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How To Prepare An Emergency Food Supply

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Whether natural or man-made, no region is immune to the potential for disaster. Tornado, earthquake, hurricane, winter storm, or terrorist attack are just a few examples of emergencies that may require emergency food and water supplies. During these emergencies, you may not have access to electricity, gas, food, or water. By planning ahead now and putting together an emergency food and water supply, you can have the food and water your family needs during a crisis.

FEMA and the American Red Cross recommend storing at least a two-week supply of food and water for emergencies. I would recommend at least double the amount as a minimum and ideally a year’s supply. And yet I understand the recommendation because most people don’t have any emergency food or water supplies at all. So where to start?

Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed at first. None of us started our food storage programs all at once. It may take some time to build up your emergency stockpile. You can start with canned food, food bars, dried fruit and dry mixes that don’t require refrigeration. Try to stock foods that your family usually enjoys eating as it will boost morale at an otherwise stressful time. When composing the food, take into account any allergies or special diets, as well as the age of the people you will be feeding.

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When you start storing your emergency supplies, set up a rotation based on the expiration dates of different foods. Keep the oldest foods in front so they can be used before they expire. When you add new supplies, make sure you put them behind the older supplies so the rotation stays in order. Be sure to use storage containers that are airtight and provide protection from pests.

An alternative to storing canned foods, bars, dried fruit, and dry mixes, which often only last six months to a year and need to be rotated constantly, is to purchase emergency freeze-dried supplies. These freeze-dried meals require no refrigeration, are lightweight, and come packaged in resealable bags stored in plastic buckets designed to stack on top of one another for compact food storage. These emergency food supplies have a shelf life of 20 years and come in sizes ranging from a week to a year or more depending on the needs of an adult. Freeze-dried meals offer a wide variety of foods, so you never tire of eating the same thing for every meal. All you usually need to prepare these foods is water. An emergency supply of freeze dried meals is my number one choice because I don’t have to think about constantly moving food in and out of the storage area.

Your emergency storage area should be cool, dry, and preferably dark. When choosing a storage area, consider the type of disaster that is most likely to occur in your area. For example, if tornadoes are prevalent in your area, you probably wouldn’t want your emergency supplies stored on the top floor of your home if it can be avoided, as that’s an area that’s more likely to suffer damage and thus loss of your food supply. Nor do you want it in a damp basement. In certain circumstances, it may be advisable to have more than one location so that if another is lost, a different one may be accessible.

While we may think and talk about emergency food more often, emergency water may be even more important. Most of us would survive longer without food than without water. Although you can store properly treated water in your own sanitized water storage tanks, it is recommended that you replace it every six months. Again, I would rather buy water. There are two options here. You can either buy regular bottled water, which usually lasts about a year, or you can buy emergency water that is specially packaged to last 5 years and is intended specifically for disaster preparedness. In any case, you should pay attention to the expiration date, but the emergency water is packaged in such a way that it has a longer shelf life. Regardless of your water supply choice, it’s important to have at least one gallon available per person per day. The average person should drink at least half a gallon of water a day. In certain circumstances, you may need to drink more than half a gallon of water a day. If you drink half a gallon, the other half gallon can be used for cooking or hygiene etc.

You also need a way to cook during a disaster. I prefer to have a propane camp stove available for emergency food prep. Please note that a camping stove should never be used indoors. A basic camping stove is small, easy to use, and has room for most cooking utensils. Don’t forget to keep a supply of propane cylinders with your camping stove.

Preparing an emergency food supply for your family is very important and could have a significant impact on the outcome should a disaster strike. And while it requires some attention to detail, it doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming.

Thanks to Troy See

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