"I fear that so many feel that a long-term supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all. Begin in a small way…gradually build toward a reasonable objective.” -President Gordon B. Hinckley,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bugging In

"Bugging out" is the when you must evacuate your home and search for a safer area in the event of a large disaster. Sometimes, bugging out is not necessary or the best decision. The alternative is called “Bugging In.” Bugging In or hunkering down during a large-scale disaster can present many challenges. Most often the utilities we depend on are shut down – known as “Grid-Down.” Disasters can devastate our most critical services including water supply, hospitals, waste and trash removal, transportation options, fuel and grocery supplies, natural gas lines, electricity, phone service, and even public safety. A Grid-Down scenario can last for several days or even weeks. During this time, you must be able to provide basic survival needs for you and your family.

We are counseled by church leaders to obtain our year supply of food. We should be prepared to spend a minimum of 2 weeks during a Bug In. Start with just 3 days and work your way up from there.

Our basic human survival needs remain the exact same no matter where we are in the world or what circumstances we face. They will always be: shelter, water, fire, food, first aid, and self-defense. The order of priority may change, but the basic categories will not. Here is a brief breakdown of each category including several solutions to consider for a short-term Bug In scenario.


During a Bug In scenario, shelter may seem fairly obvious. It is your primary place of residence. However, there is more to shelter than just a roof over your head. Shelter must protect us from the elements – even if access to modern utilities is limited or nonexistent. Shelter becomes your #1 priority in cold conditions. You must have alternative heating solutions in place just in case a disaster strikes during cold weather. Some excellent and affordable options are wood burning fireplaces, kerosene heaters, and portable propane heaters.

Kerosene heaters retail for just over $100. They don’t require electricity and are very easy and safe to operate. The fuel (kerosene) also has an extremely long shelf life – I’ve heard of 20-year-old fuel burning just fine.

A small propane heater can last 4-6 hours on one tank. The portable Buddy Propane heater is safe for indoor use. Retail price around $90. For smaller spaces, portable emergency propane heaters are excellent solutions.  Extra propane canisters are easy to store as well.

Wood burning fireplace/stove/insert.Retail $1500+, but can save you money on your electric or gas bill every winter. If you choose to install a stove make sure to get one like mine (pictured) that you can cook/boil water on.

  1. Other home (and car) heating tips: Close off certain rooms of your house and ‘move in’ to the room with the heat source. Close doors or hang blankets to zone out other areas.
  2. Hang blankets in front of large windows to reduce heat loss.
  3. Have good blankets and sleeping bags on hand to help keep you and your family warm.
  4. Just one candle can warm the inside of a freezing car as much as 8 degrees.


Whether you use a well or depend on municipal water service, a disaster can put a stop to your flow of fresh drinking water. Without water you can die in as little as 3 days. The best short-term Bug In water solution is to simply store extra water in your place of residence. You can buy commercially bottled water by the case/gallon or you can bottle and store your own water in food-grade containers.
A very popular do-it-yourself water storage solution is re-purposed 2-liter pop bottles.There are countless water storage solutions available ranging from fancy interlocking containers to 55-gallon drums. You’ll have to choose a solution that is right for your environment, budget, and consumption needs. Always store your water in a cool place away from full sun exposure.


During a Bug In scenario, fire represents two categories: warmth (which we’ve covered) and cooking. I recommend your emergency meals be very simple to prepare, requiring no cooking at all, if possible. However, it’s important that you have an alternative cooking solution in place to cook meals and boil water if necessary.  A few options are:
  1. Fireplace or Wood Burning Stove
  2. BBQ grill
  3. Natural Fuel Rocket Stoves
  4. Camp stove
Stove Tech 2 door stove with Metal liner


 Think “open and eat meals.” Ideally, your emergency food rations will consist of meals that require 
 little to no preparation. Boiling water for reconstitution should be the most complicated step of any 
 emergency food ration. Your food preps should also have a long shelf life and not require 
 refrigeration. There’s no sense in stocking your shelves with fresh vegetables that are going to rot in a few days or with frozen dinners that will go bad without electricity. It’s very easy to over complicate food storage. Keep it simple!
Freeze dried food- just add hot water
  1. Military Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) 
  2. Freeze Dried/Dehydrated Meals  
  3. Store-Bought Canned Goods/Packaged Foods
  4. Can Your Own Food
  5. Hunting, Farming, Gardening, and Gathering

First Aid

You may not be able to leave your house. Hospitals and pharmacies may not be open. The most important thing in this category is prescription medicines. If you or a loved one is dependent on some kind of medicine then you need to have enough on hand to get you through a short-term Bug In disaster. Explain to your doctor that you are preparing an emergency kit and you would like to have an extra refill for that kit. These medicines need to be monitored and rotated just like food. Ensure that your first aid kit is fully stocked.


Disasters create abnormal circumstances. First responders (and public safety) are always overwhelmed. Response times are always delayed. 911 is always inundated with calls. Phone and internet services (land and cell) are often interrupted. Disasters can drive good people to do things they would not normally do. 

 Home Security
Simple and inexpensive upgrades to your home’s security can be very effective in preventing successful break-ins during disaster scenarios. A few basic upgrades can include:

  1. Solid metal or wood doors – no decorative glass.
  2. Dead-bolt on every outside door.
  3. Consider an inside mounted door bar for added security.
  4. “Beware of Dog” sign even if you just have a cat or goldfish. Criminals are looking for easy targets.
  5. Upgraded door hardware with deep-set 3” screws.
  6. Exterior motion lights (solar-powered) – front and back.
  7. ‘Defensive’ rose bushes below each ground-level window.
  8. Upgraded window locks / cut wood-block stoppers for inside.
  9. Well-advertised video alarm system – whether you have one or not.

 Self-Defense Tools & Training

Guns are the obvious home defense weapon.This is a personal choice. If you choose to own a weapon ensure that you and your family know how to use it. Firearms training and practice are crucial elements to gun ownership and effective self-defense. Other self-defense tools include pepper spray and stun guns.

Two things many people forget:

1. Know how to turn off your utilities. Disasters have a way of damaging electrical lines/circuits, gas lines, and water lines. If yours are affected you may need to turn them off. Make sure you have the proper tools (and knowledge) to quickly and safely disconnect all of your utilities.
2. Disasters can also affect sewage systems and trash removal. Store extra heavy-duty trash bags to contain human waste and trash just in case. It’s important to maintain a very sanitary bug-in environment. A 5-gallon bucket lined with a trash bag makes a suitable makeshift toilet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

52 Weeks to Preparedness- Week 52

Food Storage: 5 quarts of cooking oil

Extra Item: 2 quarts of peanut butter

Family Preparedness: Continue with your preparation. You never know when an emergency may happen.

Spiritual Preparedness: Strive to continue to study the scriptures and the Ensign magazine, and to keep the commandments of God.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dry Pack Canning at home- #10 cans

I have been waiting for Winco to open in Las Vegas for a while and a couple months ago I got my wish. Winco offers many bulk items that are great for dry pack canning that you can't purchase at the LDS cannery.
 The week I had the canner I did 43 #10 cans of dry items that I had already purchased and cook with to make sure that I was comfortable using that item.  My list is as follows: Potato slices, Potato shreds, Rotini pasta, Fettuccine, Angel Hair, Honey almond granola,  pancake mix, powdered sugar, and salt.

 On average this is how much a #10 can held of each product.
Potato Slices- 1 lb 3 oz
Potato Shreds- 1 lb 11 oz
Rotini Pasta- 2 lbs 4 oz  20# took 9 cans
Fettuccine (had to be broke in half to fit in the can) -  4 lbs  20# took 5 cans
Angel Hair (had to be broke in half to fit in the can)-  5 lbs  40# took 8 cans
Granola- 3lbs 1 1/4 oz
Pancake mix- 4 lbs
Powdered Sugar- 3lb 10oz
Salt- 7lb

Dry pack canning at home is cheaper than purchasing from a company who has already canned the item for you. For example: I paid about $4 for a complete #10 can of potato slices, but if that were to be purchased from Emergency Essentials that item is $6.95 plus shipping.

                    Even my 17 month old got into canning, but her priorities were her toys.

52 Weeks to Preparedness- Week 51

Food Storage: 8 cans of tomato sauce

Extra Item: 8 rolls of toilet paper

Family Preparedness: Check the batteries in your smoke detectors. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher.

Spiritual Preparedness: Go to lds.org, look up a favorite conference talk, and discuss it with your family.

52 Weeks to Preparedness- Week 50

Food Storage: 2 lb of Bouillon cubes

Extra Item: 30 pounds of beans

Family Preparedness: Review your disaster plan with all members of your family.

Spiritual Preparedness: Read D&C 88:119. Pray with your spouse as well as your family.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Potato Slices and Potato Shreds

 I have been experimenting with my food storage items by cooking our normal meals with food storage. With this experiment I used the Potato Slices and made scalloped potatoes.

Dehydrated Potato Slices #10 Can 20 oz

I started by re-hydrating the slices. I added about a 1/2 pound of slices and enough hot water to cover them. It took about 20-30 minutes for them to re-hydrate.

Once re-hydrated they felt just like a raw potato. I layered them in my pan then topped with cheese. (repeat until pan is as full as you desire)

On the stove top I mixed my powdered milk, salt, whole wheat flour, and butter. Bring to a simmer and then pour over the potatoes and cheese.

Bake at 350 F. Covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 60 minutes or until cheese is golden.

 It was delicious and you couldn't tell it was food storage. Enjoy!!

Potato Shreds

With this meal I made a Farmer's Casserole with Potato Shreds

Dehydrated Potato Shreds #10 Can 23 oz

I re-hydrated about 8 oz of shreds with enough hot water to cover them. They re-hydrated in about 15 minutes.

 In a separate bowl mix 1 1/2 cups of milk ( 1 1/2 cups water + 4 1/2 T of non- instant powdered milk), 4 eggs (8T water + 4T powdered egg), 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/8 tsp of pepper.

 Arrange potatoes evenly and sprinkle with cheese, green onions, and ham. Then pour egg mixture over the potatoes.

Bake 350F uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

 Another delicious meal made with food storage. The next items to change will be using freeze dried cheese instead of fresh cheese.

52 Weeks to Preparedness -Week 49

Food Storage: Fruit drink (to make 30 quarts)

Extra Item: 20 lb of oats

Family Preparedness: Be informed. Visit www.READY.gov or obtain a copy of “Preparing Makes Sense, Get Ready Now” by calling 1-800-BE-READY.

Spiritual Preparedness: Use the Preach My Gospel Manual for Family Home Evening lessons and
pray for opportunities to have missionary experiences.

52 Weeks to Preparedness-Week 48

Food Storage: 8 cans of vegetables

Extra Item: 30 pounds of rice

Family Preparedness: What would you do if there were an emergency in your community? Discuss this with your family.

Spiritual Preparedness: Attend the temple this week!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

52 Weeks to Preparedness- Week 47

Food Storage: 8 cans of fruit
Extra Item: 8 rolls of toilet paper
Family Preparedness: Review "One for the Money"  by Elder Marvin J Ashton, September 2007 Ensign
Spiritual Preparedness: Read and use the talks found in the April Ensign in Family Home Evening.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

52 Weeks to Preparedness- Week 46

Food Storage: 30 pounds of wheat or flour

Extra Item: 11 pounds of macaroni or spaghetti

Family Preparedness: Complete a contact card for each family member. Have each family member keep the cards handy in their wallets, purse, backpack, etc. These cards should include important phone numbers, including a contact that lives out of the area.

Spiritual Preparedness: Read "The Healing Power of Forgiveness" by President James E. Faust. Ensign, May 2007, p. 67

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

52 Weeks to Preparedness Week 45

Food Storage: Nonfat dry milk, 8.5 pounds

Extra Item: 1 pound of yeast, baking powder and baking soda

Family Preparedness: Teach your family to stop, drop and roll, as well as other safety guidelines.

Spiritual Preparedness: Read Alma 37:35 Strive to teach your children to keep the commandments of God.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

52 Weeks to Preparedness- Week 44

Food Storage: 8 cans of soup

Extra Item: 2 months of laundry soap

Family Preparedness: Learn how and teach all family members how to turn off the natural gas or propane tank, water, and power to the house.

Spiritual Preparedness: Read "Life's Lessons Learned" by Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 2007, p. 45

52 Weeks to Preparedness-Week 43

Food Storage: 8 cans of meat
Extra Item: 8 rolls of toilet paper
Family Preparedness:  check all windows around the house and make sure they work properly to use as an exit, in case of an emergency. Teach all family members how to operate the windows and give specific permission to break their window if it will not open in a TRUE emergency.
Spiritual Preparedness: Read Mosiah 4:6-12
Trust in the Lord and turn to Him for help.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Does your home look like a General Store?


 Down through the ages, prophets have called us to action – to prepare ourselves and our families both spiritually and temporally for tests and opposition. While Noah called the world to repent, he and his family followed God’s command to build an Ark. And Joseph with his coat of many colors was first betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery, then became a ruler of Egypt - eventually ruling over his brothers, and saving their families temporally through his provident leadership. We learn from the Book of Mormon: "But behold, this was an advantage to the Nephites; for it was impossible for the robbers to lay siege sufficiently long to have any effect upon the Nephites, because of their much provisions which they had laid up in store."(3 Nephi chapter 4)

Why a General Store? Just generations ago, a General Store was the source of all the basic goods required to care for and sustain a family. A General Store stocked food, clothing, fabric, gardening tools, seeds, medications, shoes - everything you needed. There was a post office tucked in one corner and often a bank in another.  

You too can create a General Store in your home and become ready for whatever may come. What can you do to get started? 

1. Think of this project as self-reliance, not just emergency preparedness or food storage. It is only through being self-reliant that we are truly prepared to care for our families, and sometimes others as well.  

2. Self-Reliance is more than food storage. Think back to our General Store. It is food, camping supplies in case of a disaster which drives us from our home, car kits in case we become stranded while traveling, 72 hour kits in case we need to flee quickly, stamps, cash, first aid, and medical supplies. If you are currently serving in Scouting, you may want to begin with items you can use while on scout outings, such as a camp stove. Camp stoves are a must have during any power outage, and part of a great General Store. 

3. It doesn't matter where or how you begin, just begin. The Lord will bless your efforts if you will just show your commitment by taking a first step, then a second. Purchase just two or three extra cans of food each week. Ask for camping supplies or a Dutch oven for your birthday or anniversary.  

4. You are the best judge of what to stock. No one knows better than you how your family eats, what your job situation is, or what natural disasters may occur in your area. If your family loves peaches and doesn't like apricots, don't store apricots. I have seen charts that tell you to store 5 gallons of oil per person. I wouldn't use that much oil in ten years, no less one, but you may. Make a list of the foods your family likes and start there to build a three month supply. Don't forget spices and condiments which make an ordinary meal extraordinary. 

5. Once you have decided which foods you want to store, begin stocking your store with a three month supply of those foods. Think about your storage in terms of the food pyramid. Store foods from each food group: fruit and vegetables, meat (proteins), dairy, and grains.  If you don't know how to cook with wheat don't store wheat, at least not until you learn how to use it, but store other grains. The Church has never told us what we need to store, they have only made suggestions based on foods that are inexpensive, nutritious, and have a long shelf life. You must consider for yourself such issues as food allergies, food preferences and your ability to prepare items – thus, which foods to store. A dairy farmer would probably not store much powdered milk. You can have an excellent food store plan without a bean in sight. 

6. Complete a three month supply of the foods you eat before beginning on your long term storage. Having three months of foodstuffs stored allows you time to plant and harvest fruits and veggies to supplement your long term storage. Remember the seeds I mentioned that you could always purchase at a General Store? Three months also allows you time to begin incorporating more of your long term storage items into your everyday diet. 

7. Avoid debt. You should not go into debt for food storage or other items needed for your General Store. There are many ways to reduce spending and shop wisely to get everything you may need. Once self-reliance becomes a priority, the possibilities will begin to be obvious. 

8. It is important to have some cash on hand. During a true emergency, banks may close and credit cards may become useless without the electricity to run card processing equipment. Again, start small and avoid the temptation to spend that pocket change. Every time you skip a meal out and eat at home instead, place the money you would have spent in a special jar and don't touch it! 

9. Educate yourself. There are many great books, forums, websites and blogs which can help. There are experts in your own ward and stake - ask them for help. 

10. Be prayerful. Heavenly Father has always helped those who have made the sacrifice and commitment to live his counsel.  He will help you too.  

11. Never give up. If you get discouraged, ask for help. If money runs low, adjust your purchasing and/or re-examine your spending habits.