Essentials for a DIY Bug Out Bag

The top reasons why people don’t prepare are because they think it is too difficult, too expensive, and too time-consuming.  But, it doesn’t have to be.  In fact, putting together a basic family preparedness plan with a bug out bag for each family member can generally be done in an evening.

In an effort to help you and your family prepare, Food Insurance® has put together a list of essential items to help you as you put together your own DIY Bug Out Bag:

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4 Questions To Ask Before Buying Emergency Food Storage

For many people, buying an emergency food storage supply feels like a daunting task. With all of the products available on the market, the amount of research needed to find the right thing for your family can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. One our our team members, Tim Hemingway, recently met with the Studio 5 morning news program in Salt Lake City, Utah to discuss four simple questions you should ask before buying emergency food.

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Where Do Emergency Situations in America Actually Occur?

As you know with the start of football season, we’re just about to reach the fall and winter months when hurricanes, blizzards, and other extreme weather conditions can occur. Last month, Kiplinger compiled a listing of the top ten states that are most at risk of natural disasters. It used property damage claims from the past eight years to determine which states have had it the worst.


In the end, New Jersey was number one on the list with $26.7 billion in property damage. This is mostly because of the damage the Garden State suffered from Hurricane Sandy. The rest of the top ten is as follows:


2. Texas

3. Tennessee

4. Missouri

5. Alabama

6. Oklahoma

7. Mississippi

8. Louisiana

9. Colorado

10. Arizona


As you can see from this list, there is not one concentrated area where natural disasters and other emergency scenarios occur. For this reason, individuals must be actively doing all they can to learn about possible threats in their area and ways to prepare for them. We’ve already seen some news that our customers should be aware of.


For example, did you know that more than a thousand children in ten states have been diagnosed with a rare form of Enterovirus in the past few weeks? According to the CDC, the respiratory illness could eventually become a nationwide problem. It acts similarly to the common cold and can put children with preexisting allergies or respiratory problems in the ICU.


Additionally, number 6 on the list, Oklahoma, was in the news recently for an emergency rule adopted by its governor that mandated all licensed insurance agents get an hour of continuing education on earthquakes. A 4.2 earthquake was recorded near Medford, OK in early September.


Big cities and small towns across the country are preparing for extreme weather occurrences by shoring up dams, updating sewage systems and setting up emergency water storage plans. What are you doing too sure up your household?


The prospect of a disaster is out there, no matter where you live. We encourage you to shop our inventory of emergency food products, water preparedness systems and first aid supplies, so you can be ready if a disaster were to strike your area. And remember, because it is National Preparedness Month, we are offering 30 specials for 30 days!



Practice Emergency Preparedness

Despite popular belief, tornadoes are not reserved for Tornado Alley in the mid-west. Venturing out of their habitual territory, tornadoes have been a common occurrence recently in many places that aren’t considered “tornado states.” In fact, areas as far-flung as northern California, Utah, Florida, and upstate New York have all experienced tornadoes of varying degrees of severity over the past year. A tornado, sometimes called a twister or cyclone, generally travels for several miles at speeds of less than 110 miles per hour – though occasionally more in severe cases – before dissipating.

In July, there were tornado warnings across 19 counties in Maryland. The National Weather Service was advising residents in vehicles or outside to head indoors. A severe thunderstorm expelled hail one inch in diameter, which is roughly the size of a quarter, along with winds of 60 miles per hour.

New York was not as lucky as Maryland and did not receive a reprieve. On July 8th, New York was hit by five tornadoes, killing four people in Madison County.  In 2014, New York has been hit by a total of eight tornadoes thus far, which is rather high considering 10 tornadoes hit New York every year on average. The unpredictability of tornadoes was demonstrated by this recent hit to New York. Madison County was not in the tornado warning area and forecasters were unable to properly warn residents of the coming natural disaster. In its entirety, the tornado lasted four minutes and took Madison County citizens by complete surprise.

With these records of tornadoes crossing into the northeast, many should consider preparing an emergency kit for natural disasters. Gather necessities like three days’ worth of food and water as well as a battery-operated radio, flashlights and first aid supplies. If you receive warning of a tornado, seek shelter underground or in a room without windows. Mobile home residents should leave and seek shelter in a building. First and foremost, understand the severity of weather warnings. A severe thunderstorm can turn into a natural disaster quickly and emergency preparedness can save lives.


How to Prepare Foods During an Emergency


When it comes to Mother Nature, anything can happen. From Hurricane Arthur, to the earthquake in Oklahoma and the massive mudslide in Colorado, it is clear that natural disasters can strike anywhere at any moment. In case of an emergency, many people have prepared disaster kits equipped with canned, freeze dried, and dehydrated foods and plenty of water. If you haven’t already, it’s time to make one.


After accumulating supplies and storing them in a safe location, it’s important to learn how to prepare your foods if you lose electricity, cannot leave your home, or have no access to clean water for days or weeks. After days of being in close quarters, eating dehydrated and freeze dried foods for every meal can get old. Here are some cooking suggestions to help you through your emergency.


Cooking Tips

Tropical storms, tornados, and hurricanes often result in loss of power. In extreme cases towns can lose power for days or even weeks. To prepare for such an occurrence invest in a sun oven, a cooking tool that requires no fuel or electricity. The sun oven is powered by solar energy and can make anything that a conventional oven can. They can be used for baking, steaming, boiling, and drying or dehydrating foods. When the electricity initially goes out, you can use the sun oven to cook up your refrigerated meats or frozen foods before they spoil. Sometimes during the most extreme storms, people may not have access to clean water. The sun oven can be used to purify water, as well as to sterilize medical or cooking tools. Its usage doesn’t have to be limited to an emergency; you can incorporate it in your daily cooking routine and reduce your electricity bill.


If there’s flooding or high winds that make it unsafe to go outside, use a fireplace to cook foods and use candle warmers, chafing dishes, and fondue pots to keep food warm. If you have canned vegetables or soup you can remove the label and heat the food straight from the can to enjoy.


Recipe: Vegetable Beef Soup

In the event of an emergency, dehydrated and freeze dried foods are easy to incorporate into any meal. Regardless of what foods you have in your food supply, soups are very easy to make. Check out this recipe for vegetable beef soup. Your ingredients may vary depending on your food supply.


Ingredients:  ½ cup of dehydrated carrots, ½ cup of dehydrated diced potatoes, ¼ cup of dehydrated onion,

2 tablespoons of dehydrated celery, 1 can of beans, 4 cups of vegetables stock, 1 cup of egg noodles, 2 table spoons of olive oil, ½ cup of dehydrated beef or texted vegetable protein, and ½ teaspoon of herbs.


Directions: First rehydrate the dehydrated ingredients using cold or boiled water. If you don’t have access to clean water, be sure to boil it. Once the vegetables are plump and rehydrated, add olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Then add the onion and celery and let that cook for 5 minutes. After, add the beef or TVP, vegetable stock, potatoes, carrots, egg noodles, and herbs. Let that simmer for 8 minutes. Next rinse off your beans and add them into the pan at the 7-minute mark. Once the soup is finished cooking, add a pinch of salt and pepper for added flavor. To make your own seasoning, simply grind up dehydrated onions for onion powder, or garlic for garlic powder.


Then eat and enjoy!

What Should You Do about Rising Meat Prices?

If you are a meat lover, recent news on the prices of beef, pork, poultry, fish and eggs might have you a bit concerned. Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data compiled on beef prices in the month of July. According to the report, the average price for ground beef rose to $3.884 per pound, which is an all-time high. In July 2013, the average price was 12% less at $3.459. If this number sounds like a lot, the price just 5 years ago was $2.147. That’s right. In just five years, beef prices rose 81%.

Pork prices haven’t fared much better. In just two short years, the price of bacon has risen more than 41%. The price of a pound of bacon today is $6.11, which again is an all-time high. There are many reasons for the higher price. For one, there is a porcine epidemic diarrhea virus that has killed 100,000 piglets since May 2013. In addition to that, the demand for bacon has grown tremendously in the past few years. Combine these factors with rising feed prices due to an extended drought, and it’s easy to see why bacon prices are so high.

The factors that are causing beef, poultry, pork and seafood prices don’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Prices are staying on this upward trajectory, which means at some point meat will not be affordable for the common household. Therefore, the individual consumer will have to make some tough decisions on how he or she can feed the family. If you don’t want to give up meat completely, there is another way to eat meat-based dishes, no matter what the price of meat is 5 years from now.

Food Insurance freeze-dried and dehydrated food products are priced affordably to meet families’ long-term food storage and emergency preparedness needs. One of the biggest benefits we point our customers to is the fact that our food products can last up to 25 years when properly stored. That means you can buy food at today’s prices and enjoy those dishes years down the road when prices could be much higher. Given the severity of several recent natural disasters, this isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

In addition to long-term storage, Food Insurance emergency food products taste great too. Our products use the highest-quality ingredients to give your body what it needs: plentiful vitamins, minerals and nutrients. We also have a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables in most of our meal plans, so you can enjoy a well-balanced diet. Given the rising meat prices, individuals must be proactive in their efforts to find affordable food. Contact us today to learn more about our emergency preparedness plans.


Is Your Local Government Ready for an Emergency?

There’s no question that Ronald Reagan wasn’t a big fan of government. He was famous for saying, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” This sentiment is shared by many in this country, especially when it comes to emergency preparedness.

Evidence of this can be seen in the recent California drought crisis where calls for a voluntary 20% reduction in water consumption have gone pretty much ignored. Now, the government has stepped in to impose mandatory water restrictions for 270 days to curb activity. Those who are found to be in violation are subject to fines of $500 or more.

If you’re wondering what some of the restrictions are, they include:

  1. Ban of water on outdoor decorations unless they use a recirculating system,
  2. No hosing down of driveways and sidewalks,
  3. No hosing down of cars unless the hose has a shut-off nozzle,
  4. Ban of watering outdoor landscapes if there is excessive runoff.

Californians use up to 50% of their water on outdoor landscaping, which is why so many of the restrictions are focused on landscaping. Yet, the effectiveness of these regulations will be determined by whether or not citizens take them seriously. Only time will tell here.

However, what is known is that many of us have a distrust of government on emergency preparedness. There have been way too many instances of failure by local and national governments. Some of the most striking images from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, for example, were of citizens waiting for help from FEMA and local authorities. Some were forced to wait on their rooftops for help; others were stuck in the Superdome with little else but the clothes on their backs.




If history is any indication, these regulations will not be enough to negate the consequences of the drought in California. Food shortages and water rationing are very likely. It’s even possible for more extreme weather scenarios to occur because of the drought, including earthquakes.

As we wait to see what happens, now is the time to get prepared. In addition to setting up an emergency preparedness plan, we encourage you to take action by picking up long-term emergency food supplies.  Although your local government may not be ready to handle the effects of an emergency situation, that doesn’t mean you should sit on the sidelines as well. Keep your family safe today with active preparation.

Toledo Drinking Water Ban Showcases the Need for Water Preparedness

What would you do if you were told not to drink the water coming out of your tap? That’s exactly what residents of Toledo, OH were told at the beginning of the month as local and state officials scrambled to bring water supplies to the 400,000 individuals affected. Those in the area have described the scene as resembling Black Friday, with people rushing to get enough bottled water to drink, take with medication, or brush their teeth. Officials warned that boiling the water would only increase the toxicity of the water, making bottled water the only option for residents


At this time, it’s believed that the city’s local water had become contaminated by algae blooms. Although it’s unknown what the cause of the algae growth was, algae growth is typically caused by increased phosphorus from farm fertilizer runoff and sewer treatment. While scientists did predict that algae growth might increase in the upcoming months, they didn’t expect it to happen this soon.  They predicted a September algae increase.


Although there has never been a city-wide ban on drinking water in Toledo, the dangers of algae bloom have been known for quite some time. Toledo has amped up its water treatment in the past few years, spending more than $4 million last year alone to treat its water. However, even with regulation and an active approach towards water treatment, this news is evidence that the danger of water contamination is always there.


As Ohio John Kasich said in a press conference regarding the drinking water ban, “When it comes to water, you’ve got to be very careful.” In an emergency, you might be able to go a few days without food, but water is a whole different matter. It’s for this reason that water preparedness is such a crucial part of any emergency plan. If you are interested in keeping your family safe in a crisis that might affect local water supply, Food Insurance can help.


From our personal Lifestraw filter straw that can filter up to 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa, to our large reserve water tanks, we have a wide variety of water preparedness supplies to include in your storage planning. Unfortunately, when it comes to water contamination, it’s becoming more of a question of when in many areas in the country. If you live in area that is at risk of water contamination, please take the time to review our water preparedness supplies today.