How Long Should You Store Emergency Food and Water?

It's important to have emergency supplies on hand in case of a disaster. Start by accumulating a 3-day water supply and then work up to 30 days. After that, you can gradually increase a long-term emergency water supply. As you work on that, you can also start building your 2-week food supply list and your non-food supply list.

This food supply should be non-perishable; select foods that do not require refrigeration, minimal or no preparation or cooking, and little or no water. You don't need to go out and buy unknown foods to prepare an emergency food supply. Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you consume these foods, you can get seriously ill. You should have hand sanitizer in your emergency supplies to prevent the spread of illness after a disaster.

Installing a dehumidifier and placing the food storage in granules would make the basement an excellent option. After a power outage, a full, well-functioning freezer should keep food frozen for 2 days, if the freezer temperature is 0 degrees F or lower.Planning for short-term emergency food needs can be as simple as increasing the quantities of some basic, non-perishable foods that you would normally use. That said, I would only recommend keeping canned food past the expiration date if you are currently in an emergency situation where you can't make it to the store. A disaster can easily interrupt the food supply at any time, so plan to have a food supply on hand for at least 3 days.In general, open dating is mostly found in perishable foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products.

The type of emergency you are preparing for, the amount of time you want to prepare for, and your financial situation are important considerations. If the food has been commercially canned and the metal can is still intact and not oxidized or bulging, it can be used, but it will need to be cleaned and disinfected before opening.The above staples offer a limited menu, but you can supplement them with commercially packaged air-dried or freeze-dried foods and grocery products. After I started storing food, I found that it actually freed up a good chunk of my regular weekly food budget, and I'm not even using coupons. Mishandling fresh food can also change the safe storage time of food, regardless of packaging dates.It's important to plan ahead when it comes to stocking up on emergency supplies.

Make sure you have enough water and non-perishable food items on hand to last at least 3 days in case of an emergency. Consider purchasing canned goods with long shelf lives as well as air-dried or freeze-dried foods for longer term storage needs. Be sure to check expiration dates on all items before consuming them.

Karen Borchert
Karen Borchert

Freelance travel fanatic. Infuriatingly humble internet practitioner. Passionate twitter practitioner. Extreme social media nerd. Web trailblazer. Passionate pop culture advocate.