SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: The Dolce Diet Emergency Preparednessby Mike Dolce
In the blink of an eye, a storm can change everything. As a boy, I fished off the Ocean Grove Pier, just five minutes from my house. The above photo was taken today (October 28, 2012) just as Hurricane Sandy was about to hit NJ. The pier may not be there tomorrow after the storm.
On both coasts of the USA there have been storm warnings causing the locals to scramble to stock their homes with supplies.
I thought this was a great time to share a few of my thoughts on how I have stocked my own house with basic supplies, though I live in the Vegas desert.
Please note, this list is always changing, and I am sure as soon as I post this I will remember 50 other things we have done or might suggest, so take this as a friendly piece of advice.
Water! Water! Water!
1) I have a water bladder that holds up to 100 gallons and sits right in my tub, where I can fill it up at the first sign of trouble.
2) I have 10 pre-filled, 6-gallon water jugs that are mobile, and stack easily under beds, in closets and my garage.
3) We always have a few cases of 16 oz. water bottles in the house and usually a few gallon jugs for daily use.
4) We always keep at least 1 gallon of water in glass jugs in the fridge that we use as table water.
5) We have our 3-gallon Berkey water filtration system always full with the added benefit of being able to purify up to 6,000 gallons at any moment. It currently sits on our kitchen counter but can easily be thrown in the truck and brought to a campsite.
We have a whole stockpile of items that we use every week, allowing us to rotate often and always be current with expiration dates. But most of these same foods also have a long shelf life.
I designed a daily menu for each member of my family (including our two dogs and two cats) to ensure we each have a complete supply of food to last 30 days. In fact, we maintain a very similar meal plan to what we would eat any other time of the year.
Additionally, we have one week’s worth of meals in a separate storage system that is able to be loaded right into my truck, along with three changes of clothes, wool blankets, rain gear and shelter materials in case we have to leave our home to find a safer area to wait out the trouble.
Here is a list of my food suggestions in the order I could remember. I’m sure this list is not even close to complete but it covers most of the basics.
Bob’s Red Mill Oat Bran
Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa
Bob’s Red Mill Soup Mix
Amy’s canned soups
Canned Wild Alaskan Salmon
Canned Tuna Fish
Red bean (dried and canned)
Chickpeas (dried and canned)
Pinto Beans (dried and canned)
Bragg Liquid Aminos
Green tea bags
Chamomile tea bags
Fish Oil capsules
We only use stainless steel pots and pans in our home and have every imaginable size from a 16-ounce soup pot all the way up to a 6-gallon chef’s pot. This makes cooking very easy on our gas stove, in my yard over my fire pit, or out in the desert over a traditional campfire. We can purify water if needed, or make a massive stew for the family in one pot that will last us a few days, saving the need to waste fuel, if that becomes a consideration.
We also have two cords of wood in our shed that we rarely use but have on hand if the power goes out for an extended period of time.
We also have ¼ cord of eco-friendly quick-start logs that burn for hours and can be lit even in wet environments. Makes a great starter log.
Lighters, matches and ferro rods are stored in pretty much every drawer in our home as well as each vehicle. You can never have too many ways to start a fire.
Candles and Flashlights
We have flashlights in a drawer in every room of our house, as well as each vehicle and on our key chains. We have candles as decoration, but we also took a class on making soy candles and have over 300 hours worth in tasteful glass jars in our pantry. This works out to be 10 hours per night for a month.
It may be bad manners to talk about such things in polite public, but the laws in Nevada are very friendly to upstanding citizens who want to protect their homes or just enjoy a good day at the range. With that said, my whole family is stocked up like a small country!
Very important! I travel a lot and the first thing I pack is my First Aid Kit, and I use it more than you may think. Anything from an annoying hang nail, a simple splinter in your toe, an episode of food poisoning, or a 4-inch laceration needing immediate stitches, I have it covered. The kit in my home is good enough to not only serve my own family but to assist my neighbors if necessary.
If the electrical grid goes out, what do you do?! If you live with me, you simply switch on our propane-fueled generator, neatly stowed along with enough propane for two weeks on near constant use.
I also have a Goal Zero Tour Guide 10 solar power charging kit that I take with me in my backpack all around the world and can charge up both my cell phones, iPad, and 4 AA batteries at the same time, as well as anything else that I can access for direct communication.
The most important supply in any emergency situation is knowledge. I grew up camping in the Pine Barrens of NJ, the Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania Mountains and later the rainy Pacific Northwest forests, Las Vegas desert, and Utah canyons. When I was younger, I spent weeks at a time in the middle of the ocean working as a mate on a tuna boat. I am very comfortable surrounded by nature, so much in fact, that I have the deepest respect and admiration of nature’s power. I never take safety or comfort for granted. You are just one bear, dead engine, or unexpected storm front from a potential emergency situation.
I am CPR certified, and read everything I can on sewing, gardening, first aid, navigation, car repair and home repair. I make it a point to befriend paramedics, doctors, firefighters, hunters, outdoorsmen, farmers and any other specialized craftsmen and always try to trade knowledge and build a support system in our local neighborhood.
It is very important to have a whole bunch of fun distractions to keep your family from freaking out. Try and make these times special moments to bond. Monopoly, Pictionary, Yahtzee, Uno, a few decks of cards and any other such game will offer a much needed distraction to the unsettling events going on around you. The games can often be found at local yard sales for pennies on the dollar.
Have money on hand. The ATM may be out, the bank may be closed or simply out of money. If that happens, you may need to purchase supplies, transit or services. It is a good idea to have small bills, so you won’t have to worry about handing over a $100 bill for a $10 item only to find out your associate has no change and tells you to “take it or leave it.”
Each member of my family has a knife or multi-tool to be used as a survival tool throughout the day and, if necessary, a weapon.
What good are all the supplies in the world if you are 100 lbs. overweight and would be a hindrance to your own survival and the survival of those around you? You may be first on the menu if things get really, really bad! That said, be in shape at all times. Can you do a single pull-up and lift your bodyweight to safety at least one time? How about 10 times? Can you swim, walk long distances with 50 lbs. of gear on your back or run for your life?! Can you help your family, friends or neighbors if they are hurt or fall ill? You better get on it now.
What about dental? What happens if you can’t make it to a dentist for a few days, weeks or ever?
Have you been to the doctor lately? Any health issue that pops up, handle it immediately. Always put your personal health before all things. You cannot help a soul if you are falling apart yourself.
This blog was meant to be fun and use the current weather issues as a topic starter.
When I was a boy, my Scoutmaster told me to ask my parents to turn off the power in the house on Friday after school and not turn it back on until Sunday night. Only then will you realize how unprepared you are for an emergency situation.
How do you and your family prepare for emergency situations? Tell us by leaving a comment below! We’d love to hear from you!