In a disaster, you might be cut off from food, water, and electricity
for days. By preparing emergency provisions, you can turn what could be
a life-threatening situation into a manageable problem. Even though it
is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supply for two
weeks, you should prepare a supply that will last that long. The easiest
way to develop a two-week stockpile is to increase the amount of basic
foods you normally keep on your shelves and store them.
- Keep food in a
dry, cool spot – 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 and
airtight cans to protect them from pests.
Inspect all food for signs of spoilage 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 the front.
It is important to
keep in mind the shelf life of foods for storage and rotate when
necessary. Foods like wheat, vegetable oils, soybeans, instant coffee,
tea, and cocoa, salt, white rice, dry pasta, and powdered milk in
nitrogen-packed cans may be stored indefinitely in proper containers and
conditions. Canned vegetable soups, peanut butter, jelly, ready-to-eat
cereals. Canned fruits, fruit juices, and vitamin C need to be used
within one year. And food like boxed powdered milk, dried fruit ( in a
metal container), crackers and potatoes must be used within 6 months
When Food Supplies Are Low….
If activity is
reduced, healthy people can survive on half their usual food intake for
an extended period and without any food for many days. Food, unlike
water, may be rationed safely, except for children and pregnant women.
If your water supply is limited, try to avoid foods that are high in fat
and protein, and don’t stock salty foods, since they will make you
thirsty. Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned
food with high liquid content.
You don’t need to
go out and buy unfamiliar food to prepare an emergency food supply. You
can use the canned foods, dry mixes and other staples on your cupboard
shelves. In fact, familiar foods are important. They can lift morale and
give a feeling of security in times of stress. Also, canned foods won’t
require cooking, water or special preparation. As you stock food, take
into account your family’s unique needs and tastes. Try to include foods
that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition.
Foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking are best.
special diets and allergies will need particular attention, as will
babies, toddlers and elderly people. Nursing mothers may need liquid
formula, in case they are unable to nurse. Canned dietetic foods, juices
and soups may be helpful for ill or elderly people. Make sure you have a
manual can opener and disposable utensils. And don’t forget
nonperishable foods for your pets.
information on disaster preparedness
or to become a Disaster Resistant Neighborhood, please contact the Van
Buren County Sheriff’s Office, Office of Domestic Preparedness,
Lt. Robert Kurk, 269-657-7786.
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