Survival School – Food Storage and Safety

From behind the zombie bunny cages of RC Murphy:

© Photographer: Budda | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Whether zombies are knocking on your door, or a natural disaster forces you to evacuate, there are a few vital skills everyone should know in order to keep your family safe.

Food storage is a huge concern in any disaster. More often than not, families are caught completely unprepared and are forced out of their homes with merely a day’s supply of food, or less. Yes, food is heavy, but it is vital. Below are some tips and tricks to help you prepare appropriate foods to keep your family safe in any disaster, from floods to the Zombiepocalypse.

FEMA and the Red Cross suggest storing foods that are high in calories and nutrition, require no refrigeration, water to cook, or special cooking techniques in case of emergency. They also said to take into account your family’s nutritional needs and tastes. Familiar or comfort foods will make a tough situation, as in a disaster, easier on everyone.

 

Storage:

  • Ensure boxes and resealable packages are kept sealed tight. Repack items in zip-top bags to keep pests out and preserve freshness if original packaging is damaged.

  • Store dry goods such as sugar, flour, nuts, and dried fruit in screw-top jars or airtight containers.

  • Throw away canned goods that are swollen, dented, corroded, or rusting.

  • Store non-perishable items in a large plastic tote, along with cooking/eating utensils, a manual can opener, a large pot with lid, and waterproof matches.

  • Do not forget non-perishable food for your pets.

Viability:

  • Use these foods within six months- Boxed Powdered Milk, Dried Fruit, crisp crackers, potatoes (stored in a cool, dry place).

  • Use within a year – Condensed canned meat and vegetable soups, canned fruit, canned fruit juices, canned vegetables, ready-to-eat cereal and oatmeal, peanut butter, jelly, hard candy and canned nuts, vitamin supplements.

  • Indefinite storage (in proper containers/conditions)- Wheat, Vegetable oil, dried corn, baking powder, soybeans, instant coffee, tea, cocoa, salt, non-carbonated soft drinks, white rice, bouillon cubes, dry pasta.

  • Cooking:

  • Canned foods can be eaten out of the can- remove the label and open the can before heating. This saves on dishes, or allows you to have a warm meal, despite a lack of pots and pans. Place a few medium-sized rocks around the can on top of some coals. The rocks will hold it in place.

  • Boil non-store bought water for 5 minutes before adding food to cook. This ensures any and all bacteria in the water are killed and don’t latch onto the food, making you sick.

  • Cook all foods thoroughly, especially meat if you plan on hunting to feed your camp. Storing meat is not ideal in a disaster situation. Cook everything you have and let it cool before storing it in plastic bags in your ice chest to prevent possible cross-contamination from raw meat in the ice chest. The meat must be eaten within hours** unless you find a way to make jerky out of it or a magical way to consistently keep it under 38* Fahrenheit***. Beans and grains are excellent sources of protein that don’t require refrigeration.

    • **Hot or cold food left at room temperature for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90°) should be discarded.

    • ***According to the USDA FSIS, cooked meat can be refrigerated safely for 3-4 days. For storage longer than four days, cooked meat should be frozen.

Preparation:

  • To prepare for the first few days after evacuation, take a couple gallon containers and fill them with water to just below the neck of the container (water expands when frozen). Add 1/4 cup of salt to each container of water, secure the cap, and shake well. Stow them in the freezer. Every so often, give them a shake to keep the salt from clumping together. This brine solution freezes colder than ice and lasts longer, as well. It’ll get you through a couple days if you keep the ice chest closed and in the shade. After that, stick to food that needs no refrigeration.

Nutrition Tips:

  • If necessary, you may safely ration food by cutting down to at least one well-balanced meal a day. Only ration your food if you are able to keep activity levels low. Eat enough calories to cover your activity level; otherwise your body will cannibalize itself to find the calories to burn. You may take vitamin supplements to help. However, some of them will require you to eat extra food and drink extra water. Vitamin B complexes, for example, require food to break down and provide added energy.

  • Do not ration water. Ever. Be prepared to pack or purify at least one gallon of water per person per day, half a gallon of that is for consumption alone. If water supplies are low, do not eat salty foods, as they will make you thirstier.


GO BAG – Absurdity or Perspicacity

There are times when we receive coded messages from brigadiers that are both awesome and important. We received one such message last week. After deciphering it, Juliette realized that it needed to be shared with the rest of the ZSC ranks.

So with a salute to the Blue Brigade, here’s one of your own, Judy, with a note about the importance of go bag preparation.

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Ok, so maybe my family and I take this whole Go Bag thing too seriously, though I did love their presence in those hurricane commercials last summer. I get it, preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t at the top of everyone’s list. Maybe even I don’t take it as seriously as needed. After all, when asked what I would include, I was quick to mention Oreos for my beloved Brigade Leader, Norm. But then again, if the world has ended and Norm has survived, who wouldn’t want to offer him Oreos… Ok, I am focused again.

Sure, I’ve noticed the strange looks when asked why my daughter is buying that very sharp, oddly shaped, knife. But there are only so many ways to explain that it is perfectly shaped for chopping off zombie heads. I realize some people might question the Zombie Survival Crew brigade color-coordinated duck tape, but there is no reason to be unfashionable at the End of Times. We have, after all, also included camouflage tape for more practical applications. And really, those bright blue non-latex gloves, inspired by Daryl’s messy gutting techniques, are a much bigger concern than a little yellow or light blue duct tape.

However, a Go Bag really does have practical applications, if you aren’t one to embrace the possibility of zombies. It could mean the difference of comfort versus chaos or even survival versus death. There are many real world reasons to prepare. With that in mind, my family and I want to share our choices so far.

Our strategy is not quantity but rather variety. Hopefully “refills” can be acquired, free of charge, after the end. I have already mentioned duct tape, non-latex gloves (prolonged exposure to latex can result in allergies), sharp weapons, and Oreos. Here are a few more things you might want to consider for your bag:

  1. A comfortable pillow that rolls up small — how sharp will you be if you are completely sleep deprived?
  2. The expensive water filter bottle. This is not the time to cut corners. There is only one bottle on the market right now that filters out bacteria. And don’t forget extra filters, but not too many. Remember, free “refills”.
  3. A sewing kit, complete with needles, scissors, thread – good for mending clothes and bodies
  4. Rope
  5. A shakable flashlight — would you want the batteries to go dead at the wrong time?
  6. Bandanas — preferably official, color-coordinated ZSC buffs (just a little plug, there) and goggles. It wouldn’t do to get anything in your eyes or mouth
  7. Flint and striker
  8. Wilderness survival manual – Bear Grills is a favorite in our house.
  9. First aid kit
  10. Camping utensils and cookware — the kind that all fold up and lock together to save space and weight on your back.

Which leads me to the most important part, the bag itself. I am a fan of backpacks. While many people find it more comfortable to run with a bag in the hand, it doesn’t leave both hands free for fighting the undead, climbing, or other activities vital to survival. Keep an eye on the weight also. Excess weight will slow you down. That pretty much rules out gallons of water, a heavy arsenal, and extra Oreo’s. There will be just enough for you and me, Norm.


Purple Brigade Go Bag Essentials

Purple Brigade

Purple Brigade Commander LK Gardner-Griffie, aka the Oracle, explains the reasons for her choices of essential Go Bag items…

Each Zombie Survival Crew brigade has specific items crew members should stock in their Go Bag so that when a geographical area goes into alert status and crew members meet at assigned gathering points there is a base supply of essential items. In addition to assigned gear, every individual should also add any items they want or need to have at the ready in the event of an emergency.

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Go Bag Essentials:

  • Toilet Paper – This one should be readily apparent to everyone who has ever run out of toilet paper on a camping trip. The options available to you are not pretty, and unless you know your flora and fauna cold, you could end up with a hellacious rash, right where you’d rather not discuss. Come the Zombiepocalypse, toilet paper will be the commodity which puts you at the head of the table for bargaining. If you have an ample supply, and others do not, you are in a prime position because they will give anything… repeat anything… to get their hands on some. And the thought of being without toilet paper is nothing short of shudder-making to me. It is the stuff of which nightmares are born. And yes, I am a self-confessed toilet paper hoarder — deal with it.
  • Laptop – I recognize that there are situations in which the laptop will be more useless than carrying a big ol’ stone around. BUT I am still going to want to have mine with me for those occasions when I do find a power source, or an internet connection. Or simply for carrying information I’m going to need. The battery will last for a little while, used sparingly. And if it does so happen that electricity and internet access continue uninterrupted, we’ll be able to keep on top of the pulse of the situation via news feeds and Twitter. And the reason I put Twitter in there is that I have found out more information on Twitter before I have seen it in a news feed. All information must be verified, but the faster we get it, the faster it can be verified. So, for the Purple Brigade, the data crunchers, the analysts of the crew, the laptop is an essential piece of equipment. How else will we monitor the check-ins at the resupply stations?
  • Glass Pane – Now this might seem like a dangerous item to carry with you. And I’ll admit, it will be the most prone to getting broken, but take care with it, because having a glass pane with you can be beneficial. It’s primary use will be as an intensifier of sunlight and can be used to help heat items, start fires, etc. And if necessary, can be combined with some of our other essentials to MacGyver a type of solar panel. And when you’ve been running through the wild and are approaching civilization and need to freshen up, combined with tin foil you’ll have a rudimentary mirror, so you don’t scare any live people you approach.
  • Copper Wire – Excellent conductor of electricity. It can be used in the making of bombs, and for creating electricity (with the use of magnets so you might want to sneak a few of those in as well). Copper wire is strong, non-corrosive — which is important when you don’t know the types of conditions you may be working under — and compatible with other connectors. And if push comes to shove and you find yourself in hand to hand combat with zombies, a good length of copper wire can be used as a garrote – twist it up, maybe have some spikes sticking out, and you’re good to go — sever the neck of that oncoming zombie.
  • Tin Foil – While I said tin foil, I really mean aluminum foil. This is a multipurpose item. You can use it for cooking — wrap anything in tin foil and throw it on the fire for a bit. Wrapping food so the smell is contained — this not only applies to zombies identifying your location, but animals, and other people who will kill you for your food. It also can be used as a rudimentary means of storing electricity as long as you have an insulator such as newspaper, wax paper, or mylar (the best insulator for use with foil). Foil can also be formed into a cup or used as a plate, should you need to do so.
  • Water – I think this one should be self-explanatory. Without a drinkable water supply, you’re dead.
  • Tea – While coffee is generally considered the juice that will keep the crew members moving forward, for me tea is more essential. Depending on the variety it can pep you up, or calm you down. It is full of antioxidants, and keeps my brain ticking along. And the last thing command wants is for my brain to stop ticking.
  • Toe Warmers – Depending on conditions, toe warmers may be essential. When my feet are cold, I can’t think, I can’t sleep, I can’t function. Not a good state to be in if you’re trying to outwit zombies. And if my feet are warm, the rest of me is warm too. My feet do get cold easily, so I learned a while ago to keep toe warmers with me — if necessary they can be used to warm up cold fingers as well to help your aim with crossbow, gun, or knife. They’re compact and last for hours.
  • Paraffin Wax – Easily melted and has restorative properties for sore muscles. The situation will be anything but normal, and I’m going to guess that sore muscles will abound. It can also be used for making molds of items if needed.
  • Tool Kit – This should go without saying. You never know when you’ll need tools to repair something on the fly — and we will be on the fly — so a compact tool kit may be the thing that makes the difference between life and death.
  • Mini-car starter – Think of this as a small but mighty power supply. Inexpensive, compact to carry, but can jump a car if necessary. Although I’m not sure I’d recommend jumping a car. Who knows whether there will be gasoline available? Save it for igniting diversionary bombs.
  • Protein Powder – Food may be an issue, so carrying a supply of protein with you is a must. Liquid pre-mixed protein drinks are nice, but a luxury when every pound on your back counts. Protein is necessary for strength and without it your body simply will not function well. We need to keep ourselves in tip-top condition — well as much as we can in the circumstances — so protein is a must. A couple of pounds of protein powder can keep you going for a week and a half (worst case scenario), which should give you time to reach one of the ZSC resupply stations.
  • Fertilizer – I’m sure that some of you thought I had lost my mind by putting fertilizer as a go bag essential. And I’ll admit it does sound a bit suspect, but read on because you’ll see the value of fertilizer (which will not be used to grow things) in the next point…
  • Oil – Take some motor oil, mix it with the fertilizer you brought, pack it tightly into a container, connect the container to the mini-car starter with the copper wire and BOOM!!!!! You have just created an ANFO bomb. Plant a few of these in the path of the oncoming hordes and watch the body parts fly.
  • Duct Tape – Essential. Period. Useful for all types of repairs, keeping people securely fastened to chairs, and can be used to secure the aforementioned bomb. Duct tape is the item which will keep the Zombie Survival Crew together.

The Quirky Yet Essential Items of the Purple Brigade

Purple Brigade

Purple Brigade Commander LK Gardner-Griffie (aka The Oracle) explains the reasons for her choices of essential Go Bag items… But in order to see what the reasons are, you’ll need to login and if you are not a registered member, please take a few moments and register for the site. The links for both the login and the Member Registration can be found in the sidebar to the right.


Lt Blue Brigade Go Bag Essentials

Lt Blue Brigade

Lt Blue Brigade Commander Anthony Guajardo explains the reasons for his choices of essential Go Bag items…

Each Zombie Survival Crew brigade has specific items crew members should stock in their Go Bag so that when a geographical area goes into alert status and crew members meet at assigned gathering points there is a base supply of essential items. In addition to assigned gear, every individual should also add any items they want or need to have at the ready in the event of an emergency.

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Go Bag Essentials:

  • Sneakers – If you don’t know why you need sneakers than you shouldn’t be in the Lt. Blue Brigade! No, seriously… as members of the advance attack team, conducting recon in the face of the enemy, we need to be able to move with stealth. Any sound could alert the hordes, and instead of our gathering intelligence to formulate a plan of attack, the zombies are gathering lunch.
  • Camouflage clothing – We have to keep to the shadows In order to cut off heads the right way 😉 We need to pursue every advantage available to us, so blending into our surroundings becomes a key critical factor for our success. The more we can do undetected, the better.
  • Eye black – Just cuz it looks cooooool – well, that and no one wants to be discovered while blending in with their surrounds because the sunlight is glinting off your cheeks. C’mon, now!
  • Rappelling equipment – Of course being in this brigade means being a total badass which of course means you have to pack like one… even though I personally am afraid of heights. But you never know when that equipment will mean the difference between living and becoming one of the undead.
  • Utility knives – Essential all purpose tools. Cutting open supplies, cutting through minor brush — although for that I prefer my machete, and you never know when you might need to hurl one with accuracy to stop an oncoming walker.
  • K-rats – While these rations are not the best tasting in the world, they will allow you to survive in adverse conditions, they are light to carry — which may be essential when retreat and regrouping is necessary. They provide the base nutrition to keep an army on it’s feet, and if you don’t think this is war, you’ve got another thing coming, baby.
  • Beef Jerky – Just in case you run into big foot ;D Jerky is a good source of protein, and let’s face it, we need to keep this brigade a lean, mean, fighting machine.
  • Dog Kibble – Gotta save to pups! Dogs are an essential part of the Lt Blue Brigade. They can smell so much better than we can and will detect the rotting hordes sooner. We must use every advantage. And just as we need to keep our strength up, we need to ensure our furry friends have the proper nutrition as well.
  • Duct Tape – – THE MOST important tool of all, it can fix anything!

What is Essential for the Lt Blue Brigade Go Bag?

Lt Blue Brigade

Lt Blue Brigade Commander Anthony Guajardo explains the reasons for his choices of essential Go Bag items… But in order to see what the reasons are, you’ll need to login and if you are not a registered member, please take a few moments and register for the site. The links for both the login and the Member Registration can be found in the sidebar to the right.


Red Brigade Go Bag Essentials

Red Brigade

Red Brigade Commander Juliette Terzieff explains the reasons for her choices of essential Go Bag items…

Each Zombie Survival Crew brigade has specific items crew members should stock in their Go Bag so that when a geographical area goes into alert status and crew members meet at assigned gathering points there is a base supply of essential items. In addition to assigned gear, every individual should also add any items they want or need to have at the ready in the event of an emergency.

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Go Bag Essentials:

  • One week supply of coffee – This item is priority number one for Red Brigade. For those who know me, the explanation is probably unnecessary, but for new recruits to the Red Brigade you should be warned. I am forever on the go, always overworked, and absolutely positively never to be found un-caffeinated. Red Brigade leads the charge into any battle – and all members need to be alert and ready.
  • Energy drink (liquid or powder) – This item is a “for use in case of emergency” back-up for a diminishing coffee supply or for those who *shudders* don’t regularly drink coffee.
  • Teapot – The teapot is a triple-use tool that can brew coffee, boil/purify water or be used to clock a zombie over the head if really desperate. Enough said.
  • Small camping stove – The stove is the mechanism Red Brigade members will use to heat the teapot and any other food supplies, including fresh meat procured as a result of hunting.
  • Fuel canisters – A ready-to-light fuel source is easier than rubbing sticks together, though I’m not averse to doing the latter. But in a world gone to hell it will be nice to have something “easy” on those days when the battles with walkers a particularly fierce.
  • A firestarter – This can be a lighter or waterproof matches, and again will save us from having to rub sticks together at every stop.
  • Chocolate – Does this one really need explanation? Everything is just…better with chocolate. Heck, I could be trapped in a small place surrounded by zombies with no hope of escape and chocolate bar (or Reese’s Cup) would still make me smile.
  • Multi-vitamins – Unlike the chocolate, multi-vitamins actually provide real value to the body. When Z-day hits, we’re going to be moving fast and hard, expending energy and lacking a proper diet. The multi-vitamins will help keep our bodies fortified.
  • All-purpose knife tool – Picking a lock, opening a can, freeing a member of Blue Brigade that has gotten tangled in their rope *clears throat*; the possible uses for a multi-purpose tool in a survival situation are too numerous to count.
  • Chapstick – The inclusion of the Chapstick comes from a pet peeve of mine. Not only do I go ballistic when my own lips are cracked, hard and achy, but I just can’t stand to watch someone else chewing bits of dried flesh off their cracked-up lips. Ewww.
  • Hat, leather gloves and wool socks – All three of these items will be worth their weight in gold once winter sets in. The leather gloves can also be used as a protection measure – zombies will have a hard time biting through the leather to nibble on your extremities.
  • Dental Floss – Beyond oral hygiene uses dental floss can be used like rope to tie things together (for example, when erecting an impromptu shelter from inclement weather) or to help procure food on hunting trips (as emergency fishing line or to place bait in a trap). And don’t forget it is thin and not easily detectible, especially in rough terrain, when tied between two objects like trees to act as a trip wire. You never know when that will come in handy.
  • Basic kit of Band-Aids, gauze and tape – There is very little chance that an emergency survival situation is going to unfold without some scrapes and bruises to every crew member. While a band aid won’t do much against a zombie bite, some Neosporin and a well-placed hunk of cotton with a band aid to secure it will bring much needed relief to blistered toes and trigger fingers.
  • Duct tape – Other ZSC Commanders will say the duct tape is to be used on your truly whenever I begin running around in circles screaming – fair enough. But duct tape can also be put to use in a variety of other situations. Really.

What is Essential for the Red Brigade Go Bag?

Red Brigade

Red Brigade Commander Juliette Terzieff explains the reasons for her choices of essential Go Bag items… But in order to see what the reasons are, you’ll need to login and if you are not a registered member, please take a few moments and register for the site. The links for both the login and the Member Registration can be found in the sidebar to the right.


Bombmaker’s Guide to Electronics

As we said in our post calling all authors and artists, we’re looking to showcase the Zombie Survival Crew members, and member, JL Coburn has answered the call.

**salutes with crossbow**

Shhhhh!!!! Don’t tell the chief I stole it for this occasion – she’ll blow like a bomb… and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty. So without any further ado, let’s get this thing started.

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Guest post by JL Coburn, aka “Bombmaker”

When things go south for the long haul, be it the zombies we plan for or some other disaster, the technological world we have come to love will fade away with it. That does not mean that when the time comes we should shun what we’ve come to depend on. Some of them could end up being just as vital as that multi tool you keep in your pocket.

There are a few factors to consider when it comes down to selecting survival electronics. Portability, power consumption, hardware hacking (sorry Apple fans), and ease of finding a replacement or parts.

  • Computers – There are three roads here, a portable custom built system, a laptop/netbook, or running everything from an external hard drive. Linux would be the OS of choice, as it can handle just about any file you find and deal with almost any hardware out today. For those not used to Linux, Ubuntu or a similar distribution is ideal with it’s friendly interface and huge following.
    • Personal Computer
      • The HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer) or MicroATX/ITX form factor gives you a huge array of options as far as parts, builds, and hacking options. But they requires an external power source for it and a monitor, making them much less portable but much more powerful.
    • Laptop/Netbook
      • Portable, but not very hackable. With it’s own monitor and a low power consumption, these are ideal for on the go. Acer Aspire One 533 series is one of the most reliable and least power hungry of what’s out now and can handle Linux, Windows, or even OS X (though you lose trackpad function). Any number of other laptops can fit the bill too, though if you’re willing to deal with the cost, ToughBook Tablets can take more abuse than you typically dole out. Just keep in mind these aren’t they days of doing heavy graphic work from a laptop or watching Hi-def movies. Battery life and portability are the priority.
    • Computer Accessories
      • External Drive
        • If you need to ditch your computer of choice, losing the files as well is a hard blow. Keep them separate and keep them encrypted. And don’t forget install files for the programs you use.
      • Cables and Cords
        • Network cable, USB cords with various tips (one of each typically), power cord/brick, monitor cable.
      • Peripherals (Optional)
        • A wireless mouse, solar powered if possible. A solar powered keyboard or one of the flexible, spill proof ones. USB Camera for video logs so the future has a record. IDE/SATA hard drive to USB connection, is a far easier way to browse through a found computer.
      • Software
        • E-Reader programs are a must.
        • A large collection of ebook car and firearm repair manuals, survival guides, farming guides, medical books, translation dictionaries, educational text books, a road atlas and the like will be indispensable.
        • Music and videos for entertainment, so we keep our sanity a little bit longer.

    • Two Way Radios
      • Without cell towers, communication will be in short supply. Pocket size radios with rechargeable batteries will offer an option, albeit limited to a mile or so. More than enough for scouts and patrols. Look for ones with a battery pack, but can also run on AA or AAA batteries to take advantage of the next item.
    • Portable Solar Charger
      • Goal Zero being the most well known. Their Nomad and Guide series can keep your radios charged and offer AA battery packs for other uses. Sherpa and Extreme can power laptops, lighting, or even a small 12v refrigerator if needed.
    • DC to AC Converter
      • Maybe a bit bulky, but you are going to find a lot of abandoned cars. Most won’t be worth the time to fix up and are better for parts. All of them have 12v batteries you can easily link to one of these to power any modern appliance for a time.
    • Multimeter
      • There is no better way to test batteries than this handy device, and it has many more uses for being so cheap. Once a battery falls to 2/3s of it’s rated output (like AA being 1.5v, etc.) then it is as good as dead.

    These are just some of the options that will make a life vastly different from what we know, easier. And will give those that may not have skills they need, the information to learn those skills.

    For a short term emergency, feel free to refer to Electronics in an Emergency on my personal site.

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    Thanks again to JL Coburn for stepping up and sharing his views on electronics. To learn more about the Bombmaker check out his information below:

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