And…It’s OUT!

While people watched the skies for funnel clouds late last week, few people expected the storm rolling through the mid-Atlantic to produce widespread power outages. Saturday morning, the reality set in for millions in the Washington D.C. area — trees down, homes and vehicles damaged, the threat of week-long power outages and public water systems compromised.

Of course, there are lessons here.

Municipal water filtration systems may not have adequate capability to provide sanitary drinking water for any length of time. You may need a means of purifying drinking water with boiling or filtration methods. Without power, you will need propane or wood-fired boiling capabilities. So, being on a public water system may guarantee you can flush your toilet, but it doesn’t mean you will have water to drink.

Within 24 hours, refrigerated food will begin to spoil, so you do not want to risk food poisoning. Shelf-stable foods, such as fully cooked canned meats, and dried rice and beans, are excellent and inexpensive options to guarantee a week’s worth, month’s worth or 6-month’s worth of nutrition for your family. Also consider peanut butter, jelly and crackers for the kids for a short-term crisis.

Having a generator can provide valuable peace-of-mind, but consider what happened to some people in the Northern Virginia area this past weekend: People were unable to find gas stations with electricity to pump fuel, and so, generators sat unused. Buying a generator is smart, but thinking through how to power the generator is smarter.

You will inevitably know less-prepared people seeking help. We personally regard charity as a responsibility of the better-prepared individual, and that means doubling up on all food and water preps.

So, consider the stories on the news, recognizing this was a relatively small event, affecting a small percentage of the metro DC population. Extrapolate for larger grid-down events, such as hurricanes, EMPs, solar flares, etc. Take note of the microcosms of panicked behavior and how, on a larger scale, that may play out. Then, build your plan for the next crisis. To ensure you’re prepared, throw the main breaker on your house and live for 24 hours. There are bound to be issues that you haven’t considered. The list can become endless, so limit it to the essentials: potable water, shelf-stable food and a way to cook it, and warmth in the winter (shelter).

Published in: on July 3, 2012 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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In Our World: The Difference Between “Off-the-Grid” and “Grid-Down”

Off-the-grid…the term denotes the ultimate in self-sufficiency. A choice lifestyle where people live happily by nature-generated power, getting dirty raising food and planning innovative gravity-fed water contraptions. To me, it indicates forethought and peace-of-mind, but still, a choice.

Grid-down. Totally different feel. To me, when I hear, “Grid-down.” I think, “Game on,” and somewhere in the recesses of my brain, instinctual survival skills begin kicking in. It indicates that life, as we knew it seconds before, has now changed.

I recognized that instinctual surge as I read an article this week about solar flares. It quoted a scientist from, who said the Earth has a roughly 12 percent chance of experiencing an enormous mega-flare erupting from the sun in the next decade. This event could potentially cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage and take up to a decade for areas to recover.

“The potential collateral damage in the U.S. of a [large] solar storm might be between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in the first year alone, with full recovery taking an estimated four to 10 years, according to a 2008 report from the National Research Council. A longer-term outage would likely include, for example, disruption of the transportation, communication, banking, and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure; and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration,” the NRC report said.

Of course, those in charge of crucial infrastructure are aware of this potential threat and are doing what they can to mitigate it. Unfortunately, there are unknown variables and, as we know, preparation is expensive.

So, what does “grid-down” look like, and how do we prepare? Let’s say the grid goes down abruptly. This scenario does not take into account a solar flare may affect electronic devices like cars, cell phones, etc. This is simply an absence of electricity. Beyond the obvious no lights and heat, there will be no gas pumps, no cash registers or credit card transactions (cash only, if there is any commerce occurring), no cell phone recharging, no land-line telephone (if the telephone company’s generator cannot handle long-term load), no food re-supply in grocery stores (no fuel for trucks). It’s a scenario that REQUIRES preparation to survive, or you will be reduced to rummaging (or worse) for food for your family. If it happens in the winter, you must plan on alternative heating, and if your water source is from a public supply, then while there may be water gravity fed to your home, it may not be clean. If your water is well-sourced, then plan on getting a solar-powered or hand pump.

Think: water, food, shelter, and security to protect it all.

Choosing to live off-the-grid NOW prepares you for a potential ‘grid-down’ emergency. One you choose; one happens to you. Do not be a victim.


~ Watch for more blogs about how to address each of the above items in detail. ~

Does this describe you?



Published in: on February 21, 2012 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Food Storage: Choose the Right Food for the Situation

Each type of shelf-stable food has a purpose. Be sure to choose the right food for the situation.

Freeze-dried, Dehydrated Entrees: If you’re an outdoorsman or backpacker, you’re probably familiar with freeze-dried food. It can be tasty, but this food was made for short-term consumption for a reason. It’s full of chemical preservatives and flavoring, and consuming it every day for weeks or months on end may cause some health issues.

Mountain House freeze dried emergency food

Mountain House freeze dried emergency food

In addition, there’s a reason why you should, “Store what you eat, and eat what you store.” Your body is used to certain foods. If tomorrow you have to start consuming freeze-dried entrees exclusively, your body will be sure to react negatively, and kids’ bodies will have an even harder time adjusting. Ready Depot sells Mountain House entrees, and we love them for their intended purpose – short-term crisis food for sheltering in or lightweight food for bugging out.

Canned Whole Foods: Canned meat, bacon, butter, cheese and eggs can provide a lot of needed protein in a more familiar way. Fresh is better, but in the event fresh food is unavailable, canned is next best. It’s healthier than freeze-dried, has little-to-no chemicals, and you can integrate them into your meal plans today, so your stores are constantly rotating. They could provide lifesaving protein when calories count most and can bridge the gap between short-term crisis food and growing and/or raising your own. (Providence Pantry and Yoder’s Canned meats at Ready Depot.)

So, before spending large amounts of money on bulk purchases of one type of food, it’s important to consider the situation for which you are preparing. If you spend the time thinking it through first, the decision will ultimately be a better one. Ready Depot: Commonsense Food

Essential Oils: Shelf-stable Medicine When Conventional Medicine Is Unavailable

Doterra Essential Oils Ready Depot

Doterra Essential Oils

What do you do when you or your family members are sick, and conventional pharmaceuticals are not available? What can you use to fight bacteria and viruses, treat wounds, build immunity and relieve pain if access to the usual medicines and OTC drugs is a thing of the past?

As the female half of Ready Depot and a mom, I worry about family health emergencies in a crisis as much as I worry about food, so I was ecstatic to find essential oils, which last decades in basement stores (or Egyptian tombs, but that’s another story). I started with the Family Physician Kit (you can find this on our site at, and I quickly found them replacing the plethora of OTC meds in my cabinet. Here are a few personal, family testimonials:

  • Fever-reducer: Peppermint. Brought down a 103.6 fever with nausea/vomiting a full degree every 15 minutes.
  • Itch-reliever: Lavender. Full-body poison ivy on two kids. No steroids needed. I applied Lavender (diluted with olive oil) 3X/day for 3 days.
  • Respiratory distress: Breathe blend. Helped arrest an asthma attack.
  • Stomach flu: Digestzen blend. Relieved queasiness and made it bearable.
  • Immunity-builder: On Guard blend. Applied regularly to kids’ feet. When one contracted Lyme, his immune system produced SEVEN bulls-eye rashes. SEVEN. That’s a heck of an immune response.
  • Germ-killer: Oregano, On Guard, Melaleuca. Applied to feet for colds coming on, as well as ear infections coming on, and the infections never progressed into anything.?
  • Muscle pain-reliever: Deep Blue blend. Body aches, tense muscles, headaches. The list is endless.
  • Oil Fit For a King: Frankincense. Really, if it were good enough for Jesus, what does that tell you??!

And more. So much more.

It’s important to use therapeutic-grade oils!
DōTERRA essential oils deliver peace-of-mind with superior quality standards for naturally safe, purely effective therapeutic-grade essential oils. They treat a wide variety of ailments and, in some cases, are more effective (and nearly always safer) than their man-made counterparts. For more information, call me at 800-675-5158 or visit under the Medical/First Aid section. You can also visit: In addition to the Family Physician Kit, you will find great oils like clove (toothache, detox), lemongrass (muscle cramps), and more!

The DōTERRA Family Physician Kit includes:

Lavender: Anti-itch, antihistamine, pain reliever, anti-stress, anti-anxiety, soothes skin irritations
DigestZen (blend): Good for digestive discomforts including food poisoning, reflux, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
Breathe (blend): Great for respiratory distress from infections and allergies, helps clear lungs and sinuses
Deep Blue (blend): Relieves muscle and joint pain caused by arthritis, bruises, headaches, inflammation, overexertion, sprains and more
Melaleuca: Used as first aid ointment and skin irritations. Aids in immune support against throat and respiratory pathogens
Lemon: Natural antioxidant and detoxifier, natural cleanser, elevates mood, helps balance acidity levels, calm upset stomachs and encourage elimination
Oregano: Support for immune system, works as a natural defense against pathogens, helps relieve back and joint pain and inflammation
Peppermint: Relieves headaches and other pain, calms upset stomachs and nause, increases energy, cooling
On Guard (blend): Natural immune defense, inhibits MRSA, stops growth of viruses and bacteria, inhibits mold growth, kills airborne pathogens, and knocks out colds
Frankincense: Reduces inflammation, relieves headaches, supports tissue recovery, facilitates clear thinking

Getting Prepared: The Importance of “The List”

Did you grow up in a family who gardened, hunted and canned, and the idea of having “a little put away for an emergency” was completely normal? You’re lucky because you already instinctively know the importance of preparation. You don’t have to overcome the laissez faire attitude that exists today when nearly everyone has a short drive to a grocery store, and the extra canned food tucked into the backs of their pantries is usually a forgotten can of soup or a disliked vegetable…nothing that makes for good, edible, long-term food stores in the event of an emergency.

But what about if you are more than one generation away from ‘putting up’ food or from hunting on cool November mornings? Where do you start? It can be overwhelming when you think about all you have to consider…food, water, fuel, power, clothes, medicine and first aid supplies, and so on. What to prepare, how much, and for how long?

One of the most under-appreciated items every preparedness-minded person has is the List. Preparing just can’t be done effectively or efficiently without a list. But when it comes to making a list, the task itself quickly becomes overwhelming, so many people introduce secondary lists that allow you to tackle one subject area at a time. These secondary lists can also be plenty long but would be more manageable. Consider beginning with the type of emergency for which you want to prepare; for example, natural event (storms, etc.) for up to one week, economic crisis (one month plus), etc. Once you’ve defined how long a period of crisis you want to prepare for, then you can make your list with all the general elements of preparedness: shelter, food, water, fuel, power, medicine and first aid, clothes, etc. As you can imagine, each of these categories can be broken down into secondary lists; for example, the shelter list may include emergency heat sources like wood, fuel, etc., solar power sources, batteries, blankets, firestarters, knife, outdoor cookware, entertainment, etc. Food can be broken down into short-term MREs to long-term canned food, food for those with allergies, kid-friendly food, seasonings, basics (flour, milk, cheese, rice, etc.), and so on. Each list is defined by you, because you and your family will have different requirements and desires.

In the case of preparedness, sometimes taking this first step is the hardest. Creating a detailed, encompassing list, however, will help guide your preparedness decisions down the road. There are online sources and books available to help guide you through the maze of preparedness, and for each item you cross from your list, you will be one step closer to providing for your family during an emergency.

“Like” us on Facebook for more information on emergency preparedness and specials on long-term food stores.

Lessons Learned From Just One Small Crisis

Emergency preparedness can be overwhelming. I mean, just compiling your lists of things to do and get is an overwhelming task. So, this week, I had a “small” crisis, that provided insight into just how inconvenient, and downright uncomfortable, a bigger crisis could be.

Several days ago, my refrigerator became noticeably warmer. I adjusted the temperature, ensured there was good airflow around the refrigerator, unplugged it to reset it, checked the coils for dust, and then, when nothing worked, called a repairman. How does this turn into a small crisis, and then somehow teach me about a bigger crisis? Well, no repairman I called was available for at least 4 days, so I reviewed the situation. I began moving everything I could into the freezer and into coolers. Soon, we were ordering out, only buying easily preserved foods from the grocery store and pouring nearly frozen milk over cereal. The situation quickly became inconvenient but could easily have been downright uncomfortable if the freezer compartment had been affected, as well. Just how many days would you like to walk next door to the neighbor’s house for milk for your kid’s cereal and your coffee?

My husband was able to replace the broken part within 2 days, so we’re back to cooling nicely. Thinking back, if the problem was a lack of electricity, rather than just one broken appliance, we would have had nothing cold. No milk. No eggs. No place to keep meat from spoiling. We’d be eating out of cans, jars and boxes (plug: lots of great-tasting canned and dehydrated foods at!). What this small crisis taught me is that when a bigger crisis strikes,  you not only have to worry about having no refrigerator,  you may have to worry about shelter, heat and maybe even security. Having food stores that don’t require refrigeration is just one item on one list of many lists you need to address when preparing for emergencies.

Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Virginia Sales Tax Holiday for Emergency Preparedness Supplies

Check out this site – – for information on how you can purchase emergency preparedness items TAX-FREE in Virginia May 25 – 31, 2010! Be sure to click on the link in the article so you can check out the list of included items.

Published in: on May 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Buy Pro-Tick Remedy Tick Removal Tool and Help Fund Lyme Disease Treatment!

100% of the profits from the sale of Pro-Tick Remedy Tick Removal Tools will go directly to help fund Lyme Disease treatment. And may this tool help to protect you and your family from tick-borne disease (

Published in: on May 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Store What You Eat, & Eat What You Store

“Store what you eat, and eat what you store,” a seasoned prepper once told me during a discussion about food storage. Why? Food’s food, right? Wouldn’t it just be easier to order up a family-sized, year’s portion of dehydrated food and put it in the basement for safekeeping? After all, we weren’t really expecting to eat gourmet-style during an extended crisis.

Here’s why taking the easy way out may not be the smartest thing to do. Imagine that you immediately found yourself having to eat beans for every meal. After a couple days, your stomach would react negatively, at the least, and, long-term, you may become dangerously ill. Children’s systems are even less robust, so when you alter their diet drastically, their complaints may be the least of your worries.

This is why you ‘store what you eat and eat what you store.’ If you plan on having a lot of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods during a crisis, then you should be supplementing your diet with these items now. You don’t want to surprise your gastrointestinal system at a time when stress levels are already through the roof. You should also add things like canned meats, fruits, vegetables, beans and rice to your stores. These are easy foods to incorporate into your family dinners now and will provide a sense of familiarity and comfort at a time when it can’t be found elsewhere.

Knowing all this, of course, you will begin eating what you  have stored, so grab a couple samples of MREs, Mountain House entrees, and canned foods, and begin sampling to see what your family likes. Involve the kids, who love making ‘meals’ in a pouch! Once you know what they like, then start purchasing those, and plan to regularly add them into your diet. There are no studies to show how much ingredients one needs to eat to be able to tolerate them for longer terms, so you want to be sure you have familiar foods (canned meats, etc.) to transition to as soon as possible and for longer periods of time.

Review what your family is eating right now, and plan to build your food stores around that, or begin supplementing their current diet with items from storage. Being proactive now will save you from a digestive crisis later.