Emergency food and water supply – is your family prepared?

It is unlikely that your food and/or water would be cut off for an extended period of time in the event of an emergency.

For those that have ever experienced the inconvenience of a power outage, you understand the challenges associated with preparing a meal for your family. Pizza delivery or dinner out is probably the short term solution that many of us use to remedy this problem. Families that have had to deal with a power outage that lasts more than 24 hours or an emergency situation, such as an earthquake, hurricane, winter storm or other natural disaster, understand how important it is to have access to safe food and water.

Even though it’s unlikely that an emergency would cut-off your food supply for an extended period of time, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the American Red Cross recommends that families consider maintaining a food and water supply that will last at least two weeks. Michigan State University Extension says that it may not be necessary to make a special trip to the grocery store to prepare for an emergency – a quick inventory of the canned goods, dry mixes and other staples that are already stored in your pantry might indicate that your family has access to an ample food supply.

The publication, “Food and Water in an Emergency” provides the following recommendations when preparing an emergency food supply:

  • Take into account your families unique needs and tastes – in an emergency situation, you want to have food on hand that is not only high in calories and nutrition, but will be enjoyed by members of your family and help lift their morale during a stressful time.
  • Make sure to stock foods that require no refrigeration, water, special preparation or cooking.
  • Take into account family members that have special diets and/or allergies. Don’t forget about babies, toddlers and the elderly that might require special foods.
  • Store a manual can opener and disposable utensils.
  • Don’t forget to regularly check the expiration dates of canned and dried goods.
  • Make sure to have non-perishable food stored for your pets.

It’s important not to forget about water. Access to clean, drinkable water should be your number one priority in an emergency situation. The average person drinks about two quarts (a half gallon) of water per day - water is also used for food preparation and hygiene, so at least one gallon per person, per day, should be available. The safest and most reliable source of water is commercially bottled water. Make sure to keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you are ready to use it.

For more information, the following websites are available:

http://www.training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/courseOverview.aspx?code=is-22

http://www.redcross.org/prepare

http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1442

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