Supplies Needed for and Emergency
Making A List
When planning your survival through a variety of situations, it is always best
to make a list out of what will be needed. Divide the list into
categories to make it easier to work with. Everyone in the family should
be involved at some level in emergency plans, even young children will be glad
to be able to participate. Do not expect a child of 5 or 6 to assume a
great deal of responsibility, but they will be able to perform simple
tasks. Accept a few suggestions from the younger members of the family,
regardless of their practicality, just to help cement their
participation. The list should contain everything you will need for
water, food, shelter, and first aid.
Water is probably the most basic necessity of life. A person can live
quite some time without food, but without water, most people will perish within
days. Unfortunately, during a disaster or emergency, your access to clean
water may vanish. Most water systems are dependent upon electricity,
which is generally the first of our modern conveniences to disappear when
earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or other crisis happens. Making plans
ahead of time, to make sure that you and your family will have adequate water
is of the utmost importance.
There are several ways to go about securing a water supply. Probably the
easiest is to accumulate bottled water from the store. This water generally has
a shelf life of several years, and should be rotated as the ‘sell by’ date
approaches. You should consider that a gallon per person, per day, will
be adequate, and you should have at least enough water to last for a week.
Besides purchasing bottled water, you can also bottle your own tap water.
You should choose containers that have not held either dairy products or
oil. Old soda bottles are acceptable, or you can purchase empty,
food-grade containers. The bottles should be thoroughly washed out before
use, and allowed to dry completely before being filled. After filling and
capping the bottles, attach a label that supplies the date the bottle was
filled. Water bottled in this way will be good for approximately half a
year, at which time, the water should be poured out and the process
repeated. Make sure you store this water away from the light, as sunlight
can stimulate algal growth.
A more ‘permanent’ solution is to buy a
water filter that does not depend upon
electricity. There are several excellent filters that will remove every
contaminant from whatever water you put into them. Make sure that you
purchase a two chamber filter that guarantees pure water. These filters
are fairly expensive, but will purify thousands of gallons of water before the
filtering elements have to be replaced. A filter like this will assure
you that you will have water for an indefinite period as long as there is the
‘raw material’ to put into the filter. Do not use a pitcher filter for
purifying water, these are designed basically to remove the taste of chlorine
from water, and will not remove organic or inorganic contaminants.
Right behind water in your list of necessities is food. If a major
disaster has occurred, it could actually be days or weeks before food is
available. Consider how long the people in New Orleans had to go without
help, or the situation in Japan after the tsunami. There are, as with the
water, several ways to go about gathering a supply of food for your family in
case of emergencies, and simply accumulating food from the grocery store is one
that can be done gradually. Of course, you will have to stick to canned
or dehydrated food, and be aware that while these foods will have a shelf life
of several years, they will have to be rotated to assure freshness.
It is also possible to can or dehydrate food yourself. These options are
especially good if you plant a garden or are able to visit a local farmers
market during the summer. Canning with a pressure cooker is safe, and you
will be able to put up all your vegetable produce, fruit, and even meats.
Dehydration is best for fruits and vegetables. Food that you have
dehydrated should be placed in plastic bags, sealed, and dated. It is
possible to purchase mylar bags that will not only protect against moisture,
but against light. Food of this type will be good for up to one year, at
which point it will begin to lose its nutritional value.
Many people prefer to purchase dehydrated or freeze dried food from companies
that provide them. These foods, thanks to the commercial equipment used,
have a very long shelf life. Some of these prepared foods will last for
25 years, if stored properly. These foods are available in two basic
forms: bulk and meals ready to eat (MREs).
The former will provide several pounds of dehydrated eggs or milk or grain that
will have to be used within a certain frame of time once opened. MREs are
individual meals that need only some water and heat to prepare. These
latter are often taken along on camping trips due to their portability.
There are also emergency rations available in the form of bars that will supply
you with the needed calories and nutrients for a daily diet. These bars
are said to have a pleasant taste, and having at least a small supply on them
on hand would probably be a good idea. When storing away your food
supply, you should also include vitamin supplements, both for adults and
children, if there are youngsters in the house.
Your emergency survival food needs to be stored properly if you expect it to
remain viable. All food should be stored in a cool place, such as the
basement. If you do not have a basement, store the food in an interior
closet, as far from light and heat as possible. Survival food will
maintain its shelf life if kept at 55 F, but higher temperatures will cause
Sometimes, due to food allergies or chronic medical conditions, people will
have specific dietary needs. If anyone in your family falls into this
category, be sure to have an adequate supply of these foods on hand. Be
sure to check the ingredient list on any packaged food that you purchase to
make sure that your supply will not cause harm to a vulnerable family member.