Friday, May 6, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Binder

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For a while now, I have been working on making an emergency preparedness binder. I wanted to have a place to keep everything organized and tracked. I am not at perfection (I am sure it will take me years), but I think I am far enough to share my progress so far so you can get thinking about how to track your own emergency preparedness items.

When you open my binder, the first thing you see is my 6 Month Check List. I like to review things every six months. So this is as list so I know if I have done it all and to remind myself what I am doing. On my list are:
  • Check smoke detectors
  • Food storage inventory
  • 72 Hour kit updates
  • Safe Inventory
  • Finance Inventory
  • Car Kits
I build these things up slowly, so every six months I do an inventory and give myself a goal for that next six months. 

I then have five tabs for five different sections. They are Food Storage Tracking, Food Usage Tracking, Water Storage, Emergency Kits, and Recipes.

Food Storage Tracking

The first section is my food storage tracking. In this section, I list every major group of food (grains, legumes, dairy, fats/oils, sugars, fruits, etc.). I start by calculating how much we need for our family for one year (OH! PS--our new goal is one year of food storage--we are almost done!). I then count and track how much our family has stored at the time. This is all in one table. Then I can easily glance at my table and see what I still need. I then have more tables where I can list what I have bought since the calculations so I don't have to update numbers constantly. 

Food Usage Tracking
The next section is my food usage. This is where I attempt to figure out how much of any given category we eat in a year. This is my plan.

I evaluate how much we have. So say on April 1, I do my evaluations. I write down our total pounds of each category.. So say for rice I had 360 pounds. 

Six months later, I evaluate again. So October 1 I do evaluations (inventory). October 1, I have 300 pounds of rice left. So that tells me we went through 60 pounds of rice in six months. My guess would then be we would use 120 in a year. But I would do an inventory in another six months because eating habits change in winter and summer. 

This is my attempt to make sure we store what we use and eat--and that we store the correct amounts.

My mom makes fun of me for some of the things I store. She tells me I won't be making cookies if I am in a "food storage usage" position, but I am here to tell you, cookies will be made! (Party at my house in case of natural disaster).

Water Storage
My next section is water storage. I have water storage guidelines (how to safely store, how to purify, and how much to store). I also have water storage tracking sheet here. 

Emergency Kits

The next section is a broad one: emergency kits. This includes our emergency car kits, our pet emergency kits, our 72 Hour Kits, and our Important Documents list. 

I have a table made for each type of emergency kit. It includes what we need and places to mark off what we have. 

My trusted documents list includes a column for our 72 hour kits, various safes, and trusted contact.

Last, but not least, is recipes. This is my collection of foods you can make entirely from food storage items. This way, we will be able to use everything we have stored. These are beyond my every-day usage--just food storage recipes.

I hate to print paper over and over, so I am always trying to find ways to print once and use repeatedly. I have made several books that I have printed, laminated, and use a wet-erase marker on and it works really well. But I figured my emergency preparedness needs would be more dynamic that that--meaning to laminate and bind something would lock me into something that I might want to change 6 months from now.

So I went with page protectors. I figured the wet erase would work on those, too. They work, but not well. They smear easily (see my picture under "food storage tracking")--at least on the page protectors with no texture to them. So I might try writing in pencil and erasing until things look bad enough I need to print a new paper. 

There you have it! I would absolutely love to hear how you keep track of your food storage and emergency kits/documents! Please share ideas!

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SJ said...

First I love your blog and it has been super helpful recently with my 3 month old son. Second this binder is a great idea. We live in CA so earthquakes are familiar territory. My daughter starts preschool in the fall and her school is implementing an emergency preparedness plan starting this year. At the beginning of the school year, you bring in a supply pack for your child with some snacks, water, a blanket, family pic, etc so that in the event of an emergency where the kids would be stuck at school they would have basic supplies to last at least a short while. We only live about a block from the school so hopefully we'd always be able to get her if disaster struck, but I still think it's a great plan. The emergency binder is probably something that people don't often think of having handy but it's a really good idea. Thanks for writing such a great blog!

The Nilsen's Journey said...

I'm sorry, why would you need a 1 year supply? And what do you do about expirations? Also, your recepies? Would you share them? Have you considered needing to make the dinners without electricity (I'm guessing if you need 1 year supply for food, you won't have electricity either...)

liz22 said...

This is interesting. Do you use your food supply throughout the year as you would regular groceries and just replace as it goes or does it sit in the basement or someplace for safekeeping? If it is stored somewhere, what do you do when it all expires? Start over?

Emily said...

WOW. I am ALWAYS in awe and amazement of you!!!!!! You are my ultimate mommy and the one I hope I can someday be! I can't imagine putting all of this you live in an area where there's a high chance of needing it??? I guess where I live I never even THOUGHT of that!!!

Austyn said...

While this is not something that I do or plan to do (long term food storage), I do respect it immensely. It take a lot of commitment and planning to cycle through that much food appropriately. Just yesterday I had to throw away some sour cream that I didn't even know was in the fridge (quite expired) after having already bought more. This post gets me thinking about things I would like to do for our family for emergency preparedness.

Elizabeth said...

At my husband's request, we, too, have been working on having a year's worth of food stored. I'd be very curious to know what your reasons are (if you're willing to share). I know some religions (Latter Day Saints) believe in having a year's supply of food, though that isn't why we are doing it. You organized system looks great! I'm definitely going to share some of these lists with him.

Plowmanators said...

SJ you are welcome! We live in an area of possible earthquakes, though we haven't had any in a very long time...knock on wood.

Plowmanators said...

Nilsen's Journey,

A one year supply covers lots of things. One is it is helpful at times (like currently) when food prices go up due to droughts/freezes/whatever so you don't have to spend money buying things that have an elevated price.

It is helpful in case of job loss. I know lots of people who have been out of work for that long in our current economic situation (or longer), so that is a big help.

I think in the case of an emergency, having a one year supply would enable you to help neighbors in need, also.

But first, a three month supply should be the first goal.

Expirations--I obviously don't store a one year supply of something that expires in a couple of months. But things like wheat are good for at least 30 years, so that isn't an issue.

We do have provisions for no electricity...though I would hope it wouldn't be a year without.

Plowmanators said...

lizz22, I do use food supply throughout the year, hence the need to evaluate every six months to see what we used. I do have a food storage room in the basement.

What I do is stock up on things when they are on super sale. So last fall, ketchup when on a ridiculously low-priced sale. So I bought as much as I thought we would use before they expired. That way, we rarely need to pay full price for anything.

Ideally, I would use food before it expires. So far, I have been able to do that. If things are getting relatively close and I don't think we can use it, I donate it to the food pantry. They go through food extremely fast and people use it immediately. I feel fine donating food to people who need it.

Plowmanators said...

Emily, we do live in a place where we are on a huge fault line that could slip any time. We are due :) But it is more than natural disasters. I think employment issues is a huge one.

Plowmanators said...

Elizabeth, my number one reason for ever starting food storage was definitely religious like you said. After having done it, I see great monetary benefits, mostly that when you shop for food, you primarily buy foods that are on super sale, so you spend so little. I spend $50 a week on groceries and that is without using coupons. Plus I am just the type to be "better safe than sorry."

Robyn said...

Have you tried using a Sharpie to write on your page protectors? I find it doesn't smug as long as you let it dry before touching. When you need to start over usually some acetone (nail polish remover) or some rubbing alcohol will do the trick.

Plowmanators said...

Robyn I have not tried that! Thanks for the great idea! I am doing that.

Cira said...

You can also write on many clear tapes with a pencil. We use it at school to keep a record of where the kids are with their multiplication stats. So far, the tape has been erased about 20 times over and re-written without any problems. It is important to use a decent eraser when you are done.

Sometimes for lists, since I don't have a laminator, I will use packing tape to "laminate" and then use the scotch tape over that for the areas where I want to re-write. That way when I erase, I don't end up smearing onto the paper.


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