14 sites to bookmark for emergency survival

Hurricane Sandy destruction

Emergency survival measures are critical before, during and after any emergency. Emergency survival tips to keep you safe.

Emergency preparedness planning is critical for everyone. Most communities may be impacted by major emergencies during a lifetime: pandemic, drought, wild fire, flood, hurricane, tsunami, civilian unrest or earthquakes are just a few.

Even travel brings different risks and planning. As a country we travel more than ever before to areas with different hazard risks than at home.

Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference to your family when minutes count. Use these sites to learn about protective measures that should be in place before the next emergency and how to prepare for and respond.

Most basic protective actions are similar across many different hazards.

1. Shelter in Place vs. Evacuation Plans

Physical safety is a concern for all hazards and may involve seeking shelter. Taking appropriate shelter is critical in times of disaster. Sheltering is appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection in your home, place of employment or other locations when disaster strikes. Sheltering outside the hazard area could include staying with friends and relatives, seeking commercial lodging or staying in a mass care facility operated by disaster relief groups.

For effective shelter, consider the hazard and choose a place in your home or other building that is safe for that hazard. For example, for a tornado, a room should be selected that is in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.

The safest locations to seek shelter vary by hazard. There may be situations, depending on circumstances and the nature of the disaster, when it’s simply best to “shelter in place” and avoid any uncertainty outside threats.

In some circumstances, local officials decide that the hazards are serious and require mandatory evacuations. When community evacuations become necessary local officials will provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens, text alerts, emails or telephone calls are used.

The length of time required to shelter or evacuate may be short, such as during a tornado warning, or long, such as during a winter storm, flood or a pandemic.

2. Emergency Alerts & News

It is important to stay in shelter until local authorities say it is safe to leave. Take turns listening to radio broadcasts and maintain a 24-hour safety watch.

3. Managing Water Supplies

During extended periods of sheltering, manage water and food supplies to ensure there are the required supplies and quantities needed.

Many people need more than the Suggested one gallon per day. The individual amount needed depends on age, physical activity, physical condition and time of year.

Drink the amount needed today and try to find more for tomorrow. Under no circumstances should a person drink less than one quart of water each day. Minimize the amount of water the body needs by reducing activity and remaining cool.

Carbonated beverages do not meet drinking-water requirements. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.

Protect the water sources already in your home from contamination. If there are reports of broken water or sewage lines or if local officials advise you of a problem, close the incoming water source.

4. Emergency Food Supplies

Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies: choose foods your family will eat,

plan for any special dietary needs, avoid foods that will make the body thirsty, choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.

The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. Many of these may already be on hand:

Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
Protein or fruit bars
Dry cereal or granola
Peanut butter
Dried fruit
Nuts
Salt free crackers
Packaged juices
Non-perishable pasteurized milk
High-energy foods
Vitamins
Food for children or infants

Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Remember to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

5. Emergency Survival Sites

Learn more about mandatory evacuation.

Develop a comprehensive family communications plan.

How to receive emergency alerts and local emergency plans for shelter and evacuation, local emergency contacts, and local advance alerts and warnings.

When recovering from a disaster, safety as well as mental and physical well being must be considered.

My Emergency Toolkit; a Ready America web site emergency supply kit suggested items.

Food Safety Gov. web site; how to keep food safe during and after an emergency, such as a flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power. Plus, additional links to other articles.

Food Safety Gov. web site with food tips on minimum cooking temperatures, storage times for refrigerator and freezer, food recalls, and other tips for food safety.

Ready America web site; the Federal Emergency Management Agency has brochures and white papers available for family emergency plans, emergency supply list, and older Americans special needs in PDF format for quick downloads, printing and sharing.

Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety from the Earthquake Country web site. Links to articles and brochures for a complete plan for surviving the next big quake.

If a radiation emergency occurs; people can take actions to protect themselves. Information includes: Sheltering in place, evacuation, getting checked for contamination.

Emergency Water Storage information.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) water treatment methods.Are you ready ?

Everything Under the Sun is a running blog by Wendy DeWitt on everything imaginable for food storage, cooking without power to living off the grid.

SOS Survival Products: pretty much everything for an emergency.

Using a Water Bath Canner

Water bath canner sm

A Step By Step Guide

A water bath canner is a handy tool for most food preservation at home. The water bath process is particularly suited for high-acid foods such as: fruits, jams, jellies, salsas, tomatoes, pickles, relishes, chutneys, sauces, vinegars and Pioneer Dad’s favorite: apple butter.

At first glance a water bath canner is little more than a large stockpot, an internal wire rack and a tight fitting lid. But, they provide a less expensive alternative to pressure canning equipment.

The one limitation is, they should not be used to preserve low-acid foods such as: low-acid vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood. These require the higher temperatures of a pressure canner to eliminate the risk of foodborne bacteria.

Most boiling water canners are made of porcelain-covered steel. The canner must be deep enough so that at least one inch of actively boiling water will cover the tops of jars during processing. A 21-quart water bath canner should be considered the minimum size.

When shopping for a water bath canner, look for a model with a flat bottom. Canners without a completely flat bottom will not work well on smooth top ranges. The canner bottom should be flat for use on electric burners. Either flat or ridged bottom canners will work on gas burner stoves.

On electric ranges, the canner should be no more than 4 inches wider than the electric heating element. This will help insure uniform heating and processing of the jars. Before canning on a smooth top range, check the range manufacturer╒s advice on suitability for canning and recommended maximum size for specific burners.

Follow these steps for successful water bath canning. Read through all the instructions before beginning the canning process.

1. Gather your canning gear

A water bath canner, or large stockpot, a wire canning rack and lid.

A basic home canning kit: jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, canning funnel, tongs and jar wrench.

2. Fill the water bath canner

Before you start preparing the food, place the canner rack in the bottom of the canner. Fill the canner half full with clean warm water for a complete load of pint jars. For other sizes and numbers of jars, adjust the amount of water to 1 to 2 inches over the top of the filled jars.

3. Center the canner over the burner

Preheat the water to 140 degrees F. for raw-packed foods and to 180 degrees F. for hot-packed foods. Begin preparing food for your jars while this water is preheating.

4. Load the canner

Load the filled canning jars, fitted with lids and ring bands, into the canner one at a time, using a jar lifter. The jar lifter should be securely positioned below the neck of the jar below the ring band of the lid. Keep the jars upright at all times. Tilting the jars could cause food to spill into the sealing area of the lid.

5. Top off the water

Add more boiling water, if needed. The water level should be at least one inch above the jar tops. Pour the water around the jars and not directly onto them. For processing times greater than 30 minutes, the water level should be 2-inches above the jars.

6. Turn up the heat

Turn the heat setting to its highest position, cover the canner with its lid and heat until the water boils vigorously. After the water is boiling, set a timer for the total minutes required for processing the food.

Keep the canner covered for the entire process time. The heat setting may be lowered as long as a gentle but complete boil is maintained for the entire process time. If the canner needs additional water, pout the water between the jars not directly on the lids.

If the water stops boiling at any time during the process, turn the heat on its highest setting, bring the water back to a vigorous boil and begin the timing of the process over, from the beginning, using the total original process time.

7. Turn off the heat

Turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Wait 5 minutes before removing the jars to allow the canner contents to settle.

8. Remove the jars

Use a jar lifter to remove the jars one at a time. Be careful not to tilt the jars. Place the jars directly on a towel or cooling rack, leaving at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling. Do not place the jars on a cold surface or in a cold draft.

Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool for 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jars have completely cooled.

9. Storage

Remove the ring bands from the sealed jars. Check the jar seals by gently pressing on the center of each cooled lid. The lid should not flex up or down. If the lid does flex, the jar did not seal properly. Re-process or refrigerate for immediate consumption.

Wash jars and lids to remove all residues. Label the jars and store in a cool, dry place out of direct light for up to 12 months for the best color and flavor.

Introduction to Home Canning

1. What is home canning? Think of home canning as one step beyond cooking. It is a preservation method that applies heat to food in a closed glass jar to stop the natural spoilage that would normally take place. To do that canning removes air from … [Continue reading]