Six Reasons I’m Not a Fan of Pre-Mixed Food Storage Meals and Why I Still Have Some

Pre-packaged food storage meals are super convenient and easy to store and cook. Ranging from MRE’s to dehydrated mixes to freeze dried entrees, these meals have all the meal ingredients in them and are either heat-and-eat or add water and cook. It’s tough to find a food storage company that doesn’t offer at least a handful of pre-mixed meal choices. They sound like a good deal–I mean, who wouldn’t want to be served lasagna or chicken a la king without having to actually make it? Well, here are 6 reasons I don’t like pre-made food storage meals and a couple reasons why I still have some in my preps.

1. Amazingly picky eaters. Especially the kids. No, especially the husband. Well, maybe the kids have him beat sometimes. They haven’t met a pre-made meal they really love and few that they even like enough to eat. A couple of Mountain House varieties have been deemed okay for camping if we don’t have anything else (but only Turkey Tetrazzini and Chicken a la King) as well as a couple of varieties of the Thrive pouch meals (Baked Potato Cheese Soup and Pasta Carbonara). I can’t say that I have tried every variety from every manufacturer–there may be a couple more that my family would accept but I don’t hold out high hopes. Maybe this all stems from reason number two.

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Wildfires in Utah

Feeding ‪#dumpfire‬ Fire crews.

We are now into Day 3 of the Dump Fire at Saratoga Springs in Utah. Our own Jayce and Neybar live near the fire, and while their homes do not seem to be in any danger, they still left work early yesterday to volunteer to help. Their experience and knowledge has undoubtedly been invaluable to the volunteer effort. They have been keeping us posted on Twitter (@JayceHall and @neybar), and I have seen several of their tweets mentioned and retweeted by others needing information. For those who haven’t been following along, you can keep an eye on the #dumpfire hashtag on Twitter. For any ham radio folks who want to monitor, they’re on 145.23 repeater (131.8 tone). NetOps is at station 2.

Cause of the Fire

It is believed that the fire was caused by people target shooting near the landfill. They were shooting in an area where it was legal to do so, and when the fire started, they called 911 and attempted to put the fire out. They have been cooperative with authorities, and have been helping the effort to put the fire out. Because they were shooting legally and did everything right after the fire started, they are unlikely to be charged criminally.

Being Prepared for Evacuation

In following news reports, I have noticed some things. When crews knocked on doors on Day 2 of the blaze to tell people they had 15 minutes to evacuate, a lot of people scrambled to pack up what they considered necessary. Family photos, pets, medications and a change of clothes. Less prominently featured in the stories were people who decided that they were going to have to evacuate, and started packing their cars long before evacuation orders came in. While I’m sure there were plenty of preppers who already had 72-hour kits ready to take at a moment’s notice, they were apparently not as newsworthy as the less-prepared. Though my family lives in Magna, far away from the fire, we still had one evacuee knock on our door asking to buy a small bottle of shampoo from my wife’s basement salon.

Food donations for the #dumpfire.

This incident underscores not only the importance of fire safety, but also the importance of being prepared and keeping a current 72-hour kit or Bug Out Bag. Fortunately, several local businesses pitched in to provide food and water at the local evacuation centers, but this is not always the case. Be sure to check expiration dates on the food in your kits and in your food storage in general.

Our hearts go out to those affected by the fire, and we hope that it will be out soon.

FEMA guidelines and instructions for CERT drills and exercises

CERT Logo

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has long supported CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) in locales large and small by providing training material, grants and other support. This week they released a new set of FEMA guidelines and instructions for CERT drills and exercises. These exercises cover the gamut and include tabletop exercises, functional exercises, full scale exercises, and competitive events.

Find out more about these drills and exercises after the jump.
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Preparedness items at local Sam’s Clubs

I work near a Sam’s Club and sometime head over for a lunchtime visit. It is hard to beat a Polish Dog and soda at $1.50 for lunchtime frugality. While I am there I often browse through the store to see what seasonal items are on display. Over the last couple months I’ve noticed a few preparedness items at local Sam’s Clubs.

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Preparedness related show coming to NBC this fall

A few weeks ago, NBC released the trailer for a preparedness related show coming to NBC this fall. It is titled Revolution and we at Utah Preppers are excited that another show with prepping overtones has been green lit for prime time. I don’t want to give too much away so watch the trailer below and let us know what you think. Will this get a rabid fan following like Jericho?

Testing Seed Germination Rates

If you have seed saved from prior years, it is a good idea to test the germination rate before planting your whole garden with it. Depending on the rate of germination, you can decide if you want to plant normally, plant more thickly, plant single sprouts, or just toss the seed out and start with fresh seed.

Testing seed germination also just happens to be a requirement for the Boy Scouts’ Gardening merit badge, so my son got to do this project for us this year while I took pictures. Here’s how we do it.

1. Gather the seed you want to test. Just for fun, I gave him some cucumber seed I had left from the survival seed can packed for planting in 2000. That’s 12 year old cucumber seed.
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Creating your own Bug Out Location

You have a perfectly set up 72 hour kit/bug out bag for each member of your family. They are located in vehicles or in a grab and dash spot so you can be on the road and on your way within seconds. Now what? Where are you going? Generally speaking, an evacuation plan should include a few set locations that you and those you are bugging out with are familiar with. One common solution is to head to a family member’s house some distance away. This solution might work in some scenarios, but in many circumstances you might find that you’ve placed a burden on your family by bringing more mouths to feed in an extended crisis. In other situations you might find it difficult to get to your family member’s home due to distance, lack of fuel or inaccessible roads depending on the nature of the disaster that has caused you to leave your home.

When starting your journey down the rabbit hole of preparedness you’ll often see terms referenced such as GOOD (Get out of Dodge), BOL, BOB (Bug out Location, Bug out Bag) and other acronyms that hint at evacuating an area should there be a disaster, civil unrest or many of the other events that we prepare for. One question that can’t be answered by a simple acronym however is WHERE?

My nearest family is about 10 hours away and in either highly populated areas or in areas with limited access in a disaster, so my family needs to consider something more local for our evacuation plan. We decided that as part of our general preparedness efforts we would like to work towards obtaining a property to eventually build a bug out location as well as provide a place for our family to camp and enjoy nature on a frequent basis. I’d like to share some of the things I learned in this process on creating your own bug out location.
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Utah County Amateur Radio Emergency Service New HAM night tonight!

HAM Radio
HAM Radio

I received this email announcement from a HAM Radio friend.

For any of you who

  • have recently received your amateur radio call sign
  • are thinking about getting it and want to know more
  • you’ve had your call sign for awhile but never really been introduced to the UCARES organization

This is a good event. You can meet some of the organizers and people who’ve been in it awhile, and talk to them about what the organization is all about. Runs from 7 – 8:30PM.

More info here
put your mouse over the New Ham Night on the right.

Directions

Preppers and recent media interest on Prepping

Prepping has seen a large spike in interest lately with several shows on cable TV networks currently on the air. From our own Phil Burns on “Meet the Preppers” to Doomsday Bunkers to Doomsday Preppers, interest in people preparing for hard times is at what seems like an all time high. Our recent post on Prepper coverage on NBCs Today Show is just one example.

Prepping has seen a large spike in interest lately with several shows on cable TV networks currently on the air. From our own Phil Burns on “Meet the Preppers” to Doomsday Bunkers to Doomsday Preppers, interest in people preparing for hard times is at what seems like an all time high. Our recent post on Prepper coverage on NBCs Today Show is just one example.

The reason behind this increase is debatable with some contributing it to the hype surrounding the 2012 Mayan apocalypse myth. Others see a fundamental flaw in the monetary system which could cause widespread supply problems. Any one of these things could potentially happen, but for the most part, we merry band of preppers are just preparing for the unknown.

Regardless of how much the media attempts to marginalize or sensationalize what it means to be a Prepper, it really comes down to one thing. Whether it is a sudden lay off, a tornado, famine or the zombie apocalypse we know that being prepared for the worst will help us survive and thrive in tough times and we want to help others prepare too. UtahPreppers author Jayce says it well in this TheSpectrum article on prepping with:

“People need to know what they are preparing for and they want to help others when they figure it out,” Hall said. “People naturally want to share what they learn and we end up helping each other.”

What do you think about the recent spike in prepper interest?

Files for Episode 1 of Animal Planet’s Meet The Preppers: My Pink Gun

Some people noticed over the last couple of months that we had a few less posts appearing on the site. Besides the normal stress of work and the holidays, one of our more prolific writers (Phil) was heads down on a project he wasn’t allowed to talk about in public. You see, he’s been filming for a new preparedness TV show that just was on Animal Planet. Now some people, like myself don’t have cable (though Animal Planet was among my favorites when I had it). There currently isn’t a way to stream the show from their site, so I searched around until I found it on YouTube, at least for now.

If you interested in meeting some of the UtahPreppers, and missed it the first time it showed, check it out here. If you are interested in the show, make sure to set your DVR or tune in, and let Animal Planet you like the show! Continue reading “Files for Episode 1 of Animal Planet’s Meet The Preppers: My Pink Gun”

PLC Podcast – Show 15 – Gas Masks, HazMat and Quarantine

Every once in a while, we hear a bunch of rumbling on the news about a possible pandemic outbreak or a chemical attack like sarin gas or anthrax.  Sometimes the news talks about nuclear reactors having problems – like yesterday in San Diego.  These are real threats that could happen because of accidents, terrorism or simply an attack on us by another country.  What are you doing to be prepared for this possibility?   Most importantly, do you even know what you should be doing?

If you’ve already looked into prepping for these threats, you’ve likely discovered that there’s not a lot of straight forward and clear answers to questions.

Want to get some REAL information on Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Preps?  Have you tried to decide which gas mask you should be purchasing for your family?  Or wondered if you need to get other protective gear for potential quarantine and survival of a serious pandemic outbreak?

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Living in the Past: Iron Age Reality

Yesterday I was linked to a BBC show on youtube that I found quite interesting. The video was a follow-up, thirty years after the filming of a show called Living in the past. The show itself was in effect a reality show, but not one designed on conflict, but the actual experience of a group living as a community in an iron age setting in England.

It’s quite interesting seeing a nice summary of their experiences, and how living a truly primitive lifestyle for 13 months changed the way they think.
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