How Many Calories Do You Need in Your Food Storage?

If you look at a lot of long-term food storage kits, you’ll see that they are determined by a daily calorie count. This is meant to be a baseline for you to determine your food storage needs.

How is the best way to determine how much food storage you and your family need?  Truly, the best way is to look at the personal needs of each family member, and then add them together to match up the best long-term kit.

Here’s a quick breakdown of daily caloric needs as determined by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (1). These are general requirements required to maintain weight. Of course, adjust according to your personal nutritional needs.

Infants/toddlers1000 calories/day Both male and female toddlers have the same caloric needs.

Young children1200-1400 calories/day – Again, male and females have the same caloric needs. The more active your child is, the more calories he/she needs.

Pre-pubescent BOYS – 1600- 1800 calories/day.  This is when boys’ nutritional needs start to become more than girls’.

Pre-pubescent GIRLS1400-1600 calories/day. The more active your daughter is, the more she will need.

set fruit and vegetables isolated on white

Pubescent and post-pubescent teenage BOYS 2000-2600 calories /day.  This is a time where nutrition needs vary. If your teenage boy eats excessively or has a high physical activity lifestyle, you may even want to store up to 3500 calories per day for him.

Pubescent and post-pubescent teenage GIRLS – 1800-2000 calories/day.  Even active girls generally don’t have the same caloric needs as their male counterparts. However, this is a time their brains and bodies are growing, requiring more calories than most adult women. It’s important to not skimp on a teen’s calories.

Young adult men age 21-40 2400 calories/day. Caloric needs of grown men are lower than when they are growing and developing. If you are a highly active male, you may need to add more calories.

Young adult women age 21-501800-2000 calories/day. During pregnancy/lactation, you will want to have 2200-2900 calories/day stored.

Adult men ages 41-60- 2200 calories/day. Activity levels and metabolism usually are lower than younger men, requiring fewer calories to sustain weight and nutrition.

Adult women ages 51 and older1600 calories/day. 

Adult men ages 41-602200 calories/day.

Adult men ages 60 and older- 2000 calories/day.

Again, these are general requirements. As you plan your emergency preparedness food, adjust to your family’s needs.

What is a Julian Date?

Good news! Food Insurance now carries hugely popular MREs. We’re just as excited as you are. MREs are a great addition to your food storage plan. However, with a 1-5 year expiration, you have to be on top of the manufacture dates, which can be fairly confusing if you don’t know the Julian dating system. Never fear, we’ve got you covered.

What is a Julian date? Julian dating is actually one of the oldest ways of keeping a calendar, dating centuries before we started our calendar system. While we’ve adopted a relatively young Gregorian calendar using years, months, and days, Julian dating uses only numbers.

Why would MRE manufacturers use Julian dates? Remember, MREs are originally made for the US military. The military uses the most efficient timekeeping methods. Think military time- 8am is 0800 and 4pm is 1600. Julian dating is similar to the continuous numerical time. It isn’t divided by months, but rather years and days. This is easier for programming the date stamp system.

Julian dates are 4 or 5 digit dates that that start with the last digit of the year and end with the corresponding number of the day of the year.

That doesn’t help? Okay, here’s a visual representation for you.  Our traditional expiration date looks like this: MM/DD/YYY.  January 1, 2018, looks like 01/01/2018.  The same Julian date looks like this: YYDDD.  January 1, 2018, is 18001. (The 18 for 2018 and the 001 is for the first day of the year.)  If you want to get more complicated, let’s try July 9, 2016.  The Julian date is 16191.  2016 was a leap year, making July 9th the 191st day of the year.

What if there are only 4 numbers on my MRE? That’s easy. That particular MRE distributor only uses the last digit of the year. So the Julian date 7115 was manufactured April 25, 2017.

Here’s an easy resource to compare your MRE Julian dates:

Julian dating is mostly used for MREs, but you can also see them with food storage dating. If you don’t see a traditional manufacture date, look for that 4-5 digit code. You’ll know exactly which date your food was manufactured.

Your Guide to Water Storage

Water storage is a major component of your emergency preparedness plan.  It can be a daunting task, saving 1 gallon of water per day per person,  plus whatever you use to cook and clean with.  However, like all things related to emergency preparedness, if you work one step at a time, you can be ready for all your water needs.

When preserving water there are a few things you need to consider:

Water Containers Choosing your water container is one of the most important parts of water preservation. You should look at different sizes that will work with the different water needs. For instance:

Large water tanks – Large water storage tanks are great for general water storage. Large water barrels range in size from 30 to 500 gallon
Pros: Using a siphon, you can easily extract the water for drinking, bathing, washing, etc. They are also usually more cost effective, especially if you shop during a water container sale.
Cons: These water tanks can be more difficult to clean and rotate your water storage. They also require more room than smaller containers.

250-Gallon Water Container


5-gallon and smaller – Another good option for water storage is the 5-gallon stackable water container.
Pros: These 5 gallon water jugs are easy to clean, easy to rotate, and easy to use. They are stackable so they can be inserted into most storage spaces.
Cons- Your water supply is disrupted faster than if you use a larger container.

Water bottles/Water Pouches – Water bottles/pouches are good for individual drinking needs.
Pros: This is the most convenient way to get your water. You can monitor exactly how much you are drinking, take your water with you, etc.  Water pouches are sturdy and packable and have a 5-year shelf life.
Cons: While most bottles are now BPA free, the thin plastic is not as strong as the larger containers, causing leaking risks. Also, the clear plastic exposes the water to heat and light, increasing the risk of mold/bacteria growth.  You can’t add preserver without breaking the seals of each bottle.

When choosing water containers, remember:
– Only store in food-grade, BPA-free containers.
– If using glass containers, make sure they haven’t had any other liquid inside previously.
– Never use containers that have stored chemicals, oils, etc.
– If using stainless steel, don’t use a water preserver as the chemical will break down the metal over time.

So, what water containers do you need? Really, a combination of water containers is ideal for water storage emergency preparedness. Larger containers are good for washing, cleaning, and drinking. Medium water containers are perfect for easy-access water needs. Smaller water bottles are convenient for drinking and on-the-spot cleaning.

Water Preservers –  There are only a couple water preservation methods proven safe for long-term storage.
Bleach- Also known as sodium hypochlorite, bleach is a common way to preserve water.
Pros: Bleach truly does clean water, and keeps it clean for long periods of time. It’s also easily accessible.
Cons: Store-bought bleach is sold in a fairly high sodium hypochlorite/water ratio, making it very hard to know what concentration is safe for human consumption. It’s best for storing in containers used for washing, but not for drinking.
Water Preserver – Also sodium hypochlorite or bleach.
Pros: Bottled water preserver is best for consumable water because the chemical/water concentration is regulated and is consumable in the recommended ratios.
Cons: Water preserver isn’t as easy to get as bleach.  It isn’t at most stores, so you need to get it through emergency preparedness sites. (We recommend Food Insurance, of course.)

IF you choose to not use a water preserver, be prepared to rotate your water and clean out your container every 6-12 months.

Storage and Rotation– Water never goes bad. We’ve had the same water supply since the beginning of time. However, water can grow bacteria and mold grow in it over time.  Bleach and water preserver allows you to minimize rotation for up to 5 years, depending on storage conditions. Store your water in a cool, dark room away from direct sunlight for optimal results.  If you don’t have a cool, dark room, that’s okay. You can obviously still store your water. You just need to rotate it more regularly. If you store outside, rotate it every year, even with a water preserver. (If you store it outside without a preserver, check it every few months.) If it’s inside, but in a lit area, check it every year, but you can probably go longer. The key is to check it regularly.

Do you prefer larger or smaller water containers? Where have you found is the best place for you to store water?

The Government’s Role In Your Safety

CBS New’s headline today warned of more Ohio River flooding after extreme weather had already taken human lives in the Midwest. Areas in Houston, still recovering from flooding 6 months ago, are now watching their rivers as poorly developed neighborhoods recognize their increased risk of future floods. Vulnerable people are looking for aid wherever they can find it.

Government Aid
In a world where states are requesting money to accommodate their water needs, what are your personal responsibilities for your personal property and well-being? Are you willing to wait for government money and help to cover your needs? Of course not.  If we’ve learned anything in the past decade, we’ve learned that we can not and should not use the government as a safety net when it comes to covering our needs, especially our water/safety needs.

Avoiding Flooding
Federal money is going to cities with poorly planned housing in flood zones. The question is, where is the responsibility of the citizens? When making possibly the biggest financial decisions of their lives, did anyone look at maps? Did anyone consider proximities to rivers, canals, etc.?  What about positioning inside neighborhoods?  The higher you are, the less likely you’ll have to deal with devastating flooding.  While states may ask and beg for federal dollars, chances of individuals seeing any financial relief from damage to a poorly placed home are slim.

Take Control
So what does that mean? It means, you do what you need to do to be prepared. If you’re able to move to higher ground, of course, do so. If you’re not able to move, what are your options?  Are you doomed because your mortgage has tied you to a house that may betray you? Not necessarily. There are things you can do. While you are high and dry, it is time to prepare. It’s time to stock up on sandbags.  It’s time to build up landscaping to minimize flooding. Research diverting water, landscaping, and other options for flooding prevention.    In other words, it’s time to assume you’ll receive nothing from the government and take control of the situation you are in.

Part of taking control is understanding your vulnerability. Store your food and water. Store physically high and low, spread out your resources so you can use them in different types of emergencies.  But have enough resources for you and your family to ride out any storm that comes your way.  If you have to ride out a flood, make sure you have enough clean water and food to do so. Even better, get away before you become stranded. Grab your Bug-Out Bag and go. Go before traffic stalls and before you can’t get out of the city.

The takeaway?  Your preparation is your responsibility. It’s not the government’s responsibility. It’s not your community leaders’ responsibility.  If you’re reading this, you probably already understand this concept.

Car Emergency Kit

On February 2, 2018, Punxsutawney Phil looked out of his hole and saw his shadow, six more weeks of winter. Depending on where you live it might feel like Spring is just around the corner, but the winter storms aren’t over just yet. Getting stranded in your car can quickly become your worst nightmare. Plan ahead and be prepared, it just might save your life.

Pack a 72-hour kit for your car and leave it in there at all times. The kit doesn’t have to be large or take up much room. Think about the essentials, food, water, and staying warm. How many times do you or the kids say I don’t need a cost there is a heater in the car and in the building you are heading to. What happens if the car breaks down along the way? You’re stuck in the freezing cold without anything to stay warm. Keep coats and warm blankets in the car for emergencies. Depending on the weather help might not arrive for a while. Keep 1 gallon of water per family member in the car. High-calorie snacks like trail mix will ward off hunger. Digestion will actually help keep you warm.

  • Food
  • Water
  • Warmth

It is a good idea to keep the gas tank full at all times. If you get stranded you can keep the engine running and the heater on for a long period of time. Keep cell phones charge and have a backup charger just in case. Make sure someone knows where you are going. If the search party knows where to looks odds are they will find you a lot sooner. Road flares will make your location easier to spot. Flashlights can be used to single for help. A lighter can be used to build a fire to stay warm. Hand warmers are small and easy to keep in the car. Just shake them when need and they will stay warm for a couple of hours.

Keep a paper map of the area in the car. Don’t depend on your smart phone’s GPS. Don’t leave the car unless absolutely necessary. The car will stay about 20*F warmer as long as the doors are closed.

Deep snow can be difficult to escape. Traction mats and a small shovel can help you rescue yourself or another stranded motorist on the side of the road. Place the traction mats under the drive wheels so they won’t just spin and get stuck. Shovels come in all shapes and sizes. Keep a small collapsible shovel in the car just in case you need to dig the car out of a snowbank.

Car Emergency Kit 

  • 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • Non-perishable food
  • Flashlight
  • Lighter and matches
  • Knife
  • Back up charger for your phone (solar charger or battery pack)
  • Hats, gloves, warm coat, etc.
  • Warm blankets
  • Emergency blanket
  • First-aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Jumper cables
  • Hand warmers
  • Map (don’t rely on your phones GPS)
  • Hand crank radio
  • Road flares
  • Traction mats
  • Small shovel

Keep your emergency kit stocked and ready. Remember to rotate the water at least once a year and replace the food as it expires.


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The Best Time to Prepare

Emergency preparedness sometimes takes a backseat to immediate needs and wants. Since preparedness items aren’t used regularly (or sometimes at all), they can be pushed to the back of the budget. Unfortunately, like many things, if you aren’t prepared before a disaster’s forecast, it’s going to be too late. Just like you don’t put your seatbelt on as a car is smashing into your car, you can’t stock up on necessities as the rain starts to fall.

Insurance and Preparedness
Insurance is a necessary part of life. Health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, etc. are expenses that we incur because we know they are important.  The same can be said about preparedness items. They are essential when the need arises, you just hope you never have to use them.
Like most insurance policies, you don’t have to pay a huge lump sum to purchase preparedness items. If you plan correctly, you can spread out the purchase of the essentials you will need over months and years.

Supply and Demand
The hurricanes, mudslides, floods, fires, and earthquakes of 2017devastated populations close to home. During that time there was a huge spike in sales on emergency preparedness sites. Unfortunately, for so many people, those items were not readily available. Water containers were sold out in minutes, as were several food items. Items to fill 72-hour kits were stocked out for months.  Shipping times were increased because of washed out roads and backlogged needs. Even preparedness distributors had to wait extended times for inventory orders because suppliers couldn’t keep up with the new demand.  It took months before the suppliers were able to send complete inventory. Had there been one more disaster, some food items would have been back ordered for 6+  additional months.

Wisdom and Foolishness
During the spike of natural disasters, we received lots of phone calls. Those phone calls varied greatly. Some wise, experienced people called to place their monthly orders. When those orders took an extended time, they calmly accepted the situation and were grateful they had what they had.  Some of them even offered to send excess supplies to those who needed them. They were okay because they had the basics. They were prepared.

Unfortunately, there were many panicked callers needing water containers, 72-hour kits, and other food storage items immediately. When their orders were not fulfilled in time for the disasters, they canceled them. Their mindset was not focused on the long-term, but rather the here-and-now.  Not only were they not prepared for the current disaster, they didn’t consider the fact that natural disasters were not once in a lifetime events instead of yearly threats. How much better off would they be today had they kept those orders and waited for fulfillment?

Confidence in Your Preparedness
If you’re reading this, you’re probably pretty prepared. You know that the time to prepare was yesterday. You know that preparedness isn’t a single event, but a mindset of evaluating and reevaluating your needs constantly. You’re pretty wise in your planning.  We’re happy to help you stay up-to-date on the things you need.

If you aren’t prepared, that’s okay. Today is a great day to get started. May we suggest you begin with a 72-Hour Kit? You can also start your food storage as you go along.

If you want to know more about specific preparedness topics, items, trends, etc., let us know. We’re here to help you be as prepared as possible.

The Plague is Back? What Do You Need to Know?

What comes to mind when you think of “The Plague”? A few months ago you probably thought that it was a long lost, eradicated disease that killed hundreds of thousands of people a long time ago. However, as a resurgence of the disease hit Madagascar in November, we all realized that we are never completely safe from diseases we thought were gone.

Is The Plague truly a threat? And if so, what do you need to know about it?

Is The Plague Truly a Threat?
The easy answer to this question is no, not today. It seems that it’s been contained to Madagascar. While nine other East African countries were threatened due to trade, no cases were found off the island. Also, while over 200 people were killed out of 2300+ people who were affected, that number peaked, leaving new cases pretty minimal today. That’s the short answer.
The long answer is, yes, possibly yes.  Yes, the disease was contained and treated. However, in a time of world travel and world trade, you can never discount the possibility of the spread of any disease. So here’s the information you need.

How Does The Plague Even Start?
The Plague originates from a flea that carries a bacteria called Yersinia pestis from dead animals to live animals or humans. The bacteria enter the bloodstream, causing the infection.

Types of Plague
Bubonic Plague– The infection is localized to the lymph glands and ducts.  Within a week fever, vomiting, and headaches occur as lymph glands swell and become painful. Eventually, extremities develop gangrene due to lack of blood supply. If left untreated by antibiotics, there is a 90% mortality rate.
Pneumonic Plague – The organism infects the lungs. This form is the most dangerous form because it can be spread from human to human. It still has the original source (flea bite), but can be transmitted by microdroplets from breathing, coughing, sneezing or through mucus. This infection causes coughing, eventually coughing up blood and ultimately, respiratory and circulatory failure. There is a 100% mortality rate if left untreated by antibiotics.
Septic Plague– The infection spreads to the blood. This can cause super-infections that can shut down organs, also causing death.

Again, there are no known cases outside of Madagascar, so there is no indication that there is a definite threat. However, for precautionary purposes, there are some things you can do to prevent infection.
1- Invest in particulate masks. When traveling keep a mask close by. If you notice extreme coughing, wear the mask. Even if you aren’t concerned about the Plague, other respiratory diseases can easily be transmitted in airplanes, trains, etc.
2-  Check with your doctor/pharmacy to ensure they have easy access to the antibiotics Streptomycin and Tetracycline, which have been proven to treat the infection. If administered within 24 hours of the infection, chances of survival are significantly greater. If a pandemic ever occurs, you need to make sure you have access to the appropriate medications. There is no immunization so treatment is the best option.

Luckily the risk for a Plague pandemic was localized and minimized fairly quickly.  However, it was a good reminder that we are not immune to diseases we thought were eradicated.