Creating Your Emergency Pantry
While it is undoubtedly true that purchasing your
emergency supplies all at once from a trusted website is the easiest way to provide for your family during a disaster, there can be several reasons to use your local grocery store. To begin with, the supplies can be assembled piecemeal; you can simply pick up a few extra things every time you shop. Also, food from the grocery store is what you and your family are used to, so eating during the emergency will not cause any upsets. This will be especially important as regards children, who are often rather fussy with what they eat.
What Kinds Of Food To Buy
You will not want to purchase any kind of perishable foods for your emergency pantry. Even food that is frozen that you intend to freeze yourself is not suitable for this purpose. One of the first services to disappear during a disaster is the electricity.
Once your freezer stops working, it will only be a relatively short time before it begins to warm up. Do not open the freezer door if the electricity goes off – every time you open it, warm air will enter and raise the temperature in the freezer. Once the temperature in the freezer reaches 40 F, the food should be thrown away.
Canned foods make good emergency rations, and stocking up on tuna and other meat products, will assure your family of a protein supply. Canned vegetables and fruit make good emergency pantry foods, and jars of condiments can be added to give some variety to the meals.
Dried foods such as noodles, beans, and rice are also good to have on hand, but if these are not in sealed containers, you should place them into plastic bags to keep moisture from compromising the quality. Dried meats such as jerky are also available. With all of these foods, pay attention to the sell by date and rotate as it approaches.
Storing Your Food
As with most emergency food, it is best to store your supplies in a cool, dry place. Light and heat are great destroyers of food, so keeping your food safe from these will preserver the quality. Food that is just stored in bags or boxes should be placed so that vermin such as insects or rodents will be unable to access it. Generally, a plastic bag is enough to deter insects, but will do nothing to keep out a rat or mouse. The best thing to do in this case is to place these foods in a new galvanized garbage can, and be sure to use the lid.
Is The Food Safe?
Besides the sell by date, you should also examine the cans and jars for signs of bacterial contamination. Any cans or lids that are bulging are unsafe to use and should be disposed of out of the reach of both people and animals. Rusted cans should be discarded, too. If your home has been flooded, cans and jars that are intact are probably safe, but the labels will need to be removed and the containers thoroughly washed and dried before use.