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Food for Your Emergency Kit

Weathering a disaster situation depends primarily on making sure your family has enough food and water to last until help arrives. As you’re selecting food to include in your emergency kit, you’ll need to consider what to stockpile, how much you’ll need, and how to store the food you choose.


Selecting Food for Your Emergency Kit

Emergency situations place extra strain on each member of your family. You can reduce some of that strain by making sure they have not only enough food, but also familiar food that they enjoy. Keep these points in mind as you’re shopping for your emergency kit supplies:

  • Choose familiar foods. This is not the time to make your kids eat their spinach. Instead, opt for things they enjoy and that will keep morale high during a time of emotional upheaval. Foods with low salt content are best since salty foods will increase thirst and water may be limited during a disaster situation.
  • Remember food allergies and special diets. If you have a diabetic in your family or someone who has a food allergy, make sure your food supplies cater to their needs. Also, if there is a nursing mother in your family, include infant formula for the baby in case the mother can’t nurse.
  • Choose non-perishable items. Stock your shelves with canned foods, dry mixes, and sealed packages of crackers, cookies, cereals, and dried foods that will keep without refrigeration and that require little or no cooking since you may lose electricity during a disaster. Don’t forget to include a manual can opener in your emergency kit.

Storing Enough Food for an Emergency Situation

In general, you should store enough food to provide for your family for about two weeks. If it looks like you will need to survive longer than two weeks before you can access food from other sources, you can safely cut food supplies in half for healthy adults. Children and women who are pregnant or nursing should eat more to maintain the nutrients they need.


How to Store Food for Your Emergency Kit

Designate an area of your home that will be your food storage area. If you have a large pantry, you can simply increase the amount of basic supplies you keep there. If not, keep food in a cool, dry place and make sure each item is airtight. Take note of expiration dates on packages and use older food up as you replace it with new supplies. If an item does not have an expiration date, it can usually be kept for about six months.