All it takes is a single natural disaster or hiccup in the national food supply lines in order for panic and hoarding to set in. Creating a well-stocked supply of food isn't simply for alarmists, but a great option for anyone that wants to guarantee that their family will be safe and comfortable during minor food shortages or major catastrophes. Here is a look at some of the best tips for creating and maintaining an emergency food supply for any eventuality.
Create Long-Term Goals
One of the most important steps in this process is to create long-term goals for your emergency food supply. Some families may store enough food and equipment until they can get out of the city while others may stock a bunker with enough food for multiple months. Deciding which kind of food supply you would like will be essential. For most families, a good food supply will involve a few at least a few days of easy meals for a situation such as rolling blackouts and then enough calories to survive for at least 90 days. The Department of Agriculture suggests between 1,400 and 2,800 calories per day for children and adults respectively.
Start with Caloric Needs
Now is the time to do a little math and start getting an idea about how many calories you and your family will need for 90 days. Once you have a baseline number you can stock up on calorie-rich foods that can be stored for an extended period such as dried beans and rice. In a stable environment, these supplies have a shelf life for 8 years or longer and are one of the best ways to meet caloric requirements. If space is an issue, you may need to consider transitioning over to power bars and freeze dried packets, but these options can become much more expensive.
Supplement the Basics with Enjoyable Foods
With a basic food supply in place, a family can then start thinking about some of the foods that they enjoy that they can use to supplement the primary provisions. The easiest method to do this is to purchase a little extra of any foods with a long shelf life that are eaten weekly. This may include products such as canned vegetables, canned fruit, soup mixes, canned beans, packaged sweets, peanut butter, and herbs. On average, these canned and packaged goods will remain safe for at least 6 months. Once a three month supply has been created, families can simply eat the older food and replace it with the newer food as needed.
Meeting caloric requirements is important, but becoming dehydrated is a much more realistic and immediate risk. Every home and family should have at least two or three methods that they can use to acquire water. The first step is to use old bottles to store fresh water as room permits. Once any extra space is filled with water, the family should then consider their options for finding and purifying other water sources. With three good water purifying options there is a much lower risk of a water shortage. This may include a heavy-duty water distiller or purifier for the family, individual purifying straws for each family member, and then a large supply of iodine or water purifying tablets. When in doubt, it is always important to purify water multiple times and avoid stagnant water sources unless it is a life or death situation.
Emergency Kits and Tools
Finding oneself with a good supply of canned foods and no can opener is a situation that no one wants to be in. There are some basic products that should be kept in the kitchen, the car, and emergency bug-out kits to prevent these types of issues. Every emergency stash should have a handful of multi-purpose knives, strike-anywhere matches, sporks, and manual can openers. Many times, these types of supplies can all be found in a multi-tool designed for hiking or backpacking. Having a few packages of spices, a large supply of olive oil, and some empty storage containers around could also help with food preparation and flavor.
Every family should make it their duty to prepare for an emergency. Once a three month supply of food has been purchased along some basic gear, families need to do nothing more than keep track of what they use just before they head off on their next grocery trip.