family is a little better prepared for an emergency.

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Cheap Preparedness - Make Your Own Mixes For Emergency Preparedness

    It is easy to make your own mixes. I cheated and got a book to get me started. It is a great book and makes it easy to make your own convenience foods that have the ingredients you want in them and save a lot of money. The book is called, "Make-A-Mix". It is just wonderful. I ordered mine online, but you can get it from bookstores too.

    There is an amazing selection of mixes in this book for all sorts of foods. Once you read it a little, it will probably inspire you to make up some of your own mixes.

    A way to get started is to look at your favorite recipe. Separate the dry ingredients from the wet ones. You can mix together most dry ingredients ahead of time. You need to know how much of your mix to use for one batch. You can make enough dry mix to make the dish one time or make a lot of it to use for a week or a month or several.

    There are some dehydrated foods that you can buy from preparedness storage companies that are especially good for making your own mixes. Some of my favorites are, powdered eggs, powdered butter and powdered cheese. You can use these in your mixes and end up only needing to add water for some of them. 

    You already know you can get powdered milk from the regular grocery store, but it is often cheaper when you buy it in bulk. Powdered milk makes mix making easy. One of the easy ones that I especially like is cocoa drink mix. It is a lot cheaper than buying it already made.

    You can use powdered milk to make whipped topping. You can add extra sweetening or not; your choice. 

    Something you may not already know is that not all powdered milks are alike. Most are low fat, but you can get them made from whole milk. These are not low fat and taste more like fresh whole milk when you add water and let them sit in the refrigerator for a while. 

    The mix that I use the most from Make-A-Mix is the biscuit mix. I use whole wheat flour to make mine. I do not like the taste or texture of white flour biscuits much. 

    I make my own pizza dough without any change in the biscuit recipe. Instead of making biscuits I just roll the dough out onto a lightly greased pan. I brush the dough with oil so that it will brown nicely and not get soggy when I add toppings. I bake the dough and then take it out and add already cooked toppings and cheese.

    I make extra pizzas like this and freeze them for convenience foods and emergency storage as well. I cut them into individual servings and put them in plastic containers or zip lock bags. If I want to use zip lock bags, I freeze the pizza, already sliced on the cooking sheet and put them in the bags already frozen. They handle easier that way. 

    I am especially terrible about eating up my frozen pizza food storage. I love the stuff and it is so easy. I take it out and thaw it. Sometimes I eat it without even warming it up. It works great for writing blog posts, for example. I can easily eat and type at the same time. Sure it is disgusting, but nice for me anyway. It gets my writing done.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Save Money - Make Your Own Sandwich Patties For Emergency Food Storage

    I make my own veggie burger patties for my emergency food storage and freeze them. They are not hard to make. They are much cheaper than getting them already made from the store. I think people who want to have meat patties or hamburgers could use my pattern/recipe for their emergency food storage with little change to it.

    Protein is the basis for my choice of what to use for my veggie burger patties. For me that is usually some sort of beans or other legumes which are high in protein. Lentils, and peas are legumes too. 

    For people who want meat patties, you can use meat as the main part of your patties. You can add some beans or some of the other items that I put in my veggie burgers to stretch your meat to save money and get better nutrition.

    I like some sort of complex carbohydrate in my veggie burgers, because they hold together better and I try to get a full meal of balanced nutrition all in one patty. Whole wheat, brown rice, and potatoes are some of the complex carbohydrates I use. 

    Some kind of vegetables round out the nutrition in my veggie burgers and make them more tasty and satisfying as well. That will usually be a seasonal vegetable or vegetables or whatever is handy and cheap.

    I put liquids in my veggie burgers and what they are depends on what is handy and cheap. If I am using potatoes in my veggie burgers I use the liquid from cooking the potatoes in the veggie burgers. The potato liquids are sticky and gooey and help hold the veggie burgers together. 

    I pick some things especially to help hold the veggie burgers together. Eggs are my favorite. I am not a vegan, so I do eat eggs. Vegans might want to figure out what they want to eat that is sticky enough to hold their veggie burgers together besides eggs. Molasses and honey are sticky, but I know some vegans don't like to eat honey.

    You don't need much egg to hold a lot of veggie burgers together. I sometimes only need one egg for as many as 60 veggie burgers.

    I use a food processor to grind up the ingredients for my veggie burgers and mix them together as well. I put in the protein first and add the complex carbohydrates next. I usually have everything in bowls or on big plates so I can easily keep adding more ingredients as the food processor mixes and grinds.

    I use vegetable oil in a large skillet to fry the veggie burger patties. I lightly brown them, mostly for taste and appearance, since everything is already cooked before I start grinding the ingredients for the veggie burgers.

    I usually have a lot of patties shaped on big plates so I can add them to the large skillet as I remove the cooked ones onto clean plates. I usually let them cool on the plates, because I don't have enough racks to cool that many veggie burgers.

    Once the veggie burgers are cool, they can be packaged in plastic bags. I like to put several burgers in small zipper bags and then put several small zipper bags full into a larger zipper bag. They don't get freezer burn as easily that way and are easier to find and less of a mess in the freezer that way.

    Each veggie burger patty has all the foods necessary for a balanced meal in it. That means you don't need to cook anything else with it to have a healthy diet during an emergency. If you have bread to make a sandwich of your veggie burger patty, that is not necessary, but it might make you feel better to eat it that way instead of by itself.

    I eat my veggie burgers on a bed of rice or pasta or with a baked potato and a vegetable or two for regular meals. You could do the same during an emergency as well. (They would not have to be heated if defrosted ahead of time.) They are also nice with a salad and some type of bread and or soup.

    When I plan ahead enough for regular meals I take the veggie burgers out of the freezer and defrost them. A meal after that can be as simple as a couple of slices of bread or buns and some lettuce or sprouts and condiments. This is nice to do when I am really busy. It would work fine for emergencies too.

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Cheap Preparedness Food Longer Term Storage

    My current longest term storage is in things that don't spoil that fast even if you don't do anything to them. That is things like rice, beans and grains that are not even flour yet. I also think things like popcorn, and rolled oats are necessities for me, so I get lots of those. They are ok to have enough bought in bulk to last me longer than my things that spoil more easily. I don't try to have food in my freezer that will last me for the next year, for example.

    That is not because I don't think it is a good idea. It is just because my funds don't stretch far enough for me to prepare that far ahead. If you can afford it, you might want to have more food in the freezer to last you for the next year. 

    You will have to think about what you put in your freezer for your emergency storage because freezer burn and tasting yucky from being frozen too long are problems.

    I do use my freezer for emergency storage, but it is for shorter term foods. I make my own casseroles for emergency storage. When I make a casserole for dinner, I make two or three of the same thing and cook them in the oven at the same time. I eat one and freeze the other two. 

    I rotate them into my menus when I don't feel like cooking or don't have enough time. I can just take one of my frozen casseroles out and thaw it ahead of time or defrost it in the microwave. I really like the convenience of doing my casseroles this way. I probably like it too much. It is hard to keep enough in the freezer because I use them up too soon.

    Making my own frozen casseroles is much cheaper than buying frozen casseroles from the store. I often like the ones I make better than what I get from the store too. A lot of the time my homemade convenience foods are more healthy than those from the store as well.

    If I manage to have any frozen casseroles left in my freezer during an emergency, they will not even have to be cooked. They can simply be thawed out and eaten, so they are good for emergencies. I just need to make them more often or eat them up less often.

    One of my emergency preparedness frozen foods is veggieburgers. I make my own in batches of 60 or so at a time. I like them quite a lot and think they taste better than the ones I get from the grocery store. They are considerably less expensive than those from the store, so they save a lot on my food bill all the time. I have a hard time leaving enough of those in the freezer for emergencies too.