Build a Kit – Dust Mask – Week 10

Build a kit - dust mask

We will be adding a dust mask to our preparedness kit this week. Having worked on different types of home improvements over the years, I already knew there were several types of masks available. I’ve used one like the mask in the photo above when I was sanding drywall. But when I was pregnant and painting, I used a different type that was more of a respirator so I could get a better seal and filter out any harmful vapors.

For our kit, I could grab the respirator we already have. But that will only take care of one person, and we have eight of us. So I’m going to buy something simpler than the respirator we already have, but more protective than the mask like the one in the photo. In researching what to get, I found the CDC has a listing of NIOSH-Approved Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators .  These are categorized based on how much and what type of filtering is provided by each. The site also lists certified brands.

After reviewing the different types and seeing what is available to me locally, I am leaning towards buying the 3M N95 Model 8511. But I’m going to wait to make my final selection once I get to the store, because I need to buy the M/L size, and I’m not sure if they will have that model in that size. I also need to buy at least one small size because we have a child.


As a side note, throughout this series of posts about getting prepared, I may mention certain products, services, agencies, etc. At no time is it my intention to promote a specific product or service or agency. Each is mentioned only for informational purposes.  Of course as a government employee, I do receive a salary from the government for the time I work on my job, but I don’t receive any compensation from any commercial entities I mention or include in these posts.

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Build a Kit – Buy a Whistle – Week 9

 

Build a Kit - Buy a Whistle

While initially I thought this would be an easy week since the goal is to buy a whistle, I started realizing, I’m not sure I know where whistles are even sold. Of course to find out I just went to Google and searched. It looks like Walmart sells standard silver whistles like the one shown in the photo. I can buy a group of four of them for only a few dollars.

What I didn’t realize is just how complicated whistles can be. There are many different types of advanced models which of course cost a little more than the standard whistle. As an example, here is a link to a whistle by FutureSteps at Amazon which includes the following features:

  • 105 Decibels
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Low air flow required to activate
  • Can be used to deter coyotes

I guess I never really thought about it before, but having a whistle with me if I am hiking, running, or just off on my own is probably a good idea. We will buy one for the kit, and if I like it, I’m getting another one to just keep with me.


As a side note, throughout this series of posts about getting prepared, I may mention certain products, services, agencies, etc. At no time is it my intention to promote a specific product or service or agency. Each is mentioned only for informational purposes.  Of course as a government employee, I do receive a salary from the government for the time I work on my job, but I don’t receive any compensation from any commercial entities I mention or include in these posts.

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Build a Kit – First Aid Kit – Week 8

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is always a good thing to have on hand. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a citizen preparedness guide: Are You Ready? with a checklist of suggested First Aid Supplies. They include:

  • Adhesive bandages, various sizes
  • 5” x 9” sterile dressing
  • Conforming roller gauze bandage
  • Triangular bandages
  • 3” x 3” sterile gauze pads
  • 4” x 4” sterile gauze pads
  • Roll 3” cohesive bandage
  • Germicidal hand wipes or waterless, alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Pairs large, medical grade,
  • non-latex gloves
  • Tongue depressor blades
  • Adhesive tape, 2” width
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Cold pack
  • Scissors (small, personal)
  • Tweezers
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cotton balls
  • Thermometer
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other
  • lubricant
  • Sunscreen
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
  • First aid manual
  • Aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Laxative
  • Vitamins
  • Prescriptions
  • Extra eyeglasses/contact lenses

The guide also suggests having on hand the following:

  • Washcloth and towel
  • Towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer
  • Tooth paste, toothbrushes
  • Shampoo, comb, and brush
  • Deodorants, sunscreen
  • Razor, shaving cream
  • Lip balm, insect repellent
  • Contact lens solutions
  • Mirror
  • Feminine supplies
  • Heavy-duty plastic garbage bags and ties
    for personal sanitation uses and toilet
    paper
  • Medium-sized plastic bucket with tight
    lid
  • Disinfectant and household chlorine
    bleach
  • A small shovel for digging a latrine
  • Toilet paper

I’m not going to suggest where to buy the best kit because there are just so many places to get one. I would suggest when shopping for one, have the list above handy, and based on your budget, pick one which you can afford which offers the most items in the list above.

Fortunately for our family, we bought a first aid kit last year when I was getting ready to travel outside the country. So for this item, we won’t need to purchase anything extra. And we can collect the other items like garbage bags from the extra things we have around the house.

Going forward, from time to time, we will need to go through the first aid kit to make sure we keep supplies up to date also since some have an expiration date.

 

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Build a Kit- Flashlight/Batteries – Week 7

Build a Kit - Flashlight - Week 7

Last week, the weather radio we purchased came with a flashlight so we would not need to go out and get another one for our kit. We also all have flashlights on our phones. But with eight people, we figured it couldn’t hurt to get a standard flashlight for our kit. Plus Menards has a nice flashlight – a Rayovac® 3-LED Industrial-Grade Flashlight – for only $6.99. It comes with batteries, but we will also pick up a pack of D batteries to throw in the kit.


As a side note, throughout this series of posts about getting prepared, I may mention certain products, services, agencies, etc. At no time is it my intention to promote a specific product or service or agency. Each is mentioned only for informational purposes.  Of course as a government employee, I do receive a salary from the government for the time I work on my job, but I don’t receive any compensation from any commercial entities I mention or include in these posts.

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Build a Kit – Weather Radio – Week 6

Build a Kit - Weather Radio

This week we are going to focus on making sure we know what is going on during an emergency or disaster to help us make good decisions regarding our safety. Emergency preparedness sites recommend using a weather radio to receive notifications and information about a hazardous event. In researching what to buy I quickly discovered there are many choices so the key here is to know what is available then decide what features you believe you will need. There are many sites out there with detailed information so I’m only going to hit the major decision points below:

Portable or stationary? If you think you may need to leave your home and want to make sure you can continue to receive notifications, you may want to look at a portable radio. Also consider if you want the radio to be weatherproof.

Type of alerts? Some radios offer audible alerts in either one or multiple tones. Some also remain idle then broadcast a tone when an emergency alert is broadcast.

SAME (Specific Alert Message Encoding) technology? This feature determines if you can receive alerts for a specific area rather than from the entire area served by a station.

Channels? Do you want just weather related information or do you also want to listen to news and music assuming those stations would be operating during an event? It is highly recommended by many preparedness sites to buy a radio with the NOAA channel which broadcasts weather information.

Power source? Radios can be operated with many different alternative power sources such as batteries, hand-crank with built-in generator, or solar in addition to being able to use AC or DC power.

Light? Some radios also come with lights to be used as a flashlight.

Cell-phone charger? A few radios offer the ability to charge cell phones.

Cost? You may need to factor in your budget in choosing a radio.

For our family, we definitely want a portable radio with alerts, we are not worried about the SAME technology, we would want all channels including the NOAA channel, and the radio should have multiple power options. We also would like to have the cell-phone charger and of course, we don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Based on our criteria, below were the possibilities I chose to research. I also showed the current prices on Amazon. (Note the links are to the product page on Amazon not because I believe that is the best place to buy the radio, but just as a way for you to get more detailed info on each model.)

It seemed all of the radios above had some really poor reviews, but I figured this is common as all products are going to have some unhappy customers. After reading through reviews of all of the radios, we are choosing the iRonsnow one. It along with the FosPower seemed to have the fewest negative reviews with the least major issues.


As a side note, throughout this series of posts about getting prepared, I may mention certain products, services, agencies, etc. At no time is it my intention to promote a specific product or service or agency. Each is mentioned only for informational purposes.  Of course as a government employee, I do receive a salary from the government for the time I work on my job, but I don’t receive any compensation from any commercial entities I mention or include in these posts.

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Build a Kit – Food – Week 5

Build a Kit - Food, 3-day supply

Now that we have our water supply, next on the list is food. The suggestion is to store a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for each person. As I mentioned last week, we have eight people in our family. One is younger than two so the portions for him are probably not going to be the same as for the rest of us who are all adults.

So I did a little research to see what type of food would be best to purchase. Here’s some foods which will last a year or more without spoiling:

  • Nuts and peanut butter
  • Canned or dried meats and seafood
  • Dried grains, fruit, and beans
  • Canned or powdered milk
  • Protein powders
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bouillon
  • Coffee, tea
  • Honey
  • Hard cheese in wax
  • Canned olives
  • Vinegar
  • Salt

Another suggestion is to purchase MREs or Meals Ready to Eat.

For our family, we will end up buying some of all the above foods because it is similar to what we already eat. Like the water, we can rotate foods in and out although it will be on more of an annual basis. The challenge for us will be how much to buy. One method would be to look at calories. We could select foods so that each person would get 2,000 calories a day or 6,000 total for the three days. Another family might choose very different foods depending on allergies. The only allergy we need to accommodate is a gluten sensitivity.

To spread out the cost, we are going to purchase the food the same way we are buying the water – a little each week we shop. So starting this week, we will buy one of the food items above in enough quantity to last our family for three days.

Based on the needed calories and the costs here is our food plan:

 

Peanut butter – My family only likes peanut butter which is natural with no additives. So based on brand availability and cost in my area, the cheapest one to buy is Crazy Richard’s 100% Peanuts which is $3.29 for 16 ounces at Meijer.  The jar says 2 tablespoons is a serving (190 calories), and there are 14 servings in a container. That means with seven servings per jar, we could use a jar a day for seven of us if we have one serving a day per person (excluding baby). But to make sure we get enough calories each day I’m going to figure on two servings a day for our family of this food. So we will buy six jars during one of our trips for a total cost of roughly $20.

Peanut Butter jar

Nuts – While a bag of nuts is probably the most inexpensive choice, I am not sure this is the best storage container. So instead of buying a special container, I am thinking I’ll just spend a little more to get nuts in a better container. The one I am going to buy is Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts – the 34 ounce size. Planters says on their website, a serving of this is 28 grams (170 calories) so if the container contains 963 grams, there are 34 servings in the container. For three days, this provides 11 servings or more than enough for one a day for everyone, although I doubt the baby would be eating nuts. But to make sure we get enough calories each day I’m going to figure on two servings a day for our family of this food. So like the peanut butter, we will add two containers of these nuts to a shopping trip for a total cost of roughly $40.

Dried Fruit – I have somewhat of the same concern over the container for dried fruit, beans, and grains so may end up buying something to store these. For now, I’m going to buy a 32-ounce bag of Mariani’s Mixed Fruit. The Mariani website shows there are 23 servings per bag with a serving size being a quarter cup (110 calories). That means there  is enough in this bag for one serving per person in my family for almost three days. I’ll probably end up buying two of these bags which would give us enough for three days and leave some extra. When they are on sale at Meijer, I can get a bag for $8.49 so that means this will cost a total of almost $17 for the two bags.

Dried meats – not sure a log of pepperoni meets this definition of a dried meat, but since it lasts about a year, we are going to add to our kit one of these. It’s something we usually buy anyway so it can be rotated in and out of the kit with replacements. The particular brand we buy, Bridgford, offers a 16-ounce stick which has 16 servings at 1 ounce each so will provide a serving a day for our family for two days. To make sure we get enough calories each day I’m going to figure on two servings a day for our family of this food. So to have enough for three days, we will buy four of these for the kit. At a cost of $6.99 each at Meijer we will pay almost $28.

Pepperoni

Canned seafood – just our luck this weekend, a family who was moving gave my daughter about 17 cans of tuna with an expiration date in the year 2021. With two servings a container (~45 calories a serving), this means there are 34 servings available, or a four-day supply for our family. Because of this, we won’t need to buy any additional canned seafood at this time.

Tuna

Black Beans – we regularly buy black beans so adding them to the kit allows for another item we can rotate out to keep the items fresh. We buy the Meijer brand in a 15 ounce can which has enough for about 3.5 servings (110 calories each).  For our family we would need a little over two cans a day so if we buy nine cans we should have enough. These sometimes go on sale, but if we are paying regular price, it will cost us almost $10.

Protein Powder – because we run and regularly use protein powders for recovery, we already have a favorite brand of protein powder. The one we use is Vitamin Whey Protein which is gluten free. The container we buy has eight servings (320 calories per serving). So for our family for three days, we would need three containers. Like the water, we can rotate these out with the ones we buy for our after run drinks. We usually buy these at Meijer at $19.99 although sometimes they go on sale. If we can’t get it on sale, it will cost us close to $60 so we’ll definitely be on the lookout for sales!

Vitamin Whey Protein Powder

Dark Chocolate – we frequently buy Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Chocolate Bar because it is one of the few bars which has been found to not have lead in it. Also, it seems to be gluten free even though it is not marked as such. Each bar is 3.5 ounces and has about 2.5 servings of 38 grams each (190 calories). This means we will need about 3.25 bars a day for our family or almost 10 for all 3 days. We can sometimes buy them on sale at Meijer, but if we pay the regular price of $3.09, then the total extra cost to buy 10 bars will be roughly $30.

Dark Chocolate Bar

Coffee/Tea – this is one item I am not buying extra of for the kit. We always seem to have a surplus of it, and only two or three of us drink it. I’ll probably just grab one box of tea and one of coffee and put those in the kit.

Honey – for our kit, we’ll probably buy something like Aunt Sue’s Raw Unfiltered Wildflower Honey in a 32 ounce bottle. It has 43 servings at 1 tablespoon each (60 calories) which will last our family the whole three days. One jar of this honey will cost us about $10.

Bouillon – the reason we want to add bouillon to our kit is that it can provide salt and can easily be mixed with water. A jar of cubes from Meijer makes 25 cups or enough for my family for three days of a cup a day. I’m not going to worry about the calories on this one since the amount is insignificant. Buying an extra jar at Meijer will cost about $2.

Olives – our family loves olives so we are definitely adding these to the kit, although at only 25 calories a serving, they really don’t add much to our daily total of calories. We usually buy the Meijer brand in a 13 ounce jar which has about 25 servings or enough for our family for all three days. This will cost us $2.29 to buy an extra jar next time we shop.

Jar of Olives

Salt and Vinegar – because these items really don’t provide a meal item, we will just buy one container of vinegar and one of salt. This will probably cost us about $2.50 for a 32-ounce bottle of Heinz apple cider vinegar and about $2.50 for a 26-ounce container of Morton iodized sea salt.

After reviewing all the servings and related calories, so far we would have enough food for all eight of us for three days at a total cost of about $218. Also, I only was able to get the calories up to about 1840, but figured this is probably enough. It’s probably more than most family members eat a day anyway. Below is the table I created to help me track this as I developed my list:

Food Preparedness Plan


As a side note, throughout this series of posts about getting prepared, I may mention certain products, services, agencies, etc. At no time is it my intention to promote a specific product or service or agency. Each is mentioned only for informational purposes.  Of course as a government employee, I do receive a salary from the government for the time I work on my job, but I don’t receive any compensation from any commercial entities I mention or include in these posts.

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