Record heat, Category 5 hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, draught…there is no denying that severe weather and natural disasters are becoming more common. While we all want to believe that it won’t happen to us, chances are, you may find yourself at some point impacted by some type of emergency situation. And, you’ll want to read this to find out how you can be as prepared as possible to keep yourself and your family safe.
How should you begin to stock up on water and food? “Prepare like you are going camping for three days,” says Mark Benthien, spokesman for the Southern California Earthquake Center. However, if you have the space for it, it’s even better to have up to two weeks’ worth of food and water.
For food, canned pantry staples should be your priority because they will have the longest shelf-life and is considered the safest and most durable option. Include canned fruit, veggies, beans, seafood, poultry, soups and stews. (Canned tuna a few times a week and it’s a great source of essential fats and high-quality protein, but due to mercury, you won’t want to eat it more than three days a week). Canned olives are also an energy-rich choice that’s safe to eat. Shelf-stable milk and juices are also good choices. Nuts and nut butters are also great choices for protein and calories. Military-style MREs (meals ready-to-eat) can be purchases online and are balanced and fortified with vitamins and minerals so they can help ensure that you meet your nutrient needs.
For water, a good estimation is around one gallon of water per day, per person. This should be stored in the form of water bottles or jugs and should be replaced every two years or so. Water itself does not have a shelf-life, but environmental factors such as heating, cooling, and storing next to chemicals can cause the water to go bad. Remember, water is essential for life, so make sure you have enough water in your supplies.
If you’re without power, there will be no refrigeration and any opened canned food will spoil within a few hours, so eat one can at a time to make sure the entire can will be eaten before it goes bad. Charcoal or a propane tank for a gas grill may also be used at this time to cook food. Keep the food area clean as you do not want to spoil any of the limited food you have.
If the food and water portion of your e disaster kit is completed, you know you are able to feed yourself and/or your family for a few days without having to rely on other means to get your food. This might be just enough time to save you from any more stresses. If you’d like to know more information about earthquakes and how to prepare, you may refer to earthquakecountry.org and scec.org.
This article was written by Sal Castillo, a dietetic intern with Appetite for Health.