Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Water Plan: Part V

The final part of our family water plan arrived in the mail yesterday. We finally ordered the three gallon Royal Berkey Water Purification system. The two filters that are included can filter 6000 gallons of water for my family, or 1200 days (3.37 years) of water. The package arrived in a plan brown box without any markings to tip off the UPS driver that we are preppers. We opened the package tonight, and the stainless steel on the Berkey is nice and heavy! After 23 years working in a restaurant kitchen, this baby should last a long time.

Our future plans include ordering two more filters, and making some single filter setups with plastic food grade buckets. These will be for our camping trips, and a new how-to page on the blog. Anyways, this last item should have our family squared away in case of an extended SHTF scenario.

The filter rate is about four gallons per hour, and can provide 96 gallons of water if it is pressed into continuous service. No heat required, no electricity required, and gravity does all the work for the filtration process.

Keep Right On Prepping- K

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Water Plan; Part IV

This past week our family went on a walk along the stream that we wanted to collect water from in a SHTF scenario. We have since changed our plans on collecting water from this source. The upstream portions have a lot of manhole covers along the stream, which doesn't bode very well for the quality of water after the power goes out.

(stock photo courtesy Google)
We might consider it a source of water after the first winter post-SHTF and after a couple of heavy storms to cleanse the stream. Do you know what is upstream from your water source? I figure that oil from cars will be leaking into the stream, and other chemicals might become a problem as the scenario unfolds. I've marked the stream as a no-go for water collection, but have also found a few pools via Google Earth that could be worth investigating after an event. If the house is still occupied, we might be able to work out a trade of raw water into drinkable water.

We should be wrapping up the water plan series this week, so Keep Right On Prepping - K

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Take Away His Noble Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize winner has bombed more countries than any other President since WWII. (source)
Where are all the anti-war protestors now?

Keep Right on Prepping - K

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Water Plan: Part III

Our family is continuing the path for multiple drinking water sources and processes for purification. The easiest for our location has to be boiling the water. I have an old 3 gallon stainless steel pot from my beer brewing days, and it can be repurposed into the water boiling container. Firewood is really abundant in Arkansas, so we have a readily available source of fuel in an extended scenario.

"According to the Washington State Department of Health and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, you should bring the water to boil and keep it rolling for one minute to purify it. At altitudes above one mile, 2,000 meters, you should increase the rolling time to three minutes."

I've seen the times anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes to properly purify water. I'll go with the longer time.

If the water is cloudy before boiling, filtering with a coffee filter, bandana, cloth fabric, or a homemade sand filter will reduce the amount of particulates in the water.

From my experience, after the water has cooled, and in a container. Shake it really well to aerate the water again. Somehow it taste better this way. Try it yourself!!!

Keep Right on Prepping - K

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Power Outages and Food Timeframes

Things you can do now: 
  • If you have any chronically empty space in your freezer, then make some blocks of ice. It will improve your efficiency of your freezer and you'll have ice for your cooler.
  • Make sure you have (and know how to use) an alternative cooking appliance. A propane grill or camp stove are my two favorites. I cannot emphasize enough the dangers of toxic gases or risk of fire. KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY USE AND MAINTAIN YOUR EQUIPMENT.
  • Purchase a food thermometer and calibrate it.
  • Know your Danger Zones for bacteria ( 42 degrees F to 140 degrees F ).

Hour 0:
  • Call your energy provider and report the power outage. It gives you a timeline for the expected grid-down situation.
  • Stay out of your freezer and refrigerator if at all possible.
  • Access situation: security, safety, health, etc...
Hour 4:
  • If you have a generator, now is the time to run it and cool your refrigerator and freezer. Reset the stop watch to zero and repeat every four hours. Stay on this step as long as you are able.
  • Otherwise continue...
  • The USDA considers this time to be when the refrigerator is no longer within the safe zone. If it is cold outside (under 42 degrees) then move your products outside or into a cooler. If it is hot outside, then put as many critical items into a cooler with the ice from the freezer. 
  • Eat as much as possible of the thawed foods, better to eat it than throw it away.
Hour 7:
  • Time to eat. Now is the time to cook any raw products. Invite neighbors over for a BBQ or potluck. Discuss helping one another.
Hour 8:
  • Any items that have been within the Danger Zone for bacteria for FOUR hours or more are now considered unsafe for public restaurant sales. These items should be discarded. Do not place your family or self at risk to save a few dollars.
  • Some people are at higher risk for developing foodborne illness. These include pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
    If you — or someone you care for — are in one of these at-risk groups, it's important to pay extra attention to handling food safely. For more on those most at risk, visit www.fsis.usda.gov.
Hour 12:
  • The freezer should still ( on average ) be okay and under 42 degrees.
  • If a cooler is being used, then check to make sure ice is still in it. Sometimes shaking the cooler and listening is a good indicator. Still prevent unnecessary openings.
Hour 16:
  •  If a cooler is being used, then check to make sure ice is still in it. Continue to prevent any unnecessary openings.
Hour 24:
  • On average, the freezer is now approaching the Danger Zone for bacterial growth.
  • Ideally, you'll have another cooler for meat products because you don't want to cross contaminate any of your other food. Start at Hour 4 with the freezer items.
  • Again, consider cooking the previously frozen items and eating them. Waste not, Want not.
Day 2:
  • Hopefully, you still have some ice or able to acquire some.
  • Some foods will be edible for a day at room temperature such as eggs and hard cheeses.
  • Here is a link to one of the best sites for bacterial growth requirements. Bacteria Needs for Growth.
Day 3:
  • Assess all of your previously refrigerated foods. An old kitchen motto says, "When in doubt, throw it out."
  • At this point you will be starting to get into your pantry supply.
  • Minimize leftovers so that you don't have to worry about food poisoning.
  • Feed any appropriate scraps to your pets to reduce waste.
  • Sanitation is even more important now. Paper plates were a good investment now.
  • Increase security concerns, if applicable. 
  • Most grocery stores only carry three days supply.
  • Statically speaking, neighbors have started to run out of food.
Week 2 and beyond:
  • Depending on the situation, start accessing if a garden would be necessary and take appropriate actions. Hunting skills/Raising Farm Animals also are starting to look even more appealing.
  • Continue using pantry items and fill gaps with the long term preparation food items. That is why you bought them.
  • Your stored food will run out and you will have to forage, hunt, and farm. Start learning these skills now.