It’s pretty evident from watching the news that far too many Americans rely on the government when a crisis or a natural disaster occurs. If the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005 taught us anything, is that its best to be self-sufficient and prepared. Disasters and emergencies can come in many forms: natural or man-made, or personal ones, such as an unexpected layoff or an inability to work due to illness or injury. Emergency preparedness should include not only a backup supply of food and water, but also fuel and a Bug Out Vehicle (in case you need to evacuate your home). Having a stockpile of these and an emergency vehicle will provide you with the ability to respond to almost any kind of emergency. It will also provide you with peace of mind knowing that you and your family are prepared for the worst.
You don’t have to be wealthy to be prepared. Anyone can do it with a little planning, thrift, and steadfastness. Emergency preparedness should also be a marathon rather than a sprint. What this means is that you should devise a plan of what you need, look for bargains, and buy a little food and fuel each month. How much you spend each month is entirely up to you and what your budget will allow. The important thing is to buy and prepare on a regular basis.
The best deals for food can be found at your local Latter-Day Saint (LDS) Cannery (while these are owned by the LDS church, anyone can buy there). A few weeks ago we paid a visit to the cannery here in town to buy another round of food and supplies. The Mesa, AZ facility is quite impressive. It consists of a massive granary and a huge warehouse staffed by enormously helpful people. The prices at LDS Canneries can’t be beat. For just $170 we came away with quite a load of bulk food: several 25 lb and 35 lb bags and boxes and packaging supplies. How good are the prices? How about a 25 lb of black beans for only $16.80! Or a 25 lb box of white rice for $13.00! Or a 25 lb bag of granulated sugar for only 15.00! I think you’d be hard pressed to beat those price anywhere.
The Mesa LDS Cannery and Granary
Getting ready to package and seal the food at home.
How you package your dry food is entirely up to you. We considered using traditional #10 aluminum cans, which is what we normally use, but decided instead to go with the larger five and six gallon food storage buckets from Emergency Essentials. The buckets and lids are made of high durable plastic and are critter proof and moisture resistant. Different types of lids can be purchased, but we opted for the standard ones with the thick rubber gaskets to seal in the food. For added protection, we decided to seal the food in each bucket in a large mylar bag. With the exception of the brown rice, which has maximum storage life of two years, the food packaged this way should last 20-30 years. A couple oxygen absorbers were thrown in each bag before each was sealed (the lone exception again being the brown rice).
Using a hair iron on the high setting to seal the foil pouch.
Bag completely sealed
Bag tucked away and ready to be sealed again with a plastic lid.
How much food and water should you stockpile? That’s entirely up to you. Most people start small and build up slowly. In my opinion, it’s best to start with a small goal of, say, a three month supply, then work your way up from there. The foundation of any preparedness plan should be a 72-hour kit. The best ways I’ve seen these packaged are either in a watertight 5-gallon bucket or in a large backpack, also known as a Bug Out Bag. Your 72-kit should have enough food, water and supplies for 72 hours.
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. A communications expert and licensed ham radio operator (KK7TCA), he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, holds a BS degree, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side. He currently rolls in a 4WD Ram 3500 outfitted with a SherpTek truck bed with a Bundutec Roadrunner mounted on top.
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