Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Supplies Food

I hope you have started your disaster supplies list and have gotten together items for it that you already have on hand. If you are going to keep a can opener in your disaster supplies, it would be a good idea to have an extra one that you always keep in your supplies container(s), for example. The same applies to other items in daily use, an extra  one should always stay in the emergency supplies container.

Even your supplies intended for keeping and using in your home to shelter in place should be a special container that is easy and quick to get to and can be moved easily. Reasons for this are that if the power is out it would be hard to find what you need if the items are all over your home, some disasters involve being in one room of your home for a while. The last could be a hurricane or tornado alert, for example. You would want to bring your disaster supplies to that room as quickly as possible.

If you cannot afford to buy all the items on your disaster supplies list at one time, you may want to decide what to get first and keep working on it to complete it as soon as possible. You will need to decide your philosophy about what you want to do with your preparedness plans for yourself and your family. Some people are happy to get a three day supply and leave it at that. Others make preparedness a lifestyle. Most people are somewhere in between. Some churches suggest that their members always have a two year supply of food and other necessities on hand.

With times and financial matters in shaky condition worldwide, I believe that more than three days is better. Once you decide how much food, etc. you want to have prepared, you need to decide what you want to eat. A lot of people spend money on prepackaged disaster food in neat little boxes to stack in a closet, attic or basement. I do not like that approach because it tends to waste food. The prepackaged stuff is not necessarily what you and your family want to eat even if you know how to cook it. Foods that you and your family already eat every day are a better choice. You know you like those foods and how to cook them. They make you feel normal and happy. This can be very important to keep your spirits up in a tense disaster situation.

Your cooking arrangements may have to be different during a disaster if there is a power outage. An alternative cooking method would be a good idea for a preparedness item to have on hand. I like rocket stoves. That does not mean you have to like rocket stoves. Check around for what is available for you and pick what you like best.

Your food items should be things that do not require a working refrigerator or freezer. Power outages are often a feature of disasters and a freezer full of spoiling food would not prepare you for a disaster. Canned and dried foods are a more useful choice.  MREs are often considered a necessity for preparedness. I don't agree. The ex-military people I have spoken to about them convinced me that MREs are not good for preparedness in general. One of their worst disadvantages is that they cause horrible constipation if consumed regularly with nothing else to eat. You don't want to be sick in an emergency, so why eat something that will encourage that?

MREs are convenient and don't require much thought to prepare. Some of them even include something that allows you to pull a tab and they automatically heat. That can be good if you are not able to think well during an emergency, but it would be a good idea to be able to manage to think well enough that you won't need to use an MRE to prepare food to eat instead. MREs do not require much thought to buy and have on hand either. That is also a benefit. If you must use MREs, then limit how many and have other food to use as well.

Freeze dried food is also convenient, but the biggest drawback is that it is expensive. If you live on nothing but freeze dried food, you might prefer to plan to dine out at an expensive restaurant for the duration of the disaster on the money it will cost.  Just kidding.  Sorta. They do cost a lot, but they do taste great. Some companies give free samples and I have tried them and can say they are quite delicious. The ones I tried were only a couple of brands and were touted as being gourmet quality. I could not vouch for all brands on a taste test. If the company you decide on does not offer free samples, perhaps you could buy a small amount and give it a taste test for your family, before you decide to buy more.

I just buy my regular food involving dried and canned goods and figure out how many meals it will cover and restock it regularly. Putting a sticker on your food items to make it easier to rotate your supply, will help prevent spoiled and wasted food.

Comfort items are a good idea to include for emergencies.  Examples might be hot chocolate including marshmallows or brownies. Every person and every family has their own special comfort items so be kind to yourselves and have them for emergencies too. The tenseness during an emergency can be eased by comfort items.

I plan to cover more about food for emergency preparedness.

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