A lot going on these days… Natural and man made emergency situations keep rearing up all over the place. Hurricane season is just around the corner. Food shortages are in the news. It’s definitely time to check your supplies and build your short term food storage to prepare for whatever comes next.
Sheltering in Place or Evacuation: Prepare for Both
There are three major categories to consider when preparing for a quick (and hopefully temporary) evacuation or the possibility of sheltering in place. Wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes can leave us without electricity and resources to survive – hopefully only for a few weeks, tops. So, be prepared. Water is your #1 consideration when planning a short term survival supply, whether ‘sheltering in place’ or ‘evacuating’. Remember, you can go 3 weeks without food, but only 3 days without water. Water should always be your first priority.
Where to begin:
- Food and Water Supplies
- Medical supplies
- Automobile supplies
Start Building Your Short Term Food Storage
Short term food and water storage is just that. You’ll want to build a supply of food and water which will sustain your family for about 3 months.
Begin by planning a typical week’s menu. What does your family usually eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What are their favorites? Then, expand that list to cover one month.
From your monthly menu, start your food storage shopping list. Identify the quantities of each food you’ll need and start shopping. Pick up an item or two each week and have your shopping done without breaking the budget. Don’t forget staples; flour, sugar, salt, pepper, oils, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, dry yeast and the spices you typically use.
Set Some Goals / Get it Done!
Set a target date to have your shopping complete. By creating a time frame to accomplish your one month pantry, you’re more likely to get it done. Don’t procrastinate – it’s so easy to do, and you’ll find great peace of mind, once you have your short term grocery shopping done. It’s satisfying to know you’ll be ready should disaster strike.
Once you’ve completed the one month food storage, then replicate it 2 more times, and you’ve got your 3 month food supply. It is recommended by Homeland Security and other government agencies that you have at least a two week supply of food on hand. That should, at least, be your target for a short-term food storage goal. However, many emergency preparedness experts recommend stocking up for a 3 month duration. It adds that extra measure of security.
Easy Food Storage Options
The obvious choices for short term food storage are canned, dried and freeze dried products. Canned fruits and vegetables are essential. Canned meats and fish, although not as tasty as fresh, will certainly satisfy a hungry family. “Ready to eat” meals serve the same purpose. Don’t forget to pack some treats and snack food. These foods are usually a good source of energy and comfort.
Rotate your food storage on a regular basis. Date the foods as you store them, and date the new replacement foods, as well, always putting the newer purchases to the rear of your pantry so you use the oldest foods first.
Where to Store Your Food
Store your food in a dry, cool space, if possible. Think closets or underneath beds. Shy away from your garage where temperatures might be high and damaging to some food. Empty opened packages of sugar, dried fruits and nuts into screw-top jars with tight fitting lids to protect them from insects. Canned foods are good beyond the “use by” date for 1-5 years, as long as they are not rusted or bulging. Always inspect foods for spoilage before consuming.
Don’t forget to store pet food. Consider your pet’s water and food consumption in your month-long meal guide. How about infant formula if you have, or are expecting, a baby in the house. And last, but not least, paper products or those things we use daily but take for granted.
- Paper plates
- Eating Utensils
- Hand and dish soap
- Paper towels
- Toilet Tissue (remember Covid?)
- Feminine products
- Baby diapers
As far as tools and equipment, consider what you’d need if you had no power. Things like a manual can opener; barbeque grill, propane, flashlights and extra batteries will come in handy.
Emergency Drinking Water
It goes without saying that we need adequate water. A temporary water main break can cut off your household water supply for several days, even as repairs are being made. And just a sidebar, many of our cities have old, lead pipes still in place and servicing the public daily. (Consider making changes to your daily tap water consumption; emergency or not.)
The Best Water Purification Options
If you’re without electricity, we suggest using the Sagan Life AquaBrick Water Purification System. It will purify 700 gallons of any non-salt water making it safe, clean potable drinking water. Utilizing the Dura-Flo™ Filter, it removes 99.9999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; 99.99% of all parasites and protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium; 99.99% of viruses. It will effectively remove chlorine and other swimming pool chemicals, so you can even use your swimming pool (or any non-salt flood water) as a source of purified drinking water. Fill your AquaBrick® System and confidently drink pure, safe water.
Another great water purification option is the 5 Gallon Jug Countertop Water Filter. It’s portable and powerful, utilizing a 3-5 gallon water jug and the Sagan Life® Journey™ Filter. This system will purify up to 250 gallons of water (per filter) and it, too, will remove bacteria, parasites, viruses and effectively reduce toxins from any non-salt water. The ‘Jug’ System comes with a handy USB rechargeable push button power pump dispenser. These are easy and affordable to have on your kitchen counter for everyday use, given the miles and miles of lead pipes currently serving our communities, not to mention pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and other fun stuff contaminating our tap water. Save money too, by no longer buying plastic water bottles, which pollute the landfills, are costly and leach plastic into the water many think of as a preferable source. With the Jug System, you’ve got clean, refreshing drinking and cooking water at the push of a button for just pennies a day,
First Aid Supplies
Everyone should have an emergency medical first aid kit at the ready; whether you’re planning a day trip to the beach or putting together a 72 hour ‘bug out bag’. It’s just the smart thing to do. Commercial first aid kits are adequate for a simple scrape or scratch, but they leave a lot to be desired if you encounter a serious wound. We suggest adding the following items to create a more comprehensive medical first aid kit:
- Alcohol/Antiseptic pads
- Bandages (various sizes)
- Emergency blanket
- Exam quality vinyl gloves
- First aid/burn cream packs
- Gauze Roll and tape
- Ibuprofen and aspirin
There are many other items you can add; this is a suggested list. If you have a family member with special medical needs, that becomes a priority, so don’t forget to include those items. Consider adding supplies to address a wounded pet, as well.
Vehicle Supplies Checklist
Keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape is important. Start by having at least ½ tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times. If you and your entire town have been given evacuation orders, there’s going to be a long line of stop and go slow traffic heading for higher, dryer or safer ground. You’re not going to have time to stop for gas and even if you do, you’ll find long lines. Additionally, if your electricity is out city wide, pumps are rendered useless.
Here is a list of suggested items to keep in your vehicle for emergencies:
- $50.00 in small bills and change
- 10 Tissue Packs
- 12V Emergency Light
- 5 Emergency Candles
- 5-in-1 Survival Whistle
- 8 Hour Light Stick
- Auto Club card or roadside assistance number
- Bag of Cat litter (provides traction on slick surfaces if needed)
- Car Escape Tool
- Cell phone charger
- Chemical Hand Warmer
- Emergency Blanket
- Emergency Poncho
- Emergency Triangle
- Extra Clothing
- Fire Extinguisher
- First Aid Kit
- Foam Tire Sealant
- Food & Water for up to 3 days
- Hand Cleaner
- Ice Scraper
- Jumper Cables
- Multi-tool Knife
- Notebook and Pen
- Nylon Carry-All Bag
- Portable Battery Booster
- Protein Bars
- Snake Bite Kit
- Tire Chains
- Tow Rope
- Water bottles or water purifier
- Waterproof Matches
- Work Gloves
Perhaps there are some things listed you hadn’t thought of storing and that this will serve as a reminder of what you’d like to add. You know your family’s likes so build your food storage according to your usual family habits. Emergency preparedness never goes ‘out of style’. Hopefully, we’ve added a couple of ideas you’d like to implement. Again, we hope you never have to use your emergency storage items, but, you’ll definitely be grateful for the supplies, should that day ever arise.
For tips on preparing Long Term Storage click here.