Pet Emergency Plan

If you have pets, you need to have a plan, and supplies, to take care of them in the event of an emergency.  Your Family Emergency Plan and Important Documents need to include information to deal with these family members, as well as the human ones.

If you have livestock, you will need to have a plan for their care also – particularly if you will be unable to take them with you if you need to evacuate your home.  Not having livestock, I am not in a position to provide guidance regarding the needs of those animals.

Here is some direction for planning for our Fids (furry/feathered kids), the most common of which include dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles:

The information to include in your Family Emergency Plan includes:

Name – Species – Breed – Gender – Distinguishing Marks/Coloration – Age – Microchip Number – Medical Needs.  A picture would be useful also.

You will also want to identify possibly emergency shelters where your animals can stay such as pet-friendly hotels and boarding facilities.

 Your Important Documents should include all of the above information plus vaccination records and registration and/or licensing records.

Your Bug Out Bag (72-hour kit) needs to include supplies such as:

Food and food dish
Water and drinking dish (Amount: most dogs drink 1 oz per pound of body weight per day; cats about 75% of that)
Cage, carrier, or kennel for each
Blankets / bedding
Litter and litter box
Waste bags
Leash, collar, harness – with ID tags attached
Muzzle (Survival Mom reminds us “even gentle pets can become aggressive when stressed or in pain.”)
First aid supplies, many of which will already be in your people kit:

bandages and non-stick wound dressings, claw clippers, tweezers, styptic powder, sterile saline, cortisone cream, antibiotic ointment, medication syringe, hydrogen peroxide, any prescription medications your pet many be using, flea and tick medication, heartworm medication.

If your dog is large enough, you may be able to make a separate doggie backpack so he/she can carry some of the supplies.   If so, be sure to have him/her practice wearing and walking with it.

What additional items would you add for your pets?

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Plan Your Three-Month Food Supply

In the beginning, the counsel to keep a one year supply of food was to “Begin with basic items that will sustain life in an emergency.  Later, when you have acquired these basic items, consider storing items your family ordinarily eats.”  (Junior Wright Child)

By basic items, they meant wheat, powdered milk, honey, salt ….  This:

 

One-year food supply of "basic," life-sustaining foods

One-year food supply of “basic,” life-sustaining foods

The problem, especially as time went by, was that these items no longer fit into the modern diet.  The knowledge and skills to use these items to even “sustain life” dwindled away and it became harder and harder to follow the mantra “Store what you eat; eat what you store.”

Now, though, we are advised to:

 “Start with a Three-Month Supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet.  Add Extended Storage as you are able.”

One reason I really like this newer approach is the Adaptability it allows.  It doesn’t matter what type of cook you are, what kinds of foods you prefer, how many people are in your family:  you can develop a plan to acquire your family’s Three-Month Supply!

 The Three-Month Food Supply:

Includes things we eat on a daily basis

Includes canned foods, frozen foods, fresh foods

Is located in your fridge, freezer, cupboards, pantry

Turns our homes into our grocery store and our grocery store into our warehouse

Will help your family get through everyday emergencies

Establishing a Three Month Food Supply is not particularly difficult, but it does take planning and commitment.

 The Four Steps to Plan Your Three-Month Supply

#1 – What Do You Eat?

#2 –  What Ingredients Do You Need For Each Meal?

#3 – How Much of Each Ingredient Do You Need?

#4 – Do the math

 Step One:

If you want a one-week rotation of meals, write down 7 meals.  If you want a two-week rotation of meals, write down 14 meals.  Personally, I like having a two-week rotation for variety.  At this point, do not worry about shelf-stable; do not worry about improved nutrition; do not worry about summer fare vs. winter fare; do not count Thanksgiving or other special event meals.  An example of a list of dinners might look like:

Spaghetti
Lumberjack Hash
Rotini
Ritz Chicken
Sloppy Joes
Mexican Pasta
Sweet Tater Chicken
Chicken and Gravy over Rice
Shepherd’s Pie
White Chili
Chicken Alfredo
Chicken Stuffing Bake
Dump Chicken
Meatloaf

 Step Two:

Identify the ingredients needed to make each meal.  Don’t forget side dishes.  If you’re a dessert person, also include those ingredients.

Spaghetti
spaghetti pasta, cooked hamburger, spaghetti sauce, frozen vegetables, parmessan cheese

Lumberjack Hash
potatoes o’brien, ham steak, cheese, canned fruit

Ritz Chicken
raw chicken, ritz crackers, butter, frozen vegetables, mashed potatoes

Sloppy Joes
cooked hamburger, Manwich, hamburger buns, green beans

Mexican Pasta
cooked hamburger, salsa, diced tomatoes w green chili, black beans,
pasta, cheese, frozen vegetables, canned fruit

Sweet Tater Chicken
cooked chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans, rosemary, muffin mix, egg, canned fruit

Chicken/gravy over Rice
cooked chicken, gravy, rice, frozen vegetable, canned fruit

Rotini
cooked hamburger, rotini pasta, baked beans, BBQ sauce, frozen vegetables

Shepherd’s Pie
cooked hamburger, cream of celery soup, mashed potatoes, shredded cheese, garlic powder, green beans, canned fruit

White Chili
cooked chicken, great northern beans, green chili, muffin mix, garlic

Chicken Alfredo
cooked chicken, frozen broccoli, alfredo sauce, bow-tie pasta, canned fruit

Chicken & Stuffing Bake
cooked chicken, Stovetop Stuffing, gravy, frozen vegetables, canned fruit

Sticky Chicken 
raw chicken, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic,  rice, frozen vegetable, canned fruit

Meat Loaf
raw hamburger, onion, celery, carrots, green peppers, cracker crumbs, ketchup,
eggs, mashed potatoes, frozen vegetables, canned fruit

Step Three:

Determine how much of each ingredient you will need and write them down. You can use a worksheet like this to accomplish this step:

Blank Ingredients Worksheet

See a completed sample HERE

Step Four:

Transfer the information you’ve collected to an Excel spreadsheet (which does the math for you) or manually to a columnar format (basic addition and multiplication will determine your totals).

Here’s a sample of what you want it to look like when you are done:  Sample Completed Three-Month Supply Worksheet

Here’s an Excel spreadsheet you can use:   Three-Month Supply Excel Worksheet

Here’s a sheet you can print and write on if you don’t know how to use Excel or you just prefer to do things by hand:  Three-Month Supply Blank Worksheet
Once you get the information loaded on the handwritten worksheet, you can count across each row and multiply the totals on each row to determine the amount needed for a Two-Week Supply and for a Three-Month Supply.  Remember when you are calculating that there are 13 weeks, not twelve, in a three-month period.

Now, go forth and Plan!

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Emergency Information Cards

The one thing I liked about the emergency plan provided at ready.gov was the Emergency Cards they included.  As I couldn’t link to just that part of their document, I tweaked the idea a bit (they were too scrunched up so the writing was hard to read) so I could have an Emergency Card available here.

Print out the page – on card stock for sturdiness, if possible.  Fill in the information on the left side of the card and other useful information (additional phone numbers, special needs of the individual, etc.) on the right side  Fold in half and laminate for durability. Have each family member carry one.

Emergency Cards

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Family Emergency Plan

There are many variations of a Family Emergency Plan on the Internet.  Naturally, as this is not a one-size-fits-all effort, I found qualities I liked and disliked about each one I found. For example, the ready.gov version has a great card to complete and have each family member carry, but I didn’t like that they tried to cram too much info on one page or that the information included our social security numbers.  The University of Missouri version could be filled out on your computer (tidy and readable!) but, very few families I know have only four family members and it was very long, with no convenient way to remove sections that didn’t apply to my family.  Additionally, it included information that I feel belongs in my Important Documents binder, not in a document that is shared with other people.

So, I created my own Family Emergency Plan that includes parts from several variations, trying to make it more adaptable to some of the diverse households with which I am acquainted.  If you have more than four people in your household, just print an extra Household Members page (or two).  No Pets?  Leave the Pets page out of your plan.  It includes the all important Communications Plan that is left out of some plans and is treated as a separate plan.  It also has a page to diagram your house layout and indicate where the utilities are located, where the fire extinguisher and smoke alarms are located, as well as the two points of egress from each room that are needed as part of our Fire Safety Plan.  There are additions I will make over time, I’m sure.  For example, I think a Family Emergency Plan should include a map of routes to take in the event of an evacuation.

 Family Emergency Plan 

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Preparedness Journal Update – April 2015

I continue to be absent from the blog as I try to establish my new normal.  While a new job (with more hours and a 2+ hour/day commute), family moving in, and family moving out in the last few months is not much upheaval compared to some folks lives, it sure has cut down on my blogging time.

My biggest preparedness effort this month has been to continue developing my Get Home Bag (#72).  I managed to get the supplies I have gathered more or less contained (up to this point, I was just tossing things in the back of the car as I thought of and acquired them).  This month’s acquisitions for this particular Emergency Kit were a Life Straw, a whistle/compass combo, and a North Carolina map.  I have been carrying a road atlas in the car but it isn’t very portable because it is so large.  My new map fits in the Bag so that it is with me even when I transfer my Get Home Bag to another vehicle.  My biggest struggle with my GHB is the food supply — I keep eating the items I pack in there!  Hmm, maybe it’s not such a problem – at least that food get rotated regularly!

I have the results of a couple of experiments started last spring/summer (#24):

Strawberries:  As we un-consolidated our freezer supplies when J and the family moved, I discovered the strawberry puree I had put in the freezer last spring.  Oops.  It’s a good thing I had packaged it well.  The intent was to be able to make the last batch of strawberry jam in the winter when I wasn’t so busy with gardening/canning/dehydrating.  Well, I made it this month.  What a great thing to do.  All I did last spring was clean and puree enough berries for a batch of jam and put them in the freezer.  After thawing, I poured the puree into the kettle and just started the recipe from there.  What a lovely smell filled my kitchen.  Even better is having the knowledge that I can break up the processing in this manner.  This is even more important now that I don’t have large blocks of time.

Watermelon:  When I dehydrated watermelon last summer I packaged up some of it in two different ways to see which would be the best for keeping it longer.  One method was to package it in serving sizes into ziploc bags and then vacuum pack several bags into a container.  The other method was just to put a bunch of watermelon in a Food Saver container and vacuum seal that container.  As you would expect, the individual serving-size packages kept best.  That is simply because there was an extra level of protection from moisture once the container was opened.  Dehydrated watermelon is Very susceptible to the humidity here … leave it exposed even a little and it starts to get sticky and moist.

I have mostly decided to not grow a garden this year.  This is partially because when J and family moving, I lost the helpers that I count on.  Also, I can re-direct the financial resources I would spend on a garden to the local farmers to get my produce for canning, freezing, and dehydrating.  I still may succumb to the alluring call of the garden’s soil, but my resistance is holding up so far.

In the meantime, I discovered a plant on my property that I’ve not seen before.  I have no idea what this red flowering plant is:

What is this flowering plant?

What is this flowering plant?

Can anyone tell me:  What is this?

 

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Emergency Kits: Water

Last month I participated in a discussion group about Emergency Kits.  The three kits reviewed were the 72-hour Kit, the Get Home Bag, and the School Kit.  I will add information about these kits to the Plan to Be Prepared page, hopefully soon.

In the meantime, I want to touch briefly upon one of the important elements of our Emergency Kits:  Water.

I don’t intend to cover this topic fully as there are many, many articles about it on just about every Preparedness-related blog on the Internet.  As basic information, though, our Emergency Kits need to have a minimum of one gallon of water per person, per day. This amount is for drinking purposes only.  If water is needed for food prep, that needs to be calculated separately.  Don’t go crazy though, water weighs just over 8 pounds/gallon – portability becomes a real issue with that kind of load!

Personally, I like THIS article for the useful and comprehensive information it provides about Water in our Kits.  It was written before the introduction of the Life Straw, though, so I do recommend that a Life Straw should also be part of your 72-hour Kit and your Get Home Bag.

There is one topic, though, that comes up often when discussing water for our Emergency Kits that causes concern, especially among those who are just starting to get prepared. That is:  Is It Safe To Store Bottled Water in the Hot Car?  

I’ve been reviewing articles for the past couple of weeks about this question and I think THIS ARTICLE and THIS ARTICLE provide sound information to help dispel the fears that most Internet sources stir up.  Now, I know that, if you’ve made up your mind that keeping bottled water in the car is bad, nothing will dissuade you from that opinion. Nevertheless, I am providing an alternative viewpoint for those who may be interested.

That said, personally, I do not like the taste bottled water gets when it has been sitting in the car for a long time.  That’s just me whining about my first-world problems, though.  Rotating the bottled water out of your car every couple of weeks helps with that problem.

Here’s how I handle Water in my Emergency Kits:  bottled water for my 72-hour kit, pouches for my Get Home Bag (for carry-ability and I only need to rotate them at my six month reboot), plus I bring a bottle or two of water as part of my Every Day Carry kit (EDC). Again, that’s just how my Emergency Water plan has evolved.  Everyone else needs to find out what works for them.

So, back to the question, “Is It Safe To Store Bottled Water in the Hot Car?”  Regardless of safety concerns/nasty taste/whatever with bottled water stored in the car, I like how one blogger gets to what’s really relevant:  even if heated plastic bottles of water are full of leached chemicals, when you are in “a situation” and you need water, dehydration is a bigger concern than drinking plastic-contaminated water for a few days.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE WATER STORAGE IN YOUR EMERGENCY KITS?

 

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Preparedness Journal Update – March 2015

Spring has progressed nicely.  The first sign that winter was over was hearing the sound of Spring Peepers * on my commute home.  One week later I was passing swathes of blooming daffodils.  Another week’s passing and the Bradford Pears were blooming.  There are A LOT of Bradford Pear trees in this area.  Finally, the fourth week of March brought the beginning of the Red Bud blossoms.  The temperature has been definitely spring-like: 60’s and 70’s some days, 20’s and 30’s on others.  Spring is my favorite season of the year … until my springtime allergies kick in, of course.  Nevertheless, the increased sunshine is doing me a lot of good.

I was able to cross something off my list of things to do that has been there for three years: I found my snow boots!  Yes, I’ve been looking for them for three years.  One night, before the February storm that brought 5″ of snow last month, I had a flash of inspiration: maybe they were in the truck bed box that I brought when I drove here from Wyoming.  Excited to solve the mystery of the missing snow boots, I unburied the box in the garage, only to discover it was locked.  But, wait! I remembered seeing the key when I was packing stuff up for J and family to move into my house in November and even remembered where I put it  – in the basket of pencils and keys – but, alas, I could not find that basket.  Until, that is, three weeks after the last snow storm!  Happy day!  The mystery is solved and my snow boots are now safely ensconced in the car as part of my emergency kit.

My Get Home Bag is in process of being overhauled (#72 on my 101 Provident Things in 1001 Days list).  We are encouraged to review our emergency kits every 6 months, which I have seen to be worthwhile advice.  A lot of things can change in 6 months.  One major change for me was changing vehicles (I had to sell my beloved truck last summer).  Somehow, in the change of vehicles, things got left out.  As winter progressed, I tossed items into the car as I thought of them …  a bag of spare clothes and shoes, a ziploc bag with minimal first aid supplies, a spatula because I couldn’t find my windshield scraper, a sleeping bag when the weather got so bad it seemed more and more possible that I wouldn’t make it home some night.  You get the idea, I’m sure.  Well, finally this month, I pulled every little bit out of the car to review and consolidate my supplies.  Now, I have a more cohesive Get Home Bag and, more significantly, a list of things to fill the holes in my supplies. So, while #72 is not done, I am making progress!

Another important thing accomplished this month is that my son-in-law came to visit and taught me how to set up the generator to run the house when the electricity goes out.  If you’ll recall, I realized last month that, even though my electrical panel is set up so I can use a generator as backup when the power goes out (without any backfeed up the line), *I* was not the one who knew how to set it up and the one who did know didn’t live here anymore!  Furthermore, since A (my son-in-law) was the one maintaining the generators, I hadn’t had to start mine for three years and couldn’t remember the procedure.  Well, that little issue has been resolved.  The procedure has been written down and is included the Emergency Plan(s) section of my Preparedness Notebook.  I feel much better about my ability to take care of myself if the electricity goes out!

 

*  Source information: the video and sound clip are not mine, they were found on Bing.

 

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Frogs and Daffodils

When winter’s been rough and you’ve had enough,

That first day of frog song brings an unmatched thrill.

The sound is one of exultation – not just for the frogs.

Following closely, the first day of daffodils brings another smile,

And a happy sigh,

For the joy of knowing that Yes! Spring has come!

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Where’s the Water?

We are so accustomed to turning on the water faucet and having the immediate response of running water that we sometimes forget what it would take to function without it.  We store water to be prepared for just such an event but do we really know how to handle ourselves in this situation? I’ve only ever had to deal with very short term situations of no running water, thank goodness.

This article by Gaye at Backdoor Survival was very insightful.  I’m posting it here because this is information that I need.  It’s a good article to print and put it in my Preparedness Notebook, too.  Gaye’s piece 1) reveals how much we are dependent on the status quo, 2) points out some of the gaps that might remain in our families’ water storage plans, and 3) provides a practical guide for not just surviving but thriving through a water emergency. Some of the comments also contribute helpful information.  Check it out:

16 Tips for Coping Without Running Water

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February 2014 Preparedness Journal Update

February has been a loooong month, despite being a few days shorter than other months, and I have been cranky.  Maybe I should admit to Cranky with a Capital C.

Despite more winter weather than rightfully belongs in the South (snow, freezing rain, freezing fog, ice, more ice, cold, colder), I have been blessed to not lose my electricity and to not have my well or pipes freeze through it all.  (Knock on wood.)  I’m especially grateful that I did not have these problems because, with my son-in-law moving, I discovered a hole in my Preparedness… I no longer remember how to start the generator and had not learned how to properly attach it to the electrical panel to power the house.  He has been keeping the generators in good working order, running them at regular intervals, etc. and because I have’t had to start my generator for over three years, I just don’t remember how to do it!  I don’t know, there’s a knob to turn and a choke to adjust and a switch to flip before yanking the cord?  Furthermore, he hadn’t gotten around to teaching me how to use the generator to run power in the house.  So, if the power went out, my generator would be useless to me! Unfortunately, because of the bad weather, he hasn’t been back to rectify that little problem.  You can be sure that once this particular oversight is resolved, the instructions will Definitely be written down and put into my Preparedness Notebook.

I have been enjoying the fruits of my summer labors – peach jam, frozen peaches, applesauce.  I also saw the fruition of my dehydrated watermelon and dehydrated peaches experiments.  (Fruition…get it?).  Since dehydrated foods, at least in this location, reabsorb moisture rapidly, my experiment was to see if vacuum packing my home-dehydrated watermelon, which is especially prone to sucking in moisture, would extend its life.  I routinely re-pack my commercially dehydrated foods that come in #10 cans because I cannot use that much product before the moisture gets to them.  Well, I cracked open one of the watermelon canisters this week and, Yes, it did help!  As for the dehydrated peaches, I put them into the freezer to see if that would help them stay dehydrated.  They, too, came out just as good as when I put them in. Someone had thought there would be too much moisture generated during the “thawing” of the dehydrated fruit but that was not the case.  So, there’s the results of two experiments started several months ago.

Back in the 90’s (do you know how long ago the 90’s was??), when my daughters were teens, I started “dabbling” with Essential Oils.  I never did more than dabble but J took the interest to another level and, when I moved here, I started using some of her blends for health support.  With her around, I didn’t need to keep my own supply of oils.  Well, I ran out of her Anti-Infectious Blend after she moved so re-started my personal supply of Essential Oils and am making the Anti-Infectious Blend for myself.

I tried a couple of new “scratch” recipes.  I especially like one of them, Cotter’s Kettle. My younger daughter introduced the family to rutabaga a few years ago and even though I really liked it, my repertoire of standard meals did not include any recipes that used rutabaga.  So, I’ve been wanting to find recipes using rutabagas and this was a wonderful start.

This weekend is supposed to continue cold but March starts on Sunday and Spring had better start on Monday!

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