Monday, September 26, 2011

Continuity Insurance - A Challenge From Me to You!

Good day to you all! This is the last of my posts from my book. First part is a list of commonly completely forgotten items. The second part is a challenge to you! The third part is some of the resources used in all the previous posts containing “Continuity Insurance” in the title.

After today and for as long as it takes, I’ll be picking topics and expanding on them from the angle of “I know nothing about this at all, where do I start?” For some of us it will be a reminder, for some of us (including myself) it will be a kick in the butt, and for some of this it will be new and exciting.

Now, I return you to your reading pleasures…..

Equipment and Utensils (Oft forgotten items)

·         As you are planning your food menu, don’t forget that you need certain utensils and tools to cook and eat with. Essential items include:
·         small cooking pots
·         spoons, forks, knives (plastic or metal)
·         metal camping/backpacking cups that you can heat food in or drink from (also known as Sierra cups)
·         mess kits or camp plates
·         napkins or paper towels
·         small, trial size of dish soap
·         hot pad or wash cloth
·         can opener
·         waterproof matches or matches in waterproof container
·         canned solid fuel and folding stove or MRE heaters
·         zip lock bags

Challenge - One to Three Day Emergency Test

Try living at least 24 hours with only one gallon of water per family member per day and only using your food storage. For example: a family of four would need to live off of 4 gallons of water and use only food storage for a 24 hour period. You can make this even more challenging by going for 48 hours or even stretching that to the suggested three days.

You may be thinking this would be easy. Anyone can go without cooking or extensive cleaning for 24 hours. You can expect that your children will have no problem drinking less than a gallon of water per day. However, consider average water usage in non-emergency situations: brushing teeth, 1 gallon; washing hands, 1 quart; taking a bath, 35-40 gallons; taking a shower, 5 gallons per minute; laundry, 19-45 gallons; washing dishes, 10-15 gallons. When you begin to consider sanitation, cooking, and washing clothes you'll notice that one gallon of water is an absolute minimum.

It is far less stressful to challenge your family to survive on your emergency supplies voluntarily than to have to turn to those supplies during an emergency with no experience or familiarity of the items. You may have practiced fire drills with your family, planned escape routes and a meeting point somewhere in the neighborhood, or practiced climbing down fire escape ladders from a bedroom. You may have experienced earthquake or tornado drills, and other role-plays to prepare for whatever disaster might occur specific to your area. If you feel your family has those drills down to perfection, or you are concerned about being prepared for all situations that may arise, then try this challenge. It's a simple challenge but you may be surprised at how revealing it can be.

As for the food side of this challenge, there are a few ways you can test yourselves. First thing would be no cooking with electricity for the entire chosen length of time. After that, try locating a manual can-opener, a specific can off food (like a can of beans, not the peaches) and opening it in the dark. Try using only food ration bars. Try cooking using alternative means.

Make this activity a fun, learning experience for your family and they will come away knowing more about what to expect in an emergency when life turns upside down. Similar to other emergency drills such as earthquake, fire, and tornado, this challenge is intended to familiarize your family with a difficult situation. They may also become more confident and prepared to deal with other challenges that could arise. Use wisdom and caution when trying out this challenge. Keep members of your family well hydrated and fed and it will be a good experience for everyone.

This activity is also a great way to introduce the principle of preparedness to your children. Let them help prepare the storage water, teach them about the importance of clean water and its scarcity during emergencies and show them what storage options are available (containers that are not clear to inhibit algae growth, smaller containers for easy carrying, or large containers with siphon pumps, etc). Let them choose whether you should use food storage or emergency ration bars.

After completing this challenge you may want to take some time to evaluate what occurred and re-evaluate your family’s preparedness plans. Were the proper tools available to cope with limited water use? Would one gallon of water per person per day be sufficient for your family? Most recommendations are for 2-5 gallons of water per person per day in an emergency. Will a food bar work or do you need more than that? Did everyone know where the can-opener was? Did you grab the peaches instead of the beans? When you’re finished, discuss the results with your family and adjust your plans accordingly.

Resources

“Just In Case – How to be Self Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens” by Kathy Harrison
“Making the Best of Basics - Family Preparedness Handbook” by James Talmage Stevens
“Marlene's Magic with Food Storage” by Marlene Petersen
“The Backcountry Cupboard” by Dorcas Miller
“The Sense of Survival” by J. Allan South
“The Seven Major Mistakes in Food storage” By Vicki Tate
Emergency Essentials / www.peprepared.com
The American Red Cross / www.prepare.org
The Millionth Monkey / www.millionthmonkeyfoods.com

Copyright ©2010 Noel Napolitan

*All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

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