What Should You Include in Your Emergency Food Supply?

Food storage is an important part of preparedness for any emergency or natural disaster. To reduce stress, worry, and inconvenience, it's essential to plan for emergency food needs. The amount and type of food to store will depend on the size of your household, their preferences, any special health conditions, the ability to use food in an emergency, and the available storage space. Planning for short-term emergency food needs can be as simple as increasing the amounts of some basic foods and non-perishable items that you would normally use.Non-perishable foods are those that can be safely stored at room temperature.

Food is a basic human need, especially after a disaster when physical activity may increase caloric needs. The human body can survive without food for some time (even weeks if hydration is maintained), but the average person needs 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day to maintain caloric balance, and more if engaged in strenuous activity. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that households store emergency food that family members are familiar with and that they eat easily, take into account special dietary needs, and avoid foods that make you thirsty (e.g. salty snacks).It's important to reserve an emergency food supply.

Keeping it in a separate location from your normal food supply will help make it accessible if the area where your regular food is stored is damaged. Storing your emergency food supply in a cool (room temperature), dry and dark place will ensure the best shelf life.Freeze-dried foods have a higher initial cost but extended shelf life can provide long-term savings. Hot water is used to prepare freeze-dried foods; room temperature water also works but will take longer to reconstitute. Have additional water on hand to prepare food if you are going to use freeze dried food in your disaster plan.When creating an emergency food supply, consider the geography of your home and neighborhood.

FEMA lists on page 4 the foods that could be stored for emergency preparedness purposes and how long they would last while they were stored. One way to develop a two-week emergency supply is to increase the amount of staple foods you normally have on your shelves.Although most emergencies are unlikely to interrupt their food supply for two weeks, some people choose to consider a short-term supply as one that will last that long. Adding additional foods to your regular inventory, especially canned foods, can be an effective way to increase your emergency food supply while minimizing waste and excess costs.Learning to store food for an emergency, such as a global pandemic or natural disaster, could save you money and save your life. If you include canned food in your emergency food supply, inspect your supply regularly to make sure there are no rusty, leaking, bulging, or heavily dented containers and that there are no broken seals.If your home is located in tornado alley, it would be best to have your emergency food supply in a secure basement room; however this may not be the case for those whose residence is in flood-prone areas.

When planning your emergency food supply, consider the need to refrigerate leftover canned food.Everyday foods such as oatmeal, meat or canned beans can be considered emergency foods; only these foods may need to be consumed at different times during an emergency depending on their shelf life.

Karen Borchert
Karen Borchert

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