By Ashley Stewart Herald writer
Some might expect a home show seminar on preparing for an emergency to include buying flood insurance, learning to strap down water heaters or figuring out where shut-off valves are.
But to Dave Parker, a small-business owner who specializes in emergency preparedness, the event is an opportunity to teach people how to take care of their families first.
Parker, of Marysville, will teach his audience how to prepare for and respond to Western Washington hazards, such as earthquakes, ice and snow storms, flooding, and volcanic eruptions.
“Not if, but when — when the earthquake happens, when the volcano blows — you need to be ready,” he said.
To get ready, Parker recommends that families keep at least a seven-day supply of food and a kit, or what he calls a “god-only-knows bag.”
Emergency kits should include food, water, shelter, blankets, first-aid supplies, and a light source, such as a hand-crank flashlight.
“Sit down and write a list of what you think you’ll need, and then check it again,” Parker said. “Pick things that you use every day.”
Parker said that emergency preparedness was always a priority for him and his family, even before he worked for Shelf Reliance. He and his wife, Heather, began to consider their own emergency plan when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Then they started stocking up on supplies after the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
Parker began buying freeze-dried foods from the grocery store and assembling his own emergency kit until he was introduced to Shelf Reliance and the freeze-dried food line called Thrive.
Shelf Reliance is a company that sells emergency kits, shelving units that store large quantities of canned food, food storage containers and Thrive freeze-dried foods.
He now sells the products in his own small business as a part of the larger company.
Thrive foods are prepared, flash frozen and then dehydrated and placed in a sealed container.
Customers use water to rehydrate the foods. Parker said that most of the produce has a 25-year shelf life if it is unopened, and will last one to two years once the seal is broken.
Parker said that the company uses hormone-free meats and nongenetically modified fruits and vegetables with no additives or preservatives. The foods retain 98 percent of their original nutritional value, he said.
“I fooled my kid at home into drinking instant milk,” he said. “He didn’t say anything; he couldn’t tell the difference.”
The Thrive line includes ground beef, chicken, turkey, ham, roast beef, real eggs, shredded cheeses, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, drinks, ice cream, and dessert mixes, including brownies and macaroons. They also have gluten-free products.
The Parker family uses the freeze-dried foods as part of their regular meals.
“We like to try things we haven’t tried and are looking to decrease our trips to the grocery store,” Parker said.
He said that the foods are not only handy in emergency situations but are a safety net for other situations, such as job loss or rising food costs.
“Even if you have a job loss you might have a month’s worth of food on hand,” he said. “Pricewise, you may think they are a little high, but cost comparison per meal works out to about $3.”
Parker’s presentation at the home show, Is Your Family Ready for an Emergency?, is set for 1 p.m. on Friday and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Ashley Stewart: 425-339-3037; firstname.lastname@example.org.