Survival School – Food Storage and Safety

From behind the zombie bunny cages of RC Murphy:

© Photographer: Budda | Agency:

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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

* * * * *

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.

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.

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.

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.

* * * * *

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.

    * * * * *

    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:

    Site | Email | Twitter | Facebook