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By Kellene Bishop

Debt can weigh you down  Photo c/o usoge.gov

Debt can weigh you down Photo c/o usoge.gov

“I’ll start getting better prepared once I get out of debt.”  This statement makes me cringe, frankly. It’s a myth—a deceptive rationale—for SO many reasons. 

For starters there’s the misconception that being out of debt has “everything” to do with being better prepared. And yet there are countless aspects to preparedness that don’t require ANY money for success. Instead, they require an appropriate amount of willingness, a constant quest for knowledge, and a positive attitude. You can’t buy any of those things with money. In fact, I can’t think of a single time I’ve had to pay to go to the library and get books that educate me. I’ve also never had to pay for a CPR class or perusing the internet for additional information. Neither have I had to shell out a dime to a shrink to be better mentally prepared for a “what if” scenario. 

The other misconception about financial preparedness is that it’s a “top priority.” It isn’t. In fact, out of the 10 Keys to Preparedness, in order of priority, financial preparedness comes in at number 9. That’s right. There are 8 other more important aspects for you that will aid you in being better prepared for a disaster than having your mortgage and credit cards paid off. That’s not to say that getting out of debt isn’t important. But it’s not as important, for example, as making sure that you have food, water, shelter, and medical supplies in the event of a disaster. I assure you, your mortgage payment is the last thing on your mind if your child comes down with cholera, or the ground opens up all the way down your street due to an earthquake.

Overwhelming Temptation  Photo c/o southdacola.com

Debt Temptation Photo c/o southdacola.com

Also, as I’ve written about time and time again, it doesn’t always take money to increase your food, shelter, medical, and water supplies. There’s so much that’s simply given away at garage sales or by friends and family, and I can’t even begin to list all of the quality goods I’ve received for free or dirt cheap via coupons.

Another reason why financial preparedness mistakenly gets overrated is that folks tend to forget about the viable “fit hits the shan” scenario. One of the developing scenarios that I’m watching very closely is the possibility of an all out financial collapse—meaning that your money isn’t worth anything any more. And yet, if you had the necessary goods of sustenance in your home, regardless of what you paid for them, they will still be worth a great deal to you and your family. A case of tuna, regardless of whether you paid top dollar for it or got it for a steal will still give you 12 quality servings of protein in a pinch. I firmly believe 100% that there will come a time when a bucket of wheat is worth more than a bucket of gold. Why? Because currency will forever have its REAL place in the pecking order amidst a survival scenario—and that place is secondary to almost all others. You can’t feed your family on gold. You can’t even exchange gold for vital supplies if those supplies are limited in households across America. If you have a savings account plump full of money but no necessary supplies to survive an emergency it does you little good, right? What if there’s a serious power outage? How do you expect to access that hefty savings account, IRA, or checking account so that you can buy supplies? Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that thousands of other people will have had that same idea just before you get to the store. (Going to the store at the first sign of trouble isn’t a plan. It’s a suicide wish.)

BXP27956

Just groceries or bargaining tools? Photo c/o motherjonesfoodpantry.com

When things go south, yes, some cash on hand will serve you well immediately—like in the first 24 hours if you’re lucky–but expect to see that acceptance quickly disintegrate into a non-currency environment. Commodities such as food, ammo, tents, diapers, etc. are what will be worthwhile. Having said that though, remember that being prepared has a great deal to do with being INDEPENDENT regardless of what comes your way. So, yes, being out of debt is a worthwhile goal for you to be focused on. Just don’t let the other aspects of preparedness suffer as a result. When compared with all else that’s more vital to your family’s survival, financial independence just doesn’t hold a candle to spiritual, mental, physical, medical, clothing/shelter, fuel, water, and food preparedness.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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Slow and steady wins the race! Photo c/o redbrownandblue.com

Slow and steady wins the race! Photo c/o redbrownandblue.com

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Time’s a wastin’. Getting prepared takes a concerted effort on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t take require loads of money or fancy contraptions. It takes action. The good news is that even though I’m not surrounded with a particular need for preparedness right now, I’m still amply rewarded when I do a little something to improve my family’s state of readiness. I find that each activity I do and every effort I make in this regard increases my level of peace, confidence, and assurance substantially. Here are some ideas as to what you can do this weekend to be better prepared. Just pick one or even a couple of these activities and improve your readiness factor!

  • Organize an area of food storage. Just one area, such as soups, pastas, wheat, sugar, etc.
  • Run your family through a fire drill in the home 
    Fire Drill photo c/o njfamily.com

    Fire Drill photo c/o njfamily.com

     

  • Learn how to grow sprouts
  • Learn how to use a solar oven
  • Try making dinner on your butane stove
  • Learn how to use a pressure cooker
  • Bottle butter
  • Go fishing (Yes, ladies, that IS a preparedness skill)
  • Learn how to make a candle out of a tuna can
  • Make fire without a match (preferably NOT in your home.) :)
  • Cook in your Dutch Oven
  • Learn CPR
  • Fill those water barrels
  • Make notes on your laundry detergent, toothpaste, and toilet paper so that you know how long they actually last your family. (This way you know how much you need for a year)
  • Burn/cut up a credit card
  • Learn how to make bread
  • Sanitize your home including doorknobs, cupboard doors, refrigerator handles, air vents, and telephones
  • Try some powdered milk and find one that you like
  • Read for a half hour on Preparedness Pro to learn something new
  • Preserve your favorite dry foods with a FoodSaver 
    FoodSaver photo c/o foodsaverblog.com

    FoodSaver photo c/o foodsaverblog.com

     

  • Do a financial analysis of how you can allocate a bit more money each month towards eliminating debt
  • Make sure your family knows how to turn off the gas line to your home
  • Identify where all of your other water sources are
  • Attend a self-defense class
  • Attend a couponing class
  • Read the U.S. Constitution (Yup, becoming familiar with this is an act of preparedness in defense of foreign or domestic enemies.)
  • Practice target shooting at a range
  • Teach your family a “gathering plan”
  • Get your Concealed Firearm Permit
  • Learn how to use come common essential oils
  • Learn how to put up your tent all by yourself :)
  • Wax some hard cheese
  • Preserve some eggs
  • Go camping
  • Go for a 5 mile walk with the family
  • Learn a new recipe that you can make from what’s readily available in your pantry.

Bacon Potatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce

1 C. evaporated milk

1 ½ T. cornstarch

1 T. minced garlic (I prefer mine from the jar that’s in oil)

1 T. butter

1/8 t. salt

1 t. dried rosemary

1 T. of real bacon bits, or bacon flavored TVP

Two 15-ounce cans of whole potatoes, drained

Whisk the cornstarch into the milk until it is dissolved. Add the butter, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and bacon. Bring to a low boil and stir until thickened (This will take about 3 minutes.) Add the canned potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes—or until no longer hard. This side dish serves 4 nicely or you can also add some fried Spam and a drained can of corn and make it a main dish.

So which preparedness activity are you going to do this weekend?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

elephant-in-the-roomIt’s a critical consideration for any person who intends to be prepared for whatever comes their way and yet it seems too taboo to discuss.

It will assuredly save your life or that of your family, and yet many shrug it off.

In the name of goodness many folks ignore it. Yet true goodness is willing to battle evil.

It’s the difference between being prepared and being able to access your preparedness supplies. So why is it dismissed and vilified?

Self-Defense is the 3rd most critical component of preparedness (as it falls under the Physical Preparedness category), and yet it’s treated by many as the elephant in the middle of the room. We dance around it. We whisper about it. Our discomfort excuses ourselves from a conversation relating to it. Very few are willing to embrace that elephant as an asset instead of as an unwelcome guest.

Make no mistake about it. I’m not keen on taking someone’s life. However, I am more committed to protecting my life and those that I love than I am against taking someone’s life. Make no mistake about it. If my life, liberty, or virtue is threatened I will fight back decisively and in a very final manner. I’m under tall, over weight, and out of shape. I have no misconceptions that I will be able to handle a drug-crazed violent attacker with a karate chop to the groin, a “dancing flight of the beetle” move, or my sheer will. While I’m proficient at street fighting self-defense, that’s only for “just in case” when I may not be armed with my ultimate equalizer—a firearm.

concealed-carry-beltYes, firearms are dangerous—to an attacker. Yes, accidents to happen with firearms—by those who refuse to follow the rules of safety. But they are indeed the self-defense of choice in my home because they provide a critical element of surprise, an effective defense when distance is preferred, and an element of strength that I simply cannot create even with a daily 3 hour workout regime. In the name of preparedness and acknowledging the darker side of some human nature, I’ve gone from being “no way is a gun going to be in my home” to being a proficient firearms marksmen instructor, Utah Concealed Weapons Permit instructor, and the NRA’s highest certified female instructor in the Western States. Yup. That path didn’t come overnight. But it wouldn’t have come at all if I hadn’t acknowledged that elephant in the middle of the room.

Just as an example, let’s take the scenario of a mandatory quarantine. So, everyone is supposed to stay in their homes and not venture out, right? Does that mean your streets will be quiet? Does that mean that EVERYONE is going to respect the quarantine order? How about the individuals who are woefully addicted to pain medication? The pharmacies will be cleaned out after only 24 hours. So, no way for the addicts to get their prescriptions filled. No pharmacies to rob. Even if, for some reason, all of the drug dealers are able to avoid getting sick, where are the addicts going to get their supply? It will run out eventually, right? So their only hope is to rob a home in hopes that someone has some pain medications on hand. So, he chooses your house. What are your plans? To just give him the pills? To reason with him and convince him to enter rehab? Remember, you’re not dealing with a sane person. You’re not dealing with a person who has boundaries. In fact, by all intents and purposes, you’re not dealing with a person. You’re dealing with an addiction that’s clearly out of control. Do you really plan on risking everything you’ve done to protect and preserve your family for a time of crisis just to appease one drug-crazed addict? So you simply give him what he wants perhaps. If you think it’s this easy to decide and this cut and dry, I think you’ve been watching too many movies.

Photo c/o diabetes.org

Photo c/o diabetes.org

Let’s forget the drug addicts for a moment. Let’s consider a scenario that perhaps more of us can relate to. Suppose you have a 5-year-old daughter who has a serious form of diabetes. Your supply of insulin has run out. What do you do? Do you try to get more from the pharmacy as soon as you hear of a possible quarantine? Sorry, but you will be sharing that thought with hundreds of other concerned, desperate parents. Your success is not likely. So then what happens? Do you become desperate like a drug-addicted criminal? It’s possible. And I think that we don’t fully appreciate just how desperate folks can become in the name of taking care of their family—especially their children.

The obstacle for many people when they think of having to defend themselves against a crazed attack of another is they emotionally view that attacker as a human being. Unfortunately though, a person who would physically harm, maim, violate, or kill another person to get gain is NOT a human being any longer. They have instead taken on the characteristics of a wild animal. When it comes to defending yourself, you must not view the assailant as a human being. If you want to stay alive and safe, you must view an attacker as the sub-human that they have become.

This kind of a mindset does not happen overnight. You must mentally prepare yourself for what you will do, under what circumstances you will do it, what tools you need, what skills you need, and what safety procedures you will implement in order to ensure your safety in any scenario…but particularly in one which will foster looting, plunder, and violation of independence, virtue, and safety. Then you must physically prepare yourself with the SKILL and physical muscle training to put your plan into place. Remember, no one defends themselves with a firearm successfully without having mentally rehearsed it first.

bourne-self-defense-magazineIn closing, I just want to point out the obvious. Your Jason Bourne moves are only powerful in your dreams. You should be armed with a serviceable firearm as well as a decent supply of ammo. This will effectively defend you at a distance in spite of the strength and rage of an assailant. This will also give you a fighting chance against multiple assailants. My rule of thumb is that you have 1,000 rounds of ammo per caliber of firearm. Anyone who’s capable and mature enough to handle a firearm in your home should be trained to do so. While this may sound like a apocalyptic scenario, the fact of the matter is you don’t truly know how long a survival situation may last, how much hunting you may have to do for food, nor what kind of security your community may require when lawlessness steps in. Once a true emergency hits your community, your civilized way of thinking and living will be altered dramatically.

Ultimately you need to be prepared for the worst, and pray for the best.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

expiration-date-browniesIf you’ve read my articles in the past, then you know that I usually take issue with folks who are naïve and spread their ill-informed opinions around—usually to the demise or hindrance of other’s preparedness efforts. Well, yesterday I was commenting on a couponing forum to a gal about how her addiction to brownies no longer needed to be hindered by the expiration dates on her mixes if she was properly equipped with a FoodSaver. Unfortunately, a naïve, very ill-informed person got after me and claimed that it was unethical and just plain wrong for me to tell anyone that they could store any food product for that long. She even went so far as to present the grid that FoodSaver publishes which is their official claim in terms of how long food can be preserved with the benefit of a FoodSaver. (Obviously, the claims were nowhere near the time periods I had expressed.) So, today’s article is in honor of those who have been duped into believing that the expiration dates printed on a food product are some kind of a Cardinal rule to live by. And I’m even going to tell you exactly why they are not.

In a previous article I shared with you that “expiration dates are created for one reason and one reason only” and that was to protect the food manufacturers from any legal liability. It’s not liability from food poisoning so much as it is false advertising. For example, if you store your cereal that claims it has 100% of a days worth of Vitamin C, well, that won’t be accurate if you store it forever, right? Eventually the nutritional value will be lost and yet they will still have printed on the box an assertion regarding the Vitamin C content. With this article however, I’m also going to show you a couple of other darker sides in the use of expiration dates.

One of my food storage heroes, Wendy Dewitt

One of my food storage heroes, Wendy Dewitt

First of all, let’s face it. Food doesn’t poison a person. Germs and molds IN the food do. So let’s make sure we’re battling the correct culprit here. If you can store a food in such a way that you inhibit the growth of “critters,” then you will outlast the deadline of any expiration date on the planet. Oxygen, light, and heat are your enemies when it comes to preserving food. If you can control the exposure your food has to those beastly enemies, then you can control the longevity of your foods. One of my personal food storage heroes, Wendy DeWitt, has successfully stored Snickers candy bars for eight years by adhering to this battle plan. (How she refrained from eating it that long is beyond me.) The Snickers tasted just as wonderful as it did the day she bought it. I have successfully stored brown sugar, brown rice, oats, Keebler Fudge-Striped Cookies, nuts, chocolate chips, Peanut M&Ms, pudding mixes, Rice-a-Roni, and other packaged foods (even with hydrogenated oils) successfully in my cool, dry, basement for over 10 years by eliminating oxygen, light, and heat!

Of course there’s no manufacturer on the planet that is going to say “You can store this $2 box of cake mix for 10 years, so stock up when they are on sale and never think about buying them again for 10 years”, right? Think about this for a moment. You can store sugar for years and years. You can store cocoa for years. You can store spices for years. And you can store oils for years. So what makes a package of brownie mix exempt from being stored just as long? Oh. It’s that mean, ole’, ugly, expiration date on there, eh?

Rotting macaroni. Photo c/o wichita.edu

Rotting macaroni. Photo c/o wichita.edu

This leads me to another one of the dirty little secrets of the food manufacturing industry. Another key reason for issuing an expiration date on a particular product (and in some cases their 1st consideration) is for marketing purposes. They don’t want you to take advantage of that special at the grocery store in which you can get a box of brownie mix for only .47 cents, stock up, and not buy their brownie mix again for years. Their strategy, when they work with retailers to create a special sale, as well as print and distribute coupons, is that you will TRY a product that you may not have tried otherwise, and/or to increase their sales by 3-12% in order to keep stockholders happy. But darn it. They can’t combat the savvy couponers out there who will stock up on products when such deals come along and who then buys 10 boxes of brownies, or cereal, or pasta sauce, etc. So what counter measures do they employ in order to force even the coupon crazies to fall in line and buy the product again and again? They convince the consumers that the food will be rotten, disgusting, and just plain scary after the expiration date. This isn’t about rationing food or keeping you safe, folks. This is about selling more product. Tell me you haven’t fallen for it before? Sure the cereal tastes stale after it’s sat in your pantry for too long. But you didn’t repackage it, did you? Sure you’ve had salad dressing that goes rancid after being stored too long. But that doesn’t make the expiration date rule the be all and end all for every food. (Note: I haven’t found a way to make salad dressing last much longer than 6 months outside of refrigeration past the expiration date. So instead I like to also store items that I can successfully MAKE dressings with to use on my sprouts.) 

Also, here’s another little secret to let you in on. When the coloring changes in a food, it does NOT mean that the original nutritional value has been altered yet.

About 8 years ago I read a study that the Army had done to determine the expiration of MREs. (I WISH I had known that I would be writing like this professionally many years later so that I could provide it to you. But even a lengthy look on Google didn’t turn up anything—yet.) While MREs are indeed created to undergo more extreme storage conditions, the key results of the study were interesting. The Army study discovered that despite the intended expiration date of 3 years the meals continued to provide their original nutrition value for 25 years and only then began to have coloration variances.

Just in case some of you are wondering what the heck a FoodSaver has to do with significantly extending the life of your foods, I’ll remind you of one of my well-used tactics.

Foodsaver lid. Photo c/o cabelas.com

Foodsaver lid. Photo c/o cabelas.com

You can stuff a Mason jar with any dry ingredient such as rice, nuts, chocolate chips, granola, etc. Place the lid, no ring, on the jar. Connect the air port from the FoodSaver to your Mason Jar attachment with the hose that comes with the FoodSaver. Place the jar attachment on top of your jar. Turn on your FoodSaver, and bzzzzzz…a moment later you have successfully sucked out the oxygen from your jar. After doing so you should store it away from heat and regular light. As such you will win the battle against expiration dates.

Foodsaver Canister

Foodsaver Canister

Here’s some really good news. As it turns out, if you have the canisters that typically come with the FoodSaver, you don’t need the Mason Jar attachment. All you have to do is put the jar with the lid on it inside the canister and then seal the canister like you would with anything else inside. Doing so actually sucks the air out of your jar. Simply remove the seal to the canister once you’ve done the seal process and then store your jar. Pretty cool, eh? (To be on the extra safe side, I would use the jar sealer though if I had my druthers.) The nice thing is WHEN you do get into that jar of Peanut M&Ms, so long as you don’t ruin the lid trying to dig in feverishly, you can simply reseal the jar again and again. In fact, since your seal is not reliant on the rubber ring getting hot, you can even use old lids that you may have left over from other canning projects. Simply make sure they are nice and clean when you use them.

Just in case any of you are looking for the jar attachments, FoodSaver isn’t offering the regular sized one right now, only the wide-mouth. But a Google search will easily pull up several options for you.

Well, I hope that clears up expiration dates for you. And I hope that you are never duped by them again.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Photo c/o Self-Reliant Sisters

Photo c/o Self-Reliant Sisters

Far too many folks I’ve spoken to have shared with me that they have their 72 hour kit and thus are ready for an emergency. Before I go into detail about the contents of 72 hour kits, I’d like to make perfectly clear that 72 hours kits serve one purpose and one purpose only – to aid you IF you are forced to flee your home and relocate somewhere else for safety and supplies.

That’s right. A 72 hour kit is not to live off of through the duration of a disaster. For crying out loud, you’ve got teenagers whose meltdowns last longer than 72 hours. What kind of a silly person would think that a 72 hour kit is intended as survival for anything else but to aid in a “bug out” scenario? 

I will admit, I have 2 levels of “72 hour kits.” I have one that is VERY minimalistic in a large backpack, and I have another one that is much more inclusive and requires my rolling suitcase or a hand-pulled wagon to be mobile. If I’m unfortunate enough to have to travel in the midst of an emergency, then there’s a pretty good chance that I would be able to throw on the backpack and still pull the rolling 72 hour kit behind me as well.

That said, I want to remind folks that there should be sufficient consideration for providing mobility for those in your home who may not be able to carry their own 72 hour kit. I’ve seen folks pack enormous 72 hour backpack kits for their 4 year old daughter. Ugh! If you’ve got young ones or fragile elderly that are accompanying you on your emergency trek, be sure to pack sufficient supplies AND make sure that you’ve got a wagon or something to ensure that everybody and everything is mobile in case you aren’t able to travel via automobile. 

HugaMonkey Baby Sling

HugaMonkey Baby Sling

Wagons, bicycles, bike side-cars, jogging strollers, carts, and rolling suitcases are great resources to transport your belongings. Be sure that you also consider a carrier for the young ones that don’t interfere in your own mobility. (I HIGHLY recommend the HugaMonkey Baby Slings. They work well with newborns in sleep/nursing position, as well as babies a bit older in the forward or on the hip position.)

Another consideration is the transportation of your pets. Are they the kind that can safely join you on a voyage or will they require that you carry them? Do you intend to take them with you? If so, do you have the necessary supplies so they can endure a 72 hour period safely as well? I’ve managed to raise two “sissys” with my little pooches. They aren’t the big husky kind of dogs. So a leash WITH a harness would definitely be necessary for them but so will some accommodation for relief from lengthy walking. I have foot covers for them so that they won’t experience too much strain on their feet in comparison to the carpeting. (Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I’ve raised two wimps.)

The key to a quality 72 hour kit is to minimize the impact of the size and space of everything you are packing. This is why I use coupons to obtain trial sizes of items (for free usually). Bug out or not, you still need to have everything available that you use on a regular basis. Hygiene, clothing, sanitation, food, water, clothing, medical, light source, utensils, shelter, self-defense, communication supplies, bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, some currency, etc., etc., etc. It’s not a bad idea to have a 72 hour kit available in your office as well. The likelihood of you being at work when all heck breaks loose is substantial.

You also need to be sure that you’ve properly packaged the items in your 72 hour kit. When I’ve done home assessments for emergency preparedness, 72 hour kits are frequently accompanied by granola bars that are old, dry, and pungent! Yuck! So, not only do you need to package items so they stay usable, but you also need to refresh items in your 72 hour kits. You can’t afford to create them and then forget them.

72-hr-kit-living-willImportant documents are also critical to have on hand in your 72 hour kit. Let’s face it. If you’re having to use your kit, it won’t be under ideal circumstances. Having copies of items such as your will, deed to the home, title to the car, drivers licenses, birth certificates, wedding certificate, etc. should all be a part of your 72 hour kit. Such evidence may make the difference between you being allowed into “door number 1” or a less desirable “door number 2.” You may also want to sock away an emergency debit or credit card in your kit as well.

Tomorrow I’ll provide for you a detailed list of supplies I recommend for your 72 hour kit. Until then, keep prepping!

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

(Sorry folks. It had to be addressed eventually.)

This will either be the worst article you’ve read from me, or, if you’re female, it may be one of the best.

menses-preparation-TampaxLadies, exactly what do you intend to do during a prolonged emergency survival situation when you’re not able to obtain feminine products which you’ve grown accustomed to? I admit, I’m storing loads of these kinds of products, but frankly, I’m intending to use feminine pads as bandages, if necessary.

Keeping in mind that sanitation is critical to the health of everyone around you, and the fact that a hot running water shower won’t come easily, I think it’s important that women take alternative options into consideration in dealing with their menses.

Realize that the comfort and care of a female during this period of time may not be isolated solely to experienced women. If you are the mother of a young daughter who happens to enter this phase of her life during a survival situation, it can be pretty traumatic if she has to do so the way the pioneers handled it. (ie: stuffing rags, ergo the term we hear sometimes today, “on the rag.”)

So what are your options? Well, you can store a lot of feminine pads and tampons and take up a lot of valuable space in your storage. Or you can plan on doing it the pioneer way by ripping strips of rags to use in lieu of a tampon and constantly change them, thus using lots of fuel and water to sanitize them. Or you can use a menstrual cup.

DivaCup photo c/o gladrags.com

DivaCup photo c/o gladrags.com

A menstrual cup resembles a diaphragm. It is reusable and easy to sanitize with some potable water and a mild soap. They are about 2 inches long and about 3 inches in diameter. The good ones are made of a soft plastic silicon for comfort. (Beware of those made with latex!) They are inserted much like a tampon would be and they collect the menses flow. They do not absorb the flow. Unlike tampons, there have been no reports of Toxic Shock Syndrome associated with their use. A menstrual cup can even be left in place for 12 hours on light flow days without any adverse consequences.

You should plan on having one menstrual cup per year per person—contrary to what the advertisements say about using one for 10 years. I definitely would NOT plan on relying on that statement. A menstrual cup should not be used for any other purpose and it should not be shared with any other person after use.

The cost of a quality menstrual cup is about $35-$40. Frankly, considering the cost of feminine pads and tampons, it’s no wonder menstrual cups are used regularly in many European countries. I recommend the DivaCuptm.  It has extensive benefits vs. more generic and less researched brands and it does not contain any latex or nitrosamine. You can obtain them easily at drugstore.com where there have been times when I’ve seen great discounts there for any item you purchase.

Ok. Well, now that I’ve gotten that topic out of the way, tune in for less “icky” topics. :)

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

By Kellene Bishop

Pandemic or not, the time to prepare is now. Photo c/o ehow.com/

Pandemic or not, the time to prepare is now. Photo c/o ehow.com/

A lot of folks are e-mailing me or commenting that they don’t buy into all of this “hoopla” about the Swine Flu. My response is that it doesn’t matter whether or not the Swine flu amounts to anything at this moment, you STILL need to prepare for it. The point is that you should be preparing for the Swine Flu, Avian Flu, or Alien flu (yes, I made that up) the same way that you prepare for any other “disaster.” The only significance of the Swine Flu is the matter of timing. Due to the flu season and school starting back up, we MAY be looking at an imminent pandemic threat very soon. The fact of the matter is, you all still have a lot to do to get prepared to survive without all of your niceties that you’re used to. Just because the Swine Flu flurry may be perpetuated unnecessarily doesn’t make it any less of a circumstance to reckon ourselves with. I think that the issue with the Swine Flu being so pervasive in our minds is simply that it’s something that’s a bit more real to us. The timing of it is more visible. No one (who’s willing to admit it anyway) saw 9/11 coming. No one saw the damage that the tsunami was going to bring with it, and no one saw the complete disaster and horrible aftermath that Hurricane Katrina let loose on Louisiana either. Ask yourself, if you had a major earthquake tomorrow, would you be prepared? If your children all came down with some nasty flu and you were quarantined, would you be prepared?

Whether or not the Swine Flu ends up being equivalent to the Spanish Flu of 1918 is irrelevant. Yes, the Spanish Flu killed hundreds of millions of people. Yes, it affected virtually every part of the earth, even the Arctic and remote islands of the Pacific. But its biggest danger was that it came to people who were unaware, unlearned, and unprepared for such an instance. Thus what’s truly important is that you prepare for a pandemic situation like it right now while you can.

Here is a list of items for you that I recommend you have on hand in case you do end up having a patient who’s ill with a highly contagious flu virus. You will want to cordon off a room in your home for the care of such a person in order to avoid the unnecessary spreading of the virus. This list takes into consideration that you may or may not have electricity. (Obviously, this list is not all inclusive)

Items to Cordon Off a Sick Room

  • Air filter                     
  • Fan                                         
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Shower Curtain        
  • Sheets/pillow cases               
  • Heavy blankets          
  • Cot/bed                      
  • Bleach                                    
  • Rubber gloves            
  • Air masks                   
  • Hair ties                                 
  • Shower caps              
  • Thermometers           
  • Multiple sets of sheets                       
  • Ways to keep sick room dark           
  • Washcloths                
  • Portable water bins               
  • Capacity to heat water w/o electricity
  • Towels (paper and cloth)

 Items Necessary for the Comfort of Patient

  • Fabric for bandages (sanitize) 
  • Baby wipes
  • Anti-diarrhea meds
  • Anbesol                                      
  • Listerine
  • Chloraseptic
  • Whiskey
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice
  • Water, water, water
  • Salt
  • Multi-vitamins
  • Herbal teas
  • Essential oils
  • Lotions
  • Washcloths
  •  Towels
  • Multiple sets of sheets

    Thieves Oil photo c/o aromatherapyliving.com

    Thieves Oil photo c/o aromatherapyliving.com

  • Air flow
  • Visine
  • Hot packs
  • Cold packs 
  • Lavender
  • Garlic/garlic oil
  • Thieves Oil/products
  • Lanacane
  • Pain/fever relievers*
  • Vaporizers (battery operated)
  • Oversized T-shirts 
  • Gowns
  • Vicks Vaporub
  • Icy Hot
  • SOFT facial tissues
  • SOFT toilet paper
  • Gauze            
  • Medical tape
  • Neosporin                           
  • Hot water bottle
  • Straws
  • Allergy meds                          
  • Ensure               
  • Band-aids
  • Q-tips                         
  • Cotton balls 
  • Meal-in-bed tray
  • Eye dropper               
  • Mouth dropper
  • Books
  • Juice                        
  • Baby monitor
  • Pen/notebook for records
  • Anti-bacterial soap    
  • Olive leaf extract
  • Yarrow root
  • Goldenseal                 
  • Hot Toddy

    Hot Toddy

    Red sage

  • Raspberry leaves
  • Catnip                                  
  • Oregano oil
  • Sage oil
  • Bragg’s Amino acids                         
  • Scar therapy pads      
  • Hemorrhoid ointment
  • Baby bottle                                        
  • Rubbing alcohol        
  • Bed pans
  • Deodorizer                                         
  • Walker                                   
  • Sleep aids          
  • Crackers                     
  • Cough medicine* (or makings for a hot toddy: 1 T of whiskey, 1 T honey, 1 T lemon, 1 C. of hot water)
  • Pain relievers (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen)*                     
  • Simple proteins (peanut butter, canned chicken)
  • Pedialyte ( Recipe: 1 liter H2O, 2 T sugar or honey, 1/4 t salt, 1/4 t baking soda)
  • Hot cereals (cream of wheat and oatmeal are best on the stomach)
  • Anti-Nausea treatment (crystallized ginger, chamomile, mint tea, crackers)

*Remember infant versions too

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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