Planning ahead for situations when you may need an emergency food supply is a good idea. How much and which foods to store will depend on the members of your household, your preferences, special health conditions, ability to use the food in an emergency, space for storage and how far you live from a market.
Planning for a Three-Day Emergency Food Supply
A three-day emergency food supply should be sufficient for most situations. In addition to your short-term food supply, store water, personal hygiene items, flashlights, blankets and other supplies for emergency use. The food supply needs to be nonperishable; select foods that require no refrigeration, minimal or no preparation or cooking, and little or no water. Try to select foods that are compact and lightweight .
Don't forget to store animal food for your pets.
Avoid stocking foods which are high in salt that will increase your thirst.
Store single servings or one-meal sizes to avoid leftovers, since refrigeration may not be available.
Keep food in the driest and coolest spot in the house - a dark area if possible.
Keep food covered at all times.
Open food boxes or cans carefully so that you can close them tightly after each use.
Wrap cookies and crackers in plastic bags and keep them in tight containers.
Empty opened packages of sugar, dried fruits and nuts into screw-top jars or air-tight cans to protect them from pests.
Inspect all food containers regularly for signs of spoilage, and before use.
Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies, dated with ink or marker.
Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in front.
Storing Water for Short-Term Emergencies
In preparing for an emergency, keep at least a 3-day supply of water for each person in your household (one gallon per person per day, on average).
Storing Emergency Water Supplies
Plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers are suitable for storing water supplies. Never use a container that has held toxic (poisonous) substances. No matter how well you clean these containers, tiny amounts of toxic substances may remain in the container. Containers such as soft drink bottles or those you purchase water in are best. Milk jugs and other containers that previously held food items are almost impossible to adequately clean. Use these only when other containers are not available. Two-liter plastic soft drink bottles work well. Thoroughly wash the container and lid immediately before filling it with treated water. Use clean, hot water and detergent. Rinse well with hot water after washing.
Before storing your water, treat it with chlorine bleach, to prevent the growth of microorganisms. Use liquid household chlorine bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite and no soap. Do not use scented or "color safe" bleach or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach, or 1/4 teaspoon, per gallon of water and stir. Two liter soft drink bottles are about 1/2 gallon in size; use 8 drops or 1/8 teaspoon bleach. Mix the water and bleach thoroughly and let stand for at least 30 minutes before using the water. To store water, seal your containers tightly, label them "Purified Drinking Water," date them and store them in a cool, dark place. To increase the shelf life of water stored in translucent containers (those you can see into), group the containers together in dark plastic bags to keep out the light. Store the water supply away from gasoline, kerosene, pesticides or other chemicals. Plastic water storage bottles can allow the vapors from these chemicals to enter the bottle and contaminate the water.
Water can be stored in the freezer. This will keep the water at an acceptable quality for a longer period of time and will help keep any food in the freezer from thawing in the event that the power goes off.
Dear Home Delivered Meal Customer:
We want to be sure that all of our home delivered meal customers are prepared for a power outage that may occur due to a winter storm or other emergency. Please go through the check list below to be sure you are prepared. Let us know if you need assistance in obtaining any of the below items.
- 3-5 gallons of fresh water stored for each member of the household.
- Food on hand that does not require refrigeration or cooking that would last 3-5 days for each member of the household.
- A manual can opener on hand that you are able to use.
- At least one week of your prescription and over-the-counter medications on hand at all times.
- A battery operated radio, flashlights and a supply of extra batteries on hand.
- Extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves available.
- Enough cash on hand to get you through a long weekend.
- Someone who will check on you if there is a power outage.
- Non-perishable food for any pets.
- Gas or charcoal for grill and a safe place to use it.
- Disposable plates, cups, tableware, plastic bags.
- If you use oxygen tanks, have enough for 3 days
- Candles and matches.
- Packaged hand wipes/baby wipes if your skin is very sensitive.
- First aid kit.
If you have an electric garage door opener, learn how to disengage it in the event of a power outage.