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, as well.
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.