Monday, May 27, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - May Week 4

Our preparedness challenge for this week is simply to gather a supply of disposable eating items like paper plates, cups, bowls, utensils and more. Something you probably shop for already, but they would be extremely useful in an emergency.

I know some of you believe in saving the environment, but during an emergency or disaster, you need to feed your hungry family.

After most disasters, many people are temporarily sheltered in tent cities and they are basically camping. Disposable eating supplies become a necessity because you can't find water to wash dishes. So, I always keep a supply of disposable picnic supplies on hand. Here are some ideas that may help you:

1.  Gather Disposable Picnic Supplies
These items always go on sale during May, June and July which is awesome! Costco and Sam's Club have them on sale for a few more weeks. But also check pharmacies like Walgreens. They also have special deals.
  • paper plates
  • cups, paper or plastic, and even some styrofoam cups for hot beverages
  • bowls paper or foam
  • plastic utensils
  • heavyweight foil
  • paper towels
  • napkins
  • disposable table cloths
The key is not to let these items disappear on your shelves before you need them. Sure you can use part of them, but replenish them. 

Have fun gathering!

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Sunday, May 26, 2019

N95 Face Masks Protect From Wildfire Smoke Inhalation

We've had lots of rain in Utah this year, and rain brings extra vegetation which can lead to late summer wildfires if temperatures rise quickly. Overall, officials are expecting fewer fires. However, we live less than a quarter of a mile from the mountains. So, one emergency item that keeps coming to my mind to buy is N95 respirators. Especially those that fit the faces of children.

LA Times

Appropriate masks disappeared quickly after the California wildfires. According to an article in the LA Times, the type of mask to get is an N95 respirators or P100 masks. A surgical mask or a hardware store dust mask will NOT protect your lungs from wildfire smoke particulates.

LA Times
"The mask should have two straps — one placed below the ears and one above. And it should seal tightly to your face."

The FDA says: "The ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death.

"N95 respirators are not designed for children or people with facial hair. Because a proper fit cannot be achieved on children and people with facial hair, the N95 respirator may not provide full protection."


Safety N95 Particulate Respirator w/Exhalation

Adult masks don't fit well on children's faces either, so I'm adding some Ligart kid-sized masks to my supplies for the grandkids and neighborhood kids. Better safe than sorry, and ahead of the demand.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - May Week 3

This week for our Preparedness Challenge, we'll be gathering a few BBQ spices from your favorite store, and some dehydrated onions from the LDS Home Storage Center. We are fortunate again that they are on sale.

Gathering items for emergencies isn't about buying stuff. It's about listening to the counsel of generations of LDS Church leaders.

Imagine a neighborhood where each home is self-reliant and prepared for emergencies. During a disaster there is less need to borrow from each other and we are better able to assist in the recovery effort.

But also imagine a neighborhood where people have that "someday I'll get to it" attitude. Now that's a disaster in and of itself. So, be different. Perhaps a peculiar people.

"Church members are conscious of the fact that they live in a period of calamities, caused both by human actions and the furies of nature. The prophecies about the last days are unequivocal, and there is great wisdom in preparing for the future—whether it be for possible famine, disaster, financial depression, or any other unforeseen adverse circumstance."

"Church leaders have frequently counseled members to practice provident living by establishing home storage, including extra water, basic food items, medications, clothing, and other supplies that could be needed in case of emergency." Bishop Gérald Caussé, March 2, 2018

So, add a little spice to your life. Here are a few ideas.

1. Buy BBQ Spices
During the summer, many people BBQ. Consider keeping your favorite spices on hand. One of our favorites is McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning currently on sale for $4.88 at Sam's Club until June 2nd. It's 29 ounces large. An amazing deal! We aso use it on Sunday roasts.

2. Buy Dehydrated Onions
You can use them everyday, or store them long-term for times when they may not be available. A 2.1 lb. can of dehydrated onions from the LDS Home Storage Center has a 30-year shelf life. Currently it's on sale for $6.75, regularly $8.00. Cheaper than Costco or Sam's Club! Whenever I don't use fresh, I use LDS dehydrated onions. If the can is too large for your family, divide it with a friend.

You CAN do it! One bag, box or can at a time.

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

"And I will also be your light in the wilderness; 
and I will prepare the way before you, 
if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments." 
1 Nephi 17

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - May Week 2

During the month of May, many condiments, sauces and spices go on sale in preparation for summer barbecues and family gatherings. Take advantage of those sales and stock up for the Preparedness Challenge: May Week 2.

1. Decide Which Condiments to Store
  • Look in your refrigerator and pull out all the condiments you normally use. 
  • Write down what you use on the inventory list in your binder. 
  • Toss any expired condiments.
  • Clean your refrigerator shelves. 
  • Put useable items back in your refrigerator.
  • Next, take an inventory of unopened condiments in your cupboards.  
  • Pull all condiments out.
  • Wipe down that shelf. 
  • Put items back on your shelf.

2. Buy a 3 to 12 Month Supply of Condiments
  • Be reasonable. No one needs 24 bottles of ketchup on the wall. Personally, I keep one condiment item in the refrigerator and one on the shelf. And more of a few items.
  • Buy items such ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles, mayonnaise, steak sauce, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salad dressings and vinegar. 
  • I've found my best deals at the grocery store when I combine sales and coupons or when I buy store brand items. However, there are some condiments on sale in the May 8th Sam's Club Savings Book. And Costco has similar deals.
  • Heinz Picnic 4 pack (2 ketchups, 1 relish and 1 mustard) $2.00 off. 
  • Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing 2 pk. 40 oz. ea. $2.00 off. 
  • Best Foods Mayonnaise 3 pk. 25 oz. ea. $2.00 off. 
  • A-1 Steak Sauce 2 pk. 15 oz. ea. $1.00 off
  • Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce 2 pk. 20 oz. ea. $1.00 off
  • Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce 2 pk. 40 oz. ea. $1.00 off
  • And new Heinz MayoChup (known as Fry Sauce in Utah) 2 pk. 19 oz. ea. is $4.98
3. Research The Shelf-Life of Your Condiments
How long condiments last when opened is usually less time than you think. So, take a few minutes to go to the website Enter an item such as mayonnaise in the search box and find out how long is lasts on your shelf and when opened. I may surprise you.

And do you know which foods you should throw away in your refrigerator after a power outage? Go to the website and review the items you should throw away. It may surprise you.

Best wishes on preparing this month,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Friday, May 3, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - May Week 1

Last month was super busy for me, so I'm excited to share our May Preparedness Challenges. This month we will gather cooking supplies into our 72-hour kits, gather condiments and spices and practice outdoor cooking.

No one ever thinks how they will cook after a disaster, but after a disaster your stove may not work, and you probably won't have power for that microwave oven.

I'm not an expert in this area, so I try to keep it simple by imagining the aftermath of a disaster. Let's pretend my disaster was a major earthquake. After coming out from beneath my kitchen table, and checking on my family members, check on our neighbors. I woudn't even be thinking about food.

After getting people better situated and cared for medically, we realize we haven't eaten in four hours. The refrigerator has been off for a long time, and it's unlikely it will be turned on for weeks. So, how do we prepare food?

Gas ONE New GS-3400P Dual Fuel Portable Propane and Butane Camping and Backpacking Gas Stove Burner with Carrying Case

1. Decide How You Will Cook After a Disaster
Personally, I would not cook anything and eat our small canned foods that require no refrigeration such as PB & honey sandwiches, canned fruit and fresh fruit. Eventually we will have to heat up some stew. One idea is using a simple one-burner gas butane stove. So, we turn it on and heat up our canned stew. Yum! That stew never tasted so good.

Oher options:
  • Small camp stove in our 72-hour bags
  • Propane barbeque with the single burner on the side. 
  • Use firewood and coal last since they would use up valuable fuel that could keep you warm.
How will you boil water and keep it warm? A camping tea kettle is perfect for that. You'll need boiled water for your oatmeal and your hot cocoa tomorrow. You may even need to boil water for medicinal needs. Lots of things to consider with your imagination. Keep your cooking items together to make it simpler to find. Here is a sample, but I'm no expert.

Overmont Camping Kettle

2. Gather Emergency Cooking Supplies
May is a great month to start watching for sales on cooking supplies. Don't feel you have to run out and buy anything.

Possible cooking supply options:
  • camp stove
  • camp stove fuel
  • Dutch oven and supplies
  • Single burner-camp stove
  • matches
  • lighter
72-hour kit Ideas:
  • camping can opener
  • mess kit
  • eating utensils
  • matches or lighter
  • mini stove and fuel
I hope you can decide what cooking items work best for your family.

Best wishes,

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer