Choosing The Best Emergency Face Mask

As I write this post, parts of the country are either flooded or fleeing the path of Hurricane Irma.  Other states, Oregon, Washington and California are on fire.  If there was ever a time to begin preparing your family for an emergency, now has to be it.  One item that should be in every family’s preparedness kit is an emergency face mask.

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Which Type Of Emergency Face Mask Should You Buy?

Let’s run through the different types of emergency face masks and their best uses.

The lowest level of protection is the humble dust mask.   Inexpensive.  Disposable.  It’s the sort of mask you would need to protect against pollen, household dust, cut grass.  It is NOT NIOSH approved protection.  It’s really not going to offer much protection, and the only reason I mention it here is to help you tell the difference between this and a particulate respirator mask.

How To Choose An Emergency Face Mask

N95 Emergency Face Masks

A better choice for an emergency face mask is a particulate respirator, an N95 or above.  These are the types of masks suggested a few years back when the Swine Flu and Influenza were such concerns.  These filter 95% of 0.3 micron sized particles.

Particulate respirator face masks conform a bit better to your face, unless you have a  beard.   These masks give you more protection from microscopic particles in the air.

The N95 masks can be found with ‘cool flow valves’ that help to reduce heat build up, moisture, and fogging, all of which help to make breathing while wearing this mask easier.

Because N95 masks are NIOSH certified, which means the respirator has passed stringent government performance standards including filtration efficiency testing and provides at least 95% filtration efficiency solid and liquid particles that do not contain oil.

 N95 masks have been a popular choice for protection from the smoke from fires, city pollution, viruses (H1N1, etc.) and allergies.

N99 Emergency Face Masks

Newer on the market are masks like the Cambridge Mask, which is a N99 mask.  More expensive, but reusable, Cambridge Masks provide protection against gases, smells, all PM; PM2.5, PM0.3, pollen, smoke and pathogens such as viruses (99.6%)  and  bacteria (99.77%).

As per the Cambridge literature:

Filters used in the Cambridge Mask meet the N99 standard (higher than N95)This is a US Government specification for pollution masks. Cambridge Masks have been independently tested by Nelson Labs, USA which confirmed almost 100% of particulate pollution, bacteria and viruses were successfully filtered when tested. We have also tested to meet the standards for Chinese NK-95 and Korean Food and Drug Administration requirements. The masks use a triple-layer filter system which will protect from a range of airborne contaminants.

Please, check the specs on ANY emergency face mask purchase you make.

 

PRO TIP: Remember viruses are transferred not only by touch, through a sneeze, these bugs can also enter through your eyes.  Good hand washing and keeping your hands away from your face is important.

emergency mask

Should You Buy A Respirator?

Next up, Respirators.  These provide at least 95% filter efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols as well as some organic vapors.  It will filter pesticides and some viruses too.   Basically, you get a much better seal with this type of face masks, which offers better protection.  If you want to amp up this protection add a pair of safety goggles.

Respirators work well for those with serious breathing problems, allergies, and a need to be protected from bad smells.  Think of it as a really jacked up version of the paper N95 masks that can also filter out strong odors.

PRO TIP:  At around $30.00 a pop, respirators are a great choice for protection.  But make sure you pay attention to the SIZES they come in, usually Small, Medium, and Large.   The effectiveness of any face mask depends on how well it fits.

Full Facepiece Respirators provide a good seal around your face, AND protect your eyes.  More expensive, but if this is a big concern for you, worth every penny.

Another choice you may want to consider is the ReadiMask, a single use, full face respirator that uses medical grade adhesive to create a secure barrier to your face.

What Face Mask Should You Choose For Mold Removal?

Let’s face it.  In the aftermath of a hurricane, a lot of people are going to be dealing with a lot of mold.  You are going to need a Mold Remediation Respirator kit.
Mold is nasty stuff.  Don’t try to use a paper face mask or simple respirator for this job.

When Are  Gas Masks A Good Choice?

Considering today’s world events, there is value in a good gas mask.   Again, it’s all about your personal circumstances.  The Israeli Gas Masks also run in the $30-40 dollar range.

Pro Tip:  Regardless of which face mask you choose, wearing them is a bit of a learning curve.  They are uncomfortable and can look scary on, especially for children.   Take some time and practice wearing your masks BEFORE an emergency.

What face masks do you have in your emergency supplies?  What type do your pack in your 72 kit?

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Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

Find a great sale on frozen vegetables, but there’s no room in the freezer?  No worries!  Dehydrating frozen vegetables is a simple prep skill to master.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

Why You Should Dehydrate Frozen Vegetables

    • Unless you have a really big garden, dehydrating frozen vegetables is much cheaper than buying fresh, and you can dehydrate frozen vegetables year round.
    • Dehydrating frozen vegetables requires no washing, peeling, slicing, chopping, or blanching,  saving you a lot of time.
    • Needs less room (much less!) for storage!

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Which Dehydrator Should You Choose?

I use an Excalibur Dehydrator, and love it.  I also own a Nesco dehydrator, which is much cheaper and works well for dehydrating frozen vegetables.   You can quickly and easily recoup  the cost of both of these dehydrators in just a few months of dehydrating your own fruits and veggies.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

How To Dehydrate Frozen Vegetables

Simply spread out the mixed veggies on the dehydrator trays. I didn’t worry that the pieces were touching, I knew they would shrink as they dried and it wouldn’t be an issue. As a matter of fact, my one POUND bag of veggies shrunk down to 3/4 of a cup!

I dehydrated these @125 degrees and they took about 10 hours. Please look at your dehydrator model to see what temperature is correct for your machine. The time to dehydrate will always depend on the humidity in the room where you are dehydrating.

Pro Tip:  Want to learn more about dehydrating foods?  Hands down, the best book on the market is Tammy Gangloff’s The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook. In this book, Tammy covers it all from how to dehydrate foods, to recipes that only need water added!

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

How To Store Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables

Now that you have a batch of inexpensive dehydrated frozen vegetables, you’ll need to store them properly. Here’s where a Food Saver comes in so handy!

My favorite way to store my dehydrated vegetables is to pour them into a wide mouth canning jar, and using the mason jar sealer accessory, vacuum seal the jar. You won’t need a ring for this, the vacuum sealing will securely keep the lid on.

 

Dehydrating frozen vegetables is the perfect project for the beginning simple prepper. Save Time. Save Money. Save Space as you build your food storage. Your dehydrator is about to become your best friend as you work to stockpile vegetables for your pantry.

How To Use Dehydrated Frozen Vegetables

    • Add a handful or two to soups or stews. Perfect for crockpot cooks!
    • Add some to a blender and turn them into a veggie powder. This powder can then be added
    • to all sorts of things you’d like to up the nutritional value of.
    • Smoothies!
    • Use for camping and hiking trips.

No Time For Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables? No Problem!

LOVE the idea of having veggies and fruits in your long term food storage as a hedge against inflation and emergencies?  But don’t have time to dehydrate your own?   Thrive carries a wide variety of sfreeze dried food for this very reason!  Check them out!

So, which frozen vegetable will you be dehydrating first?

Politics and Prepping: The Rising Cost of Produce

Understanding the relationship between politics and the economy is an important Prepper skill to develop.  It allows you to prepare in advance for the rising cost of produce items we rely on daily.

Paying For A Wall Between The U.S. and Mexico

Let’s take President Trump’s proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico. You know, the one Mexico is supposedly paying for? The one that for all intents and purposes might really  be paid for by a 20% tax on what American’s import from Mexico?

Now whether you are in favor of a wall or hate the idea, isn’t the issue.

The issue is a potential 20% increase of everything you purchase that crosses that boarder.

Understanding the relationship between politics and the economy will give you the opportunity to prepare for rising costs. As President Trump moves forward with building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, rising produce costs are becoming a reality. Make sure your food storage and budget doesn't take a hit with these strategies for prepping against the rising cost of your favorite fruits and vegetables.

What Does The U.S. Import From Mexico?

In 2015 alone, the U.S. imported over $295 BILLION dollars worth of products from Mexico, according to government trade data. From cars to car parts, to electrical machinery and oil.  $2.4 billion worth of apparel.  $1.9 Billion in beer and tequila.

What really has my attention is the amount of of vegetables, fruit and nuts we import from Mexico.  $5.5 billion of vegetables and $3.9 billion of fruit and nuts.  All to potentially be subjected to a %20 price increase.

Bananas and Mangoes

Consider the products we simply can’t grow here such as bananas and mangoes. And then consider what other countries might do to block U.S. exports in retaliation.

And what about the fresh fruits and vegetables we depend on during the winter months? Where do we get a great deal of those? Yup. Mexico.

Can Your Grocery Budget Handle The Increase?

Did I mention the amount of tomatoes and avocados we import from Mexico? 78% of our avocados and 71% of our tomatoes according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.  And it not just avocados and tomatoes either.   Herbs, spinach and lettuce make their way across the border to our tables every day.

Finally, according to Forbes, the restaurant industry is already seeing their stocks fall on the fears of increased food costs.

 

Understanding the relationship between politics and the economy will give you the opportunity to prepare for rising costs. As President Trump moves forward with building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, rising produce costs are becoming a reality. Make sure your food storage and budget doesn't take a hit with these strategies for prepping against the rising cost of your favorite fruits and vegetables. How To Prepare For The Rising Cost Of Produce

Learn to grow your own.  Now is the perfect time to learn what grows in your area and how to start your own seeds indoors.   Growing your own food helps to tremendously off set the rising cost of produce.

As the season progresses we at Simply Preparing will help walk you through the basics of getting your first garden up and growing!

Learn how to preserve your own food.   It’s easier than you think.  I promise.

Dehydrating.  With just a few simple pieces of equipment you can dehydrate and store fruit and vegetables long term.  One of my favorite resources for dehydrating is the book, Dehydrate2Store by Tammy Gangloff.

Another excellent storage option is to freeze your bounty.   Did you know you can freeze avocados?  Yup! I have a freezer full of frozen avocados for my son’s blenderized diet and my guacamole addiction!

Carolyn Humphries book, How To Freeze Fresh Food At Home is a great book for beginners wanting to learn how to freeze foods.

Prepping With Freeze Dried Food.

Let’s face it.  With or without a wall between us and Mexico, food prices are only going higher and higher.  This is where the real value of freeze dried foods come in.  With up to a 25 year shelf life.  Non-GMO offerings.  Locally sourced whenever possible.

Each can of freeze dried food I purchase today has it’s price frozen as well.  Up to 25 years from now I can open a can of food that I paid 2017 prices for, and allows me to combat the rising cost of produce.  It’s like having money in the bank, but with a much higher interest rate.

It’s also pretty amazing how versatile freeze dried food is.  Take a look at all the produce used in one of my favorite soup recipes, Sausage Potato Soup!  Yum!

Understanding the relationship between politics and the economy will give you the opportunity to prepare for rising costs. As President Trump moves forward with building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, rising produce costs are becoming a reality. Make sure your food storage and budget doesn't take a hit with these strategies for prepping against the rising cost of your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Not sure how to use freeze dried foods?  No problem!  You can take a look at the recipes found on my Thrive Website to get some great ideas.

Taking the time to understand what is happening within the White House will insure that your house is prepared to better weather the growing world wide unrest, the consequences of repealing the Dodd-Frank Act and the returning concerns with China’s economy.

Prepping For Basic Emergencies

Prepping for basic emergencies doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  It doesn’t have to be a huge expense.  I work with many people who immediately get that dear in the headlights look when the topic is preparing families for emergencies.

Prepping for basic emergencies can be as easy as taking a trip to your local grocery or big box store.  Or, in this case, simply let your fingers click through the Amazon Affiliate links!

Prepping doesn't have to be stressful or overwhelming. Whether you are a doomsday prepper, or a mom wanting some peace of mind, we have your survival needs covered!

Let There Be Light

Nobody likes to be stuck in the dark.   These items are inexpensive and will make getting through an emergency a much safer experience.

Flashlights

Batteries

Light Sticks (Ultra Bright)

LED Solar Lights

Water.  And More Water.

Water is your friend, boys and girls.  Make sure you have 1 gallon of water per person per day.  More if you are hoping to flush toilets, or brush your teeth.

I’d suggest a LifeStraw water filter that can easily fit into a backpack.

Ready to eat, shelf stable foods.

Quick and easy is the name of the game.  Peanut butter.  Crackers.  Those ready to eat packets of tuna.   Again, things you can pick up a little at a time each time you make a grocery run.

As a BIG fan of Freeze Dried Meals in emergency situations, the Mountain House Just in Case Essential Bucket is one of my favorites.  Unlike many other buckets of this kind, Mountain House has put together a trio that even my kids will eat.   You’ll need a way to heat water to add to these meals.  Don’t forget the matches!

Toilet Paper

You are not going to want to be stuck spraying your sweet patoot clean with a honey bear filled with cold water unless the apocalypse really is in full swing.  Until then stock up on the TP.

After Hurricane Harvey, toilet paper was listed as one of the 6 most sought after items.  Hurricane survivors  underestimated how much toilet paper they needed to make it through the aftermath. Toilet paper is used every day and when it runs out, things can get disgusting……quickly.

 

Magical Miracle Tape

Duct tape is truly the stuff miracles are made of.  In case you need some inspiration check out our post on this glorious product.

Black Contractor Bags

Not garbage bags.  Not leaf bags.  On the box it will state CONTRACTOR bags.  Those are what you want.  Exactly WHAT will you use these for?  Here’s a few ideas:

Ground Cover.
Poncho
Line a 5 gallon bucket with a contractor bag for an emergency potty.
Cover broken or blown out windows after an earthquake.

Here are more ways to use these versatile bags.

Over The Counter Medications and Prescriptions

Aspirins.  Allergy Medication.  Cough Syrup.  Prescription medications.  I have a week’s worth of medications sorted by day in one of these handy little travel pill organizers.  In an emergency you want to make things as simple as possible.

Basic First Aid Kit

Chances are you’re not a doctor, nor do you play one on T.V.  You aren’t going to be performing a tracheotomy or needing to crack someone’s chest to massage their heart.  A basic First Aid Kit will serve you well.

Breathe Easy

There is a good chance that during or after an emergency event the air quality may be less than stellar.

N95 Respiratory Masks will protect you from dust, allergens and other forms of air pollution.

We’ve broken down the respiratory mask code to help you decide which mask will best protect your family.

Odds and Ends

You will need to have some cash on hand, with small bills being best.
Make copies of all important papers and include them in your basic emergency kit.
Include a change of clothes and good, sturdy shoes

Prepping doesn't have to be stressful or overwhelming. Whether you are a doomsday prepper, or a mom wanting some peace of mind, we have your survival needs covered!

Taking Prepping to a Higher Level

Can you take preparedness to a higher level?  Of course!   Most people start with the basics, get the bug, so to say, and then continue to grow their preparedness goals.  The point is that you don’t have to jump onto the Expert Level to make sure your family can make it through a rough time.  And every thing listed above can be purchased either at your grocery store or a big box store, on sale, and often with coupons.

Don’t panic.

Start simply.  Pick up a few items each time you get paid. Sell some of your stuff that you are no longer using, and put that money towards a prepping goal.    Put your foundation in place and then work to meet your personal preparedness goals.

Self sufficiency is a mind set, an every day way of thinking.   It’s a journey to a simpler, less worry filled life.

Where are YOU in your emergency preparedness goals?  How can I help you achieve those goals?

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