Food & Water Storage Conditions

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What conditions should I store my food and water storage prepper supplies in?

Good question!  You must first understand that light destroys nutrients and shelf-life.  Oxygen also causes nutrient decay and increases risk of food-borne illness due to bacterial growth. Reducing oxygen levels in your food with Oxygen Absorbers is the best way to maintain food quality and shelf life.  Temperature plays a role as well, too hot and nutrients and proteins will be damaged, too cold and product quality and taste will suffer.  Pests can eat up your food storage and spread disease.  Moisture can cause bacterial and mold growth as well as rust to form on metal cans or canning lids.

So what conditions do I need?

Someplace COOL (around 6oF is perfect)

Someplace DARK (no natural or artificial light shining on your food storage)

Someplace DRY (no moisture to cause rust or bacterial or mold growth)

Someplace PEST FREE (no bugs or rodents to destroy and contaminate your food and water)

Storage Conditions

There are six conditions to be aware of when storing food for emergency preparedness food storage, or outdoor recreation.  The foods being referred to in this post are shelf-stable freeze-dried, dehydrated, dried commodities.  Optimal storage conditions can also be applied to wet pack:  retort, MRE’s, canned goods, and other specialty longer term wet pack foods.

  • Temperature– This is the primary factor affecting the storage life of foods.  The cooler the better. 40 degrees-50 degrees would be great. Room temperature (65 degrees-72 degrees) or below is generally fine.  Avoid above 90 degrees for extended periods of time. The longer food is exposed to very high temperatures the shorter the edible life and the faster the degeneration of nutritional value.  Note:  There are some “foods” available for emergency preparedness that are known as “emergency food or ration bars.”  These products are generally referred to as “life raft bars” because they were originally designed for life rafts and can withstand high heat for extended periods of time.  They primarily consist of white sugar and white flour, and were not meant to be the sole source of nutrition for a long period of time.
  • Moisture– The lower the better.  Moisture can deteriorate food value rapidly and create conditions that promote the growth of harmful organisms.  The moisture level contained in foods varies depending on the type of product it is.  Have foods in moisture barrier containers (metal, glass) in high humidity areas. Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  Note 2:  Be careful where you store dry foods in cans.  Very cold flooring or any condition where there is a dramatic temperature differential may cause a build up of condensation inside the container.
  • Oxygen – A high oxygen environment causes oxidation, which leads to discoloration, flavor loss, odors, rancidity and the breakdown of nutritional value in foods. It also allows insects to feed on dried food reserves. Without oxygen, insects cannot live, nor can aerobic (oxygen dependent) organisms. Whole grain and beans have natural oxygen barriers and can store for long periods of time in low humidity and if free from infestation. All other processed grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. must be in a very reduced (2% or less) oxygen environment for long term storage.  Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  The best long term storage containers are glass and metal.
  • Infestation – Examples include rodents, insects in all their stages of growth, mold, microorganisms, and any other creatures that get hungry – large or small.  The proper packaging and storage conditions are required to control infestation and not allow critters to both get into the food, or have the necessary environment for them to flourish if they are sealed into a container – such as in the form of eggs or spores.
  • Handling – Rough handling can not only damage the food itself, but it can also adversely effect and compromise the integrity of the container in which the food is stored.  Glass of course can break; any pouched item can develop pin holes, tears, or cracks.  The seams on buckets and cans can be tweaked, twisted, or damaged to allow oxygen to enter the container.
  • Light – Food should not be stored in direct sunlight.  Both for the potential of high temperature, and its affect on food value.  Sunlight directly on stored foods can destroy nutritional value and hasten the degeneration of food quality, taste, and appearance.  Foods packed in light barrier containers do not pose a problem with the affects of light.

 

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Life of Stored Food

LIFE OF STORED FOOD

This is a generalized table of how long food will last if properly stored (no light, no heat, no oxygen, no bugs, etc) and kept at 60F or lower (but not freezing).

FREEZE DRY FOODS (NITROGEN BACKFLUSHED & SEALED)- 25 TO 30 YEARS

MYLAR BAGS (MRES, CAMPING POUCHES, METALLIZED BAGS)- 5 TO 7 YEARS

DEHYDRATED FOODS (SEALED, BUT NOT NITROGEN BACKFLUSHED)- 3 TO 5 YEARS

CANNING (STOREBOUGHT OR HOME CANNED)- 3 TO 5 YEARS, (possibly longer if stored properly)

SMOKED CURED- SEVERAL MONTHS

FROZEN- 1 YEAR FROZEN (BEFORE FREEZER-BURN SETS IN), FEW DAYS THAWED & REFRIGERATED

RAW FOOD- 7 TO 10 DAYS IF REFRIGERATED, LESS THAN 4 HOURS AT ROOM TEMP

Prepping at the Dollar Store

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Think prepping has to be expensive?  Think you have to buy only from a dedicated prepping & survival store?  Think again.  You can get several prepping items at your local dollar store, whether that be Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, or any other knock-off dollar store!

Here is a list of items I like to look for at dollar stores that I can add to my prep buckets and bug out bags.

FIRE:

  •  Matches
  • Lighters
  • lighter fluid
  • sterno cans
  • tea light candles
  • candles
  • lamp oil (at some stores)
  • charcoal briquettes

FIRST AID & MEDICINE:

  • First aid kits
  • band aid & gauze
  • bandage tape
  • tylenol
  • ibprofen
  • antacids
  • cold & flu medicine
  • allergy medicine
  • cough drops
  • aspirin
  • anti-histimines
  • anti-itch cream
  • burn cream
  • bug spray
  • sunscreen
  • aloe gel
  • vitamins
  • antibiotic ointment
  • rubbing alcohol
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • anti-diarrhea medicine
  • children’s medicines
  • miniture versions of a lot of common OTC medicines that you can put in your BOB

HYGIENE:

  • hairbrush & comb
  • shampoo, conditioner, soap
  • hand sanitizer
  • tooth brush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouth wash antiseptic
  • dental repair kits (at some locations)
  • toilet paper
  • paper towels
  • baby wipes or hand wipes
  • baby powder & diapers
  • jock itch/athlete’s foot spray
  • deodarant
  • feminine menses pads (can double as a first aid item to control bleeding of wounds)

LIGHTS:

  • candles
  • flashlights & batteries
  • glow sticks

FOOD:

  • obviously a ton of canned and boxed foods (canned meats, canned fruits, canned veggies, mac n cheese, pasta, and more)
  • baking supplies like flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, lard, oil
  • rice, dried beans, oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat, cereal
  • sauces and condiments
  • storage containers to store food in that are air tight and pest proof

WATER:

  • water jugs
  • water bottles
  • bottled water
  • juice boxes or pouches
  • drink mixes like gatorade and kool-aid and crystal light
  • bleach for purification
  • iodine for purification and wound cleansing

CLOTHING:

  • shirts
  • pants
  • underwear
  • shoes
  • socks
  • jackets (some locations)
  • hats
  • gloves

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS:

  • cleaning chemicals
  • bleach
  • soap for washing dishes and clothes
  • rags
  • towels
  • blankets
  • pillows and pillowcases
  • auto fluids like oil and starter fluid
  • basic hand tools like hammers, screw drivers, and pliers

BABY ITEMS:

  • formula
  • bottles and bibs
  • pacifers
  • toys
  • clothes
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • baby powder
  • baby medications

GAMES & TOYS:

  • board games
  • cards
  • toys for all ages
  • great to kill boredom and keep kids entertained

COMFORT ITEMS:

  • besides games & toys,  candy
  • chocolate
  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • trail mix
  • craft supplies
  • activity supplies like coloring books and crayons/markers and stickers

Any and all of these items are great to store as a prepper, whether that be in your home, your Bug out location, cabin, RV, or if you just want some smaller and cheaper items for your bug out bag or auto kit.  Check the dollar stores first for items before spending beaucoup money at a big box store or online.  These items are just as good as name brand items and are wayyyy cheaper!  You can also stock up on these items to have as Barter Items for when SHTF!  Great way to have an alternate currency so-to-speak for SHTF. Saving money is always a good thing and the kids will even have fun helping you stock up on prepper supplies at the dollar store!  Start saving while prepping!

Why Prep?

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Why Prep?

Have you ever wondered how you would take care of yourself and your family if you lost your job? How about if there was a bad hurricane? Tornado? Rioting? Civil Unrest? Economic Collapse? Martial Law? Pandemic? Even Zombies?

If these thoughts have crossed your mind or haunted your dreams lately, then you might be considering becoming a Prepper.

Have you already started stocking up on extra canned goods, bottles of water, pet food, first aid supplies and self-defense weapons? Then you are already a Prepper.

Have you looked into solar and wind options for heating/cooling/powering your home and appliances? Have you considered buying land and keeping livestock and a garden? Want to live off-grid?  Then you are a Homestead Prepper.

Have you taken survival classes, learned the arts of bushcraft, fire making, escape & evasion? Are you comfortable living in the woods for a long period of time, living off the land, and using Mother Nature for all your provisions, protection, shelter, and camouflage? Then you are a Survivalist.

All and any of these labels means you are Self-Reliant or want to become Self-Reliant.

Many folks enter into prepping because they have this unexplainable feeling in their gut that something is not “right” with the world. That things are slowly getting more restrictive, less-free, more expensive and more intrusive in our private lives. That unsettling feeling is your 6th sense telling you to prepare.

For others, prepping and being self-reliant is comforting because it is a return to a simpler life much like what our grandparents and great-grandparents experienced (and we remember being told through family-handed down stories). It is a way to exit the “Rat Race” and ensure all their basic needs are met without all the hustle and bustle of big city life.  It is a way of reducing stress and anxiety in their lives, because they are providing for themselves and their families by means of a garden, food & water storage, re-learning basic DIY skills, and saving money by not spending it frivolously.  It is also a sense of accomplishing something with purpose .  It has its rewards and self-gratification.

Whatever your reasons for prepping, rest easy in the fact that your time, money and efforts have not been wasted.  Whether its a natural disaster, extended unemployment, or a true SHTF scenario, you will probably use your preps and skills at some point in your life, or at least be able to pass them down to your children for their future security.

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Survival & Prepper Classes We Offer

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Please contact us at:  schoolofselfreliance@outlook.com   to inquire about upcoming survival or prepper classes.   You can also visit our website at:   http://schoolofselfreliance.webs.com/    for even more classes not listed here!

 

 

SURVIVAL COURSES

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS AND COST

(All CLASS courses include refreshments and snacks, all participants must be 18 or older, or at least 15 years old with a paying, participating adult in attendance with the minor child.)

Emergency Scenarios & Preparedness 1 day (5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

What To Do In The Event Of:

-Martial Law & Civil Unrest

-Foreign Invasion/UN Troops/ War

-Nuclear/Biological/Chemical Attack or Economic Collapse

-Rioting/Looting

-Natural Disaster (hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, etc)

-Bug-Out-Bags and what to put in them & Emergency Planning

Food & Water Storage 1 day (up to 5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Preparing you and your family for 1 year storage and rotation

-Individual Plan Preparation

-What is Food Storage? Why do I need to store food and water?

-What can I store and what can I not store?

-Shelf-life and extending it

-Freeze-dried, Canned, Dehydrated Foods

Personal Awareness and Self-Defense 1 day (5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Learning to Assess your own Home for Security and Planning/Prevention

-Learning to Assess your surroundings when out and about

-Personal Safety and Awareness

-Basic Self-Defense

Off The Grid 1 day (up to5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Wind, Solar, and Water Power, Alternative Energies

-Going off the grid- how and why

-Hobby Farm/Homesteading, being self-reliant

-Raising your own animals and gardening for food and material

Beginner Outdoor Survival & Confidence 2 days (1 overnight) $200/person or $325/couple OUTDOOR

-Fire Building Plus $25/person food cost

-Shelter Making

-Food Gathering, Hunting, and Trapping

-Water Collection and Purification Vs. Filter

-Basic Land Navigation and Using a Compass

-Knives and other Outdoor Survival Gear

Advanced Outdoor Survival & Confidence 3 days (2 overnights) $250/person or $350/couple OUTDOOR

-Primitive Fire Building Plus $35/person food cost

-Primitive Bush craft

-Winter/Snow Survival

-Advanced Shelter, Food Gathering, Hunting, Trapping, Water Collection

***Must have taken and passed Beginner Outdoor Survival to take Advanced Outdoor Class!***

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CLASS= classroom only, held indoors

OUTDOOR= outdoor training, dress appropriately for weather, held in New Buffalo, Michigan

School of Self Reliance http://schoolofselfreliance.webs.com/ Find us on Facebook!

All participants must be 18 or older and must sign a waiver

All participants are responsible for their own safety and well being

Participants 15 through 18 must have a paying/participating adult to attend.

Children under the age of 15 are not advised for safety reasons.

WE ALSO OFFER GROUP RATES! CONTACT US TO FIND OUT ABOUT DISCOUNTS FOR GROUPS OF 10 OR MORE!

Pet Bug Out Bag

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PET BUG OUT BAGS

You may have pets like a dog or cat that you plan on taking with you when you Bug Out during SHTF…hate to say it, but reptiles, fish, small mammals (like hamster/gerbils, rats), are NOT going to do well in a SHTF scenario and you WILL have to leave them behind if you are travelling on foot.  Your dog or cat is a different story, they are able to walk and can be useful to alerting you to approaching strangers. (Some cats have been trained to walk on leashes, but you could easily carry them).

Some of the things you need to put in a Bug Out Bag for your pet are:

MINIMUM 5 days of medication that your dog takes. More is better as you may not be able to access a vet for a few weeks if you are relocating.

Medical Records (vet records, microchip papers, list of medicines, allergies, proof of rabies vaccine)

First aid kit (if you don’t already have one)

Book on First Aid for Dogs (there are many options available, including a For Dummies version on Kindle)

6lbs of dry dog food (Toy breeds or cats); 10-15 lbs of dry dog food (Small breeds)  They sell freeze-dry dog and cat food online as well.

12 cans of wet dog/cat food (one time use, like 5.5oz cans, so you don’t have to store them for later)

4 liters of water (cats/dogs need approximately 1 oz of water per pound of weight, per day; if your cat/dog weights 15 lbs, he/she needs about half a liter per day, more on hot days)  You can get the small mylar water pouches online that stack neatly.

2 small bowls (smaller bowls means you have more control how much they eat and drink, and how much you can afford to have accidentally spilled)

Hair brush (for longer haired breeds)

Calming spray for dogs; brands include NaturVet “Quiet Moments”, Doctors Foster and Smith “Comfort Zone”, NutriVet “Pet-Ease”, and Earth Heart “Canine Calm”.

Blanket (best to have replica of your dog’s favorite, if possible)

Dog/cat waste bags or bag of scented garbage bin liners, absorbent paper towels (in case of an accident); newspapers to put down (if necessary)

Quart size zip lock bag (to store waste bags and paper towels until they can be disposed)

Bag of dog/cat treat or dog bones

Toys (best to have replicas of your dog’s or cat’s favorite toys)

Muzzle (to prevent barking, biting)

Extra collar with tags, Dog Harness (the extra-small harnesses work on cats too)

Superglue – to seal up small cuts in a pinch

Extra flea and tick medicines

Extra heart worm/tape worm medication

Items for your female dog, if she goes into heat during bugout (if you dog is not spayed)

Prescription sedatives from your veterinarian (such as Acepromazine – reduces anxiety)

Of course you may think of other items you wish to have for your pet, be sure to put them in your Bug Out Bag. Or if you have a larger breed dog, you can buy a vest for the dog that will hold pouches, so your dog can carry his/her own bug out bag! Find them on Amazon under the name Ruff Wear Approach bag.

Infant/Baby Bug Out Bag

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We have compiled a list of items that you should make for a Bug Out Bag/Pouch for your Infant/Baby under the age of 2.

You should have enough food, water, clothing, and supplies for at least 72 hours.

BUG OUT BAG FOR BABIES
(Infant to 2 years of age or until potty-trained)

Remember you are going to have to carry the baby, your own Bug Out Bag, and supplies for your baby, so either make a smaller bag for the baby, or add the baby supplies to a bigger adult Bug Out Bag. It’s kind of like putting together a more thorough diaper bag, but with enough supplies for the baby for at least 72 hours.

-Baby formula either in the small pre-mixed plastic bottles or powdered formula sealed in Mylar bags

-Water packets

-Both disposable diapers and cloth diapers with safety pins in a Ziploc bag to keep them dry

-Baby waterproof diaper covers

-small changing mat (you won’t want to change a diaper on the dirty ground without a changing mat)

-a few changes of clothes, socks, shoes, hat

-blankets & jacket/fleece body suit

-Baby finger food snacks like puffs, cheerios, rice crackers, soft granola bars, etc

-Baby food jars wrapped in bubble wrap to prevent breakage or the sealed Gerber Graduates baby food bowls/trays, baby feeding spoons (if your baby is eating solid foods)

-Bottles, nipples, sippy cup

-Wipes (both wet and dehydrated)

-Sunscreen, bug spray, diaper rash cream, baby powder, baby lotion, baby body wash

-A few age appropriate toys/books/stuffed animals/rattles etc, pacifiers, lovey toy/blanket

-Baby chest rig for carrying baby hands free

-Baby Tylenol, baby ibuprofen, baby orajel, baby gas drops, and any prescription medications

-copy of birth certificate and shot record

-non-iodine water purification tablets (babies can’t have iodine) or some other small water filter device

-baby first aid kit

-baby grooming kit that has nail clippers, hair brush, suction bulb, and thermometer

-Baby liquid vitamins like Poly-VI Sol

-Baby powdered Pedialyte (oral rehydration solution)