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Sunday, December 30, 2018

What do you DO with your water storage?

As a Stake, we feel strongly that it is very important to have water stored for an emergency.  You can live many days without food, but can't live for long without water. 

But storing a lot of water presents a major problem: Rotation. Water is very heavy! It weighs a little more than 8 lbs per gallon. To put that into perspective, your 55 gallon water barrel when completely full, weighs more than 450 lbs.  Trying to move it, drain it, clean it and refill it is a job most of us try to avoid!  So let's talk about some of the most common questions about how to care for your stored water:

Do you need to rotate your stored water? 

Water doesn't have an expiration date.  The problem with stored water is contamination.  If you properly store your water, it should be good for a long time (up to 5 years).  However, it is important to check it every 6-12 months to ensure it hasn't been contaminated.

What can contaminate the water? 

The most common thing is bacteria and algae from the water itself or the air.  To avoid this, treat the water when you store it with chlorine or a water preserver.
  • Chlorine is used at 1/8 teaspoon of chlorine per gallon of water.  So use about 7 teaspoons for a big blue 55 gallon drum of water.  

If you have stored commercial water (water bottles), the BPA in the plastic can contaminate the water.  Check the expiration date, or even better, put the water through a filter before drinking. 

 How often should I check my water?

It is a good idea to CHECK your water every six months. Make sure nothing is growing in it and that it is still drinkable. What You’ll Need to Check For-
  • Build Up Around the Edges
  • Bacteria
  • Algae
  • Cloudy Water
  • Foul Smell

Why does my stored water taste funny? Does that mean it's contaminated?  

Stored water will often taste flat and weird because there’s no oxygen in it. To get rid of that weird stored water taste, simply swish your water around your cup a few times before drinking.  It’s also a good idea to store some sort of drink mix like tang, crystal lite, koolaid, etc. if you have picky “drinkers”.

What can I do to rotate less often?

  • Store in opaque containers to keep out light (dark green and blue are best)
  • Store in a place that is dark and cool consistently
  • Sterilize any containers you are storing water in before filling
  • Treat your water with a special water treatment like those listed above.

What if I didn't rotate my water and I need to use it??

If you are worried about the safety of your water, you can always boil it to purify it. If you are conserving fuel or need to also filter out any particles, then have a good filter/purifier like a Berkey Water Filter on hand. The idea is to make sure you have a way to have clean and drinkable water in the case of an emergency.

Do I need to store my water off the cement? 

You may have heard it's best to store the big blue 55-gallon off the concrete.  The basis for this is that some of the cehmicals may leach out of the concrete into your water.  This isn't a big concern, but it is easy to put some boards or a wooden pallet beneath the barrel before filling it.

How to Clean Your Water Container or Tank

When you do rotate your water, you should take the opportunity to really clean out your water storage container.  First, you need to wash out the tank with mild soap  and water. When cleaning the inside of the barrel, use a scratch pad to get the hard to get areas. Rinse out and repeat the process if you suspect it has been in contact with bacteria or other harmful substances. It is important to make sure that there is no soap or chemicals inside the container once you rinse it out.

What to do With Rotated Water

If you have hundreds of gallons of water stored, you want to make sure to be able to USE the old water so you aren’t wasting it. Some ideas for using your water are:
  • Rotate in the spring and water your lawn and gardens with it
  • Use it to flush your toilets
  • Run several batches of laundry using stored water
  • Wash your car with it
  • Water house plants
  • Purify it and use it for drinking/cooking
  • Give your dog a bath!
Hopefully this lets you relax a bit about your water storage.  The most important thing is TO HAVE SOME STORED!  You can figure out how to use it if and when the time comes.

Keep working at it and every month you will have more peace about your preparedness. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

 Are You Prepared to Evacuate Quickly in an Impending Emergency?

At this time of year, the last thing we want to think about is leaving our home.  It's cold, there is snow on the ground, and we are dreaming of "sugar plums", not evacuations.  However, there is never a good time for an emergency, and they never seem to strike when it's convenient.

So when you have a few minutes to slow down after the holiday, spend some time thinking through what you would need to take with you if you were to leave.  There is an interesting phenomenon called the "Normalcy Bias".  This bias causes people to underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possible effects, because people believe that things will always function the way things normally have functioned.

An example I have heard and will paraphrase is from a man caught in wildfires in Southern California.  His home was being threatened, and he was given 3 hours to get his things and evacuate.  Instead of calmly and rationally gathering his valuables and irreplaceable items, he paced in front of the TV, watching CNN report on the advancing flames, sure it wouldn't really get to his home.  By the time the fire was so close he had no choice but to leave, he had five minutes to throw his dogs in the car and get out with nothing but his life.  

Why did he waste all of that precious time?  Because his house had never burned down before, why would it now.  This sounds ridiculous, but it's a very real thing that happens in an emergency.  To outsmart the normalcy bias, you have to prepare ahead of time and have a very systematic way to evacuate your home.  Less thinking and decision making in an emergency, the better off you will be.
Here are two great lists and the links to find them.   Use them and the ideas below to prepare your list.

Emergency Evacuation Grab and Go List
Evacuation Grab and Go List

 Grab & Go List #Evacuation List Emergency Preparedness - Prepared LDS  Family
 emergency grab and go list

What Would You Take if You Had to Evacuate? How to Create a Grab & Go List

(Adapted from
What would you take if you had to evacuate? Many people do not think clearly during times of stress and panic, so a well thought out Grab and Go List created before an emergency could greatly assist you. It should have items listed by priority because you do not know how much time you will have to evacuate. Not all evacuations can be planned in advance like hurricane evacuations. You could get a knock on the door in the middle of the night and be told you have a few minutes to leave. You may never experience an evacuation, but you can learn from the experiences of others. Most will tell you that the better planned you are, the fewer regrets you will have.

Consider these things when planning your Grab & Go list:

1. Who is important to you?
2. What is important to you?
3. What would you need if you are gone for a few days to a week?
4. If everything in your home were to disappear, what items would make starting over easier?

How to Organize Your Grab and Go List:
1. List items which are important and essential to you.

2. Next, prioritize your items into four groups. 5 minutes to evacuate, 10 minutes to evacuate, 30 minutes to evacuate, and a few days to prepare.

3. List the location of the item next to it, and then sort within each group based on areas of your home. This will prevent you from running all over your home only to pass up items in the same area.

4. Ask other family members what things in their rooms are the most important and irreplaceable to them. Pay attention to what children say.

5. Make several copies of the list and post it in several places in your home such as upstairs, downstairs, or on either end of your home. Keep a copy of your list in your cell phone by emailing it to yourself since you may get a call from a kind neighbor who wants you to tell him what to take if you are not at home.

6. Do a practice evacuation with your family and use your list. You could assign different family members to gather different items. You could also practice with all of them, and then with only a few of them.

*Update your list twice a year.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Self Reliance Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

This is the time of year we all look forward to, and perhaps dread.  Figuring out gifts ideas for friends and family that are meaningful and useful can be tough.  This year, consider giving gifts that will help them become more prepared - temporally and spiritually.

Temporal Preparedness Ideas:

Stocking Stuffers and Small Gifts:

  • Waterproof matches, Fire Starter 
  • Water Filter (Lifestraw or Berkey Bottle)
  • Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife
  • Wool Socks, Warm Gloves and Hat, Underwear
  • Warm Clothing (thrift store)
  • Flashlight
  • Hand Crank Radio

Larger Gifts:

  • Cooking Stove (Coleman, Camp Chef, Butane, Rocket)
  • Dutch Oven
  • Food Storage Starter Kit (from the Home Storage Center)
  • Zero degree sleeping bag
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hand tools

Theme Gifts (adapted from LDS Magazine, 2010):
Light: “You light up my life” or quote John 12:35: “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” Include glow sticks, flashlights, maybe a flashlight and radio combo, candles in glass jars for power outages, or solar lights that can be charged during the day and brought in at night during a power outage.

Eat, drink, and be merry: Give MRE meals, water, energy bars, and a travel game.

Food storage starter kit: A case or cans of food from each of the food groups or a starter kit from the storehouse.

The weather outside is frightful: Space blankets, rain poncho, hand-warmers, glow sticks, flashlight, battery-powered radio, hot cocoa and hot cider mix.

Garden Kit: Purchase a garden bucket, add some packets of seeds, a trowel, a planting guide and a gift certificate good for your help in next Spring’s garden.

Cookies and dinners in a jar: Layer cookie ingredients or the ingredients for soup in a quart canning jar. Attach the direction for preparing the foods.  Pack 6 jars of cookie mixes and 6 jars of a variety of soup mixes in a canning jar box. Check out the books: Dinner is in the Jar

Dinner basket: Purchase a large laundry basket and fill it with a copy of your favorite, or their favorite recipe. Purchase all the ingredients to make that recipe 5 times. Taco soup would be a great example since most of the ingredients are canned. Check out the book 100 Day Pantry.

Private cache: Purchase a case of a favorite food. This is also great for young children. It helps them realize just how much is really needed for a year’s supply and teaches them your commitment to having a year’s supply of food. Brownies or Mac & Cheese are perfect here.

Auto survival: In addition to coats and blankets carried separately during winter, kits should include glow sticks for light, water packets, food bars, mylar blanket, flashlight, poncho (preferably yellow for better visibility when walking), first aid kit, whistle, and towelettes. 

Spiritual Preparedness Gift tied to Temporal Preparedness (from

Just as we can prepare for trials physically, we need to prepare spiritually.
Pack a small 72 hour kit. Include:
First Aid Kit
Knife/Multi-purpose tool

Each item in the 72 hour kit represents something we need in our spiritual 72 hour kits. Here are the basics.
  • Water/Food – Jesus Christ
    • “Jesus answered and said unto her, if thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. … But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” – John 4:10, 14
    • “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35
  • Flashlight – The Light of Christ
    • “12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12
  • Radio – The Gift of the Holy Ghost
    • “3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn. 4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
      5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.”- 3 Nephi 11:3-5
  • Map – The Scriptures
    • “3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” – 2 Nephi 32:3
  • First Aid Kit – Faith
    • “22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” – Matthew 9:22
  • Wipes (sanitary/antibacterial wipes) – Repentance
    • “86 Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes.” – Doctrine and Covenants 88:86
  • Swiss-Army Knife or multi-purpose tool – Spiritual Gifts
    • “8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; 9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.” – Doctrine and Covenants 46:8-9
  • Cash – Knowledge
    • ” 19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” – Doctrine and Covenants 130:19
  • Clothes – Priesthood
    • “17 Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years. 18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.
      19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
      20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
      21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
      22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” – Doctrine and Covenants 84:17-22

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Is Your Family Ready For An Evacuation?

Fires and evacuations have been all over the news this summer, and the fires have come uncomfortably near our homes.  It raises a lot of questions about how prepared we are for an emergency.  

Can you answer these questions with a "yes"?

  1. Are you prepared to evacuate your home quickly?  

  2. Have you arranged where to meet family members if you are forced to leave before everyone has been able to return home? 

  3. If an emergency happens when children and/or parents are at work and school, do you have a plan for where to go and how to get there?

  4. Does every family member have emergency numbers with them?

These are essential parts of a Family Emergency Plan. 

This month, the goal is to finish your Family Plan!!  The peace it will bring will be immeasurable in time of need.

Here is some information directly from site

Here is a video to watch with you family. Make A Plan (Video)

Make A Plan

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area.  Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelter plan?
  3. What is my evacuation route?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:
  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Locations frequented
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
  • Languages spoken
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals
  • Households with school-aged children

Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan

Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Associated Content

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Preserving The Harvest

This month is all about Preserving The Harvest.  In a time of emergency, any excess food will need to be carefully preserved.  Those who lived before electricity and refrigeration knew how to do this, but in these days of 24 hour supermarkets and ready food, we have lost alot of these skills.

This month the challenge is to learn and practice at least one kind of preserving, even if just something simple. 

Now is the perfect time.  With gardens and farmer's markets overflowing with produce, you should be able to find inexpensive food to preserve for a rainy day.  Ideas to try:

  • Water Bath canning for all acidic foods - tomatoes, most fruit, salsa, pickles, jams.  I use a Steam Canner for faster processing times.  Check one out here:  Steam Canner
Image result for steam canner
  •  Pressure Canning for all non-acidic foods - beans, corn, meats.  My favorite is a little pricey but worth the money if it's in your budget.  I got mine for Mother's Day one year!  All American Pressure Canner
 Image result for pressure canner
  • Freezing for most any foods.  This is simple and quick.  Make sure you learn about which foods need to be blanched before freezing to increase the lifespan of the food.  Here is a good link about it: Freezing information 
Image result for freezing food
  • Dehydrating is another simple way to preserve food.  You can purchase a dehydrator (you can often find one used on or can use your oven or even the sun.  Make sure to get info on how long to dry the foods and how to prepare them for dehydrating.  Here's a useful guide Dehydrating information
Image result for dehydrating  food
  •  Root Cellaring is the way many of our ancestors preserved food for the cold months when they couldn't grow crops.  This is a useful skill to practice now - I know because I've done it and made mistakes that I needed to learn from.  You can preserve food anywhere that is dry and cool and below the frost line.  You also need to protect the food from critters.  Here is a basic starting document:Root Cellar basics 
Image result for how to use a root cellar
  • Fermenting is a very useful skill to have, because it doesn't require anything other than a container with a lid and some salt.  It also can be stored at room temterature for long term periods of time.  Here is a basic guide. Fermenting basics 
Image result for fermenting food 

I want to talk about Fermenting for a bit.

Why Fermenting is the most predictable, most useful form of food preservation in a long term emergency...

In an emergency, the popular forms of preserving will be difficult, if not impossible.  Freezing won't happen without electricity.  Canning can work over a fire, but it would be very difficult and the handles will melt off the canners.  Both require specialized equipment.

Dehydrating can be done with the sun, but not predictably and a lot of the food can be lost if not done correctly.

You can store in a root cellar, but not everything can be stored that way (not any of the soft fruits of veggies) and not everyone will have access to a cellar.

This leaves fermenting as the winner!  You don't need anything but a jar and some salt.  You can ferment veggies, fruit, meats, eggs, dairy (this is what yogurt is...).  It is very healthy for your digestive system, and heaven knows in a long term emergency situation, anything that will improve health will be needed desperately.

Fermenting is the oldest form of food preservation and every indigenous society has their version of it (think salami and cheese - both are ferments).  It goes WAY beyond sauerkraut!

Check out the group buy below for how to prepare to ferment if you need to in an emergency.

To help you get started, this month's group buy is for Jim's Jartop Fermentor

Image result for jims jartop

Image result for jims jartop

 With this fermentor top you can turn into mason jar into a safe fermenting container.  We are also including a Fermenting for Beginners book

Fermentation for Beginners: The Step-by-Step Guide to Fermentation and Probiotic Foods by [Drakes Press]

Both together are going to cost $22.  

Talk to your ward leader to order through Venmo or with cash or check.

This is a great opportunity to be prepared to simply preserve food in any time of an emergency.

Check out the documents on this blog called Living Without Refrigeration and Fermented Food Info.  

Please try something this month, and there are so many great resources online if you have questions.  Happy preserving!