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Guest Post: Increase Your Emergency Preparedness: Food

by L.B.

 

 

Increase Your Emergency Preparedness: Food

Today’s world is somewhat uncertain. Economic downturn makes day-to-day living difficult for many, especially in terms of feeding a family. Increasing natural disasters and unpredictable weather like Hurricane Sandy makes a person start thinking about “what if?” Practicing food preparedness is a great way to alleviate some of the anxiety that goes along with unpredictable times.

Starting a Food Store

Preparing life for the possible eventuality of a disaster does not have to take over all aspects of your life. “Better safe than sorry,” a very old adage, is applicable to food practicing preparedness. While some families plan years in advance, having food stores to last for even just three months is not that expensive. A small food store of that size is also easy to implement and upkeep.

One of the difficult parts of creating a food store is trying to figure out just how much food to put into it. You have to determine how many calories of food each family member consumes each day. You then take that number and multiply it by the number of days’ worth of food you want to store. It is not always easy to plan food rations.

To make life easier, Shelf Reliance has a great food plan calculator. While it lists products they sell, it also gives weight figures for each item. That means you can either buy their products, which is the easiest way to do it, or you could start your own food dehydration and storage process.

Food Rotation

Dried meats last for two or three months. Dehydrated vegetables, fruit and noodles last for around a year when stored properly in vacuum-sealed storage bags or containers. It is possible for herbs and spices to last for several years. Foods canned in glass jars and kept in temperate conditions without light can last for 5 – 10 years. Stock up on the basic essentials, then stock some extra room with other commodities like clothes, radios/televisions, and even weapons. 

The key is rotating the food. Organize bought foods by expiration date, and date everything dried or canned at home with the date it was packaged and how long it should last. A Shelf Reliance food storage system can help with organization and easy rotation. Make sure to keep an eye on supplies. Use foods as their expiration dates come up, and replace them accordingly. 

Once foods reach expiration, rotate them and replace them with the next food closest to their expiration date, and buy new foods to replace the empty spaces. Keeping an emergency food storage current is your job, and if done right, you can sleep well at night knowing that just about whatever can happen, you’ll be prepared to protect yourself and family when disaster strike.s 

Have a Shelter

Of course, having all the food you need is only good if you have a place to store it, and only as long as you can get to that area safely in the event of an emergency. Simply stockpiling your pantry will all the essentials is slightly missing the point – if you need to leave your home, if you can’t stay in your home area in the case of an emergency, you’re just as bad off as everyone else.

You need to set up an area where you can access your food storage, an area that can withstand a beating, keep intruders out, and keep you safe from danger. A cellar is a typical area for this need, and provides a lot of the essential qualities of a stellar safe area: easily hidden, mostly protected from natural disasters (storms, power outages, even hurricanes), and easily reached. However, in the case of something like a flood or an evacuation, a cellar can’t always be an end-all solution. 

Consider storing up an area a little farther away from home, somewhere you could even drive to if needed. Having a storage room in a self-storage facility nearby is am excellent idea, as one can hold up there with food, water, light, and security, hidden safely away. Even stocking up an old RV or trailer with necessary supplies can be a life-saver, if there’s no time to take anything from home. Simply get to the RV (drive there if necessary), and you have a decked-out emergency van that you can drive, hide in, and remain safe.

To ease the cost burden, consider growing some of the vegetables, and start building the store slowly. Keeping any dehydrated food in a freezer, when properly packaged, greatly extends the shelf life. With a little planning and dedication, food preparedness is an easy task that makes sense.

© 2012, Rourke. All rights reserved.

1 comment to Guest Post: Increase Your Emergency Preparedness: Food

  • James Nelson

    Vacuum sealed dried meats last 3 months and vegetables 1 year? Say what? This is somebody trying to sell more stuff. Unless it is stored in a permeable container, i.e. not glass, Mylar bag, tinned can, etc that statement is nonsense. If the vacuum holds, dried and canned food lasts for decades, not years.
    Now storing something in a Food Saver bags, even with oxygen absorbers, doesn’t last that long because plastic is permeable. Air will eventually flow into the sealed area.
    There is a report on this site that will help clear this up. http://www.grandpappy.info/hshelff.htm There is other evidence out there, this is what I had close to hand. BTW, medication expiration date are also generally fictitious.