Dangers To Your Emergency Supplies
Getting your emergency survival
supplies together is only the first step to assure safety for yourself and your
family during a disaster. Unless these supplies, especially the food and
water, are stored safely, you may not have an opportunity to use them at all if
they have been exposed to adverse environmental conditions. However, heat
and light are not the only dangers to your supplies, there are other threats,
Proper Storage of Food and Water
In order for your emergency food to attain its maximum shelf life, it must be
stored properly. The best temperature range is between 50 and 55 degrees
F. As the temperature of the storage area rises, the shelf life of the
food decreases, and at 90 F, what would ordinarily have lasted for 25 years
will be useless within months. Make sure that the food is kept in
airtight containers, too, as this will reduce exposure to moisture. Keep
both food and water away from the light, as this can cause deterioration.
Even light proof packaging such as mylar will heat up when exposed to sunlight
and damage to the contents will occur.
Rats, Mice, and Insects
Almost everyone has had experience with the damage rodents or insects can do to
food. It is not unusual to open a package of dry goods and find it
infested with insect larvae. Even ants can make a mess in a
cupboard. Make sure that containers are sealed securely, as small insects
can gain access to your food through surprisingly small spaces.
Rats and mice can do extensive damage to stored food, and when these animals
have been in a supply of foodstuffs, the only thing to do is to throw it out –
it will be contaminated with the urine and feces of the rodents. While
plastic packaging will keep out insects, it is not immune to damage from the
sharp teeth of rodents.
Most emergency survival food comes in plastic storage buckets or
packages. To ensure that you will have this food when you need it, be
sure to store it in containers that mice or rats will not be able to chew
into. Probably one of the easiest storage containers is a galvanized
garbage can with a lid. You will be able to store quite a lot of
emergency food in one of these, and it will not only protect it from vermin,
but will also be an added protection from light.
Threats to your emergency supplies from humans will come from two sources:
criminals and the desperate. You are more likely to meet the first during
an emergency, as when civil authority is curtailed or absent, criminals will
take the opportunity to loot. Stores are generally the first target, but
homes can also be attacked. The desperate will show up once the emergency
has been going on for some time and they have run out of supplies
themselves. Both can be dangerous not only to your supplies, but to you
and your family. The first line of defense against looters is to keep
your mouth shut. Everyone in the family should also be instructed to say
nothing about your preparations. You should also provide some means of
protecting your family and your supplies during a disaster or emergency, and
this would include pepper spray or gel, or a firearm.