Anyone who has heard disaster preparedness recommendations probably knows a three-day emergency food supply is on the list. That means on top of having ample food and water to last the first few days after a storm or other emergency, you also need to have some way to prepare the food or keep what you’re eating safe to consume. You may be without power, which means you may not have a way to heat things up or refrigerate them.
Some of the potential foods you could include are single-serving cereal packages, crackers, granola bars, canned fruit, canned juice, packaged drink mixes, raisins, apple sauce, canned vegetables, canned soups or chili, tuna, canned chicken, beef jerky, peanut butter, canned milk or other shelf-stable milk, shelf-stable cheese, hard candy and chocolate.
You’re going to need at least two quarts – and preferably a gallon – of water for each person per day. Choose commercially bottled water or store water from your household system in clean containers.
Keep these things in mind when choosing the foods:
–Nonperishable foods require little or no cooking and no refrigeration.
–Can or jar sizes should be appropriate for one meal with no leftovers. Once opened or prepared, many foods lose their shelf-stable character and will go bad.
–Select foods you like and normally eat.
–If you don’t have a way to boil water when the power is off, do not include instant foods that will require hot water. Keep in mind foods that require water also will consume your water supply quickly.
–Keep a supply of disposable plates, bowls, cups and utensils on hand. Otherwise, you could use far too much of your water supply washing dishes.
–Don’t forget baby food, special dietary requirements and food for your pets.
Purchase a hand-crank can opener, if you don’t have one already.
As you assemble your food and other disaster supplies, keep them in a central location – above potential flood level. Store food in the coolest cabinets or a pantry away from appliances that produce heat. And, remember, your three-day food supply may last only six to 12 months. So replenish and refresh as needed.