September 17, 2019

Grab and Go Evacuation List in 10 Steps

It's always better to plan ahead before an evacuation when your mind is clear, rather than during an actual life-threatening evacuation when you’re having an adrenaline attack. If someone knocked on your door and said you had a few minutes to evacuate, would you be ready? During a mandatory evacuation your greatest concern is the lives of your family. Planning ahead is essential. Here are 10 ideas of how to plan what you will take and the order you would take them.

Every time I do this activity, I realize I'm not as prepared as I want to be and it makes me a bit crazy. Honestly, I've never evacuated, so this activity is something I had to imagine, and it always gets my heart racing.
How to Prioritize an Evacuation List
  1. Create a list of the most important items you would take with you if you had to evacuate.
  2. Divide the big list into 3 smaller lists; what you would take if you had 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes to evacuate. See back of this handout.
  3. Arrange your items in the order you would grab them in your house to save you the most time. Perhaps start upstairs, and work your way down. If you don't have an upstairs, then choose a room you would go to first.  
  4. Keep emergency items such as a lantern in a central location such as a hall closet so they are easy to grab and go. 
  5. Have a habit of keeping things in their specified locations, otherwise you'll run around and waste precious time.
  6. During an evacuation, grab the list and a laundry basket and fill it as you gather items.
  7. If you have more than 5 minutes, grab items from the 5 minute AND 15 minute list. If you have 30 minutes, grab items from all of your lists.
  8. Practice the evacuation with your family before a real evacuation is necessary. Also designate a meeting place outside your home at a nearby church or school.
  9. Teach teens that if you are not home, it is safer for them to get out of the house instead of grabbing items on your list. 
  10. Make several copies of the list and hang it inside various cabinets in your home where family will see it but the world won't. 

September 15, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - September Week 2

A new week is upon us so it's time to work on another preparedness challenge. Since our focus this month includes emergency power, during September week 2 decide if you want to purchase a generator. Maybe it will be an early Christmas present for the safety of your family. This is definitely a study-it-out-in-your-mind kind of purchase because they cost anywhere from $400 to $6000. Also gather extra batteries this month.

1. Buy a Generator and Fuel
During a disaster, our power will most likely be shut off. Electricity powers many items including your wheat grinder, can opener, microwave oven, refrigerator, freezer, fans, furnace, air conditioning, electric stove top, washer, dryer, computers, television, medical equipment just to name a few. If you can't live without these for a week, maybe purchase a generator.
  • Here's a Consumer Reports article to study before you buy a generator.
  • Just like cases of bottled water, generators disappear from store shelves before a disaster. We don't always have warning when a disaster will strike.
  • Dual fuel portable generators run on either gas or propane. If your gas cans become empty, and gas station pumps run on electricity, where will you find more gas? Propane is an option.
  • Electricians can attach a more powerful generator to your home, but it's pricey.
  • It's a good idea to lock your generator to something if you are running it at night. Generators are loud and have been known to disappear overnight. 
  • Look up Sam's Club generators online. Different states will have different models. My local Costco has these portable generators on store shelves:

2. Buy Heavy-Duty Extension Cords
Besides having extra fuel on hand, you'll need long heavy-duty extension cords to plug your refrigerator and freezer or furnace into the generator. "Always operate a generator a minimum of 20 feet from your home, with the exhaust directed away from any windows, doors, air conditioners or other structures." Consumer Reports

  • Where is the best area to place your generator outside so you can plug items into it? Get out a measuring tape and measure the distance. It may surprise you how far it is. Our distance was 75 feet. You may end up buying two generators: one to keep your freezer foods safe in your basement and another to take care of other needs on another level of your home.

3. Buy Extra Batteries
It's always a good idea to have extra batteries on hand. Some are specialized. Consider some of the items you use batteries for in your home. Most flashlights use them as well as medical equipment and kids' Christmas toys.  Costco has Duracell AA (40 ct.) and AAA (32 ct.) on sale now until Sept. 29th. Regularly $16.99, they're $3.00 off. Sam's Club had them on sale last week.

EnJOY finding some power this week.

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

September 7, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - September Week 1

This week we'll gather fruit, nuts and seeds for our first September Preparedness Challenge. Most of us prefer fresh fruit, but if you didn't have any, could you substitute canned or dried? We are fortunate that nuts and seeds are becoming more and more economical.

1. Gather Short-term Fruit, Nuts and Seeds
You may can or dry your own fruit or purchase it. A variety of canned or dried is economical.

  • Most canned fruit has an 18 -24 month shelf life.
  • Ideas: peaches, pears, pineapple, mandarin oranges, applesauce, raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, and dried mangoes and coconut.
  • If you rely heavily on frozen fruit, it's a smart to get a generator for power outages
  • Shop Utah case lot sales for canned fruit in September and March, and February.
Nuts and Seeds
Gather a variety based on family needs. Be careful how you store them because of the oil in them can go rancid over time.

  • Keep nuts in your refrigerator or freezer. 
  • Store opened peanut butter in the pantry for 3 months, then the refrigerator after this time.
  • Organic almond butter should be refrigerated. Check the label to be sure.
  • Ideas: almond and peanut butter, almonds, walnuts and cashew, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • Nuts go on sale in November, but peanut butter goes on sale in August and September.

2. Gather Long-term Fruit
Our goal is to "gradually build a longer-term supply of foods that will sustain life." Long-term means the fruit has a 20 to 30-year shelf life. 
  • Freeze-dried fruits are pricey. Be careful not to overdo it. 
  • Dehydrated Apple Slices may be purchased at the LDS Home Storage Center. 
  • 30-year shelf life. Current price is $11.25 for 1 lb.
  • A recommended amount for a year's supply is 8 #10 cans per person.
  • If you snack on dried apple slices, drink lots of water.
  • Re-hydrate apple slices with an equal amount of water.
EnJOY gathering a few new food storage items and some of your all-time favorites.

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

September 5, 2019

Grocery Shopping List printable

Last night I planned today's grocery trip with my Grocery Shopping List printable. Even though I don't have to work so hard to save money, I'm doing it anyway. If we talk our country into a big 'R' (recession 🤫), I want to be well skilled at saving money.

I shopped at Smith's grocery store again today and bought more small canned foods for my food storage. Loading it up.
I looked up sales and regular prices online, added online coupons and the location of items in the store. Love that!! ❤️
Shopping took longer than expected, but when you're trying to shop once a week you have to plan carefully. 👍
$115.81 Full Price
$79.30 My Price
$36.51 My savings 🤸‍♀️ I can do better.
$4.00 4 Prego Spaghetti Sauce
$1.50 2 Annie's Mac & Cheese
$1.96 4 Koger Crushed tomatoes
$1.52 4 Kroger Beef broth
$1.52 4 Kroger Chicken broth
$1.58 2 Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
$2.79 1 Simple Truth Organic Red Kidney Beans 4 pk.
$2.00 1 Simple Truth Organic applesauce cups
$2.25 3 Kroger Spaghetti
COST: $19.12

August 25, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - August Week 3

This month, our third Preparedness Challenge is to gather canning jars and food storage supplies, and to add emergency shelter activities to our 72-hour kits. Whether you are a canner or not, it's a great idea to add glass canning jars, storage containers or plastic storage bags to your home supplies. Besides using them for canning fruits and vegetables, these items can store food and so much more.

1. Gather Canning Jars and Food Storage Containers

  • Mason jars come in a variety of sizes from tiny to giant. 
  • Store yeast, vital wheat gluten, wheat flour, oat flour, almond flour, nuts, etc. in jars or storage containers in your refrigerator or freezer. Many of these items lose their nutritional value on your shelf. Nuts can go rancid if they are not refrigerated.
  • Buy at Walmart, Amazon, dollar stores, grocery stores and thrift stores.
Great Ideas for storing in jars found here at the
Food Storage Organizer
These 12 oz. jelly jars are the perfect size for some of my baking supplies.

Food Storage Organizer
Recently, I made an oatmeal breakfast station. I'm determined to incorporate food storage into our lives and this came to mind. Pretty cool, huh? I'll be tweaking it because 1/2 cup of oatmeal isn't enough for me to eat. The oats, dry milk and apples are from the LDS Home Storage Centers. I broke up the apple slices into smaller pieces. How's that for using your food storage!

Food Storage Organizer

These pint-sized wide mouth Ball jars are the perfect size for oatmeal station toppings.

Food Storage Organizer
I love my Brother P-touch, PTD210 label maker too! It helps with all of my organization needs.

2. Add 72-Hour Kit Shelter Activities
You'll never know when you will need to evacuate or how long you'll be gone. Always have some items on hand to keep your hands and mind busy while you're waiting at a hotel or emergency shelter. I always think, "What if my grandkids were with me? Am I prepared to entertain them?"

  • Small notepad and pen.
  • List of games that require no equipment (look for a list on Pinterest and print it).
  • Small non-electronic games (Deck of cards, Pass the Pig, Sudoku, coloring book, fidget, Hacky Sack, a bouncy ball, small stuffed animal, etc.) Look around the house. You probably have something to add to your kit right at home. 

Best wishes on gathering this week!

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

August 14, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - August Week 2

This month, our second Preparedness Challenge is to gather canned or dried vegetables and popcorn. This could include short-term shelf life vegetables or long-term dehydrated vegetables.

1. Gather Short-Term Shelf Life Vegetables
You may can your own or purchase them. Try to store a variety. A few ideas are corn, green beans, chilis, potatoes, mushrooms and carrots. You may also dehydrate vegetables and herbs. Next month we'll focus on gathering fruits, but of course if you have some ready for canning, go for it. Pin several new recipes that use shelf-stable vegetables and make something.

Popcorn kernels
  • Can be ground into cornmeal with your wheat grinder.
  • Can be air popped or popped over an outdoor fire.
  • Buy at your grocery or warehouse store and store it in jars or plastic containers. If no oils or butter were added to it, it should be fine to store for 2 years or many more.
Heads up. Several stores in Utah will have discounted canned vegetables at their case lot sales this September.

2. Gather Long-Term Shelf Life Vegetables

Dehydrated Carrot Dices
  • 10-year shelf life.
  • Excellent source of vitamin A.
  • Add to soups, stews and slow cooking roast.
  • They rehydrate best in double the amount of liquid overnight in the refrigerator
  • TIP: transfer some of the carrots into a pint-sized jar for kitchen use.
  • LDS Home Storage Center8.1 lb. can, $8.50. Hands down, the best price on the market since the LDS Church does not pay marketing fees.
Potato Flakes
  • 30-year shelf life.
  • Good source of vitamins.
  • Once opened, use within 1-2 years.
  • TIP: Write the date you opened the can on it.
  • Make mashed potatoes. Thicken gravies, sauces, and soups. A crispy coating for fried meats and vegetables. Make lighter, fluffier bread and other baked goods. For meatballs, replace your breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs with potato flakes.
  • LDS Home Storage Center1.8 lb. can, $5.00.
Good luck gathering vegetables this week.

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer


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