Emergency Call

Marti’s Corner – 129

October 26, 2023

The United States has only one firefighter for every 480 people and one police officer for every 385 people.  That means in an emergency, most people are going to be on their own for possibly 48-72 hours, says David Paulison of FEMA.

I was involved in helping people in the aftermath of Hurricane Hilary.  Cathedral City was particularly hard hit.  Some people and businesses reported mud as high as the doorknobs.  The hurricane came through on Sunday, August 20.  I was called on Thursday, August 24, and as of just last week, October 5, people were still needing assistance.  The mud was so bad that people could not get out of their driveways to get food.  Volunteer organizations were contacted to help deliver food.  Still, it was 5-6 days before that was organized and food delivered.  

I finally rotated all the food in our 72 hour kits.  I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t done that for 2 years, which is WAY too long.  In fact, I just threw most of it away, scolding myself the whole time.  Better to do it every 6 months, and then eat what you rotate.

One of the things I ended up throwing away was some Maruchan Instant Cup of Noodles.  I thought – hey, it’s dehydrated, right?  But when I tried it, it was rancid (not too bad, but not great either.)  I also had several microwave shelf-stable dinners, and a couple cans of spaghettios and beanie weenies.  They got tossed as well.  Even the fruit roll-ups were dry.  They would have done better if I had vacuum sealed them — next time.

I restocked with gallon bags, each bag holding one day’s meals.  I was very lucky this year to have some freeze dried meals on hand.  If you don’t have those, try the cup of noodles or other 1 serving microwavable dinners.

Day 1:  Breakfast: small container of Raisin Bran, 1/3 c. instant milk, dried bananas, and packs of sugar from fast food places.  Lunch:  I bought some dehydrated soup– Bear Creek?? that feeds 8 and divided it into 4.  I added some small pasta (you could also add rice) to make 2 cups of dried soup, then vacuum sealed 1/2 c. 1 granola bar, and a packet of fruit punch.  Dinner:  Freeze dried sausage and red beans, fruit roll up, another packet of punch.  Snacks: honey energy chews, and some candy – something you can suck on.

Day 2 Breakfast oatmeal, instant milk, fruit roll up Lunch: freeze dried soup, beef jerky, punch Dinner: freeze dried beef ragu, milk Snacks:  cookies (not sure how these will hold up in the backpack, and it may turn out to be a lot of crumbs!  

Day 3 Breakfast: 2 pop tarts, packet of hot chocolate, dried peaches.  Lunch:  individual packet of spam or tuna, dehydrated apples, fruit punch, granola bar Dinner: freeze dried chicken fried rice, raisins, milk  Snacks:  nuts

A note about this:  Dried food is not the same as dehydrated food or freeze dried food.  Dehydrated food is dry and brittle.  Most store bought dried food is “chewy”.  It WILL spoil.  In my pack, I will need to rotate the peaches, cookies, raisins, nuts, beef jerky, and peaches first.  I’m pretty sure everything will last for at least a year.  But you have to be vigilant.  

You’ll need something to heat water to cook the oatmeal, soup, and the freeze dried meals.  That means you’ll have to have a small stove, some fire starters, matches, and a pan.  Otherwise, plan something else.

GARDEN HAPPENINGS:  Just when the weather cools off a little and the tomatoes start putting out flowers, we get a heat wave of 90+ degrees.  Ugh.  I’m spraying every other week for aphids, especially in the lettuce, but also on the squash.  The leaves are wrinkly and deformed.  Just turn them over and you will see little black dots EVERYWHERE!  

To control them, spray 2 X a week.  My carrots are about 2 inches high.  

Once you remove your garden plants, cover the ground with leaves or grass clippings and water it once in a while.  You’ll want to keep the worms alive, and encourage good fungi.  

THIS WEEK’S PURCHASE: chili or stew 10 cans

Let’s face it, homemade chili is better in every way than canned chili.  But in an emergency situation, you might not have the means to cook and simmer chili.  Having food that has protein in it, and is easy to heat up, is a good idea.

You can stretch a can of chili by adding some cooked macaroni and a can of corn.  You can stretch a can of stew with a can of green beans and a can of corn.  

MISC. PURCHASE: Food for your 72 hour kits.  If you don’t have time or don’t want to have a kit for each member of the family, then pack one large kit.  Focus on food – granola bars, fruit roll ups, etc.  You can add to your kit as you go along.  There are a lot of lists online for suggested items.  Here is a family of 16 children putting together their kits:  (688) 72 HR. EMERGENCY KiTS W/ LARGE FAMiLY!! – YouTube


Barbara’s Thermos Soup

from Preparedness Principles by Barbara Salsbury

The only fuel required is what is needed to heat the water initially.

In a thermos:

  • 1-1 1/2 c. grain:  any kind or combination:  basmati rice, cracked wheat, sweet brown rice, barley, split peas, lentils, long grain rice.
  • 2 TB dehydrated onions
  • 1/4 c. bacon bits (real or imitation)
  • 1/4 c. dehydrated celery
  • 1/4 tsp each marjoram and thyme
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 TB chicken soup base (or 3 cubes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. dehydrated carrots
  • 1/4 c. dehydrated green beans
  • 1/2 c. potato dices

Mix ingredients and fill a thermos 1/2 full.  Then fill with boiling water.  Let sit for about 8 hours.  You can cook 1/2 – 3/4 dry pasta and add to the soup the last 1/2 hour.

The author suggests placing the ingredients in a gallon-sized insulated jug.  IS there such a thing?  I have a thermal cooker, and that would work.  But I like the idea of a smaller size thermos.  

As a side note – I tried cooking oatmeal like this once.  It worked great, and was hot and ready for breakfast.

Frito Casserole

Crush up 2-3 c. of fritos in a baggie.  Layer the bottom of a casserole dish with the fritos.  In a frying pan, 

  • 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 can chili
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can sliced olives drained

     Mix and heat through.  Pour into casserole dish over the fritos.  Top with cheese and bake 350˚ for 30 min.

Chicken With Rice and Black-Eyed Peas

from Preparedness Principles by Barbara Salsbury

  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c. dried onions reconstituted OR 1 med onion chopped

    Saute the onions

  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic – add and cook an additional minute or two
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth or 1 can
  • 1 can chicken chunks
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano or thyme

dash ground red pepper (cayenne) optional

     Add all and bring to boil.  Reduce to medium low.  

  • 3/4 c. uncooked long grain rice – stir in.  Cover and cook 10 minutes.
  • 1 can corn drained or 1 c. frozen corn
  • 1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

    Stir in, cover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.  


Marti Shelley

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7 months ago

I noticed you didn’t have any hot drinks in the food bags like teas, hot chocolate, instant coffee etc? I know not everybody drinks that but even packets of dried soup mix for something to drink. Or maybe packets of something cold to drink if the weather is hot like fake orange juice. Or maybe even some dried sports drinks if a lot of exertion is involved at the time?

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