Emergency preparedness planning
Emergency preparedness planning

Emergency preparedness planning
- What would you do if a natural disaster struck your town tomorrow? With only a few days' worth of food and no other supplies, you end up stranded and unprepared, hoping help arrives soon. In such situations, help may take a few weeks to arrive, however, and you and everyone else need to develop an emergency preparedness plan, one that encompasses all drinking and eating needs and addresses post-disaster conditions.

Out of these three, food storage is a significant factor to consider and prepare for, and purchasing items at the last minute is not sufficient. Instead, building up a supply of basic foods - grains, beans, and dehydrated milk - needs to be done over time, with the goal of accumulating a year's supply for your family. In addition to basic items, emergency preparedness kits of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods by manufacturers Mountain House, Provident Pantry, and AlpineAire add some variety to your food storage.

When you start with the basics, think about building up a supply of grains, protein, and milk. Grains, with a grinder, beans, dehydrated milk, sugar, salt, and oil should form the foundation of your food storage. Seeds, as well, should be added. Assuming you will have a place to plant after a disaster, the seeds can grow fruits and vegetables over time that can be dried out and prepared for future use.

In addition to these basics, have food needing minimal preparation on hand. Such kits of dehydrated items by Mountain House and similar manufacturers contain prepared meals and individual items only needing water to become edible. If you do not have a heat source, don't be too concerned. Freeze-dried items just need some water and will rehydrate in a matter of minutes, keeping all nutrients intact. As many of these kits contain separate ingredients, such as vegetables or meat, rehydrating a serving and cooking it with grains or beans make a meal.

Because emergency preparedness needs to be done over time, the lifespan of food storage is a concern many have. While there is no one answer, emergency kits by Mountain House and similar manufacturers can last for 15 to 20 years unopened. Once opened, the food may last a year if stored correctly.

External factors affect food storage, however. Exposure to oxygen, moisture, heat, and light decrease the quality of the stored items. Although unopened food can last for several years, #10 cans, which contain multiple servings, are a concern. The opened food still needs to be kept in a cool and dark place, and the container needs to be fully sealed off. A commercial resealer helps with this, and freezing the food or keeping it in an airtight bag inside the #10 can are other options.

The conditions of the storage area also need to be taken into consideration. In addition to being dark and dry, the storage space should stay around 50°F to 60°F and chemicals, even household cleaning supplies, need to be out of the area. The food, as well, should not be kept in a trash can and should not be stacked too high. A room in your house, such as a basement, closet, or crawl space, is best for your food storage, but cans and other items should not be kept outside or buried in the ground.


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